Prolific rocker Ryan Adams pontificates on pop, his upcoming album, and famous girlfriends, in an excerpt from Entertainment Weekly's Sept. 20, 2002, Listen2This cover story
Ryan Adams
Credit: Ryan Adams Photograph by Robert Maxwell

”Hey, sweetie,” Ryan Adams coos into a cell phone. ”It’s Ryan. If you want to meet tonight I’ll be at my place.” Adams is leaving a voice-mail for a movie star. A really famous movie star. One he used to date. And no, he won’t reveal who it is. At least not yet. ”I went to Los Angeles and fell madly in love with her,” he says. ”It was the worst decision of my entire life. It all fell apart. It isn’t that we were bad for each other. It’s like, she’s no good for the world, and neither am I. I always get s— like ‘Ryan’s a f—ing drunk, Ryan’s a f—up,’ whatever. That might be true, but I’m also an intelligent person. She gets s— as well. She’s a f—up? So what if she’s a f—up. Everyone’s a f—up.” So who, exactly, are we talking about, Ryan? ”I’m not going to say.”

There are hints, however, on his new album ”Demolition” (due Sept. 24), a compilation of the best tracks from several full albums that the prolific singer has recorded (but never released) over the past year or so. There’s ”48 Hours,” a full-length record that he created in a feverish two-day session in New York City. Then there are tracks with the Pinkhearts, a scruffy Nashville-based grit-rock band in the style of the Stones and the Replacements. And there’s ”Suicide Handbook” — inspired, he says, by an ill-fated fling with a mystery starlet.

”’Suicide Handbook’ included songs like [‘Demolition”s] ‘She Wants to Play Hearts’ and ‘Cry on Demand,”’ Adams says. ”I don’t think you have to throw a f—ing penny to f—ing find out what that’s about. ‘Cry on Demand’…acting…hello? I love the line ‘She dies every night with her face on the news/Nobody cries, they just smoke and stare at their shoes.’ That’s how I really felt about her. And then, weirdly, s— happened and she was in the news.” Okay, really, WHO are we talking about?

He smiles. ”I don’t think anyone’s gonna like this record anyway. I think people will overlook it, think it was a misstep, a career ender. I’m not very good at marketing myself. People don’t know what to make of me. They’re like, ‘Who is this guy? Bryan Adams?’ My name is wrong, I get too f—ed up. I write for the song, you know? I don’t write for me to be a star.”