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The lie of Bryan 

Of all the perks promised by a career of second-rate hobnobbing, this surely was not one of them. Canadian jingle jangler Bryan Adams, not-so-fresh from a string of top-ten, pop sentiment singles and more recent trips into obscure electronica, may or may not really exist, it turns out.

Really? Say it isn't so!

Like the sound of a bald spot, Bryan wasn't saying anything (to me, at least) while in town, absolutely album-free, for a greatest-hits romp at Hard Rock Live last weekend. Transcending the pithy protocol of tour promotion, the raspy rattler effectively refused real-time communication. Instead he insisted upon e-mail as his only means of contact. How terribly post-modern of him!

The obvious shortfall of said medium is that it might not actually have been Mr. Adams crafting the calculated responses, but rather some hired publicity hand trickling promotional wisdom in his absence. Although wisdom could do little for a career that kicked off with such metaphoria as "Cuts Like a Knife." Yeah, and it feels so right ... And don't even get me started on contextualizing the "Summer of '69."

"Obviously, with the sort of longevity your career has sustained," I electronically flattered, "there have to be considerations in the area of growing old gracefully -- i.e., Mick Jagger and Rod Stewart. Anybody currently still affording success that you particularly enjoy, or see yourself potentially modeling yourself after?"

"I can't imagine modeling myself after anyone, especially in old age," he may or may not have replied. "Believe me, I'll be content no matter what the outcome is, because the reality of how things have turned out with me has outweighed any expectations I had when I first started."

Yeah, and Pollyanna was blond too. Maybe not as blond as Bryan, though, who notably glued extension pieces to his towhead for one reincarnation in the mid 1990s. But now that his runway heyday has passed, Mr. 69 has had to turn elsewhere to feed his career virus. He's gone underground.

"Tell me how your recent forays into more electronic, less traditional musical styles have affected your vision for future projects," I electronically yawned.

"Well, as it turns out," as it always does, "my next recording project is completely electronic (although I'm pushing for a few guitars). It's a soundtrack for a film with composer Hans Zimmer. Last year I worked with Chicane, a British club/trance act, and we had a number-one in Britain together, so this is another foray into that world. Sort of."

I couldn't feel my pulse. I was reeling in detached cyber overexcitement. Tell me more!

"I started recording a new album, but shelved it for the moment," he typed (read: nobody wanted to hear it). "I have been working on a film soundtrack for Dreamworks. It's an animated feature called Spirit: Stallion of Cimmaron."

So, all his reality is virtual now. The experiment is complete. Bryan Adams does not REALLY exist. Still, at Sunday night's show, a virtually sold-out affair, none of the nondescript bodies seems to notice.

Up in the Hard Rock's front row, a foppish, blond 30-something sports a T-shirt, like one of those "I'm With Stupid" situations. This one reads "Bryan Adams Groupie" with an arrow pointing up to the back of his head. The things foppish blonds will do ...

Bryan is wearing a T-shirt, too. His says "Lead Singer." In the dubious-honor department, this reigns supreme. Although, I once gave fellow Canadian Corey Hart my parents' home phone number (at least he was real). He never called -- and hasn't even e-mailed.

"Big Canadian question," I had fidgited into my keyboard during our earlier nonversation. "You've been far luckier than Corey Hart. Any thoughts on Corey?"

"Luck has played a part in my life undoubtedly," Bryan replied, undoubtedly. "But I have worked pretty bloody hard to earn the things I have. Corey does very well as a songwriter for Celine Dion, and lives somewhere in the Caribbean. I am very happy for him."

At that point, I hopped pages to, hunting for the current best rate to the Islands. I could use a vacation, y'know.

At the concert, Bryan's sloppy set churns its money machine through lots of late-era, hair-extension flubs, while four hip gal-pals and I rattle feigned amusement. Inappropriately, I lift my blouse to reveal my man tits at the grind of "It's Only Love."

"He doesn't look bad," I cooh.

The girls smile ... like I just made the squad! But I'm still not converted to the Church of the Canadian Mind. My bald spot isn't big enough.

A final electronic query had brought a telling conclusion to our aberration of an interview: "What's been the biggest obstacle?"

"I'm not the best self-promoter," he doodled. "As a result, my manager says, Ã?You'll never know how big you could have been.' There are artists that are shamelessly into self promotion. ... I tip my hat to them. I could never do it."

That's OK, Bryan. You're not REALLY here.

Corey: Please please please please

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