Chuck Leavell, keyboardist for The Rolling Stones and the cofounder of MNN, talks with Bryan Adams, international rock star, about Greenpeace, photography and the Bryan Adams Foundation. (Mike Lindsay and Ashley Chase/MNN)
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Chuck: I’ve seen you many times with the band and that’s always wonderful and we’ve interacted together, you know, with the Stones. Anyway, I want to ask you, before we get to the music, about your philanthropy efforts. You have done some wonderful things. You have your own foundation --
Chuck: -- that started what, two years ago, in ’06?
Bryan: Yeah, coming on three years now.
Chuck: And you've done – you did Live Aid. You were involved in that.
Chuck: You've done the Prince’s Trust. I know you have some efforts for breast cancer and so on. Just tell us a little bit about some of those things.
Bryan: Well, you've sort of rattled half of it off. But also, one of the first things I ever did, because I come from Vancouver, British Columbia, it was the founding – it was the birthplace of Greenpeace.
Chuck: Mm-hmm, right.
Bryan: And, when I was a teenager, I used to campaign for Greenpeace, because they had a big thing back in the '70s to save the whales. And over the years, I got to know some of the people there, and one of my dearest friends from there was David McTaggart. Now, the Mother Nature Network might want to check up on this guy. He’s gone now, unfortunately, but he was one of the greatest environmentalists the world ever had.
Bryan: And we became great friends and I did some work for them in the '80s and made some donations to kick off another campaign for saving the whales. And in the '90s, McTaggart got a hold of me and we went around the world together to try and stop the Japanese from whaling in the South Pacific.
Chuck: Excellent, excellent.
Chuck: Another subject ... some people know, but I bet a lot of people don't know, that you're an accomplished photographer --
Bryan: That’s very kind.
Chuck: -- and that you have a few books, how many? Tell us here.
Bryan: Well, I’ve done a couple things, you know, for raising money for different things, particularly breast cancer because a friend of mine died from it. So, I did, I went on a crusade to try and help the cancer foundations to raise awareness and money after her passing. And she was sort of my muse.
Chuck: Well, I’m glad to know you're continuing in that area of the arts as well.
Bryan: Oh, yeah.
Chuck: A little bit about the Bryan Adams Foundation and what you're trying to accomplish with that.
Bryan: About, whenever it was, I think 2004, when the tsunami hit Thailand, a lot of people were giving money to different already existing organizations. And I decided that I would raise money on my own and try and find individual projects that needed attention.
Bryan: And I found a school in Thailand and I found a recreation center in Sri Lanka, both of them had been wiped out by the tsunami.
Chuck: Tsunami, right.
Bryan: And I decided that I’d raise the money to try and help rebuild them and that’s what happened. And I got this guitar. I got this guitar and I had everybody I could think of and everybody I could find, all my colleagues in the record business and the music business to sign it and we raised £150,000 for it.
Chuck: Hmm, wow, fantastic, £150,000?
Bryan: £150,000 and that started and half of it went to building the school and half of it went to building this recreation center.
Chuck and Bryan: (piano playing and singing – “I don't need no doctor. My prescription to be filled.”)
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