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The Patty Duke Syndrome

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Biography

The Patty Duke Syndrome is perhaps the most written-about trio whose only official output amounts to one side of a 7”. But there is more.

In a 2003 Spin exposé dubbed “Who the Fuck is Ryan Adams?” James Barber, Geffen Records A&R guy-turned-record producer, said: “In every interview you read with Ryan, he talks about growing up on hardcore and Black Flag and punk rock. It’s like, ‘Where’s that in your music?’”

Ask former Patty Duke Syndrome drummer Brian Walsby or perhaps the ghost of Jere McIlwean, the late bass player of that legendary, oft whispered-of trio and you might find the answer.

Patty Duke Syndrome—Adams’ band that followed a series of short-lived acts and Sadlacks-era experiments—is where that is in Ryan Adams’ music. Barber produced Rock ‘N’ Roll, Adams’ appropriately named attempt to show the world that he had rock ‘n’ roll built into his balls, if not his brain. But the unreleased Syndrome is that real rock ‘n’ roll of Adams’ unheard back catalogue—earnest, eager, youthful, honest and at least somewhat spontaneous.

The 11 tracks recorded by Jerry Kee on Aug. 28, 1993 deliver on rock music’s promised lack of easy compromise. On the stabbing, crunchy, Replacements-friendly “What’s Your Name?” Adams sings “You were a little girl/this is a fucked up world” with a natural ease; a decade later on Rock ‘N’ Roll’s “Wish You Were Here,” he barrels, “It’s totally fucked up/I’m totally fucked up/Wish you were here” with less eloquence and the strained sense that, if it’s going to be rock ‘n’ roll, it’s going to have “fuck” in the chorus.

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  • maaeve

    Does anyone know where I can get any of the Patty Duke Syndrome's music? I have heaps of RA bootlegs, more than willing to do trades!

    13 Feb 2010 Reply
  • Fislip

    Ryan Adams.

    10 Oct 2009 Reply