Update: Author Drew Fortune's response to Adams' assertions has been added to the bottom of this post.
Earlier today West Coast Sound ran an interview with Ryan Adams, written by Drew Fortune. Adams took issue with the account, and his response, which we received over email, is below. We have already issued one correction concerning the piece, which initially stated that Adams hung up on Fortune. This was not, in fact, the case. This response serves as a second correction.
“LA Weekly boasts two of my heroes as contributors: Falling James Moreland, whose band The Leaving Trains literally shaped my late teenage life and my guitar playing and songwriting. And Henry Rollins, who does such a great column. I feel like these people show a side of the rock community not often enough expressed. Elegant and unfussy writers. I was so excited to talk about the role the LA Weekly has played in my life since I settled here and all the endlessly cool things I have discovered from the suggestions and articles.
That made this interview that much more of a bummer.
The difference between the questions Drew Fortune asked me and the questions he printed made for a good lesson in how two-sided these stories can be. It felt like a botched opportunity both for me and the writer, one that I was more than happy to give a chance to re-do the following day. So I'm pleased the Weekly agrees that the record should be set straight.
Here are the examples where a question, posed to me in a much different way, were changed for the LA Weekly piece, I assume to present the journalist as “in the right” and myself as hot-headed. I recall the actual questions here:
Getting sober certainly changes peoples' lives. I'm curious how you adjusted, and how you changed your routine.
He actually asked:
This album has a lot of nature in the lyrics. Is this because you replaced going to bars with hiking?
Have you ever read anything about yourself in which a critic pointed to your prolificacy as a negative? Granted, I don't have a specific review to back that up right now, but I was hoping you could comment on the notion that some might view your constant output as a negative, and whether you would take any stock in that?
What he really said:
So do you just keep releasing albums because of pressure from your record label?
This is why I decided to end the interview and give him a day to read up and come at this fresh. It's been well documented to and in the media that this album is released on my own label and that I have been busy with that label now for a few years. So this question seemed to be an instigation.
What journalist asks the person he is interviewing if the work he releases, his art, is only to satisfy the demands of a record label? It was insulting and many of the questions and the way they were asked were insulting.
So for what it's worth, that's how it happened. No temper tantrums, no hanging up. Just something that could have gone a lot better if the writer had come with better questions and no agenda. Here's to better things in our mutual future…”
Drew Fortune responds
For the sake of coherence and adhering to an assigned word count, some of the questions in my interview with Ryan Adams were condensed from several back and forth responses. The heart of my questions were never altered, but the wording in the piece was altered for brevity and I took out anything that felt superfluous. Not a single word of Mr. Adams responses were altered.
Mr. Adams' claim that I was unaware that Ashes and Fire was released on his own label is not correct, however. In my question, I was referring to his time with Lost Highway, and was not allowed to finish before being interrupted.
Nonetheless, I sincerely apologize to readers who felt that I was lying or fabricating anything for a cheap headline. That was never my intention, and I have never had an agenda against Mr. Adams. But because, above, he has incorrectly recalled the wordings from some of my questions, I present them below, verbatim from my recording. Sincerely, Drew Fortune
Back to Ashes and Fire, you spoke about mortality, and there are themes about the forces of nature, with songs “Dirty Rain,” Invisible Riverside” and “Rocks.” I don't mean this to sound cheesy, but has nature replaced the bars in your life. Are you getting out more? How did some of these themes come up? I guess I was wondering if you sort of had to adjust your life, or at least pick up new hobbies. Like maybe you picked up biking? Physically you have to be a lot healthier at least.
How much stock do you put on rock critics? I know that there are critics who accuse you of being overly prolific. How much does a negative review personally affect you? That is a vague question, and it's hard to point to something specific to back that up. But I know that it does get bandied around that Ryan Adams is so prolific and I think there are certain critics who might write off certain records as being rushed, or forced, or something like that. I was wondering if it pisses you off, or you're able to shrug it off at this point. Have you ever, and again I didn't point to something specific, but have you ever read, by any critic, them accusing you of being overly prolific. Is there ever any external forces at work? Like someone at a label…