COSMO MAGAZINE 1996 (close window to return to bedroom)
BY ADRIAN DEEVOY
BRYAN ADAMS, LOVE, SEX & LIFE ON THE ROAD
it's typically unpretentious of bryan adams to suggest that we meet at a greasy spoon in a grim pocket of south west london. this is, after all, a man who has made his living from an ordinariness bordering on anonymity. as if to drive home the point, he arrives this morning carrying groceries. "actually," he says with a modest smirk, "i was recognised in m&s. a comic pause. "but that must have been about three years ago now."
having exchanged pleasantries with the amusingly dour proprietor, adams peruses the menu. a virtual vegan for the last seven years, he finds his dining choices are seriously limited. so, with a reassuring absence of celebrity flapping, he orders tea and toast for two and we settle at a corner table for a quiet chat.
adams is a slight man in the flesh. his lean physique is futher accentuated by a tight black shirt which i joke, almost makes him look famous. " i actually thought twice about wearing this, he frets, tugging at the shiny fabric. "does it look a little too LA ?"
six years ago, when adams was 30, he moved from his native canada to london. it was here he met and fell in love with cecilia thomsen, the woman he refers to throughout our conversation, some would say unromantically, as "my current girlfriend" .
adams is determinedly unforthcoming about his life with his current girlfriend. it's at this point you realise that, despite his open, happy go lucky demeanour, adams is something of a control freak. when pushed , he gives a few skeletal details: she is a model; they have been together for five years; he last saw her this morning at home; "she's beautiful to look at and to be with" and during the next two years, while he tours the world with his new album " 18 til i die" , she will most likely move to new york for work reasons. he mimics her voice which leaves a strong impression she might be danish.
the time adams has spent with her has coincided with the most profitable period of his career as he has crossed over from average arena rocker to a 16 weeks at # 1 stadium stuffing household name. presumably, this transition has left its psychological scars. the sudden adulation, the constant demands, the unbearable pressure of success?
adams stirs his tea and nibbles pensively on his toast. "no", he says, "not at all" . and you can believe him.
as a teenager, bryan adams was, by his own admission, a bit of a handful. he played in bands, smoked pot and didn't pay attention in geography. "i had my own mission," he says. "i didn't know where was going, but i was going to get there." of course this drive and clarity of vision is all very well, but let's get down to essentials here: was he a good snogger ?
"do you know, it's strange you should ask that," he says, his voice a softly serrated downgrade of the course caw on his records. "because the first girl i ever kissed wrote me a letter about six months ago saying, 'do you remember me? i took you behind the school at the dance and we had a kiss.' so i phoned her up and said, 'sure i remember' . we fixed up for her to come to a show and she came with her husband. and i said, 'do you know, that was my first kiss?' and she was like, 'no! you were so cheeky, you stuck your tongue in my mouth and everything !'
always an ambitious lad it wasn't long before young bryan, not to minch words, was "at it". " i lost my virginity when i was 13," he says. "thats quite young, isn't it? how old were you when you lost yours?"
i'll ask the questions, if you don't mind. how was it for you? "it was very...spirited," he decides, letting rip a raw throated chuckle. "it was also very quick. she was too, but it wasn't the first time she'd done it. she looked much older and could hav easily passed for 17. so we did it and i thought, 'i need some practice at this', but i must give her credit, she was very professional in her direction. i remember afterwards i could smell her on me, it was strange. this cheap, young girl type perfume. i can remember her smell even now if i think about it. "
a couple more sexual affairs followed before adams met his first "proper girlfriend" when he was 15.
"that relationship lasted for quite long time," he remembers. "we eventually broke up when i was about 20. it was on and off a lot because when you're a teenager you don't know what the hell you're doing. also i was in a band, so i was on tour even then. she was great though. we were like mates and she was older, so she taught me a lot. she had a car and a great body and she smelled fantastic. she has children now and lives in virginia.
but it wasn't unitil his mid twenties that he finally fell in love. the object of his infatuation was an english rose, vicky russell (daughter of film director ken) whom adams describes as one of his closest friends.
"it was immediate," he says, clicking his fingers. " i dropped the girlfriend i had at the time like a hot potato, man. that might seem like a bad thing to do, but it's true. we had a brilliant time for six years, she came on tour with me, everything."
so why did they break up? "you know," he frowns, " i sometimes wonder that myself. i think it came to a natural conclusion. it was difficult because vicky was such a good person. i ended it and she understood, so there wasn't too much resistance. it's a hard thing to do to someone you really, really love, but the relationship had run it's course. why can't you become friends? it's the mature way to be. i'm friends with all my old girlfriends."
one of those men, eh?
"afraid so," he shrugs unrepentantly. "i prefer it that way. now when i meet up with old girlfriends it's not a difficult situation. there's no back biting or bad blood. the trick is not to let it get too complicated. i'm a pretty easy book to read. i'm really not a complex guy. i like to keep my life simple. when your life gets too cluttered it's time to visit oxfam."
does he find it difficult to remain faithful to his girlfriend when he's away on tour?
"there's a lot of tents in the bed clothes at night, put it that way" he laughs. "i've never got used to being apart from her. the longest i have gone without seeing her is four weeks, and that was pretty tough. but if there are too many tents, i call her and she talks me down, suggests cold showers, that kind of thing. but , having said that, i think being away from each other is good for the relationship in the long term.
in his recent single "have you ever really loved a women"? adams sings about the "unborn child" in a woman's eye. was this perhaps, a veiled reference to his own broodiness?
"it's more of an observation on broodiness in general," he explains. "you can see it in some women. you can feel it. i went through a broody period in my mid twenties. i thought i was definitely going to have children, but i didn't." have he and his girlfriend discussed having children?
"we have," he allows cautiously, "and i really think she'd make a fantastic mother at some stage, but not right now. it's just not fair while i'm off recording and touring for two years at a time. i can't be like, 'have the baby and i'll call in a couple of years. let me know how it goes.' i once met this person in sweden who said to me, 'if you want a child , i'll have your child and that will be the end of it. you won't need to have anything to do with it again. i was like 'SURE!' sometimes when i'm flying around the world, i look at the sheer number of human beings and think, 'why would you want to add to this?'"
having been in several long term relationships, does he feel he's come close to mastering the sexual act?
"i'd say i'm still a learner. but a very keen one." does he find women's orgasms mysterious?
"totally", he says, nodding energetically. "that's why i keep trying to check them out. i find women fascinating. sex for a man is very different to sex for a woman. it's possible for a man to have sex and not get at all emotionally moved. he can have sex and that's the end of it. women aren't like that. obviously, i can't speak for all women, but in my experience there has always been an emotional bond there. it must be a pretty strong emotional experience for a woman to have a man inside her. it's internal, deeper, more spiritual."
he senses this is getting a little philosophical and pulls himself up.
"sex should be fun," he concludes. "a sense of humour is required...in my case certainly! sex has got to be passionate, but you have to have a laugh as well. that goes toward making it natural. it's good to have a cuddle and a laugh. that, to me, is sexy. i don't like the serious side of sex at all. it's seedy. sex has got to be fun and affectionate."
can he lose himself in sex?
"i can," he admits. "the same way i can in music. but then, i can get lost just walking out the door." and with that he drains his mug of tea and puts on his jacket. he has to get back to the recording studio where he is putting the finishing touches to his latest, and doubtless stratospherically successful, modern rock anthem.
but before he leaves i just must ask him, as the man who wrote the shockingly soppy EVERYTHING I DO (I DO IT FOR YOU), what is the most romantic gesture he has ever made?
"oh man," he groans. "my girlfriend would die laughing if she heard you ask me that. she thinks i'm the least romantic person she's ever met.
maybe i get all my romanticism out lyrically. people hear those songs and think i must be the most romantic guy on earth. but the reality is, the minute i get home, i turn into a real football hooligan."