The record you may never hear | Music Feature | Indy Week
Pin It

The record you may never hear 

What happened to the Patty Duke Syndrome album?

Patty Duke Syndrome is perhaps the most written-about trio whose only official output amounts to one side of a 7". But there is more.

In a 2003 Spin exposé dubbed "Who the Fuck is Ryan Adams?" James Barber, Geffen Records A&R guy-turned-record producer, said: "In every interview you read with Ryan, he talks about growing up on hardcore and Black Flag and punk rock. It's like, 'Where's that in your music?'"

Ask former Patty Duke Syndrome drummer Brian Walsby or perhaps the ghost of Jere McIlwean, the late bass player of that legendary, oft whispered-of trio and you might find the answer.

Patty Duke Syndrome--Adams' band that followed a series of short-lived acts and Sadlacks-era experiments--is where that is in Ryan Adams' music. Barber produced Rock 'N' Roll, Adams' appropriately named attempt to show the world that he had rock 'n' roll built into his balls, if not his brain. But the unreleased Syndrome is that real rock 'n' roll of Adams' unheard back catalogue--earnest, eager, youthful, honest and at least somewhat spontaneous.

The 11 tracks recorded by Jerry Kee on Aug. 28, 1993 deliver on rock music's promised lack of easy compromise. On the stabbing, crunchy, Replacements-friendly "What's Your Name?" Adams sings "You were a little girl/this is a fucked up world" with a natural ease; a decade later on Rock 'N' Roll's "Wish You Were Here," he barrels, "It's totally fucked up/I'm totally fucked up/Wish you were here" with less eloquence and the strained sense that, if it's going to be rock 'n' roll, it's going to have "fuck" in the chorus.

Surely, Adams' influences are written all over every track, as they have been for most everything he has ever recorded. But that's what makes this still-unreleased album so alluring: The distilled lessons of Dinosaur Jr., Black Flag, Hüsker Dü, Superchunk (Walsby and Mac McCaughan were apparently at the Cradle together when Walsby and Adams met) and countless others are easily recognizable. That's why it's so good. Much more so at 18 than at 28, Adams sounds genuinely affected and inspired by his idols, playing his own games with their lessons because it is fun, not potentially profitable. "Song for Sara Bell," the result of Adams' crush on the Dish siren, isn't his lyrical highpoint, but its undeterred affection shines through as Adams follows the chant of "Your Eyes" with "Hypnotize" half-a-dozen times. That's followed by an ode to Erectus Monotone and preceded by a nod to Honor Role's Bob Schick. Elsewhere, the songwriting predicts what have since become Adams' hallmarks: the need to leave, the fight to stay, the pains of romance, the brink of self-destruction and the beer-bottle path to the edge.

There are flaws recorded into the cracks: Walsby rushes headlong on the bass drum during "What's Your Name?" and Adams seems to forget what he's playing on "Crow's Nest" coming out of the second chorus. Again, it's those miscues adding much of the charm here, spotlighting the uncorrupted, first-take nature of this one-day session. Rock 'n' roll, dude.

  • What happened to the Patty Duke Syndrome album?

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

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

Thanks to the band at Motorco tonight. It was beautiful. I never get chills in late June during a Carolina …

by Shocka Kahn on Four Years After His Death, Jason Molina Lives on Through a New Book and a Revived Reunion (Music Feature)

Great story about a fine couple with a meaningful dream. Pulling for you all the way, Andrew and Gretchen!

by Jeff Korsmo on Chapel Hill Native Andrew Weathers Hops from Oakland to a Tiny Texas Town in Pursuit of New Musical Experiments (Music Feature)

Most Read

Most Recent Comments

Thanks to the band at Motorco tonight. It was beautiful. I never get chills in late June during a Carolina …

by Shocka Kahn on Four Years After His Death, Jason Molina Lives on Through a New Book and a Revived Reunion (Music Feature)

Great story about a fine couple with a meaningful dream. Pulling for you all the way, Andrew and Gretchen!

by Jeff Korsmo on Chapel Hill Native Andrew Weathers Hops from Oakland to a Tiny Texas Town in Pursuit of New Musical Experiments (Music Feature)

there actually is a back door that cuts the transit between the two venues in half. someone might be willing …

by Daniel Stark on How Do You Solve a Problem of Two Like-Minded Shows in the Same Building on the Same Night? (Music Feature)

The Cry of Love debut album is still one of my favorites, and it's a damn shame that Kelly saw …

by bluesbro71 on Cry of Love vocalist Kelly Holland died depressed, but not alone (Music Feature)

I was the drummer for the Screamin Cheetah Wheelies, and toured together in 93 when both bands' 1st cd came …

by Terry L Thomas on Cry of Love vocalist Kelly Holland died depressed, but not alone (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