Interview: AOL WEBCHAT (1999)

December 17, 1999

The following transcript is of a webchat that Sting did in December 1999 with AOL...

The following transcript is from Sting's webchat on AOL from 7 December 1999.

AOLiveMC9: Welcome Sting!

StingLive: Hello

AOLiveMC9: Here is our first question.

Question: Will you ever consider doing another politically or environmentally motivated album?

StingLive: I don't think I have ever done an environmentallty motivated album. That has never been my intention. The enviroment much too complicated an issue to deal with in songs.

Question: How do you go about choosing new musicians for your band?

StingLive: My band has a reputation of being the best musicans available which in itself attracts good musicians... and this is one of the few bands on the road where improvistion is expected, and that also appeals to the best musicians.

Question: Hi Sting, What inspired you to come up with the new song, 'Brand New Day'?

StingLive: I wanted to write an optimistic song about love that began in one place and ended up in another... I used the symbol of Y2K as a symbol of beginning again. Turn he clock to zero is an interesting symbol. A symbol of rebirth.

Question: What do you find most rewarding and most challenging about songwriting?

StingLive: The most rewarding thing about sonwriting is finishing a song... and the most challenging thing is beginning it.

Question: How do you know when a song is finished?

StingLive: lol I like to obey the structural rules of songwriting... I like the structure verse chorus verse chorus middle 8... coda. Somethings are very comforting about that structure that allows you to be creative within its context.

Question: Sting, who inspired you the most to be a musician?

StingLive: Many people...including my parents my parents are musicians.. Outside of my family probably the Beatles.

Question: Do you think you may one day write a rock musical?

StingLive: Absolutely not lol

Question: Sting, who is your favorite musician besides yourself? By the way I'm 12.

StingLive: Impossible to answer... highly contentious...

Question: Sting... do you still have much contact with stewart and andy?

StingLive: Yes. We have a lot of contact. Stewart came to my show in LA I sang on Andy's record last year. So we are still very good friends.

Question: What is the greatest kick of performing live?

StingLive: I think to walk out onto a stage and be welcomed by a large group of people is very rewarding.

Question: What song reveals your hidden self the most?

StingLive: That's up to you to find out. If I tell you it wouldn't be hidden.

Question: If you could change one thing about the music business what would it be and why?

StingLive: That's difficult. I entered the music business when it was much more of a cottage industry and now it is a corporate industry. There are advantages to corporate industry...That's just the way it is. It's not going back.

Question: Sting... please tell me about the lovely song Valparaiso and why you don'y play it live..... thanks.

StingLive: 'Valparaiso' is a seaport in Chile... I have always loved that name. It means Valley of Paradise. That has always been a very romantic concepts to me... and it's a song of the sea that has always been one of my fascinations.

Question: Hve you seen any results of all your work you have done to save the rain forests?

StingLive: Yeah. There have been some very tangible results all be it small having worked to secure the preservation a piece of forest the size of Massachussets... both physically and legally allowed the rainforest foundation as a model for work in other tropical forest areas. Mozambique, Thailand, as well as other locations within the Amazon.

AOLiveMC14: Where will you be for Christmas?

StingLive: I'll be in England at Christmas. I always gravitate toward my home to be with my family.

Question: Which album has ment the most to you and why?

StingLive: It's a little bit like asking which of my children I prefer. They all mean something to me. It would be wrong to select one from my point of view.

Question: Why "STING"?

StingLive: Why not?

Question: Hi Sting. Have you used your new blender yet? The one that you won from Conan for not mentioning the rainforest. You were a very good sport!

StingLive: No I haven't had a chance to plug in my blender but my wife was very impressed that I managed to come home with something for a change.

Question: Did you have a good time singing with Puff Daddy and do you like the way he remade your song?

StingLive: Yeah, I was very touched that Sean chose my song to remember his friend.

Question: As a Brazilian I loved the misc. of rhythms in 'Brand New Day'. I was wondering if you plan on playing in Rio again?

StingLive: As you know, I am very fond of Brazil, and I am currently structuring a world tour and I can't imagine a world tour that doesn't include Brazil eventually... but I don't know when exactly that will be.

Question: How did you came up with the lyrics for 'Desert Rose'? Anything special about that song?

StingLive: With great difficulty the English lyrics didn't fit for a long time. It sounded forced. Which is why I asked Cheb Mami to sing in Arabic with me... which authenticated the whole song.

Question: has there been a positive change in your life between 'Mercury Falling' and 'Brand New Day' to set such contrast in mood?

StingLive: People tell me that 'Mercury Falling' is a dark record... Although I can't remember feeling that dark... I think you just explore different emotions at different times. I don't necessarily have to be in a bad state to remember how that feels, or in a blissful state to know how that feels. I have enough experience with both to draw on those memories.

Question: This question is about an old song of yours. In 'Consider me Gone' there's a passage very similar to Shakespeare's XXXV Sonnet. Were you inspired by that sonnet?

StingLive: Yep. Guilty. Stole it. From the Bard. But it's okay, I'm English too. He probably stole it from Petrarch anyway.

Question: On the picture on the back cover of your new CD you have something hanging out of your mouth, please tell what it is. The folks in the newsgroup would love to know.

StingLive: It's not a joint. I think it's a paper I rolled up in my mouth... to relieve the boredom of being photographed.

Question: Why have you stopped singing 'Ghost Story' at the concerts?

StingLive: I needed to keep the pace of the show at a certain level, and I continued to rehearse that song in soundchecks and will include it at a later date but at the moment the show works better without it.

Question: Sting's songs are always full of references to God and faith and I'd like to know whether he still considers himself a Catholic and what religious faith actually represents for him (I think he also had his children baptised).

StingLive: Yeah... well I belong to a Christian culture... being from England... and I was brought up Catholic... but I don't feel the need to belong to an organized religion in order to maintain faith I prefer to find my own answers ask my own questions. I am very curious about religion.

Question: Sting what are your plans for the millennium?

StingLive: At 12:00 midnight... I will be in New York... Jay Leno will say let's go to Sting and I will play a 'Brand New Day' and that's where I will be on the TV.

Question: Sting, how do you feel about Alanis Morissette's rendition of 'King of Pain'?

StingLive: I have yet to hear it but I have heard very good reports of the song... I admire her work very much It's on my shopping list for this week.

Question: Hi Sting my name is chonine & I have such great respect for you I would like to know your opinion on the Y2K.

StingLive: Well, I think that there will of course will be problems... but my view on it is an opportunity... it's an interesting symbol of rebirth... The next millennium might have a few birth pains. But we have to work to gether for a new future for our children and grandchildren.

Question: Sting, why are songs on the b sides better than the album tracks? I thought 'End of The Game' is one of your best songs, I can't believe it's not on the album.

StingLive: You're the only one who thinks that.

Question: I really loved to hear Marsalis in the new album. Do you plan to work with him again like you did in 'Bring On The Night'?

StingLive: Well, Branford is family... he appeared on every album since the 'Blue Turtles'. I can't see any reason why we shouldn't play together for as long as we can... whenever we can.

AOLiveMC9: Any last words for our audience?

StingLive: It was an honor to speak with you all. I hope I was forthcoming... without giving everything away... and I look forward to speaking with you again. How was my typing?

© AOL Webchat



Dec 10, 1999

"I think I am the edge" - Sting faces 50, and the millennium. From the moment The Police made their debut in 1978, it was clear that Sting wasn't about to go away. It wasn't so much that haughty, feline-faced image he projected, which was right there on the surface; rather, it was the aura of pensiveness and emotional conflict that operate in the margins, asking for closer scrutiny. This complicated man seemed poised for a career move that would take him well beyond the limits of pop rock...

Dec 1, 1999

Why being one of the world's biggest pop stars can be fun and fulfilling, even though that label can be kind of silly and meaningless. And why there was no competition for groupies after Police shows. Sandy Sternshein sings Sting songs in the shower. He tells me this when asked which modern musician he thinks has the best voice. Sternshein, a 52-year-old dentist drives a Porsche and stays away from fatty foods, is a friend of my dad's. My dad's in real estate, lives in suburban Boston and says his favourite Sting song is Roxanne, but when he sings it, he's actually imitating Eddie Murphy singing it in '48 Hrs'. Sandy likes that movie too. Neither of them, however, like Puffy's version of 'Every Breath You Take'. They don't like the rap music very much...