Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Ryan Adams Accidentally Records Grand Funk Railroad Tribute Album In His Sleep

Alt-country musician Ryan Adams is known in the music community for many reasons, not the least of which includes his prolific output as an artist. Since his solo career began in 2000, Adams has released nine albums, three of which (Cold Roses, Jacksonville City Nights, and 29, respectively) came out within a single year. However, having such a prodigious output seems to be taking its toll. The singer recently revealed that, unbeknownst to him, Adams apparently recorded a tribute album to 70s blue-collar rockers Grand Funk Railroad during what was supposed to be a restful break from a recording session for his new album.

Adams, 32, explained that, to his chagrin, he had dosed off while writing and producing his latest solo effort, the result of staying up for two days straight rehearsing the new material.

“I was just plain exhausted and, rather than do some stupid shit that might cause me to relapse or something like that, I decided to take ‘er easy for once and just go to sleep. The next morning, I wake up and go to my favorite breakfast place in New York. They serve really good eggs there, which is great because it’s hard to get eggs at any time in any other city…I was sitting there, eating my breakfast…taking my time…when all of a sudden…this chick comes up to me and says, ‘that version of ‘We’re An American Band’ you did was simply amazing. I loved the stripped-down take you did on it.’”

Adams went on to explain that, as he cordially thanked the woman despite the fact that he had no idea what the fan was talking about, it slowly dawned on him that he had written, produced, and released the 12-track tribute album (now titled Nothing is the Same: A Tribute To Grand Funk Railroad) while he had dosed off during his normal recording session.

"I mean, I have a couple of Grand Funk records. Certainly, E Pluribus Funk. But I had no idea that they had such an extensive back catalog that I could pay homage to in somnambulant fashion. Sweet merciful crap, how do I get myself into these situations?” Adams sighed.

As the native New Yorker explains it, many of his albums have been recorded under seemingly chance-filled circumstances. His 2001 effort Gold was conceived while Adams was watching a PBS documentary, and that 2003’s Love is Hell came to exist “because some teardrops of mine short-circuited the mixing board and then some freaky-sad voodoo shit started happening and then BOOM! Two-part concept album.”

Adams then elaborates: “Rock N’ Roll was recorded when I tripped over my guitar amp and somehow turned the distortion all the way up. I was yelling all sorts of crazy shit into the microphone, when all of sudden I hear my producer say ‘That’s a wrap. I’ll send it to the plant’. Before I could say, ‘Send what to where?’, the record was pressed and the first single was sent to radio. Next thing I know, I’m on a 40-city tour with Neko Case and Jesse Malin. I mean, seriously, What The Fuck!!?

“Even though Pitchfork gave it such a low rating, I thought that score was pretty good, considering that I apparently had written half of the record while yelping in pain from the stubbed toe and the other half while bandaging it.” Adams conceited.

One might think that these developments are fortuitous more often than not. Adams, who’s most well-known song “New York, New York” became an unexpected hit after 9/11, has a different perspective on his supposed luck.

“Does this happen to anyone else? I mean, I definitely remember recording the Whiskeytown stuff, and Heartbreaker I certainly recall. Easy Tiger was put together in a real good headspace. But the others…I just don’t know. I mean, do other people have this problem? Does someone like Stephen King write novels and shit that he doesn’t remember?”

Adams then sighed and took a drag off of his cigarette.

“And now I have to promote an entire tribute album to Grand Motherfucking GodFunkDamned Cocksucking Railroad. This is some serious bullshit.”

Adams grudgingly stated that the tour behind the record starts in summer of this year.

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