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This Side of Paradise
by Deborah Wagner
PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.
August 10, 2005.
voice has consistently come
across the airways. The voice is strong, raspy and unmistakably Bryan
Canadian born singer/songwriter has proven time and again that he can rock
with hits like "Summer of 69" and "Cuts Like a Knife" or melt your soul
with ballads like "Heaven" and "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You." His
extensive career, which has now spanned
has paid off with countless chart-topping
hits, Grammy and Oscar nods,
as well as multi-platinum albums worldwide.
Extending his creative passions to
is now well known as an accomplished
with some of his beautiful works compiled into books with proceeds
supporting Breast Cancer Research.
During the past year,
was still keeping it real and interesting for himself and his fans,
writing and producing his latest CD
while touring Europe with his band.
The CD was born from a truly unique
idea and delivers a
pure Bryan Adams
Then, just a few months later,
to celebrate his 25th Anniversary in the music business,
releasing a two-CD
collection of his
the most complete overview of
amazing career, including
and even two new recordings,
"So Far So Good" (which was not on his earlier hits
compilation of the same name) and an update of "When You're Gone," now
done as a duet with
actress-sexpot Pamela Anderson.
After 25 years of writing, performing, touring and
what he loves, there is no sign that Bryan Adams will be slowing down
he says, "I don't know what the hell else I'd do."
It's been six years since you last released a new album. How did you
know it was the right time to do something new?
It hasn't been six
years. I actually put out an soundtrack album with twelve songs in 2002
for a DreamWorks film called Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron in
2002, so really that was my last album. It took a year to make. I came out
of that album very much in the story-telling mood and with lots of song
ideas, so it wasn't long before this album came together.
Recording an album in hotel rooms across Europe is an
interesting and unique idea. How did you come up with the idea of making
the most of your time while on tour?
I had started the album
at my studio in Canada
(The Warehouse Studio), but ran out of time as the tour was approaching.
So we put together a suitcase of equipment with the idea that we would
edit on the road, all the things we had started. It didn't take long to
realize this was the way to make the whole album as there was so much
downtime on the road waiting for shows and the rest.
Did you also write some of the songs for
Room Service on the road during this tour?
Sometimes, but writing
usually happens when I lock myself away in some foreign place -- usually
Paris -- and I focus on getting all the ideas
I’ve been collecting into songs.
Side Story" is a great song and seems to me to be a very familiar experience
to everyone. Why did you pick New York for
the song and was it a personal experience that inspired the song or just
Probably because there
is so much street activity there, even though there is an east side to
every city, the NY east side, or lower east side, is particularly full of
character. It just seemed to paint the picture. It’s like a movie.
"This Side of
Paradise" sort of reminded me of “Summer of 69” in the fact that it looked back
at you were younger and more innocent and then contrasted it with your
life touring on the road. Why do you think it’s so interesting as a
songwriter looking back on how you have changed since your youth?
reflecting and reminiscing in my songs. It's my style, I suppose. There
are some parallels between the two songs, but “Summer of '69” is
reflective in more of a sexual way. “This Side of Paradise” is just about
finding out what is the truth. Oddly, even though the song is about the
truth, there were many radio stations in America that refused to play the
song because of the line “There ain't no Santa Claus.” So much for the
You have some great ballads on this album. "Flying," "Dreaming" and "Why
Do You Have to Be So Hard to Love" are all beautiful songs. Earlier in
your career you were more known for rocking stuff, but in the past decade
or so it has been your ballads that really seem to have caught on. Have
you been at all surprised by this shift in your musical direction or was
it something that you have always tended towards?
was never a shift in direction. If you listen to my albums, they all rock
and there are the occasional slow numbers. My first hit was “Straight From
the Heart” and my first number one was “Heaven.” I've always done them.
The difference between the 80's and the 90's was radio just played my
slower numbers instead of the rockers, so I had a cascade of slow songs
that were hits instead. No worries, happy to have gotten played at all.
Looking back a bit, your first couple of albums did okay, but your
career really exploded with
Cuts Like A Knife and Reckless. How surprising was it that you
found such popular success, and what was being Bryan Adams like during the
early MTV days?
That's funny. I have a
friend who says he'd like to be me… except for the first twenty years. In
other words, there was a lot of work before I got anywhere. We toured
incessantly, doing three shows a day sometimes. Noon concerts, supporting
another band, and then doing our own club show; that sort of schedule. The
early MTV days were ok, but remember no one had MTV when they started up!
“Everything I Do (I Do It For You)” was the biggest selling single of
the 1990s. Could you have even imagined that it would be so big? How does
it make you feel knowing you recorded such a massive hit?
No one could have
predicted its success. It makes me very proud to have co-written that song
and I had no idea it would be big when I recorded it. It was just another
song for the album. Hats off really needs to go to Mutt Lange on that
song, he is the one that saw it first, before anyone.
During your career, you have collaborated and performed with some music
greats including Barbra Streisand, Tina Turner, Sting and Rod Stewart.
What were they like to work with? Any plans or desires to record with
other artists and if so, who?
They were all great to
do. I love singing with other people. It’s the best sound to hear two
voices in harmony. It’s a beautiful thing. I have no immediate plans to do
anything else, but you never know!
Your voice has not changed in all these years. Listening to
Room Service, I can still hear the same distinct voice as on my
Bryan Adams LP from 1980 (sorry, showing my age). How do you keep your
voice in shape?
I don't know. It’s
really a blessing. I work with other bands all the time at other concerts
and hear everyone warming up and I’ve never done that. I just go out and
In recent years, some of your songs like “Heaven” and “Run To You” have
been remade as dance singles. Do you like it when newer bands cover your
stuff, and are there any remakes you particularly like or dislike?
Love them! It’s always
great to hear how other people interpret music. That’s one of the great
joys of being a writer.
Your career has already spanned over 25 years. What do you credit your
longevity in the music business to when so many other artists have come
and gone since the 80s?
I don't think about it
at all. I just get on with making music and having a laugh. I’ve got a
great team of people with me and we just keep going. Plus, I really don't
know what the hell else I’d do.
Recording, touring and making music for all these years has to be
exhausting. Do you think you will ever slow down?
You mean like having
babies and all that? Well, I just have to choose the right woman...
Philadelphia and you were recently here for our July 4th celebration on
the Parkway with Elton John and Patti LaBelle. Unbelievably, it has been
twenty years since you took the stage here at Live Aid. I know you were
also at Live 8 in Toronto. What was the first concert like and what about the new one? How does
it feel to be one of the artists who were able to be a part of both
Great to have been at
both. The concerts themselves were quite chaotic. Things changing by the
second… I was introduced by Jack Nicholson in Philly in 1985; in fact he
was the one that introduced me to the world! Thanks, Jack. I was just
thinking that both stadiums that held the Live Aid concerts twenty years
ago have been torn down, and it could have been the defining moment for
You are now also known as an accomplished photographer and your work is
beautiful. With all you currently have on your plate, are there any plans
to put more time into this other passion of yours?
American Women, the book with Calvin Klein, was a fantastic project to
have done. I’ve been shooting for lots of other things lately, and I’ve
started a magazine in Berlin called Zoo. You can see it online at
Your two photography books are being sold to raise money for breast
cancer research and awareness. Does your passion for this cause stem from
this horrible disease touching close to your circle of family and friends
or just from the sheer terror of the numbers of women affected and killed
by this epidemic disease every year?
It started when one of
my friends passed away from the disease. She was my age. I’ve done all of
these books as a tribute to her.
What's next for Bryan Adams? Are we going to have to wait six more
years for a new album? Will you continue to tour throughout 2005 and 2006
and maybe start recording another CD on the road?
I have an anthology
coming out in October and a new album next year. Plus, I’ve been touring
ten days a month for the last six years, so I think I’ll carry on like
that for a little while longer. Not dead yet!
PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.
August 10, 2005.