The following article appeared in a February 2000 issue of the German newspaper Berliner Morgenpost. The article was very kindly translated by Irina Telykova...
Ambitious? Whatever for?
A father and a musician: Sting comes to the Velodrom today, with songs from his new album 'Brand New Day' and with the hits from his long career.
The career of Matthew Gordon Sumner, better known as Sting, began a quarter of a century ago. As a member of The Police in the late 1970's, the Englishman belonged to the so-called "New Wave" movement of influential musicians of the time. In 1984, at the height of the group's success, Sting disbanded The Police. His solo career started the following year. Since then he has sold well over 80 million records. Last fall Sting released the album 'Brand New Day'. Today he is coming to the Velodrom.
Berliner Morgenpost (BM): You are considered a perfectionist. Who or what tells you when enough is enough?
Sting: I believe it was the great director Francois Truffaut who said that one never finishes a film; rather, one must give it up. It's the same with me. There is a deadline by which an LP must be done. Otherwise I would work on it forever. But I also have the chance to develop the music further on tours. It's important always to reinvent the music.
BM: How do you feel in your role as a pop star?
Sting: There is a perception that pop stars are superficial and that they are not particularly good people. But 'pop' means nothing more than 'popular'. I am happy that I am a popular artist who can sell a lot of records. I am neither an esoteric nor an avant garde musician. But I would like to continue to make music as people expect me to do. Perhaps some day I will write music that nobody understands or finds interesting. I will still
do whatever I want.
BM: You were very ambitious at the beginning of your career. Today that's no longer true.
Sting: I have accomplished everything I wanted to accomplish. Why should I be ambitious? My ambition is to be happy. That's by far the most important thing. I am no longer interested in selling millions of records, or in being the world's greatest rock star. It's a stupid game anyway. I have fun in life, at work, and I hope it stays that way.
BM: You have recently said that at your age you could no longer be a revolutionary. What does revolutionary mean nowadays?
Sting: This past century has been through a lot of great revolutions. We must recognize that they were based in the belief that one could make the world a perfect place by political, ideological or military means. But one can't create a perfect world! The people who still think they can do that are themselves incredibly dangerous and crazy. Such beliefs mostly result in a great deal of bloodshed and suffering.
BM: Have you ever considered yourself a revolutionary?
Sting: As a young man I was a radical socialist. But we never found a satisfactory model to support our idealism. We knew that the system in Russia was a sham.
BM: What alternatives do you see to that?
Sting: If we are going to have revolutions in the future, they should happen for personal reasons. In the end it is all about finding your own place in life. Of course it's easy for me to say. I am very privileged.
BM: Do you believe you have found your place?
Sting: I see my place as a father, as a musician. They are the important things, not the money. I judge myself in the context of my relationships and my friends.
BM: In addition to your music you keep taking detours into the movie business. You played a gay man in the independent film 'Grotesque'. How was the part?
Sting: Really interesting. I played a butler in an old English house. With this man, the viewer never knew whether he was the murderer, whether he had sex - gay sex. He had a bit of everything. I found that very interesting. I enjoy portraying multifaceted characters more than romantic heroes.
BM: The acting is like a second family business for you: you are the actor, and your wife is the responsible producer.
Sting: I don't see myself as an actor. My wife, on the other hand, is a very good actress. She was with the Royal Shakespeare Company for years, and that's where she began producing films. She has asked me a couple of times if I would join a film, since I am so cheap. She doesn't need to pay me. I enjoyed the experience. But I am not waiting for Hollywood to call me.
BM: You are 48 years old. Do you ever wonder what you are going to do when you hit the big 50?
Sting: I definitely want to remain a singer and to continue making music. I hope that I will know more and that I will be a better person.
© Berliner Morgenpost (Germany)