Skip to main content

Ryan Adams on 'Demolition,' writing and shopping at Gap

Ryan Adams

   Story Tools


(CNN) -- Ryan Adams must go through pens like a pay phone goes through change. The guy just won't stop writing.

His latest album, "Demolition," is a collection of tracks culled from more than 60 songs the singer/songwriter wrote over the last year.

Recorded at different times, in different studios and with different musicians, this follow-up to 2001's "Gold" includes a mix of intimate ballads and up-tempo rock numbers.

TMR caught up with Adams on tour to get the scoop on the North Carolinian's latest offering. Find out what Adams plans to do next, why he ended up in a Gap commercial, and why he's winning praise from Oasis' Noel Gallagher:

TMR: Tell us about "Demolition."

Adams: "Demolition" came about totally by accident. Some of it are the demos for "Gold" (my last record), some of it are just recordings I made for fun, and then there's a session I did in Stockholm ... It's a taste of these different things at once, and to me they all seem to fit together.

start quoteMy ambition is strictly artistic. It's not my job to care about who's listening to (my music) on the radioend quote
-- Ryan Adams

I like the fact that it's not so self-serious, this record. It actually goes from being terribly self-serious, to terribly self-effacing or just funny. That isn't something I've done on solo records, or any record before, is be funny or coy.

TMR: Which song most reflects your coyness?

Adams: I think the fact I just released the record shows that I have a sense of humor. I could have taken a vacation. Ah well.

TMR: Tell me about the first single off the album.

Adams: The first single is called "Nuclear." I guess it's Brit pop for Americans. I don't know what it is, really, but the lyrics are funny. There's actually a really funny line in it that says, "I saw her and the Yankees lost to the Braves." If you're from Atlanta, that's not a very nice thing to say. It's sort of referring to the fact that the Braves never win.

TMR: How do you approach writing a song?

Adams: "I like the fact that this record is not so self-serious."

Adams: I write in any capacity, in any way. There's not one way. Sometimes it's just written down on a napkin, like a song will come to me and I'll write it down on a bar napkin or at a restaurant. Other times it'll just be a guitar riff forever and eventually words will be befitting of it. Sometimes I really want to write a song because I'm really mad or upset or happy or enthralled or I've been inspired by another musician.

For me writing is not a chore. I like it like a tennis player likes to play tennis, or a mountain climber likes to climb mountains, or a drug addict likes to do drugs, or a policeman likes to catch crooks.

TMR: How did you feel when The Corrs and Bono covered your "Gold" track, "When The Stars Go Blue?"

Adams: They covered it on their own. I didn't even know. No one even told me it was going to happen. Apparently, as I understand it, Bono walked in and said "this is a song we're going to duet." He wanted to do it.

The other day I went and bought my first TV. I was in Circuit City in Union Square, and I go to purchase the television and that video comes on of them playing that song. I look at the Circuit City clerk and I say, "They're playing my song," and he goes, "Yeah man, whatever. Just give me your credit card." He thought that I meant they're playing my song, like, when you have a song at the prom. He thought that "When The Stars Go Blue" was it. The guy for two seconds didn't know who I was and I thought to myself, "This is an excellent, excellent job. I have managed to have no one know who I am after seven years."

TMR: Is it frustrating not getting a lot of radio play?

Adams: No, I don't care. My ambition is strictly artistic. It's not my job to care about who's listening to it on the radio. And I don't listen to a lot of radio.

TMR: When TMR interviewed Noel Gallagher from Oasis a few months ago, he told us that he once heard you do a cover of "Wonderwall." He said he was so impressed with how you performed it that he went backstage after the show and told you you could have the song.

Adams: Yeah! I was on the other end of that when he said that to me and I just nearly fainted because they're my favorite band! To me Oasis is my favorite living rock and roll band; they're like my Beatles. I've been a huge Oasis fanatic forever and I kept hearing that they were going to come to gigs and they never did and then, finally, one of Noel's band's, Proud Mary, were opening for me for some dates in England, and there he was!

Adams told TMR he actually doesn't like performing on stage because he "can be an incredibly shy person."

TMR: Why did you do the Gap commercial?

Adams: I did the Gap ad, because who says no to $30,000 an hour? I don't! I'm sorry if that's selling out, so be it. Yes, I sell out. I do Gap ads so that I don't have to work in a factory. Also, I don't mind their clothes.

But maybe the No. 1 main reason is because Willie was doing it and I was supposed to do it with him, and you don't say no to Willie Nelson.

TMR: What's next? Are you doing another album?

Adams: I've finished. It's done.

TMR: Care to tell us anything about it?

Adams: Just wait. It will be out around March.

Back to The Music Room main page.

Story Tools

Top Stories
Review: 'Perfect Man' fatally flawed
Top Stories
EU 'crisis' after summit failure
© 2004 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser. does not endorse external sites.