Ryan Adams vs Neil Finn

21:32, Oct 27 2011

I'm not sure if you saw the story that came out of the UK recently about "alt-country bad boy" Ryan Adams and "Kiwi icon" Neil Finn getting into a bit of a one-sided barney over singing some songs together. Or not, as the case may be after Ryan decided not to/wasn't invited to sing with Finn on a UK TV show. (Here's the full story with miles and miles of back-and-forward message board chatter.)

When I saw it, I wasn't surprised. You see I love Ryan Adams (this guy, not this guy).  He is, in my very, very humble opinion, one of the greatest songwriters around. Damn it, the man can make you cry with the mere twitch of his vocal chords. And he's married to Mandy Moore - she's amazing.

But, having recently interviewed Adams I realised he was a tricky character. In fairness, it was just after 11pm in his world and I was probably the 159th interview that day, but it's a bit soul destroying when one of your heroes can only muster one-word answers and, at one point, a rather loud yawn. I'm pretty sure my questions weren't that boring. To his credit, he did warm up a bit in the end, but it was a hard slog.

Luckily (?) I wasn't the only one who had "issues" with Mr Adams. I like to think that this guy was up just before me and ruined it for everyone.

And to aggravate matters, Adams has some hard-core fans that he can muster at the drop of a Facebook status update to launch into full tirades on any unsuspecting reviewer or journalist that even alludes to him being less than perfect. Trust me, it's a terrifying thought I might one day end up at the end of that.

In contrast, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Finn late last year, which was a lovely experience. He is a warm, welcoming, funny man who had no issue with posing in jandals for the photographer.


So it was no surprise Finn had kept pretty quiet about the whole disagreement, bar one Tweet - "well songwriter circle on BBC will be interesting, watch out for lovely backing vocals on Fall at Your Feet from Ryan" - @neilmullanefinn.

I don't want this to sound like a beat down of Adams. He's been through some tough times and he is incredibly talented - his new album is really quite amazing - but the "run-in" with Finn made me think about the Kiwi take on this "fame" thing, especially in the wake of winning THAT trotie.  

It is yet another example of the depth of talent in this country. Yes we have made a song and dance about Richie and the boys - and rightly so - but they have managed to remain the picture of modesty and kept it all pretty humble.  

And with the New Zealand Music Awards coming up next week, we will get a taste of what our top musos have been up too - whether it is the Naked and Famous, who have been scorching up stages overseas or Brooke Fraser who is making her mark on charts everywhere from Australia to the States to Germany.

Yes there are some egos here in Aotearoa, and yes there are always going to be some haters, but the overwhelming sense is that we are all in this together, right?

Is it a case of self-worth getting out of control? Or are Kiwis just naturally laid-back and humble folk?

Bridget Jones is the entertainment reporter for Auckland Now.

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