This week, several women accused singer Ryan Adams’ of longstanding patterns of mental abuse and inappropriate sexual behavior in The New York Times.
In the Times article, seven women and more than a dozen of Adams’ associates describe Adams’ longtime “pattern of manipulative behavior.” Musicians Phoebe Bridgers, Courtney Jaye and Megan Butterworth recount Adams’ patterns of manipulation, bullying and emotional abuse. One woman, who the Times identifies as Ava, says Adams was sending her sexual text messages starting when she was only 15 years old. Adams’ ex-wife, singer and actress Mandy Moore, says Adams used music and psychologically abusive behavior to belittle and control her during their marriage.
The accusations levied against Adams are a shock but not exactly a surprise. In 2017, Adams’ social media feuds with fellow musician friends were made public. While the flare-ups with male musicians are less extreme than his alleged treatment of women, it seems like further proof of his poor character and abusive tendencies
Less than two years ago, musicians Har Mar Superstar, Father John Misty and members of The Strokes spoke out about Adams’ inappropriate behavior.
It started when Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas blamed Adams for Albert Hammond Jr.’s heroin addiction in the book Meet Me In The Bathroom, an oral history of NYC’s early 2000s rock scene. The addiction significantly attributed to the band’s eventual hiatus.
Adams denied Casablancas’ accusations, but the accusation prompted him to start burning a number of bridges.
Sean Tillmann, aka Har Mar Superstar, contacted Adams to smooth over tensions so they could again be “pinball buddies.” Adam answered with a misspelled insult, saying “if you think I’m jealous of someone who’s sold 20k records, you’re diluted.”
Har Mar reached out to Adams after the Heartbreaker singer insulted Joshua Tillman, aka Father John Misty (FJM). Adams tweeted things like, “it’s so wonderful you booked the most self-important asshole on Earth to ‘break it all down for us’ while he does his Nick Cave impression” and “FJM. He sounds like shit Elton John, but if he was just sitting in a corner staring at his hands on LSD.” With several other tweets that referred to FJM as “Elton Josh” and “Sir Fuckhead.”
The tweets were removed and replaced with apologies from Adams, but the damage was done. FJM responded with a tongue-in-cheek video trolling Adams’ slurs, saying that Adams called him “the most important asshole on earth.”
At the time, the messages seemed like an entitled musician taking a feud too far. Today, in light of the new abuse allegations, maybe they should be viewed as early, unheeded public warnings of the ugly behavior Adams now stands accused of.