Interview: TWEC WEBCHAT (1999)

September 17, 1999

The following transcript is of a webchat that Sting did in September 1999 with TWEC...

Sting: I'm glad to be here online. This is the second time I've done this. Let's roll!

RomanInDallas: What was the chief reason for not touring large venues in the States this year?

Sting: For me, I think large venues tend to dictate the music you play whereas my intentions to have the music dictate. I like to play in a more human environment. The smaller the better. I like to get cosy.

Lisa: Sting, I read that one of my favourites, 'Moon Over Bourbon Street', was inspired by 'Interview With A Vampire'. That caused me to read it before all the hype - have any other good books inspired you that I should read?

Sting: Uh oh... I did write a song based on a part of a story written by Paul Bowles called 'Tea in the Sahara'. That is now a song also.

stingdm: Sting, 'Brand New Day' is musically sophisticated... with its key changes, tempo changes, and vocal difficulty... how do you motivate yourself to push for higher standards?

Sting: I make music to amuse myself and to entertain my band members and challenge them. Not a question of sitting back on my laurels. I have to work hard so I'm not bored. I hope the audience isn't bored either.

derekbd: Why was the wonderful song, 'End of the Game', left off the UK and US versions of the album? And why wasn't Brand New Day released as a single in the United States?

Sting: The album originally had 10 songs on it including 'End Of The Game'. I felt the record was too long. I think people's attentions spans on an album are about 45 minutes. Taking the song out allowed the album to flow better. It is a nice song, though. I'm not sure that they release any singles anymore in America... it's just the state of the market. I'm not an expert. If it were Britney Spears it would be a different matter.

ASIA: How did you come up with the idea for the 'Desert Rose'?

Sting: With all of these songs, the music tended to change the subject. I wrote the music first and then tried to figure out what the music was telling me. I just had to translate it... the music told the story. I suppose it's a song about romantic or philosophical longing.

SteveAnder: Was Stevie Wonder good to work with? Did y'all gel? Did he write the melody on the harmonica himself for 'Brand New Day'?

Sting: Well, Stevie Wonder, for me is a higher being, not just as a musician. He added his own special Steviness to it...I am eternally grateful.

radiohead fan: 'Shape Of My Heart' is your best song in my opinion, could you talk a little about how you went out to write this song?

Sting: I co-wrote that song with Dominic Miller. He came in with a guitar riff and we worked together on the development of a song structure. I again asked the music to tell me a story... a story of a card player.

British Lovin: Sting, did you want to be a teacher growing up or did you always want to do the Rock'n'Roll gig?

Sting: I had no idea what I wanted to be. I had vague musical aspirations and that's still my ambition.

debroglie: How do you think you are doing with the younger audiences (you're much cooler than that Spears girl).

Sting: One of the things about my music is that it isn't aimed at one demographic. It appeals to males, females, middle age, youth and old age. I think music should bring people together and not separate them.

Em: Sting, I've noticed that many of the songs of your earlier solo albums were very political - do you have any causes besides The Rainforest Foundation that you support now?

Sting: I would disagree. I only ever wrote political songs if I could veil those issues within a metaphor. Without a metaphor all you have is journalism or propaganda. I won't do it unless I have a metaphor to express it in. I'm still involved with Amnesty International and the rainforest. That's plenty on my plate.

MatíasP: Did you finish your music for Disney's 'Kingdom of the Sun'?

Sting: Yes, I did and then they fired the characters. It's very sad when you see a cartoon character fired. I'm busy trying to write songs for the new character. It's an ongoing process.

Steve Molyneux: Do you think giving an Album a theme helps?

Sting: I never begin an album with an theme intention. If by the end of the process you can find a common thread running through the work, that's good. Good if it has a recognisable shape to it. So, yes.

Tooley: Do you have any plans to do a cover of Otis Redding's 'Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay'?

Sting: It's one of my favourite songs so I wouldn't want to mess it up. I'd love to do 'Sesame Street'. Yeah, me and kermit. We're doing it in November, actually. It's news to me but apparently it's happening.

Soniaj: Do your sons and daughters have any musical inclination? Do you encourage them?

Sting: Yes, my children have musical interests and talent. I encourage them to practice everyday and they do. I have no real interest in them entering the entertainment business.

kristi: how would you describe your stage set for your upcoming tour??? any special guests?

Sting: There may be a few surprises but they'll be surprises to me so I don't know. I'm rehearsing at the moment.

Becky: What is the hardest part of going on tour?

Sting: It's an exhausting process but I'm very well supported by my crew and colleagues. Missing your family who sometimes can't be with you, but aside from that it's a great life.

tryble: Is there an instrument you have not "mastered" but would like to?

Sting: The bass.

Andreas Lehmann: Sting, what is with 'Jeremiah Blues Part 2'? What is the story about that?

Sting: Oh boy... I think it's about New York on New Year's Eve although I could be wrong. Think one of the lyrics says "the government saved the world but popular icons failed."

sfruchtman: When you appear on 'Saturday Night Live' on Nov. 20, will you be the host or only the musical guest?

Sting: I'm just the musical guest but they always rope me into a sketch or two.

carmie: I loved 'Nada Como El Sol' and enjoy hearing you sing in other languages - Any plans for another Foreign Language album?

Sting: There are no immediate plans but it is something that does fascinate me. Concerns me that English music is very imperialistic so it's nice to pay tribute to another language by signing in it.

heidi: Why did you decide to collaborate with The Chieftans on 'Mo Ghile Mear (Our Hero)'? It's a beautiful song.

Sting: Paddy Maloney is a great friend of mine. I liked the song too. Was a gaelic song. I think I've sang with them on a couple of occasions. They're good friends and I like to work with my friends.

gary cathcart: Sting, i was wondering who would be your drummer on this new tour?

Sting: Vinnie needed a break from touring which I perfectly understand. Manu Katche will be the new drummer this tour.

sting99: What's your favourite key? Are there any songs written in this key in your new album?

Sting: Keys are very strange things. Sometimes a song will sound good in one key and not another. Takes experimentation to find the right key but I'm willing to try in all keys and stretch my vocal capabilities.

radiohead fan: sting, where did you learn to type so fast?

Sting: I went to typing school.

sojourn: Are there any plans of releasing a Video for this album?

Sting: Yes, there's a video out now for 'Brand New Day'. Another in November. There's also a DVD album which will be available soon.

tamala: were you happy with the new lyrics and remix Puff Daddy did of 'Every Breath you Take'?

Sting: I was very flattered that he chose my song to remember his friend. It clearly moved him and it was an enormous success and hit. Yes, I was very happy.

Steve Molyneux: Will members of the audience be invited on stage with you to sing on the next tour?

Sting: It all depends on the mood I'm in.

SteveAnder: Do you really carry a Compaq Presario around with you?

Sting: At all times.

JanSchulze: I've heard rumours about this album. They say that this is the last CD you record. Is that right or will there follow other CDs?

Sting: This is a rumour and the rumours of my retirement are greatly exaggerated.

ASIA: How do you keep your voice so strong and healthy?

Sting: Yoga is the key I think to a healthy voice because it is about breathing properly and eating well. I don't sleep very well so I have to eat well.

Isleofsoul: Why does the record company insist on putting more cuts on the imports and not here in the US?

Sting: This is not unusual. It's due to the huge differential in the price of the albums here and abroad.

Peter E: In this day and age, your marriage has outlasted many others in celebrity-land. What words of advice can you offer?

Sting: Just have to love, love the one you're with every day. Keep a sense of humour.

Blake: Sting, have you ever done a 'VH1 Storytellers'? If not, do you have any plans on doing one or a Behind the Music?

Sting: 3 years ago I did a 'Storytellers'. 'A Behind the Music' airs this Sunday.

1st take: Do you have a web page so I can check you tour schedule


SanneDEN: Sting, I love the album 'The Living Sea'. Have you any plans about making an album similar to it? Perhaps a Yoga/relaxing album?

Sting: No, I've no plans to make a relaxing yoga album but you never know.

lisasumner: I saw you perform live on the Today show in New York, you sound better than ever!!! Do you feel that it becomes easier to perform live as the years go by?

Sting: I like to think that as I mature as an artist that I get better at my craft. I take it seriously. I want to be a better singer and a better songwriter.

sanderblome: Does 'Tomorrow We'll See' allow you to retire 'Roxanne' in concert performances?

Sting: No, I'm thinking of maybe running them together. They're both about the same subject but from two points of view.

Marisa: Sting, what other styles of music that you haven't experimented with do you think you will borrow from in the future?

Sting: Music to me is a perpetual adventure. It's a journey that you'll never get to the end of. This is what excites me.

zenyatta: is this new effort dedicated to anyone in particular?

Sting: For me, the mood of this new record is one of optimism in the light of the new millennium.

danielle: What's one of the craziest things you ever did?

Sting: Leave the Police. I'm still glad.

Freddietaco: I am bringing my fiancée to the show in Miami. I proposed to her with 'I Was Brought To My Senses' on the stereo... Please play that when in Miami on Nov.5

Sting: I certainly will.

LoriD: Do you ever get the chance to visit any of your fans' web sites?

Sting: Occasionally, yes. I'm intrigued and flattered mostly.

MODERATOR: would like to thank Sting for taking time out of his busy schedule to chat with us tonight! Is there anything you would like to say to all of your fans who have stopped by tonight?

Sting: I enjoyed this a lot and let's do it again. Sorry I couldn't answer all of your questions.. I have two more interviews to do tonight. But I did enjoy the hell out of this.

MODERATOR: Thanks Sting! We Love You!

© TWEC Webchat



Sep 16, 1999

We walk through fields of gold - Trudie Styler tells Tiffany Daneff why converting her farm in Wiltshire to organic is a natural progression. 'Is it costly? Yes. If you go organic, I think you've got to realise that it is labour intensive but, in return, we are self-sufficient for seven months of the year. I know that there hasn't been a pesticide or fertiliser put into the soil, so I can rest assured that every meal I eat here I can eat with serenity. And that counts for a lot..."

Sep 14, 1999

Sting's album 'Brand New Day' embraces a subject close to his heart: Some people want to fill the world with silly love songs, as Paul McCartney once sang. And from Shakespeare to Showaddywaddy, the noblest of emotions has inspired some of the best, and abject worst, of artists. Now it's Sting's turn, as the ex-Police chief looks to love to fill his latest disc. But 'Brand New Day' has no naff drippiness in its desire; there's nary a line of bad poetry in its passion or misplaced moralising in Sting's certainty that "love is the only thing that keeps the universe together. Everything else is just atoms flying around..."