An Apparent Obsession

It feels like spring tonight, the breeze warm and the snow melty. I came home from work, walked Arnie to the park and played with him and his friend, the stick, for an hour, then unpacked groceries, stacked my new library books neatly on my nightstand and made dinner.

And now I’m here, snoozy Arnie resting his head on my feet and dinner, a BSE, beside me.

A BSE: salami, fresh mozzarella, baby spinach, garlic aioli, crusty bread. BSE. Best Sandwich Ever.

Today on Facebook I mentioned how much I was digging the Ryan Adams cd I was listening to (Easy Tiger – brilliant, as always), and my old friend Max commented that he’d just seen him in concert, and that the show was “flawless.” And I thought, “What a perfect description for this music. It is flawless.”

I’m still listening to Ryan Adams now, and it’s motivating me to write and play my guitar. It always does, which is why it’s all or nothing with him and me. There’s no halfway, I’m either listening to him and only him (well, and Whiskeytown, but that’s still him), or his playlists are collecting dust. His music is just too intense and brings back too many memories for me unless I’m feeling really grounded and present.

I know I’ve told you about the night he played at Zeno’s, the best bar in State College, but I’ll tell you again.

It was right after he left Whiskeytown, and he was passing through on his way from the South back to New York, and for some reason, he played an impromptu gig at our small, dark, basement bar. $5 at the door. Just him and his guitar. Only about half the people there that night knew who he was – those who did were as starstruck as I – so the crowd was talking and laughing and just having fun on a Friday night in a bar.

A bit of a primadonna, he got pissed at all the “$5 dollar assholes” who wouldn’t shut up and stormed off “stage” (really just an area clear of tables). I was working at Zeno’s at the time, and was sitting by the back door, checking IDs. He made his way right to me, and I remember that tunnel vision thing happening, where all I could see was him walking toward me, and everything else going all fuzzy. I cannot remember exactly what I said to him, or what he said to me, but I know he was upset and needed calming down, and I know I told him that he should keep playing, that the $5 dollar assholes didn’t get it and that plenty of the rest of us did, and I remember him taking his sunglasses off and looking hard at me, trying to figure out if I was fucking with him or not. And then he walked back out and finished his set, and I biked home that night dying to laugh with my dear friend, Jon – also a big fan and also in the crowd that night – about the antics, the drama, the fact that he wore his sunglasses indoors. We still laugh about “$5 assholes” when we see each other. It was such a good night.

Don't know his stuff? Here he is without the shades.

Here he is with the shades.


Kate said...

Ugh, I love Ryan Adams - what a voice! Especially Damn, Sam (I love a woman that rains). That sound like one hell of a sandwich too!

Anonymous said...

Ryan Adams is incredibly talented, but his attitude sucks. How he can act holier than thou after doing a Gap commercial is beyond me. I do love his music though... Karina is possibly one of my all time favorite songs.

If you like Whiskeytown you should listen to Caitlin Cary's solo albums... she found some guy whose voice is eerily similar to Ryan's and he does a bunch of the songs with her.

Cindy said...

I smell cigarettes in my office!!!! Wait--that's just memories of smoky nights with European grad. students in the Zeno's. How did you survive it??

That sandwich would be excellent on my pannini grill.

We are headed up to the Sierras with the attitude that we'll ski on what ever's there, which isn't much. It's really making us jones for our Utah trip!!