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It's a perfect Saturday morning, but Sting, unshaven and scruffy, is lying on a couch in a darkened New York studio, taking a nap before starting work for the day. He's still recovering from playing New York's Jones Beach Theater last night, the third date of his co-headlining summer tour with Peter Gabriel. "That was a workout," he says. "I've been up since 5:30. I'm the son of a milkman." Sting is working overtime to finish 57th & 9th (named after the intersection he crosses to get to the studio every day), which has him returning to the guitar-driven rock music he hasn't made in decades. "It's not a lute album," he says with a smile, a reference to 2006's Songs From the Labyrinth. "It's rockier than anything I've done in a while. This record is a sort of omnibus of everything that I do, but the flagship seems to be this energetic thing. I'm very happy to put up the mast and see how it goes."

Ship analogies may be on his mind because he spent the past several years writing, and ultimately acting in The Last Ship, a 2014 musical based on his childhood in postwar England. The project followed a productive, freewheeling decade of work that included an LP of Christmas carols, the orchestral Symphonicities and a marathon reunion tour with the Police in 2007 and 2008 – which he stresses did not influence the sound of his new LP. "That reunion was an exercise in nostalgia, clear and simple," he says. "A very successful exercise in nostalgia, but there was no attempt to take that somewhere else." The Last Ship made it to Broadway, but closed after three months. "I found it very gratifying to get it that far," he says. "It was the most satisfying five years of my life." After it closed, Sting found himself with some rare downtime. "I'd walk through the park, and there wasn't much difference between me and somebody who doesn't have a job. Well, I've got a home to go to. But I start to get anxious."

So he took the advice of his new manager, Martin Kierszenbaum – who worked as Sting's A&R man before getting hired full-time earlier this year – and booked studio time with a small group of musicians. They included his touring drummer Vinnie Colaiuta and guitarist Dominic Miller, and Jerry Fuentes and Diego Navaira of the Last Bandoleros, a San Antonio Tex-Mex group that Kierszenbaum also manages. Sting arrived daily without any material and wrote on the spot with the musicians in the studio. "It raises the tension, because everything costs money," he says.

"Most of it was done in an impulsive way," says Kierszenbaum, who produced the LP. "One or two takes. I don't think he's rocked like this since Synchronicity."

Much of the album, Sting says, is "about emigrating." "Inshallah" tells the story of refugees traveling to Europe. "One Fine Day" takes aim at climate-change skeptics. "The biggest engine for migration will be climate," he says. "Millions of people will be looking for somewhere safe. I'm still in a bit of a depression about Britain exiting the EU for no good reason. At least the EU has a program to tackle climate change." "Mortality does sort of rear its head, particularly at my age."

One highlight is "50,000," a gloomy ballad he wrote the week of Prince's death. Sting describes the process of reading the obituary of one of his rock & roll peers in the song, recalling stadium glory days together before existential fear settles in. "Mortality does sort of rear its head, particularly at my age – I'm 64," he says. "It's really a comment on how shocked we all are when one of our cultural icons dies: Prince, David [Bowie], Glenn Frey, Lemmy. They are our gods, in a way. So when they die, we have to question our own immortality. Even I, as a rock star, have to question my own. And the sort of bittersweet realization that hubris doesn't mean anything in the end."

Sting had his last commercial smash when he was 48, with 1999's Brand New Day, which won two Grammys and went multiplatinum. This time, he's keeping his expectations in check. "The record industry is in a state of chaos and flux," he says. "I have no idea what expectations are. It's not like the old days. Rock & roll is a traditional form now. It's not socially cohesive like it used to be." But that's why he sees it as the right moment to return to the genre. "For me, the most important element in all music is surprise. I'll keep throwing curveballs. It's my journey; people are welcome to share it with me." He laughs. "I really do what the fuck I want."

(c) Rolling Stone By Patrick Doyle

 

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  • It's a perfect Saturday morning, but Sting, unshaven and scruffy, is lying on a couch in a darkened New York studio, taking a nap before starting work for the day. He's still recovering from playing New York's Jones Beach Theater last night, the third date of his co-headlining summer tour with Peter Gabriel. "That was a workout," he says. "I've been up since 5:30. I'm the son of a milkman." Sting is working overtime to finish 57th & 9th (named after the intersection he crosses to get to the studio every day), which has him returning to the guitar-driven rock music he hasn't made in decades. "It's not a lute album," he says with a smile, a reference to 2006's Songs From the Labyrinth. "It's rockier than anything I've done in a while. This record is a sort of omnibus of everything that I do, but the flagship seems to be this energetic thing. I'm very happy to put up the mast and see how it goes."

    Ship analogies may be on his mind because he spent the past several years writing, and ultimately acting in The Last Ship, a 2014 musical based on his childhood in postwar England. The project followed a productive, freewheeling decade of work that included an LP of Christmas carols, the orchestral Symphonicities and a marathon reunion tour with the Police in 2007 and 2008 – which he stresses did not influence the sound of his new LP. "That reunion was an exercise in nostalgia, clear and simple," he says. "A very successful exercise in nostalgia, but there was no attempt to take that somewhere else." The Last Ship made it to Broadway, but closed after three months. "I found it very gratifying to get it that far," he says. "It was the most satisfying five years of my life." After it closed, Sting found himself with some rare downtime. "I'd walk through the park, and there wasn't much difference between me and somebody who doesn't have a job. Well, I've got a home to go to. But I start to get anxious."

    So he took the advice of his new manager, Martin Kierszenbaum – who worked as Sting's A&R man before getting hired full-time earlier this year – and booked studio time with a small group of musicians. They included his touring drummer Vinnie Colaiuta and guitarist Dominic Miller, and Jerry Fuentes and Diego Navaira of the Last Bandoleros, a San Antonio Tex-Mex group that Kierszenbaum also manages. Sting arrived daily without any material and wrote on the spot with the musicians in the studio. "It raises the tension, because everything costs money," he says.

    "Most of it was done in an impulsive way," says Kierszenbaum, who produced the LP. "One or two takes. I don't think he's rocked like this since Synchronicity."

    Much of the album, Sting says, is "about emigrating." "Inshallah" tells the story of refugees traveling to Europe. "One Fine Day" takes aim at climate-change skeptics. "The biggest engine for migration will be climate," he says. "Millions of people will be looking for somewhere safe. I'm still in a bit of a depression about Britain exiting the EU for no good reason. At least the EU has a program to tackle climate change." "Mortality does sort of rear its head, particularly at my age."

    One highlight is "50,000," a gloomy ballad he wrote the week of Prince's death. Sting describes the process of reading the obituary of one of his rock & roll peers in the song, recalling stadium glory days together before existential fear settles in. "Mortality does sort of rear its head, particularly at my age – I'm 64," he says. "It's really a comment on how shocked we all are when one of our cultural icons dies: Prince, David [Bowie], Glenn Frey, Lemmy. They are our gods, in a way. So when they die, we have to question our own immortality. Even I, as a rock star, have to question my own. And the sort of bittersweet realization that hubris doesn't mean anything in the end."

    Sting had his last commercial smash when he was 48, with 1999's Brand New Day, which won two Grammys and went multiplatinum. This time, he's keeping his expectations in check. "The record industry is in a state of chaos and flux," he says. "I have no idea what expectations are. It's not like the old days. Rock & roll is a traditional form now. It's not socially cohesive like it used to be." But that's why he sees it as the right moment to return to the genre. "For me, the most important element in all music is surprise. I'll keep throwing curveballs. It's my journey; people are welcome to share it with me." He laughs. "I really do what the fuck I want."

    (c) Rolling Stone By Patrick Doyle

     

  • On their first U.S.tour in early 1979, the three members of The Police, Stewart Copeland, Andy Summers, & Sting arrived for their first interview at my Memphis radio studio in a station wagon. Barely 15 months later they returned to take me to lunch, except this time they were in a limousine. It seems that stardom had occurred in the UK after the release of their second album Regatta de Blanc , but mainstream popularity in the U.S. still eluded them. Thinking aloud during the interview, main songwriter Sting remarked, ” I wonder what it would take to write a hit song in America. The idea appeals to me.” So when the third Police album, Zenyatta Mondatta, appeared barely ten months later in October 1980 containing the hits “Don’t Stand So Close to Me”, “When the World Is Running Down” , “Driven to Tears“, & “De Do Do Do“, I had to smile & admit to myself that Sting certainly did not take long to figure that out. – Redbeard. More at http://www.inthestudio.net/redbeards-blog/police-zenyatta-mondatta-35th-...

  • Sting returns to Chile on October 29 to perform his greatest hits at the Movistar Arena in Santiago. Tickets for the show are available now from http://www.puntoticket.com/sting. Two days later he visits Argentina where he will perform at the inaugural show of the DIRECTV Arena in Buenos Aires on October 31. Pre exclusive tickets sale for cardholders of BBVA Frances with 15% of discount and general ticket on-sale information will be released soon. Information on ticket sales will be released shortly so stay tuned to Sting.com for more information...

  • Over the years, countless renowned musicians have gone the “me-only” route in the recording studio (handling all the songwriting, production and instrumental duties solo). Prince, Stevie Wonder and Todd Rundgren immediately come to mind. Police guitarist Andy Summers can now be added to the list. His latest album, Metal Dog, is his experimental/instrumental solitary pursuit, but it didn’t stem from some anti-social bent or ego trip. Nor has Summers closed the door on the Police. We checked in with him about the release of the project as well as his recent documentary, Can’t Stand Losing You: Surviving the Police, and of course, the possibility of the band’s reunion. Read the full interview here...

  • As one third of the legendary band The Police, Andy Summers sold over 75 million albums with his distinctive, snaky guitar riffs. The band is firmly entrenched on the list of rock’s biggest acts ever. Away from the band, Mr. Summers has been a creative whirlwind, releasing album after album of brilliance and never afraid to follow his muse. Beyond music he has penned an autobiography, released a large-scale photo book and made forays into the world of film. His recent documentary, “Can’t Stand Losing You: Surviving The Police” (now on DVD), is garnering rave reviews. Read the full interview at The Washington Times website...

  • They were arguably the biggest band on the planet, enjoying phenomenal success with a string of hit records, sold-out concerts worldwide and a dedicated following of female fans. Then, after seven years at the top, The Police broke up amid a flurry of accusations, arguments and broken marriages. And even when they reunited for a concert tour in 2007 it almost didn’t happen because of bitter dressing room conflicts on the eve of the first gig. Now guitarist Andy Summers is lifting the lid on what really went on behind the scenes with himself, Sting and drummer Stewart Copeland. Relaxing in an office in West Hollywood, Summers, 72, talks with humorous ­frankness about the wild days when The Police were touring the world and producing hits like Roxanne, Every Breath You Take and Don’t Stand So Close to Me. Read the full interview here...