When Ryan Adams came to town this past weekend to play Northrop, Barb Abney was able to visit with him for a few minutes backstage before the show. Though unfortunately a technical glitch caused the audio recorder to stop during portions of their conversation, Barb and Ryan Adams were able to share a freewheeling 15-minute exchange that touched on subjects including Foreigner, Tom Petty, and—yes—Bryan Adams.
Hear the complete broadcast audio above.
Below are transcriptions of a few of Adams’ comments.
On his respect for Bryan Adams: “There’s just this long story that I supposedly have a problem with Bryan Adams, but that’s actually not true. […] And I’ve not had a problem with Bryan Adams ever. Why would I? Why would anybody? He’s one of the hardest-working musicians out there. He’s an amazing guitar player, an amazing bass player, crazy good songwriter. He’s, like, a great guy. He does more for other people…his philanthropy is probably at this point more than what he does musically. I totally respect this guy.”
On the apocryphal story that someone was once kicked out of a Ryan Adams show for requesting a Bryan Adams song: “Nobody ever was kicked out of a concert for screaming a Bryan Adams song. That’s just not true. […] There was a guy in the audience [at the Ryman Auditorium] who was probably at a level of alcohol poisoning where he did not know where he was, and he was screaming…everything. […] And the Ryman Auditorium did nothing to fix that problem. They did not remove him. Nobody tried to help him. Nobody tried to figure him out. And it wasn’t Bryan Adams songs. It was like ‘Freebird,’ it was like weird stuff that didn’t have anything to do with anything. Sometimes it was just howling. And I was playing an acoustic guitar with two ambient microphones, at the Ryman, the first time I’d ever done it, and I had family and friends…Emmylou Harris was there, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings were there. The reason why the guy ever was asked to leave by me was because I was doing an a capella three-piece with Gillian Welch, David Rawlings, and myself of ‘Bartering Lines,’ and in between the quiet parts the guy was screaming. And when I finished that song I let them walk offstage ceremoniously, and I sat down and said, ‘I’m not going to do any more until somebody asks [that man to leave].'”
On the similarities between the cover of Ryan Adams and the cover of Bryan Adams’s Reckless: “I think you could probably find about 20 records that have a same… [Barb: “…a comparable font.”] It’s a square, and you’re going to put your name at the top. If you really did hold his…his is a little lower, the letters are thinner, to the right, his looks cooler than mine.”
On his dislike for artificial comparisons: “I wrote a song called ‘Wrecking Ball,’ they’re like, ‘Oh, Miley Cyrus has a song called “Wrecking Ball.”‘ Like, yeah, Neil Young wrote one, and Emmylou did it—it sounded great. I think Bruce Springsteen has one. But it didn’t matter, because there’s this thing called a wrecking ball and it takes down a f—ing old building, and that’s how I feel today, and guess what? I’m not those people. I’m Ryan, and it’s cool! It’s okay! Do you know what I mean? It’s okay, we’re on this rock, and it’s going really fast around the sun, there’s a perfect temperature of hot and cold to sustain us for a little while, I’m just going to make some music. Gonna make some magic.”