Bryan Adams holds the record for the longest-running number one single in the U.K. He's topped the U.S. record charts four times. He has a Grammy and an American Music Award. So what artistic passion is the Canadian rocker pursuing with his PowerBook? Photography. It's clear Adams isn't stuck in the "Summer of '69"; he's a 21st-century Mac-head who uses his PowerBook for just about everything. No wonder he includes his Mac among the things he'd like to have with him should he ever wind up stranded on a desert island -- "if I could plug it in."
Q: What Mac do you currently use?
A: I use a 500MHz PowerBook G3. It's basically my entire workshop/office/archive/communicator. Lately I've been using it to retouch photographs I did for a fashion campaign by British designer John Richmond. It's such a great computer.
Q: What other computers have you used?
A: The only other computer I ever had was a Tandy laptop back in the late 1980s. I was even using e-mail back then, if you can believe it. You used to have to take the phone receiver off the cradle and put it in a separate holder to transfer e-mail. Peter Gabriel and Bob Clearmountain were the only people I knew back then that had it.
Q: When did you get your first Mac?
A: Probably the late eighties or whenever the Mac Duo Dock system came to be. I had a Duo 230, then a Duo 230C. That was a brilliant little computer, too.
Q: As a musician and songwriter, how do you feel about the proliferation of MP3s?
A: It's just advanced mutated radio play. I wish I could get more upset about it, but I can't. I've been bootlegged so heavily over the years, I just have to laugh. My record company once told me that in 1993, there were two bootlegs to every real record sale of mine on the black market. What can you do? The industry that created the CD format is the same one that's proliferating the copying market. Just write good enough songs that you don't have to worry about the booting.
Q: What projects are you currently working on?
A: Photos for John Richmond, plus I've just finished ten songs for a new album and I'm off to France to record the basic tracks for that. I should mention that I tour for approximately a week every month somewhere different.
Q: Royalties from the sale of your photo book Made in Canada went to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, and proceeds from Haven went to a similar cause in the U.K. Why is this cause close to your heart?
A: I did it for a friend of mine who died of breast cancer.
Q: What's the best thing about touring the world in concert? And what's the downside?
A: The best thing is we are very good at it and know our limitations. My crew is the best -- we are like a small army that can get in and out quickly and under the wire. It's brilliant. The downside is the hours of boredom in hotels and airports. I sometimes wonder how long I've spent sitting around waiting for a gig . . . probably half of my life.
Q: You played for the Pope last December. What was that like? Did you get to meet him? And does he use a Mac?
A: The Pope meeting was really sweet. Somehow, I can't imagine him in front of a computer, but there's always a chance. Try firstname.lastname@example.org. Let me know if he responds.
Q: Last November, you played with your boyhood heroes, The Who. What was that like?
A: Beyond incredible. The album Who's Next was a pivotal record for me as a young, aspiring musician. There still isn't a recording by any band that comes close song-writing- or performance-wise for pure rock.
Q: You've performed with many music luminaries. Who were the most memorable?
A: Well, you mentioned one already, but I'd have to say Smokey Robinson, John Fogerty, Bonnie Raitt, Tina Turner, and once many years ago with Stevie Ray Vaughn at the Bottom Line in New York City.
Q: Of all the awards you've earned, which ones mean the most and why?
A: I don't care about awards, but my mum loves 'em. When I got the Order of Canada [Canada's highest honor for lifetime achievement] my folks were really proud, and making them happy is what it's all about.