The Ryan Adams Saga Continues
The testimonies keep landing on Ryan Adams’ case through Twitter or Instagram, rarely on Facebook since young bands seem to think it’s an old commodity now, but the discussions among fans are still heated everywhere I look.
And every time any celebrity is declaring anything, Pitchfork, Spin or Consequence of Sound produce a new article, producing another extremely redundant clickbait, and at a time when you can’t make the difference between Pitchfork and TMZ, let’s gather all the declarations (so far) in one post and let’s try to make sense of this mess.
First of all, Phoebe Bridgers once again weighed on the story 2 days ago on Instagram (her handle is _fake_nudes_) thanking her friends for the support, but also declaring that Ryan couldn’t have done this without the support of his network including friends, bands, people he worked with who never found him accountable for his actions and validated him.
I really wonder where these friends and people are today because not one of them has come forward so far! I guess support to Ryan Adams would be career suicide at this point, but I truly respect class-act Jenny Lewis who made this simple declaration on Twitter: ‘I am deeply troubled by Ryan Adams’ alleged behavior. Although he and I had a working professional relationship, I stand in solidarity with the women who have come forward.’
She may be the only one saying she didn’t have a traumatizing experience with Ryan Adams, and of course, she is smart enough to support the women who are claiming they had.
But really Phoebe, where are Adams’ friends now? This may be the best lesson of the story when the wind blows in the wrong direction, nobody is going to take any risk to support a guy’s misconduct they have nevertheless witnessed and supported before.
I don’t know what Judd Apatow is aware of but he has had a long and enduring friendship with Ryan Adams, he has used Adams’ music for his movies and he has been a long time fan. Just a few hours ago, Apatow tweeted the following comment: ‘My heart goes out to anyone who was hurt by Ryan Adams. This type of behavior is unacceptable. It takes great courage to speak up when you have been mistreated. I hope standing up and telling their stories will inspire others to do the same and lead to positive changes.’
However, he doesn’t even say if he is surprised or not by the scandal… Did he see it coming since he was so close to Adams? Did he witness anything?
What baffles me the most is the number of people and musicians who are now taking a 180º turn on their opinion about Ryan Adams, I have no doubt many had the terrible experience they are claiming now, but why did they let us live this delusion for so many years? Why did we have to read articles like this one in Rolling Stone making us believe into a bromance between Adams and La Sera’s Todd Wisenbaker when apparently this was a big lie? Todd and his wife Katy Goodman have now spoken on Instagram (as totally_tod and iamkatygoodman) and they are supporting the women who have come forward. It may have been a relatively late revelation as Todd is saying but don’t tell me they had never witnessed anything when working with Adams if all these allegations are true.
I could say the same about Karen Olsen who toured with Ryan Adams in 2017. In a 2-year old Instagram post, she was thanking and praising him: ‘Last show of the tour what an incredible experience this has been. Thank you @misterryanadams for having us on tour these past few months. You, your band and your crew have treated us with such deep respect and kindness. What a pleasure to watch you all perform each night. Leaving with happy memories! We will miss you all!’
However, a few days ago Karen Elson wrote this in an Instagram post, which has now disappeared: ‘I also had a traumatizing experience with Ryan Adams,” Elson wrote. “While I’m not quite brave enough yet to speak about my specifics. I’m encouraged that many women have bonded and helped each other heal. This is the power of sisterhood and I’m very grateful for these women.’
These two declarations could not clash more with each other and I would like to know why she was so positive in the first one, did she have to say this to look good? She is Jack White’s ex-wife and a very successful model, she is a powerful woman, why didn’t she speak her mind at the time if it was so bad?
I could continue with more examples, the list is endless, there are many people who have praised Ryan Adams in the past and are now saying he is a monster. Was Ryan Adams this powerful as a producer to make them all quiet? I understand the silence of a woman in a relationship and afraid of her man’s rage, but there were many people around, who were not in a romantic relationship with Adams and who are now saying the opposite of what they were saying a few years ago.
I know what some are gonna say but this is not a post to defend Adams’ behavior, it’s well documented he is a narcissistic jerk only invested in his own interest, and what Whiskeytown’s ex-manager Thomas O’Keefe posted is probably very close to reality: a funny and charismatic man who could also be mean and vindictive, showing little to no empathy for people, using people to advance his art or his career. O’Keefe also says that, although he has never witnessed any abusive behavior towards women, he finds these stories to be easily believable:
There’s nothing new in all this, David Menconi’s book Ryan Adams: Losering, a Story of Whiskeytown’ published in 2012 was already painting the same portrait. Fans knew, I knew, the music industry knew, people around him knew, so Ryan’s bad behavior is old news. His marriage with Mandy Moore was a tragedy for the young actress, but when she says she had picked the wrong man, she is wrong at one level: this is not about her, Ryan Adams is probably the wrong guy for anyone! It was also interesting to listen to her in a recent episode of Marc Maron’s WTF podcast, as she didn’t come across as a ‘traumatized’ person, she sounded regretful and maybe sad about her failed marriage, but happy to be in a good place with a new man in her life.
Once established that Ryan is a self-absorbed controlling douchebag only interested by his own art and career and using or abusing others, you have the portrait of many many other artists, from Picasso to Chris Brown, from James Brown to John Lennon… with one major difference: the majority of these have been physically abusive. This is obviously not an excuse for Ryan Adams’ bad behavior but people are mixing two things because of the amalgam done by the NY Times article. The emotionally abusive behavior, as bad as it was, as creepy as it was, as career damaging as it was, was not an illegal act punishable by law. As for the allegations regarding the minor, we have to wait for the results of the FBI investigation, people have rushed to judgment because of all the other allegations. If Ryan Adams is found guilty, he should be punished accordingly but we should wait for the results before crucifying someone who obviously needs some psychological help.