06.01.85 THE DAILY TELEGRAPH
The following interview appeared in a June 1985 issue of The Telegraph newspaper. The interviewer was Tony Wragg.
Sting, lead singer of The Police, talks to Tony Wragg...
TONY WRAGG: Sting, it has been more than two years since the last Police album, 'Synchronicity'. You are now touring the world for seven months as a solo performer. Were you at any stage apprehensive about going it alone?
STING: No, not really. I don't make records for approval or even to make money. I make records to please myself. One of the most satisfying aspects of this project is working with new people and new challenges. I think, after five albums with the Police, we had worked so closely together for that long that there wasn't going to be any more surprises.
TW: Your new album, 'The Dream of the Blue Turtles', sees you dabble with a lot of different sounds. Was this because you were limited in what you could do with the Police and saw this project as your first real avenue of personal expression?
S: No, I think of all the members of the group I was allowed to express myself more than the others because I wrote 90 percent of the songs. I was never shackled by any group demographics. I just fancied a change.
TW: Obviously you're very happy with the result. Was there any areas you perhaps would have liked to tidy up?.
S: Well, I mean I did the album very quickly. Although it took nearly two years to write, I recorded it in only six weeks. I suppose I could have spent two years perfecting it, but I feel very strongly that you can kill the spirit of a piece of music by spending too much time worrying about detail.
TW: The curious title of your album came from a dream you had about turtles messing up your front garden. Does it have particular relevance to the album's contents?
S: I did dream analysis with a therapist who encourages you to use your dreams creatively. I dreamed about the turtles just before we recorded it. Blue turtles are great symbols for black jazz musicians.
TW: The album contains references to topical subjects such as the coalminer's strike in England, the Soviet Union, nuclear power and even vampires. Are these subjects particularly close to your heart or were they a result of spontaneous ideas?
S: Well, there's no point in writing anything that isn't close to your heart, otherwise it's just like being a robot. I'm a 33-year-old adult. I'm not an adolescent any more. Therefore I'm allowed to get away with writing songs on issues that concern me. As soon as I'm told to compromise my age or the way I think to sell records then I'll have the common sense to get out.
TW: Is this album a one-off for Sting?
S: I don't think it's radically different from my work in the past. It's an extension of what I've been doing, but I don't believe in this idea of being a siamese triplet act with these other two musicians for ever and ever. But that doesn't mean to say we won't make another record.
TW: Do you expect people to get something out of your songs?
S: I am my own spokesman. I'm not a spokesman for a generation. I'm not trying to preach any sort of politics, I'm only speaking my mind. That's a privilege I've been granted, God knows why. It's there if you want to take it, but I'm not going to ram it down your throat.
TW: You've made the move, like many pop stars, from music into films. Did you fear that this transition might jeopardise your credibility?
S: It can, but I've done it in a way, that, up to now it's worked. I've always done little parts and kept the two careers in tandem. I've treated it as a kind of apprenticeship. I think I am taken seriously as an actor now, I've done nine movies and worked with some of the best actors in the world.
TW: Is it true that you once said you hated rock music and prefer listening to classical tunes?
S: Well, I don't listen to the radio much. At the moment the rock industry is in the doldrums. The songs in the Top 10 today sound just like their archetypes 10 years ago. I'm not interested in pop music. I hate it. It is being misused and abused.
TW: Do you think you've grown out of your heartthrob image?
S: Yes of course I have. It's just something that will stick to you if you stay still for too long. I've grow out of that now, I mean I could never be a member of Duran Duran and I refuse to dress us as a woman. I very confident that there is something quite resilient in the core of my work that will stand the test of time. I'm not ashamed of that, I'm very proud.
TW: Your fourth child, Jake, was born in Paris just under a month ago. I understand you were there for the birth?
S: Well, I've had three kids and I haven't seen a birth before, I've always been on tour. I was determined that I would witness this event and I'm really glad I did. I admire women now more than I ever did.
© The Telegraph
It's the real Sting - He's back, dreaming of turtles, forming bands, having babies, searching for the Yeti and trying to improve East/West relations. Sting looks like he hasn't slept for a week. His face carries the glazed expression of someone who's not only burnt the candle at both ends but had a good attempt at attacking the centre. He's ushered onto a podium, with the other six members of his new band - currently in the middle of a seven day session of dates at the Theatre Mogador, Paris - their European debut...
Stingtime in Paris - the Polce Chief sets himself free: It's ironic, the Police should be taking this sabbatical, or whatever it is, straight after making the best music of their career. I'd take side two of 'Synchronicity' ('Every Breath You Take', 'King Of Pain' etc) over anything else you did. "Yes, I would too. But the choice was, do we keep repeating that formula, become like The Rolling Stones? Or do we allow ourselves the time and space to think of something new? There is no plan whatever for the Police to work again. Nor is there a reason to say we've broken up..."
Hampstead, North London. Chez Sting. Across the lane is where Charles de Gaulle lived during the Nazi occupation of France. Two centuries ago this and the neighbouring house were joined as a pub called the Three Pigeons, and three decades ago Tamara Karsavina, the Diaghilev prima ballerina, trod these creaky floorboards. The current householder, planning a move across Hampstead Heath to the equally artsy and venerable Highgate, now peers across the room at his daughter with a wry grin and the barest edge of pique. "Give me a kiss," he says in the age-old paternal lilt. "Hey, give me a kiss - no...?"
Paris in the Springtime - Have the Police split? After two nights in the maternity wards can Sting stand the paparazzi grilling? Hugh Fielder muscles in on the Fleet Street Party. "I haven't left the Police. The Police achieved everything we set out to do a hundred times over. I'm just exploring different areas with other musicians. And I'm having a ball..."
On a hot, cloudless Friday afternoon, a curious affair is being enacted on the top floor of the Centre Pompidou in Paris. In an end room commandeered from the cafeteria, hacks from all over Europe - of whom only the 25-strong British contingent is distinguished by its absence - are taking their seats facing an empty podium. This is performed to background music provided by Mr Sting, the pop star, whose new solo album is being featured. It is Sting, together with his four-month-old group, who will shortly appear on the podium...