We’re just past the Ides of March and although he has historically exclaimed “Et Tu, Internets?” this month has brought us a bunch of new Ryan Adams news. The last time we heard from our hero, he had fired up his PaxAm imprint and released two albums that had been hiding in his archives– his Metal Space Opera Orion and Cardinals III/IV which was two albums worth of Easy Tiger-Era recordings with The Cardinals.
To accomplish his desired DIY apprach, he assembled a staff to handle the shipping and orders that were done via the PaxAm website. In the case of Orion things went pretty well, but apparently folks were having issues with delivery of the III/IV album that were placed on the PaxAm site and went to the internet boards to bitch about it. The fact of the matter is that there was an accident involving the guy who was handling the orders and things got delayed and people complained loudly and frequently as is the manner of some.
Fed up, Ryan responded on the boards:
All future Pax-Am releases are cancelled and I don’t have any plans to continue anymore merch. Maybe I will sell the rights to someone else and let them make this stuff. All I know is I am not going to do it. I don’t believe we did a bad job…. The truth is both releases cost a boat load to manufacture and so many good people who I enjoy working with are involved in a hands-on way, all the way down to the manufacturing, that I seriously doubt the vinyl made any money back. It was about the tunes and doing it right and making quality vinyl. We took time to do it right.
Clearly I was 100 percent wrong that this was a good idea and I am really glad I tried but am totally done. Sorry if that sounds passive aggressive or something but I am just being real. I over it and over blogging and I had to borrow this very computer to even write this crap. Blah.
And with that he went into radio silence, but clearly this wasn’t the end of the story as we have now heard about a Record Store Day 4-song, 2 colored vinyl 7″ single EP of Cardinology-era previously-unreleased tracks called Class Mythology that will be a limited edition of 2500 copies with a picture sleeve, poster and sticker and will be on PaxAm Records! It is confirmed from his Facebook page with a mock-up of a single. The distributor for this record is going to be Junketboy who has a history of doing small-run releases like this. So, it would appear that he is delivering on the idea of letting someone else press the records. Hopefully he is getting his say on the quality of the records as his desire to get the mastering right had delayed releases in the past. In the same post where he bows out of pressing records, he also comments on the Lost Highway vinyl and in particular the new 10th Anniversary clear vinyl releases:
I was simply signed to Universal/ Lost Highway as an artist and had no say in the quality of the product. I was appalled they ever released ANY of my albums on vinyl since NONE were mastered for vinyl including the clear GOLD thing. I still have the original ones and they sound like ass. THAT is my personal opinion and I don’t care. Sorry. I like mastered vinyl.
I picked up the 2 LP clear vinyl version of Gold recently, and I don’t think it sounds “like ass” but there are a couple of spots where there are some clicks present, so there is a bit of a QC problem. I was particularly interested in this release as it included the “Side 4” bonus tracks that were only available on the first 150,000 CD pressings of Gold. This release fixes that sin.
So, with this RSD release, there is some hope for the future of other archive releases– in particular, folks are really anxious to get to hear Blackhole, which is another release that apparently did not leak to bootlegging. There is photographic evidence around the time he was working on the III/IV ramp-up that it had been mastered to vinyl, so perhaps we are close to this actually coming out if he’s working with a distributor.
On top of this great news, it was announced in an e-mail from the PaxAm site that Ryan is working with legendary producer Glyn Johns on his first album of new material since 2008. Johns is credited with some of Rock’s great albums including Who’s Next, The Stones Sticky Fingers, and Clapton’s Slowhand. Clearly keeping the trust in the family, Johns’ son Ethan produced Heartbreaker, Gold and 24 for Adams.
The question would be how he’s going to release this album– he is not on a label at the moment other than PaxAm– and he used TVT/The Orchard to distribute III/IV to stores and online. So, potentially, the new album could still be on PaxAm. Really, the only issues were the orders placed on the PaxAm website, so that is probably solved by not doing preorders by himself.
While we ponder the always-unpredictable career of Ryan Adams, on Monday he announced a tour of Europe starting in June that will be just him with an acoustic guitar playing new songs he wrote over the winter. “I’d like to play them for whoever wants to hear them,” he posted to Facebook, “Please don’t yell at me,” These are the songs that evidently moved his wife Mandy Moore to tweet, “been listening to my hubby write insanely beautiful music over the past few weeks. blows my mind at how easy he makes it look. the nerve! :)”
This will be the first organized tour since Adams announced in early 2009 that he was leaving the Cardinals following a very extensive tour in support of Cardinology. This announcement was for a few reasons, but likely primarily related to his affliction with Ménière’s disease that caused severe vertigo among other afflictions. He’s clearly easing back into touring since this tour will be solo acoustic. I’m not alone in hoping that he brings this tour to the US.
Here are the European tour dates (from his Facebook post):