Friday, 17 September 2004

PA - Bryan Adams

A lonely life on tour; Bryan Adams tells Wil Marlow how he fills the 22 hours a day when he's not on stage

Despite being a seasoned live performer, with over two decades of live performances under his belt, Bryan Adams still gets nervous about going on stage.

'I've got a gig coming up on Saturday and I'm petrified,' laughs the singer. 'I always get nervous, especially when it's new songs, because you don't know how they're going to go over.

'I also worry I'm not going to remember the words, that sort of thing. Sometimes I'll look down and think, what's the second verse? But then I'll see someone in the audience singing and it'll come back. I always pray and hope I don't mess it up.'

But the 44-year-old admits that sometimes, quite a lot actually, he does mess it up when he's up there belting out hits like Run To You and (Everything I Do) I Do It For You, despite having played these songs for years.

'Have I ever made a mistake? What, every night you mean?' he grins. 'That's what playing live's about though. It's never going to be perfect.'

He might not be perfect but that hasn't stopped millions of his fans around the world being an unfailing presence wherever he plays. And Bryan Adams plays a lot. Ever since the Ontario-born singer first hit the big time in the early 80s, he's been a diligent live performer.

'I go on tour all the time but I don't do it like I used to,' says Bryan. 'We go out for like a week a month now. But it's one of the most important parts of the job.

'You find yourself when you're on tour. You find yourself musically with your band, you figure out what music works for you - you figure out your voice and your sound.

'I think if I was to ever give advice to any young musician I'd say go on the road, because that's where you find your feet. To really make it work for yourself longterm, you've got to be a touring musician. 'I do have a love of it as well, and not much else to do basically,' he laughs. 'I'm like, I'm a musician, let's go on the road, man.'

Bryan, who currently lives in London, hits the road in the UK next month for a ten-date arena tour and, despite having a new album out - the forthcoming Room Service, his first for three years - he says his fans can expect mostly Bryan Adams classics, with some of the new ones slipped in.

'I won't have tons of the new songs because people probably won't know them yet,' he explains. 'Our live shows are pretty much just the songs that people know. Otherwise, they just sit there and go, 'What?'. It's nice to give people what they want and it's the old hits they've come to see.'

This includes Bryan's massive world-wide smash, (Everything I Do) I Do It For You. You might think the singer would be bored to tears of his ballad - the theme tune of the hit film Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves - which was inescapable for much of the early 90s and famously stayed at No 1 in this country for a staggering 16 weeks.
'We never knew that song was going to be massive,' says Bryan. 'I thought it was a sweet song but at one point we were talking about putting it out as a B-side, I swear!

'But it's hard to get bored of it because people like it so much. There's always a good reaction.'

Bryan can barely remember that period of his career. The early 90s went crazy for him with the success of Everything I Do and his album, Waking Up The Neighbours.
'Years went by in the 90s when I couldn't tell you where I was,' he says. 'I know I was out there somewhere but everything was a blur. If it wasn't for film documentation or the occasional photograph I could not tell you what I did.'

Though life is marginally less hectic these days, listening to Room Service, the title track from his new album, you get the feeling that while he still enjoys touring, Bryan has become a bit jaded by a life on the road.

'The song deals with the idea that touring can be very lonely,' he says. 'I just wanted to turn the peephole in the hotel door round so you could see into my world a little bit. It's not always like that, but you do end up really missing the things you have at home.'

To relieve the boredom during the past two years of touring, Bryan spent his time recording Room Service. Before he used to 'go kind of nuts, a bit stir crazy', so on recent tours he's used any spare time to write and record.

'I'm only on stage for two hours, so you've got 22 hours sitting around or travelling,' says Bryan. 'I tried to make use of the time which is generally spent doing nothing.

'I'd built a little studio that fit into a couple of suitcases and we'd get a couple of hotel rooms, order room service and record.

'It was better than being in a studio, because studios are boring and the food's generally awful. Sometimes we'd have to move everything around in the hotel room though. Did the staff mind? No, they'd normally help.'

Bryan will be doing the same again on this tour. He's already got another album ready to go, comprised of acoustic tracks that he recorded at the same time as Room Service. He's also working on his first French language album, something he was inspired to do after recording the soundtrack to the animated film Spirit: StallionOf The Cimarron in 2002.
'I like singing in French and the Spirit soundtrack was just a great experience,' he says. 'I can speak French quite well, so I understand what I'm saying. I've been asked to sing in other languages too, but at least in French I still get it.'

Whatever he does, Bryan's popularity remains enduring. With a career spanning nearly 30 years ('Don't,' he laughs, 'That's just cruel!') the 'groover from Vancouver' is showing no signs of slowing down.

'There is no crystal ball for me to tell you how long I'll carry on,' he says. 'But as long as it's inspiring, my music's inspired and my tunes get people off, then I'll continue.'