On “Here I Am,” Bryan Adams sings, “Here we are, still going strong, right here in the place where we belong.”
What is ‘here’ and where does this beloved hitmaker belong? On stage, doing what he loves, in front of us, the fans who have graciously held onto every song, every deep cut and B-side, all 25 of his Billboard Hot 100 hits, and all the re-recorded, reimagined favorites from the current era of his rock ‘n’ roll career.
It is estimated that he has sold upwards of 100 million records in his 40+ year career. Some 20 million people are still streaming his songs every month. He has played shows to millions of fans around the world – sometimes even tens of thousands at once when taking on venues like Wembley Stadium (70,000 people sold-out his 1996 tour date there) and Madison Square Garden (where he returns in just one week for an audience of 19,000). He is Bryan Adams and, boy, do we love him – not because he is this international success with accolades on accolades, but because every single time we chat with him, we are reminded of his striking humility.
2022 was quite the year for you. Last year saw the release of So Happy It Hurts, an album appropriately adored by fans and critics alike. It got nominated for a Grammy! The “Classic” digital re-recordings dropped, as well as those from the Pretty Woman – The Musical album. You did a whole bunch of touring overseas and then released some Christmas singles to top off the holiday season. How did 2022 feel to you? What did you take away from the success, excitement, and personal/professional harmony of it all?
Well, there’s been a great sense of artistic empowerment as I’m now an indie artist without a fixed label deal, which means I can just make music and put it out without any expectations. I’ve been busy working on music, both new songs and re-recordings such as “Classic.” I was inspired by Taylor Swift to do them.
Now you’re on tour and headlining all around the U.S. with Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, which includes a stop at the World’s Most Famous Arena: Madison Square Garden. Do you have a favorite MSG memory or NYC moment to share?
When I first played there in 1985, I was downtown in SoHo and couldn’t get a taxi, so I hopped on the train and got out at Penn Station. There were definitely some eyebrows being raised while I was standing there, and I ended up being helped by a fan on which direction to go. I gave him backstage passes for the help.
Many songs off of So Happy It Hurts has been given the live-show-treatment.
“Kick Ass” opens the show. It could be the best opener we’ve ever had! And, of course, “So Happy It Hurts” is in there, too. We’ve played around with other songs, but I do a section in the show where I take requests both old or new, so anything can happen there.
How have these new tracks gone over in that concert setting among the big hits and fan favorites?
Really well – it’s like they’ve always been there.
Have any stood out to you in regard to just how well they resonated with the audience?
“Shine A Light,” from a few years ago, is always a great surprise that people love that song as it was never played by anyone.
There is an element of rock and roll nostalgia on this latest record of yours – almost a return to form, but with a fresh energy and high-quality guitar work (as always).
What were you yourself listening to during the time of writing and recording this album? Because I can hear everything from Deep Purple and The Who to Meatloaf and Elton John.
They were all invited to be on it, but I didn’t have their numbers, so I had to do it myself! [Laughs] Seriously, I love all the acts you mentioned, but I was just making as high energy of a record as I could at a time when we weren’t even sure we’d ever tour again. In fact, I mostly played all of the instruments myself because I was isolated and so [was] the band. Keith Scott does some fine guitar on the album as usual.
Speaking of, one of my favorite supergroup performance moments with you, the late, great Jeff Beck, The Who, and Debbie Harry for the Killing Cancer benefit over in the U.K. back in 2011. What do you remember about that brilliant night with all the incomparable talent you all brought to the stage?
I don’t really remember much, but I always love singing with Roger Daltrey – he is one of my hero singers. He has one of the best voices in rock ever.
We’ve always enjoyed chatting with you about music, but about photography, too. What sorts of things have you and the camera captured lately that has brought you joy?
Shooting Rammstein’s last album cover gave me a lot of joy, and I also just shot a new video for myself with a new anti-war song called “What If There Were No Sides At All.” It’s about peace. It has to be.
FOR TICKETS TO SEE BRYAN ADAMS ON TOUR WITH JOAN JETT & THE BLACKHEARTS, CLICK HERE! THEY STOP IN PHILLY ON JUNE 7 & NYC ON JUNE 9!
ALL THINGS BRYAN ADAMS CAN BE FOUND ON HIS WEBSITE!