Labeling Canadian singer/songwriter Bryan Adams a rock n’ roll refugee from the 1980s is akin to saying the Grand Canyon is nothing but a hole in the ground.
Pause and peer past the eye candy. Inside the grandeur there’s more — much more — and to truly appreciate it, you have to go deeper. Such is the case with Adams.
After successfully working his way into the hearts and minds of teenagers and hard-working folks alike during the ’80s with monster hits such as “Cuts Like a Knife,” “Run to You” and “Heaven,” Adams began working an
other side of his creative genius, finding success with his philanthropic, photographic and outside songwriting efforts. And the rest, as they say, is history, as Adams has gone on to become one of the best-selling musicians of all-time.
Adams will bring his Bare Bones Tour to Des Moines’ Hoyt Sherman Place on March 25 and recently shared a few thoughts Darren Tromblay:
Talk about your latest road venture, the Bare Bones Tour, which is you, an acoustic guitar and a pianist.I think you just summed it up! It’s basically a retrospective like everyone does of their best work. I throw in a few lousy ones to make the good ones sound even better.
Do you enjoy the “nakedness” of performing acoustic, where there are no distorted guitars, bass or drums masking the bum note or two? It’s all on you.
Yes I enjoy it. In fact, I revel in my bum notes!
Tell us about your latest work in the field of photography, that being “Wounded: The Legacy of War.” The images are stark and a huge contrast from your previous work in fashion, with celebrities, etc. What was your motivation in tackling this project?
A serious question. Well, I don’t like the fact that the world decided to go to war in the past decade and send lots of men and women to battle and their deaths with no exit plan and no particular reason to fight in the first place. Everyone got wounded in some way, and many lost friends and family. It will take decades to turn the hurt around for all sides concerned. My book, “Wounded – The Legacy of War,” is a glimpse into the very dark and grim realities of being shot, burnt and blown up if you were in the British Military during either of the past wars in Iraq or Afghanistan. I want to make sure we don’t forget these people and the sacrifices they made. I wish I could have done the same for the other side, too.
Have you “traded notes” with any other musicians who dabble behind the lens such as Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx?
I know Nikki takes pictures, I’ve wanted to do his portrait a few times, but the only one I’ve ever chatted with was Lou Reed. We had an exhibition together in NYC some years ago thanks to Mark Seliger.
You have 384,000 Twitter followers. When you Tweet, are you cognizant of the fact that you’re reaching so many people? Do you have moments of “I’d better be careful with this,” or “Damnit, I wish I hadn’t Tweeted that.”
Yes I’m aware of it, and I usually use it mostly to thank people and promote what is going on musically or photo wise. I don’t tell them about what I had for lunch or things like that.
On that same train of thought: Facebook or Twitter?
Rush or AC/DC?
Both for different reasons. Rush because they are the best rock band to ever come from Canada, and AC/DC because I love the songs.
Has anyone in any of your U.S. audiences ever given you any good-natured ribbing for being Canadian, especially during hockey season?
It would be wrong if they didn’t! Canadians are the nice Americans.
During your CMT appearance with Jason Aldean, you spoke of the real meaning behind “Summer of ‘69.” Did the revelation spark any interesting reactions from fans? You know, the “ohhhhh, nowww I know what you’re talking about, you sly dog (wink, wink),” type of thing?
That song was me and Jim Vallance channeling Bob Seger’s ‘Night Moves’, the cool combination of sex, summer and nostalgia all rolled into one. If the lyric “man we were killin’ time – we were young and restless we needed to unwind..” doesn’t say it, then the closing in the closing refrain “me and my baby in a ’69” should explain it all.
Your songwriting abilities have been well-documented, but many may not know that you and songwriting partner Jim Vallance ventured into the hard rock genre in collaborations with Loverboy, KISS, Motley Crue, Ted Nugent and others. Are you a “closet headbanger?”
I’m completely into hard rock; it’s what I grew up with. I wanted to be the singer in Deep Purple or some rock band, the problem was I was probably too young to be in a band like that. The best I got was the bar band equivalent.
You’ve traveled the world many times over, won boatloads of awards, you’re an activist, photographer and philanthropist, just to name a few of your endeavors. What’s left to accomplish?
I’m happy just getting on with what I do and being creative is a full time thing when that’s all your brain is capable of.