Ryan Adams has taken all the steps necessary to ensure that his 326th album, Easy Tiger, is a full-fledged comeback hit: He’s partnered with Starbucks. He’s recruited Sheryl Crow for a duet. And he’s spilled his guts to the New York Times, letting fans know that his erratic behavior of the last few years were due in part to his crazy-even-for-a-rocker drug abuse:
ONE afternoon, as Ryan Adams was recording his new album, “Easy Tiger” (Lost Highway), at Electric Lady Studios in Greenwich Village, the singer-songwriter Steve Earle dropped by to visit. Jimi Hendrix had built Electric Lady in the late 1960s, and Mr. Earle pointed out that “there are some good ghosts here.”
“Yeah,” Mr. Adams blithely responded. “There are the ghosts of about 45 speedballs from when I was recording here a year or two ago,” referring to a mixture of heroin and cocaine.
At once self-deprecating and self-mythologizing, the remark is characteristic of Mr. Adams, who is in the process of shoring up a career — and a life — that he had done his best to blow up. “There was intense loneliness, end-of-the-world stuff going on in my mind, bottomless depression,” he said, describing an extended period of substance abuse that ended a little over a year ago. “Without exaggerating, it is a miracle I did not die.
“I snorted heroin a lot — with coke. I did speedballs every day for years. And took pills. And then drank. And I don’t mean a little bit. I always outdid everybody.”
Adams says he went through self-administered detox, and that he’s occasionally going to AA meetings; he also claims that the drugs had nothing to do with the fact that he’s released a new record seemingly every third Wednesday. Such timed-to-release “redemption” stories tend to make one of your Idolators a bit queasy–especially with someone like Adams, who’s always seemed eager to play up his bad-boyness–but here’s hoping that his speedball days are behind him, and he can now get around to reuniting Whiskeytown and/or making a record as good as Heartbreaker.