Ryan Adams' elusive roots | Music Feature | Indy Week
Pin It

Ryan Adams' elusive roots 

Underhill over it

"Is No Depression still around?" Kurt Underhill asks, devoid of sarcasm or irony. It's an indication of what Underhill--the founder of Mood Food Records, the mid-'90s label he began just to sign Whiskeytown--means when he says, "That's just a chapter I've closed in my life, and I don't really try to reopen it."

Underhill, criticized by the alt.country media after Whiskeytown was forced to sell the masters that became Rural Free Delivery to him to move to Geffen Records affiliate Outpost, is past music now. He works as a financial planner and lives with his wife and children in Fuquay-Varina.

"I deal with stable people everyday for a change, and that suits my personality," he says.

That Whiskeytown is still an essential band in the ragtag coterie of alternative country goes without saying. Rolling Stone senior editor David Fricke has called the band the genre's Nirvana. That said, Ryan Adams--the Jacksonville High School dropout-turned-Raleigh renegade-turned-complete rock star on late-night television--may not be its Cobain or Cornell.

He's a rare combination of it all: at 30, a survivor with a bent for self-indulgence and one of the most prolific, exhausting catalogues of any modern songwriter. He returns to Raleigh for the first time since 2001 on Wednesday, June 8 at Meymandi Hall, several magazine covers, albums and Grammy nominations later.

Underhill remembers hearing Adams for the first time as a Schoolkids Records employee in 1995. A coworker knew the band and played a demo at work.

"I knew right away there was something there," he recalls. "As soon as I heard the songs I knew there was something with his talent."

Underhill headed to Local 506 that week to see Whiskeytown, and soon began negotiating a record deal. The relationship was constantly tumultuous--from Adams' request that some members' songs not be recorded on the band's debut to his demands to be released from his Mood Food contract.

"I still have all the original masters," Underhill says, adding that they are always for sale. "I haven't listened to them in years, and I don't suspect I will."

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Music Feature



Twitter Activity

Comments

Music with guitar Wao!! is awesome with his music and the back series of his I am waiting for this …

by harrypottermusicbox on Nigerien Guitarist Mdou Moctar Reaches Beyond Boundaries of Country or Genre (Music Feature)

Here I sit, listening to a recording of the Rusted Root set at the Lilac Festival in May 2015... Love …

by twatts1000 on Wait, Rusted Root has a legacy? (Music Feature)

Most Recent Comments

Music with guitar Wao!! is awesome with his music and the back series of his I am waiting for this …

by harrypottermusicbox on Nigerien Guitarist Mdou Moctar Reaches Beyond Boundaries of Country or Genre (Music Feature)

Here I sit, listening to a recording of the Rusted Root set at the Lilac Festival in May 2015... Love …

by twatts1000 on Wait, Rusted Root has a legacy? (Music Feature)

I met Kelly and Audley once at a small venue in Portland Oregon at a Cheap Trick Concert in 1993 …

by Brian Johnson 1 on Cry of Love vocalist Kelly Holland died depressed, but not alone (Music Feature)

If the noise level by the apartment complex is under 60 decibels, what is the problem? Also if police do …

by Nork on Batalá Durham's Central Park Standoff with Liberty Warehouse Residents Is Gentrification in Motion (Music Feature)

Can't help but marvel how Indy can take an article about a big box store moving 15 miles and turn …

by Tom Eisenmenger on Guitar Center Is Leaving Durham. Here’s What That Means for Indie Music Stores (Music Feature)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation