Interview: PEOPLE (1991)

October 03, 1991

The following article by Michael Cable appeared in an October 1991 issue of People magazine...

Why my wild days are over - The world is full of beautiful women, but I've already got one...

Life has always seemed to he a very serious business for rock star Sting, the milkman's son from Newcastle, who has been waging an emotional campaign to save Amazonian Rainforests, in between achieving international superstardom.

The onset of middle age - he was 40 this month - could well have held hidden terrors for such a seemingly introspective musician. But, as he pads into the living room of his plush New York apartment wearing nothing but a brief pair of running shorts, it is clear he has never happier.

Indeed, the years seem to have lightened the mood of the man who has often been dubbed pop's Mr Pompous.

"I've never been fitter in my life," he says, throwing himself on to a sofa his lean torso still glistening with perspiration from the daily, two-hour yoga session which keeps him in shape these days. "And I have never been happier than I am now. I'm wealthy, I've got a beautiful family and I'm having a great time so, let's face it, if I wasn't happy with all that, there would be something seriously wrong, with me."

Far from trying to hide his age - though with his blond good looks and deep tan he looks ten years younger - he celebrated his birthday in style with a concert at the Hollywood Bowl and a big party afterwards.

"I'm not sure I did the right thing, being so upfront about it," he grins "Most people try to get it over with as quietly as possible. But I thought, hell, it's my birthday so we're going to have a celebration.

"I often used to wonder whether I'd still be a pop singer at 40 is that Sting is certain his womanising days are over. Although his current girlfriend, Trudie Styler, might not be too pleased with the way he expresses it. "I suppose it's just a matter of growing up and realising I'm not going to do any better than this.

"I mean the world is full of beautiful women but I've already got a beautiful woman, So why do I need to keep conquering women? There's a lot in that phrase 'conquering women'.

"I'm losing interest in that. I still like women and I love having women around me. But I don't have to possess thern any more." No doubt there are a few women who will he rather disappointed by that statement.

Before he hit the big Four-0 Sting joked: "Maybe I'll do a gig with UB40 so everyone can say 'UB40 and IB40'."

That's the kind of sense of humour Sting has hidden well over the years but now he feels "more mature" he is happy to admit he simply loves playing it for laughs.

After appearing as Macheath in 'The Threepenny Opera' - his Broadway debut that received a mixed reception - he reveals: "I was getting laughs every night for the first time in life. That's much more satisfying than singing a song and getting applause at the end of it. If you can make people laugh you know you are getting an instant reaction, whereas when people clap at the end of a song it's part of routine and you're never quite sure how spontaneous it is."

He'd love to do more of the same but for the moment, it's back to the music business.

Currently midway through a gruelling 14-month 'Soul Cages' world tour involving an incredible 250 gigs bringing him to this country in November for 12 dates, he insists that his appetite for touring is just as keen as ever.

"I don't enjoy the actual travelling that much anymore but I still love being on stage and singing.'

In fact, the travelling these days is very much a stately progress compared to his days in The Police, when the group were trying to make it in America.

With his apartment in New York and Malibu beach house in Los Angeles, plus a rented house in the Mid West, multi-millionaire Sting can commute to concerts across the States without ever being far from the comforts of one home or another.

Whenever possible he likes to take the family with him - not just Trudie, his girlfriend of ten years, and their children Mickey, 7, Jake, 6, and one year old Eliot but also his son Joe, 15, and daughter Kate from his marriage to actress Frances Tomelty.

"All five kids have been out here during the summer,"he says. "Joe even had a paid job with the crew. After I'd get the plane borne and he'd get in the truck and drive overnight to the next venue. He loved it, although at this stage he shows no sign of wanting to follow in my footsteps.

"He's a very good artist and illustrator and we're encouraging him in direction. He's a very serious kid and my main advice to him is to make sure he goes to university."

A studious boy himself - he is a qualified teacher - Sting quit The Police to launch a solo career, when the, the world's number one band. But his charisma carried his fans with him and his albums are now automatic chart-toppers around the world, selling upwards of 20 million. His concerts always sell out. But the smash hits have dried up.

"I'm not really interested in having hit singles any more," he says. "I no longer make music about the problems and interests of adolescents - that would be very awkward at my age.

"At the same time I no longer equate success with giantism - being the biggest act in the world, playing the biggest stadiums, having the biggest selling records as I did in The Police days."

He has never been flashy with his wealth. Although estimates of his personal fortune start at £20 million, Sting has never flaunted it. He owns only one car - a Land Rover - and his only obvious extravagances are his four houses. The fourth is in London where he enjoys the oak-panelled charm of Yehudi Menuhin's old home in Hampstead. In New York he actually boasts two places - a loft in trendy Soho and a vast two-floor apartment overlooking Central Park, which he bought from Billy Joel.

Paul Simon lives in the apartment above. "I keep having to complain about the noise," he says, that new -found sense of humour making another appearance.

His serious side is still there. He takes physical fitness for example, very seriously.

"My parents both died young so I am keenly aware of the need to look after myself," he says.

"I used to think yoga was a bit wishy-washy - a lot of old ladies in leotards sitting around meditating - but it's not like that at all. It's actually a very hard physical work-out, like super-aerobics. When I first started I was exhausted after 15 minutes. Now I do two hours every morning."

The deaths of both his parents within six months of each other four years ago contributed to a severe case of song-writer's block, before he eventually found inspiration for 'The Soul Cages'.

That tour will finish early next year and at the moment he has no definite plans for the future. He will continue to campaign to save the Brazilian rainforest - a passionate commitment often looked on by the cynics with derision.

"I'm resigned to the fact that no act of kindness goes unpunished," he says. "It's human nature I'm afraid. As a celebrity all you can hope to do is focus attention on a particular issue by getting involved in it yourself."

And, with that, Sting lifts his lean frame off the sofa and makes a move to leave the room. With, of course, a smile.

© People magazine



Oct 2, 1991

Forty years old but still Jung at heart Sting - rock star, ecological crusader and would-be psychotherapist - is 40. Forty years old but still Jung at heart Sting - rock star, ecological crusader and would-be psychotherapist - is 40. Chris Salewicz went to his party and talked to him about life and death. "Life is like a two-week holiday. And when you reach 40 you're in the second week." That grim joke was a favourite of Andy Summers, the guitarist in the Police; 10 years ago the trio's wilful talent, uncharacteristic intelligence and ferocious energy made them the most popular rock group in the world...

Aug 2, 1991

Death, here is thy Sting album: It's been a mighty long road down rock and roll for Gordon Sumner: from peroxide-blond bassist in the Police to budding actor in movies like 'Dune', 'Brimstone and Treacle', and 'Stormy Monday' to crusader for the Amazon rainforest and its people.Now, the Thinking Person's Pop Star is back in his guise as Sting on a globe-girdling tour to support his third solo album, 'The Soul Cages'...