I’ve spent the last year working with Thomas O’Keefe on Waiting to Derail, a book about Ryan Adams and Whiskeytown, the band that made Ryan famous. Thomas is currently the tour manager for Weezer, but from 1997 to 2000 he was Whiskeytown’s tour manager. While Ryan Adams was busy becoming RYAN ADAMS, Thomas was at his side, on the tour buses and in the hotels. When Ryan fired the band on stage at The Hurricane in Kansas City, Thomas had to break the news to the band’s management team. When Ryan caused a near riot at Mac’s Bar in East Lansing, Thomas had to fishtail the van out of the parking lot before somebody got hurt.
Only three people on the planet witnessed every Whiskeytown show from the release of Strangers Almanac to the eventual breakup of the band: Ryan, Caitlin Cary, and Thomas. And of the three of them, Thomas is the only one who was sober enough to remember it all. He’s got a stellar memory. And he’s one of the best storytellers I know. My job was easy. Stay out of Thomas’s way, and let him tell his fascinating, hilarious stories. The result, as the book jacket says, is “a firsthand glimpse into Ryan Adams at the most meaningful and mythical stage of his career.”