One of the great regrets of the early 2000s is that Twitter did not yet exist, right when musicians shrugged off the easygoing, ironic self-deprecation of the slack-rock era and started behaving like cocky, coke-fueled shits again. Alas, the many internecine feuds within the New York scene back then are mostly lost to time and deactivated Friendster accounts, though Lizzy Goodman’s recent oral history, Meet Me In The Bathroom, does its damnedest to preserve and possibly reignite them. And it seems she was successful, as here, in the year 2017, we at long last have the stupid, vindictive Twitter beef between Ryan Adams and The Strokes that our glacial technology once denied us.
Having apparently finally caught up on Goodman’s book—in which Adams is portrayed as that annoying guy who won’t stop playing acoustic guitar at parties, as an enabler and “bad influence” whom The Strokes blame for getting Albert Hammond Jr. hooked on heroin, and, most damnably, as a friend of John Mayer’s—Adams responded with a since-deleted Monday night tirade against the band. “Abert [sic] Hammond is a more horrible songwriter than his dad. If that’s possible,” it began. “It rains in Sthtrn CA & washes out the dirt.”
As Pitchfork notes, Adams’ sign-off—“As you were”—seemed to be a nod to Liam Gallagher’s catchphrase, which he often appends to his own Twitter rants (against his “potato” brother, mostly). Adams, an avowed Oasis fan, continued to channel Gallagher while addressing the accusations that he’d given Hammond heroin (a claim he denied in Goodman’s book), beginning by calling out singer Julian Casablancas over his weight: “Julian Casablancas: who got you strung out on lasagna tho?” Then he went after the music: “Last Impressions of Actual Songs,” he added, mocking The Strokes’ third album, First Impressions Of Earth. “I should’ve forced them to get addicted to writing better songs. Too bad @thekillers did it for them.”
In between, Adams turned his attention to the Strokes fans fighting back, deriding Casablancas as “the dude in the Hawaiin [sic] shirt and feather earring” while joking to another, “I sold more t shirts last night than people who actually made it thru a single Voidz song, bro. What’s he gonna do? Sit on me?” He then closed this game of dirty dozens over who’s cooler by, naturally, riffing on old 1980s Hair Club for Men ads, saying of Casablancas, “He’s no [sic] only the president of lack of accountability: He [sic] also a client.”
Whether it was publicist intervention, embarrassment about branching out from dad rock to dad jokes, or just the cold light of morning, Adams soon scrubbed the tweets from his timeline. The Strokes have declined comment, and Adams has since returned to retweeting Yoko Ono, offering tributes to the Grateful Dead, and sharing cute puppy videos. And meanwhile, we find ourselves thrust back in 2017, our stretched-out American Apparel V-necks clinging to our guts while we wistfully imagine all the great Twitter scandals Interpol’s Carlos D might have given us, but will never be.