Back in ’97 and ’98, much was said and written about the Great Old 97’s – Whiskeytown Feud. In retrospect, there probably wasn’t that much to it. First of all, Whiskeytown frontman Ryan Adams was the only member of that band who joined the fight, while 97’s lead guitarist Ken Bethea provided about the only recorded return fire from the 97’s. Well OK, there were those whispers that “Crash On The Barrelhead” might have been written in honor of you-know-who, but in general, it was the music press and fans of the bands – including, I’m afraid, yours truly – who put more fuel on the fire than those ostensibly involved.
Over the years the story slowly died down. The 97’s career continues apace, while last year Adams released the stunning and solo Heartbreaker, and followed it up with this year’s lovely swan-song from Whiskeytown, Pneumonia, recorded in 1999. Meanwhile reports of an older, wiser, and mellower Mr. Adams began to circulate. Before his 12/31/99 concert, Ryan donned an Old 97’s shirt on a dare, and for charity, then posed for a snapshot. Later, word trickled out of SXSW 2000 that Ryan and Murry Hammond had spent some friendly moments together. (During the Old 97’s – Whiskeytown “No Depression” tour in 1997, Ryan reportedly perfected “a pretty damn good Murry impersonation,” complete with that patented Hammond-shuffle-sidestep up to the microphone.)
Finally, we got word that Ryan had attended the recent “Reverb” taping by the Old 97’s at El Lay’s Knitting Factory, where he was spotted afterward in an animated and amiable visit with the band. Since then, he added a warm word about that show to the guestbook on the main Whiskeytown website, and today he followed that up with a greeting in this guestbook:
|cant say enough about The Knitting Factory show. twas incredible. loved it with two electrics. Rhetts guitar is very, ‘Keith Correct”, a 72 I think.anyway, congratulations on a great show and a great album. hope to catch you soon (hope yr. throat feels better after the jersey thing)…
the mudslinging, nasty drunk who isnt far from 30 and feeling fine… (raise the age and up the death poll bets, I wanna side bet)
So what’s it all mean? Well, it’s safe to say that the “feud,” such as it was, is over. But it also means that the webmaster of this site will soon be on a all-crow diet, as he recodes old HTML to remove some tired and nasty references about Mr. Adams. Damnit, who knew he’d turn out to be a good sport?