From Rolling Stone:
Last year we took a vacation to Mexico, and though we had our iPod, the only CD we had was an advance copy of Ryan Adams & the Cardinals' Easy Tiger. Driving around, we played that shit constantly, and decided that -- with cuts like "Goodnight Rose," "Two," "Rip Off" and the heartbreaker, "I Taught Myself How To Grow Old" -- it was the greatest Adams disc ever.
On October 28th Adams & the Cardinals will release Cardinology, which they describe as, "a concise and focused collection of unadorned gems."
When we got back from Mexico we hung out with Adams in New York City, and joined him and the Cardinals at a gig in West Virginia.
We asked why he called the band the Cardinals, and his response was amazing! It turns out that Adams always wanted to be on his high school football team, the Jacksonville Cardinals.
Click more to read the amusing tale of Ryan's gridiron aspirations.
Why is the band called the Cardinals?
We didn’t have a name, and I brought it up, everyone just liked the name of it. I suggested the Cardinals because it was my high school football team, and my high school, which I dropped out of, it was the Jacksonville Cardinals. I thought it would be very funny, considering those people wanted to beat the shit out of me. I’d go to school with Danzig shirts on. My nickname at school was literally ‘Satanic.’ They’d go, “What’s up, Satanic?” I’d go, “Huh-huh,” because I liked extreme metal. It wasn’t like I was burning animals. I was social, I knew them, I knew those people, there wasn’t enough people to alienate anybody, but I was the one where it was like, “Ooh, he’s wacky.”
So you had no kindred spirits?
There were some skaters and stuff. There was this girl that I befriended in school. People called her my girlfriend, but we never even went on a date. She was just somebody I traded records with, kind of like a Sonic Youth sort of girl. I’d see her walking to class with a Sonic Youth shirt on, and I was like, “Well, there you go. That’s my new friend.” There were a few skaters.... I always wanted to be on the fucking Cardinals, I wanted to be on the football team. I never got big enough. I wanted to play football.
I played neighborhood football. If you could count that, when you get fifteen, twenty dudes together playing it, even sometimes a couple of tough girls, I always did good, but I never got to wear the helmet.
Too bad, buddy.
I fucking really wanted to play football, I thought it looked so fun. I loved the lights on the field. Everybody went to the games. Even the punks went -- all three of them. Somebody always had Mad Dog 20/20, and the burnouts smoking reefer right outside the fence watching the game…it was like, “Look, it’s daytime at night.” That was the big thing, for me. “Look, it’s sort of daytime.” Fuckin’ so stupid. My brother, actually, he could have done it, but he’s into math. He’s a big dude, he could have done it.
I never could have gotten on the team anyway, because the coach was Mr. McCloud. He was also a teacher, and he was the head of the CAA, Christian Athletes Association, which I always found to be a little weird. He taught me economics, or some ridiculous class where you open the book and they teach you about Ronald Reagan and world events. I didn’t last in the class. I was bored. I remember I went to class and Mr. McCloud was in the class, and I remember this day very well, it’s amazing. I go to class, and I had this shirt on, and I think it was one of those Negativland t-shirts, and it had this ice cube melting or something, and it said “Christianity is stupid, give up.” I wore that, and Mr. McCloud took one look at me and he was like, “You’re outta here!” I’m like, “For my shirt, man?” “It’s offensive. It’s offensive to me, you don’t even know what that means.” I probably said something smartass, like, “Great, one more class I don’t have to take,” and that was that.
But this was the same teacher that was giving passing grades to a senior in my class, who was on the football team, a quarterback. This is for real -- this is some North Carolina for you -- and it really happened. He was kind of being loud in the back of class with his buddy, another football guy, and this girl, and they’re talking, and this guy could have been called Randy for all I know. Randy literally raises his hand to settle a bet, and says, “Mr. McCloud, seriously, where do the sun go at night? Do it go behind the clouds?” And he was so fuckin’ dead serious. I was like, “This has got to be a joke.”
So now you get to be a Cardinal.
Yeah. I have my own team.