Interview: CLARÍN (1999)

October 19, 1999

The following article by Silvia Maestruti appeared in an October 1999 issue of the Argentinian newspaper Clarín. The article was very kindly translated by Cecilia Oviedo...

"I don't want to go back with The Police" - He says reuniting the band would be like going back to school. In this chat with Clarín he also talked about Pinochet's trial, Margaret Thatcher and the tribute Latin-American rockers made for him.

The city is full of casino-hotels, but Sting chose a room in one of the few ones where you can miss the sound of the slot machines. After all, he didn't travel to the desert to play, but to start his first tour in three years, which will last 18 months and will lead him to Argentina, probably, in September 2000.

48 years old now, he has, a new record - 'Brand New Day' - and a millionaire contract with a computer brand which sponsors the tour just started in Las Vegas. Brand new, still with mistakes to mend.

"That's why it's proper to start in small places, so you can make all the mistakes you want and let all the energy flow - Sting explains with that teacher style he learned in his youth, before he became a police man. This is a journey and it just has begun. I don't like to rehearse very much; to survive you have to be creative. I like to leave some room in the middle to improvise."

"The English people are not interested at all in Falklands Islands, they don't even know where they are"

In spite he admits he's not one of those who surf the Internet - "On the net I just play chess; I prefer reading a book". Compaq's sponsorship opened a web page where you can follow the tour step by step. "That was one of the reasons why I accepted; that and the fact I've been working with computers for 15 years in all the music process. It would be strange if it would be cigarettes or beer, but computers... it seemed like a natural alliance to me," he justifies himself.

Las Vegas is a surreal city, but it's not worse than others, and his decision to begin the tour here is kitsch, he describes with his introspective little voice. Clarín intercepted him between a rehearsal and the show. He looks tired. A little bit later, on the stage of the small theater of the Hard Rock Hotel, his tiredness will be vanished leaving a place for that energetic presence. The one that moves his thirty something fans. Those ones who hum the old songs and put their hands together asking him to sing any of The Police. To those ones he dedicates, as usual, 'Roxanne' and 'Every Breath You Take'.

Would those fans have the chance to see the dismembered trio in 1984 one more time on stage? In the interview, Sting is categorical.

No, of course not.

Stewart (Copeland) and Andy (Summers) seem to be ready for this reunion. And everybody points at you as the one who doesn't want to.

I don't want to go back to The Police. I don't want to go back to school, I don't want to wear short pants, I don't want to be a boy, I'm a man. Why would any person want to go back? There's no logic reason.

That must be a question that is asked by every newspaper in the whole world.

Yes, sure, and they always get the same answer.

What did you think about the tribute to The Police Latin-American musicians made? Did you like the 'Bring On The Night' version by the Argentinean Gustavo Cerati?

I think that's a good record and that particular song is very good. It is flattering that other people take your music and reinterpret it. I don't complain about that. Even though they make different decisions from yours. That makes it good.

Are you surprised by those people still worship a sound so typical for the '80s?

If I'm surprised? The truth is I don't think very much about it.

Do you think your audience is the same one of The Police that grew up with you or is a new one?

Definitely both.

When he wants to, when he's tired for example, Sting can be determinedly laconic. But always sharp. Although his urge for saving words - "I'm best singing, I'm not so good talking" - there'll be a latino issue that wakes his particular interest and fires his wordiness.

You wrote 'Fragile' to the Chilean mothers, and now they celebrate 'cause in Spain the responsible of the disappearance of their children. Do you celebrate it too?

No, I'm not celebrating. I find this whole thing very sad. I think Pinochet has the chance to prove his innocence or to say he is sorry. It's clear he didn't do it by himself. Many people helped him, especially in this country. Some true dark forces and the CIA helped him to do what he did. But if the truth comes to light, something good will happen. I don't have the desire to punish an old man, it's not important to me. Nobody is going to kill him, nobody is going to torture him, you can't revive the people who died. But if I were him, I wouldn't let pass this opportunity to explain myself.

What did you think of the position the British government took on delaying his extradition to Spain? Margaret Thatcher said...

Margaret Thatcher is not the government of my country. Thank God she's not it.

But she's influencing. She said the British people should be thankful 'cause he helped them to win the Falkland's war.

The English people are not terrifically thankful for England to keep being the owner of The Malvinas... or Falklands. That's something they are not interested in at all; they don't even know where they are. That position about Pinochet is nonsense. If he broke the law, he has to be responsible for that.

Your guitarist and your manager's wife are Argentinean and you went there four times. What is you perception about our country?

I always enjoy going there, I find people very receptive to what I do and that's very important for me. Besides, we have a lot of history together. Many English people live there. And we have the war, Galtieri and Thatcher, the desaparecidos... a lot of history.

He says desaparecidos in perfect Spanish, and he can't help an ironic smile while he mentions the general who challenged the very Little Prince to fight.

© Clarín (Argentina)


Oct 18, 1999

He's the King of Fame: Sting just wants to please himself. Sting says we've got him all wrong. He isn't The Voice of Universal Concern, out to save the world. Well, not the whole world, anyway. "You'd be surprised," he says. "I support only two causes: One is Amnesty International. The other is the rainforest. Anything else would dissipate whatever power I have. I ain't saving the lemmings..."

Oct 17, 1999

Sting, 47, moves in some interesting directions on his latest album, 'Brand New Day'. He dabbles in French rap, Algerian chant, and country and western, and on the song 'Tomorrow We'll See' assumes the persona of a Brazilian transvestite prostitute. While impressive, these things pale in comparison to the details of his real life. Since making his debut with the Police, former schoolteacher Gordon Matthew Sumner has gone on to father four children, become an internationally renowned multimillionaire and an expert in tantric sex. We caught up with him at rehearsals for his forthcoming tour...