Sting's AOL transcript, June 19, 1996
Copyright 1996 America Online, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Online Host: Your AOL MC tonight is GaryLBZ.
Online Host: Of Mercury Falling, his new musical adventure, Sting says, "The title is a good indication of its intent. It's a mercurial record you can't pin down." Laughing, he says, "Mercury was the god of theft -- and here I've stolen from every genre. That's become an identifiable signature -- I like to make music that runs seamlessly, one style to the next. I see all music, after all, as a single language." Welcome to AOL!
AOL MC: Welcome to America Online! Great to have you here!
Sting: Hello everybody. I'm nervous.
AOL MC: We have quite a crowd here tonight! Nothing to be nervous about...ready for some audience questions?
Sting: It would be embarrassing if no one showed up. Ready.
AOL MC: Hehe...grin, we don't have to worry about that tonight! Here is the first one.
Question: Sting, do you plan a Police reunion tour any time soon? Do you talk to the other members of the band often?
Sting: I talk to the other members of the band quite often, we're still very good friends and we still have a lot of business to deal with in terms of the old Police catalogue, but we're not planning to get back together again as a band. Although we DID play at my wedding.
Question: Sting, your music is beautiful -- both words and music, how do you get your ideas?
Sting: It's a mystery to me where inspiration comes from, if I knew I'd be there right now, but I have to be patient and just wait for the muse to strike.
Question: Is anyone opening for you at the Jones Beach, LI shows (7/6)?
Sting: Yeah, the Cowboy Junkies
Question: I saw you on the Conan O'Brien show a couple of months ago, how did you enjoy that experience?
Sting: Umm..I felt very relaxed on the Conan O'Brien show, which is unusual for me because I don't like television very much. I was just in the mood that night.
Question: Sting did an unplugged version of Message in the Bottle and Roxanne at a concert I went to years ago. I would like you to ask him if he has any plans to do an unplugged CD please :)
Sting: Maybe one day.
Question: Sting, how is your work for the rainforest going? :)
Sting: Very well! It's been going for about six years. It initially began as an attempt to demarcate an area of rainforest the size of Switzerland and after 5 years of lobbying and hard work we achieved that end, and now that project is being used as a successful model in other areas of the world. For example: Southeast Asia and Africa.
Question: My favorite song is Be Still My Beating Heart, what inspired you for that song? I have always been like that..rushing in with my emotions showing. I've always wondered what you were thinking of when you wrote that song.
Sting: Be Still My Beating Heart is a phrase I think I stole from Shakespeare although I've no idea from which play. When I was writing that song I was in love, and I'm still in love, which is nice.
Question: Sting, what was your favorite song on Mercury Falling?
Sting: It's hard to choose one song because my songs are like my children. I love them all, and they are all different.
Question: Sting...you use the number 7 a lot in your lyrics and song titles...any significance?
Sting: I think the number 7 has a lot of symbolic power. In many cultures and traditions there are 7 days in a week for example. I think 7 is my lucky number.
Question: I read once in an article that you were singing the Bare Necessities to your kids. Do you have a favorite Disney movie?
Sting: Yeah, my favorite Disney movie is the Jungle Book.
Question: Hello! What did you think of the London Symphony doing your music on Fortress?
Sting: They needed a good bass player. Apart from that, it was interesting.
Question: How did you connect with Dominic Miller and what was it about his particular style of guitar that you wanted as a part of your musical ensemble?
Sting: Dominic is very versatile in that he can play classical music, Latin American music, jazz, rock and roll, all of which play a part in my musical plan. In fact all my musicians have that facility to move from genre to genre.
Question: How do you keep your marriage so solid, when your life is such a fast pace?
Sting: I think having a good relationship involves renewed daily commitment to that relationship, and not to assume that things will continue without effort and understanding and an ability to evolve as a couple as circumstances change.
Sting: The new movie is called The Grotesque and stars Alan Bates and Theresa Russell. It's set in 1949 in an English Country house and I play a butler. It's a very dark comedy and I would think more of an art house film than a serious contender for Mission Impossible :) but I enjoyed making it very much.
Question: When did you realize your voice was so unique and that you had a gift?
Sting: I used to work on a ship as a musician and one night the ship's purser came and told me to stop singing because I was upsetting some of the lady passengers. At this point I knew I was on to something. I jumped ship in Turkey and hitched home.
Question: Your work with for the rainforest is really philanthropic, I tried to give my cousin a donation to your foundation in his name as a present, but the phone number I got was the wrong number, what is the number?
Sting: I don't have the number on me, but it's The Rainforest Foundation on Lafayette St. in New York City. It's in the phone book.
Question: Do you have an artist that you'd like to work with??
Sting: Leonardo da Vinci : )
Question: Sting, who are some contemporary musicians who have influenced your writing style?
Sting: I can never answer this question. Everything I've ever heard in my entire life; good, bad and indifferent has influenced me in some way.
Question: Do you do most of your writing at the piano, or with a guitar??
Sting: I do most of my writing just walking. I find the rhythm of walking suggests melody and sometimes lyrics. Then I go back to the piano or the guitar, or the computer, and put my ideas down. By the way, the number for the Rainforest Foundation is 212-431-9098.
Question: Why wasn't The Pirate's Bride on the album?
Sting: I didn't feel the song fitted in with the rest of it, even though the album itself is very eclectic. It's just one of those things.
Question: What or who does the King of Pain represent?
Sting: Beats me. I think I was being ironic. It's now become my unofficial title.
Question: Will you be doing any of the music from the Leaving Las Vegas soundtrack on your upcoming summer tour? Your work on that CD is incredible---Didn't you put it together quite quickly?
Sting: I did the songs for Leaving Las Vegas in an afternoon. They were songs that I've sung for a number of years just for fun, but I won't be doing them on this tour, except when I'm in the shower in the morning : )
Question: Sting, I just wanted to say I believe that God has gifted you with an incredible talent and I look forward to hearing you in person in Atlanta! How old were you when you realized you had this talent and wanted to pursue it?
Sting: I began to write music very early. I was inspired by my mother's piano playing and fantasized a life as a musician, without any real idea about how to achieve that fantasy. But, thank God, it happened. I don't know what I would have done otherwise.
Question: There are a couple of excellent sites on the WWW dedicated to you and your music. Are you ever online and is there a way to E-Mail you messages directly?
Sting: I have a friend in England who has a Web site called the Ghost in the Machine, give him a call : ) He's called Paul.
Question: Sting, congrats on being on the cutting edge in technology with your CD-ROM that's out and by being online (and tell Vinnie great job on the web page!). I know you've used the synclavier; how else do you use computers, if at all, in composing?
Sting: I've used the computer for almost 12 years now, both as a creative tool and as a musical diary. Every fragment of music I've written or line of a song is stored in my computer with a date. I like that.
Question: Sting, are you sometimes overwhelmed by your popularity? If so, what do you do to escape? :)
Sting: Being famous is not an entirely unpleasant experience. I don't take it entirely seriously though, which protects me from some of the problems that celebrity can bring.
Question: When is the tour reaching San Diego?
Sting: In August.
Question: Sting, I understand that you too have suffered hearing damage from exposure to loud music. How do you cope?
Sting: Like most musicians, I work in industrial levels of noise during concerts. My point was that all musicians have some hearing damage. Mine is not serious.
Question: Are your children also musically talented?
Sting: They all play music and I encourage them to do this, although I don't encourage them to think that they can make a living at making music. It should be done for its own sake.
Question: Sting, what was the muse for You Belong to Me, a brilliant song from Mercury Falling? :)
Sting: I don't know that one : )
Question: As a "Generation X" new mother, (my beautiful daughter is 9 months old), I'd like to ask Sting for his best parenting advice. 8-)
Sting: Whatever you do, just love her.
Question: I've noticed a few allusions to 17th and 18th century France, also maybe Blenheim? Reason? He comes across the water, dancing on waves...
Sting: I don't understand the question, sorry.
Question: The Mercury Falling Tour appears to be a very long tour, approximately a year and a half. How often do you see your family, do they tour with you and how do you cope with the travel?
Sting: In reference to the previous question, I was just thinking it would be nice to go back to the 18th century. I think I'd feel at home there. Touring and family life are a difficult thing to balance, but we manage. I sometimes feel that my life is like that of a sailor; I go away for year and then I'm at home for a year, by which time my family is sick of me.
Question: Sting, I've loved you since I was 10! I've noticed you've been doing a lot of movie soundtracks recently such as Leaving Las Vegas (you and Figgis teamed up again!) and the Sabrina soundtrack. Is Hollywood beating down your door? : -)
Sting: I get a lot of offers from Hollywood, but I don't feel under any pressure to comply with their wishes or otherwise. I just do what comes naturally.
Question: Sting, do you find it hard to practice yoga so extensively while you're on tour? :)
Sting: No. It's actually easier on tour because my life is much more routine. Every day is the same and I can make space for yoga in that schedule, usually before the show.
Question: What kind of things do you do in your spare time?
Sting: I play chess, I play the classical guitar, I read books about all kinds of subjects. Mainly what people send me.
Question: How long does it usually take to create an album/CD (from start to finish)?
Sting: I spend a long time worrying about an album. I call this preparation : ) It could take as long as a year for ideas materialize and gel into the raw material for songs, but once I have those ideas I work very quickly and I spend a very short time in the studio for the sake of spontaneity and freshness.
Question: We -- the whole family, Dad, Mom and kids, 8 & 9, all dedicated fans -- all wonder if there's a story behind, "It's a big enough umbrella, but it's always me who ends up getting wet." We live near West Palm and will be there tomorrow night!
Sting: I was in West Palm Beach today without an umbrella. It was raining cats and dogs. It reminded me of this song. I've never seen rain like this, and I live in England, we invented rain : )
Question: Sting, I've always loved the fact that your music has no boundaries with regards to "genre." We hear jazz, rock, reggae, classical and even country influences in your songs. Is there a style you haven't touched on that you wish to explore?
Sting: I've never accepted any of the categories of music as being anything but artificial labels and I see music as a common language that links all cultures, races, historical periods, and enjoy moving through that continuum without any self-consciousness or feelings of boundaries. It's more fun that way.
Question: Sting, does Mercury Falling reflect a new-found spirituality? : )
Sting: Spirituality is becoming increasingly important to me as I get older. Philosophy about what happens after death is particularly fascinating to me. As Timothy Leary said, "Why Not?"
Question: Sting, do you have any plans for more instrumental music like the music from The Living Seas? Thanks for all the great music you've written! We'll be seeing you in Austin, TX.
Sting: Plans are one thing I've never really had. I just live from song to song, gig to gig.
Question: When I want to relax, I listen to you. Who do you listen to when you want to relax?
Sting: I find it very hard to listen to any music and relax. I'm forced to analyze everything I hear and that includes the worst elevator music, musical wallpaper in the supermarket and whatever is on the radio in passing cars. It's a form of torture.
Question: I love your cold war song Russians! What do you think about the close call in the Russian election with the Communists losing by only a few percent, and still having a chance in the next one?
Sting: The passage to democracy is not an easy one, and for the Russian people it's frightening. Things seem to be out of control, and I can understand a nostalgia for a past that perhaps gave them a feeling of more security, but without freedom. It will take them a while to get used to this freedom; but meanwhile, we need to be patient and support them in this change.
Question: Will you be making anymore interactive CD-ROMS?
Sting: More than likely I will, I enjoyed the last one.
Question: Which of your songs do you think Wordsworth would most appreciate or enjoy?
Sting: Demolition Man : ) (ha ha)
Question: Does Sting spend any time online or the Internet? If so, does he like it?
Sting: This is the second time I've been online. I feel a little more comfortable this time.
Question: Do you think any of the new bands resemble the Police's style, and if so, who?
Sting: I don't know.
Question: I'll be at your concert tomorrow night. Have you had a chance to check out the acoustics of the Coral Sky amphitheater. If so, how are they? Also, what can we expect to hear? Any Police tunes or just selections from your recent albums?
Sting: I'll be doing new songs obviously, but I'm telling the story of my life here and so, of course, there will be old songs too.
Question: If you could sing a duet with anyone, who would it be?
Sting: I can't think of a good answer.
Question: What other talent would you like to master if you had the time/ability?
Sting: I wish I could paint. But failing that, I'd like to learn how to grow things.
AOL MC: Great show, Sting...thanks, audience members for the GREAT questions!
Sting: I had a good time tonight. I know that a lot of people asked questions that we didn't have time to answer, at least a couple of thousand. So thanks for turning out and I hope I did OK. Good night! -- Sting
AOL MC: Thanks....great to have you here. We are looking forward to the next time!
AOL MC: And you did GREAT!