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In which we interview Bryan Adams, the man who would rather not be interviewed

Bryan Adams
(Image credit: Bryan Adams)

With estimated record sales of more than a 100 million, it seems that Bryan Adams is everybody’s favourite Canadian. 

Featured in the movie Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves, his 1991 ballad Everything I Do (I Do It For You) topped the charts in close to 20 countries, and in the UK it spent a record 16 consecutive weeks at No.1. 

These days, the media-shy superstar is playing a series of outdoor UK shows to promote his fifteenth studio album, So Happy It Hurts. Tickets are on sale now (opens in new tab)

Alt

Last year you caught covid twice and you were hospitalised while in Italy. That sounds very nasty indeed. 

I wasn’t hospitalised, and it was no big deal. 

It was reported that you were hospitalised. What really happened, then? 

When I arrived in Italy they put me in a hotel and isolated me for two weeks. There was a bit of a flap, but no hospital was involved. 

The title song of your new album So Happy It Hurts was inspired by the return of the freedoms that all of us took for granted

I suppose so, yeah. During lockdown all our spontaneity was taken away from us. Suddenly we were stuck at home. So that song is an ode to being allowed back on the road. 

How were you affected by being locked away for so long? 

I was perfectly okay as long as I had a guitar. 

Tell us about your first post-lockdown show. Where and when was it, and how did it make you feel? 

The first post-covid gigs we did were in Vegas. There was a little bit of trepidation because nobody knew what would happen. For starters, nobody knew whether we would catch the virus – and I did. But generally it was fantastic to be back out there. We were able to play some of the new songs live, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Many performers are saying that post-lockdown audiences are more enthusiastic than before. Is that something you would echo? 

I’ve felt that too. When we played in Portugal recently everybody wore a mask but the feeling of release was incredible. There’s a lot of excitement at being allowed back out again. They love the feeling of no longer being cooped up, and I guess that’s behind the surge of adrenaline. 

Your new album has a fantastic spoken-word intro to the track Kick Ass, voiced by the legendary comedian John Cleese. How did you manage to get that? 

Oh, I’m glad you like it. I was having lunch with John and I asked him to do it. I’d imagined how it might sound from someone like Christopher Lee or Christopher Plummer, but hearing John’s voice in our conversation I just asked him to come to the studio. He replied: [in a perfect impression] “But of course.” 

Is he a fan of your music? 

I don’t know. I never asked him. 

Really? 

No. That’s not something I would ask. 

Presumably it’ll be your new intro tape? 

[Laughs] Absolutely it will open the show. C’mon, that’s a no-brainer. 

Did you channel the spirit of AC/DC on that song intentionally, as Classic Rock speculated in our album review? 

No. That intro was written by Mutt [Lange, producer for Adams and AC/DC], so you’d have to ask him.

Lange is such a mysterious figure. He never does any interviews… 

I wish I was him sometimes, because then I wouldn’t have to either. 

But seriously, what’s Mutt like as a guy? Can you give any insight? 

He’s great. We’ve been friends for a really long time [Mutt’s first collaboration with Adams was his 1991 album Waking Up The Neighbours] and we are still churning out the tunes. Our relationship is multifaceted: we’re both vegans, we love rock music and our homes are both Commonwealth countries. 

In the studio, if you think something’s terrible, will he take that on board? 

I’ll take what he says on board. 

When the set-list reaches Everything I Do (I Do It For You), can you place hand on heart and claim to never have thought: “Oh no, not tonight”? 

Absolutely not. I always love singing that song. It doesn’t make any difference where it comes in the set, people sing it for me. It’s so ubiquitous. 

You’re not sick of it yet? 

No, because each time I play it live the circumstances are unique. It always feels new. It’s a good ’un. I’ve never got bored with any of my songs. 

With so many achievements – among them topping the charts in more than forty countries, winning a Grammy, three Academy Award nominations and having a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame – what’s still unticked on your bucket list? 

Honestly, none of that stuff interests me. I’m only about the music. I have no great aspirations. Success for me is being able to keep on doing this.

Dave Ling
Dave Ling

Dave Ling was a co-founder of Classic Rock magazine. His words have appeared in a variety of music publications, including RAW, Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Prog, Rock Candy, Fireworks and Sounds. Dave’s life was shaped in 1974 through the purchase of a copy of Sweet’s album ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’, along with early gig experiences from Status Quo, Rush, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Yes and Queen. As a lifelong season ticket holder of Crystal Palace FC, he is completely incapable of uttering the word ‘Br***ton’.