Ryan Adams – Waiting To Derail

Read about the new book about Ryan Adams and Whiskeytown

‘Waiting to Derail: Ryan Adams and Whiskeytown, Alt-Country’s Brilliant Wreck’

By Thomas O’Keefe with Joe Oestreich


Many astute readers will know this.  Long before his career blossomed, years earlier than the Grammy nominations,  Ryan Adams at age twenty fronted a charged-up Raleigh, North Carolina, outfit called Whiskeytown.  The band’s other members were fiddler Caitlin Cary, guitarist Phil Wandscher, bassist Steve Grothmann and drummer Eric Gilmore.  The band’s first long-play outing was Faithless Street in 1996 and followed with its well-received, major label debut Strangers Almanac (1997).

Significant line-up changes occurred almost straight away and the band’s final album (this time on Lost Highway) ensued in 2001, Pneumonia with new players and guests.

Tour manager Thomas O’Keefe met the young musician Adams around the time of Strangers Almanac.

O’Keefe, with Joe Oestreich, recounts the wild and dramatic ride he took with Whiskeytown in Waiting to Derail: Ryan Adams and Whiskeytown, Alt-Country’s Brilliant Wreck.  For three years, Thomas was at Ryan’s side: on the tour bus, in the hotels, backstage at the venues.  Whiskeytown built a reputation for being, as the Detroit Free Press put it, “half band, half soap opera,” and Thomas discovered that young Ryan was “equal parts songwriting prodigy and drunken buffoon.  Ninety percent of the time, Thomas could talk Ryan into doing the right thing.  Five percent of the time, he could cover up whatever idiotic thing Ryan had done.”

Twenty-plus years later, accounts of Ryan’s legendary antics are still passed around in music circles.  But only three people witnessed every Whiskeytown show from the release of Strangers Almanac to the band’s eventual breakup: Adams, fiddle player Cary and O’Keefe.  According to the press release, O’Keefe is the only one who was sober enough to remember it all.  Packed with behind-the-scenes road stories, Waiting to Derail looks like providing an engrossing first hand glimpse into Ryan Adams at the most meaningful and mythical stage of his career.

Here’s the Whiskeytown song: “Waiting To Derail”:



About the Authors:

Thomas O’Keefe was the tour manager for Ryan Adams and Whiskeytown from 1997 until their breakup in 2000; he is currently the tour manager for Weezer. His twenty-plus year career in the music business includes twelve years with Grammy winners Train and shorter stints with acts as diverse as D Generation, Sia, Third Eye Blind, and Mandy Moore. He was also the bass player for North Carolina punk band ANTiSEEN, recording thirty-eight releases and playing concerts across the United States and Europe. O’Keefe lives in Nashville, Tennessee

Joe Oestreich is the author of three books of creative nonfiction: Partisans, Lines of Scrimmage (co-written with Scott Pleasant), and Hitless Wonder. His work has appeared in Esquire, Creative Nonfiction, River Teeth, Fourth Genre,The Normal School, and many other magazines and journals.  Four of his pieces have been cited as notable essays in the Best American series, and he’s received special mention twice in the Pushcart Prize anthology.  He teaches creative writing at Coastal Carolina University.  Oestreich lives in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

“A well-written tale of Whiskeytown, one of my all-time favorite bands. In Waiting to Derail, O’Keefe brings the ’90s alt-country scene to life. What a great read!”―Bun E. Carlos, Cheap Trick

Waiting to Derail: Ryan Adams and Whiskeytown, Alt-Country’s Brilliant Wreck
Skyhorse Publishing hardcover, also available as an ebook
On Sale: June 26, 2018 | ISBN: 978-1510724938



Read about the new book about Ryan Adams and Whiskeytown

Read about the new book about Ryan Adams and Whiskeytown


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Author: Rob Dickens

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