Adams off the couch and back in the studio
20 January 2003
Canadian rocker Bryan Adams has been quiet for a few years but
it's not that he's got writer's block - it's just that he's
lazy, he tells Mike Houlahan.
It's been a while since fans of Canadian rocker Bryan Adams -
soon to tour New Zealand - have been able to enjoy a new album
by their hero.
Sadly for them, it seems like that elusive new album by Adams -
one of the biggest selling artists in rock history - is a little
"Let's get something straight right now - I am the world's
greatest procrastinator and am an inherently lazy musician,"
Adams guffaws down the line from his London home.
"The reason there's no record output is because I've been
working on other stuff or I've been slouching on the couch.
"I have been working on an album for about a year, but I put it
on the shelf last year to do the soundtrack for Spirit (of the
Cimarron, a Disney animated feature).
"I wrote about 30 songs for that, of which they used 12. After
that album was done I went back and looked at my own album and
decided to re-record the whole thing.
"I decided out of that, that maybe only half of it was worth
releasing and maybe I'd better write some more songs." There's
no financial need for Adams to put out another record.
He's penned such songs as Summer Of 69 and Everything I Do (I Do
It For You) features prominently in the list of artists who have
spent the most time in the British charts.
Everything I Do set the record for spending the longest at No 1
the charts in that country. More prosaically, it also rated
highly on a lost of songs Brits would least like to hear at a
Adams has enjoyed similar success the world over, and even when
he's not working he can't keep out of the charts - a dance
remake of early hit Heaven was recently a hit in Europe.
"It kept me in hot food and shoes for another year," Adams
deadpans. When he's not making music he's got a few other
strings to his bow, most notably as a photographer - the Queen
recently sat for an Adams portrait.
He is also an enthusiastic - albeit modest - activist for
charities such as Greenpeace and Amnesty International.
"When you start making yourself known to the public and you
start getting a bit of success your door starts being knocked on
all the time," Adams says.
"Eventually some of them will get through, or someone will
approach you with something that means something to you, so
you'll do it.
"If you want to talk about humanitarians, look at Bono for
example. No one even comes close to matching that guy." The
charity work which comes closest to Adams' heart is anything
connected with breast cancer research.
"A close friend died from breast cancer, and because of that I
decided to do something and not just sit back and be an observer
- I wanted to be a participant and help out," Adams explains.
"It's really terrifying. My friend, she's my age, she died at 38
and left behind two girls and a husband- it's tragic. "No one
could figure out how such a young woman who was beautiful and
talented could be taken.
"That's the crippling and sad thing about that disease. Who
knows if we'll ever find a cure for it, but it's better to try
and do something than sit back and keep wondering."
Adams has spent most of working life as a musician, and making
music remains his fundamental drive... when not anchored to the
couch, of course.
"Selling records wasn't the impetus - I was just happy to pay my
rent at the beginning, and everything else since has been
gravy," he says.
"I never focused on sales as a gauge of how well we were doing.
I always figured so long as we could go out anywhere in the
world, have a really great time, and we could do it the next
month too, that that was the aim.
"We haven't really put a lot of singles out in recent years. We
put one out last year in connection with the Spirit soundtrack,
but I know I've not been on the radiowaves.
"Most of our reputation is based on my touring reputation, and I
think it's a good reputation to have. All we have to do is live
up to it now."
"I don't want to be taken down the comeback path - I don't know
if I was ever there in the first place," Adams says. "It is sort
of to be expected though, because no one can hold on to that
position for ever.
"You've just got to do what's right, and for me that means it'll
come naturally when it comes, and that's the best way to be."