Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Music Biz: Rock N Roll

Ryan Adams: Rock N Roll


I’m not sure if any artist has been as defiant toward the workings of the music business as Ryan Adams has – at least no one as accomplished. He’s often been very outspoken with his opinions about radio, record labels, fans, critics, and executives, although never in his songs. Well, at least not in a literal sense.

After the huge success of Ryan’s sophomore album, Gold, his new label Lost Highway thought they had a cash-cow. As far as record sales were concerned, his follow up album, Demolition, was a failure. The company reportedly encouraged Ryan to re-create the sound from Gold, most likely telling him to “play more rock n roll.” As a metaphorical slap-in-the-face to the label, Ryan put together an album spitefully entitled Rock N Roll. The record was electric-soaked and filled with boatloads of reverb and cliché rock phrasing. That is, all except for the title track:

“Everybody's cool playing rock n rollEverybody's cool playing rock n rollI don't feel cool, feel cool at allI don't feel cool, feel cool at allSend all of my best out to the bandSend all of my best out to the bandI don't think I'll make it out to the showI don't think I'll make it out to the showThere's this girl I can't get out of my headThere's this girl I can't get out of my headI don't feel cool, feel cool at all”

That’s all there is to the song (which was placed directly in the middle of the album): those words, Ryan, and a piano. The song fades out with a voicemail from a “very terrified and flipped out” Courtney Love.

On a related note, Courtney Love recently came forward in a typo-ridden rant on her MySpace blog accusing Ryan of stealing nearly a million dollars from Courtney’s daughter’s trust fund. She says he squandered it all on expensive hotels, dinners, guitars, and drugs while recording Rock N Roll in New York City. Courtney calls the record “one of the worst recordings [she’s] ever heard.”
She must not listen to Hole records.

Read the whole ridiculous thing here.

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