Interview: CANADA AM (2005)

November 01, 2005

The following transcript is of Sting's recent interview with Beverly Thomson on Canada AM and took place on November 14, 2005...

Sting's latest labour of love: his memoir...

THOMSON: Well, Sting, thank you very much for taking the time to talk with me this afternoon. I am fascinated with your book. I find it so amazing when so many entertainers have taken the time to write about celebrity and life on the road and you chose to write about everything up until that moment. What motivated you to do that?

STING: Well, I didn't want to be like other celebrities. [laughs] I wanted to do something that was singular. And I really, genuinely thought it was a more interesting story. A story that no one had heard, that was unique to me and made me who I am. The rest of it you could read in tabloids or gossip stuff. I mean you could read all that. This story you could get nowhere else but from the horse's mouth. And it interested me because it's a kind of therapy to remember the past and try and put the past into a context that was understandable for me as a writer and, hopefully, understandable for a reader, and it would be entertaining and useful. Because before I was a celebrity I was an ordinary person.

THOMSON: As you wrote it, did you, I mean, I understand that you had some difficult times going back there. But, as you mentioned, it was part of your therapy. Was it more difficult when it was done or going through the process when you were writing?

STING: I suppose going through the process of digging up memories that were perhaps painful that I'd locked away for a long number of years. I always had the option, I could say, "Well, at the end of the day I don't have to publish this. I'll just let it lie fallow. The work is being done now, it doesn't have to go out into the public domain. I've always got that option." So, I was pretty fearless about what I wrote.

THOMSON: And so is a new CD out there. And I wanted to ask about that, because when you wrote it, or in the process of putting that together, some pretty horrific backdrop events. And I'm wondering how that played a part in putting all those songs down.

STING: Well, you don't make records in hermetically sealed rooms. You're connected to the world, obviously, through newspapers, through media, through television, and through being a concerned citizen. I'm a citizen of the world. An adult. And so, when things happen in the world obviously they have an effect on the arts you're making.

And I made this album at the same time as I wrote the book. I was doing all of this stuff, sort of in rotation. And there's an urgency about this record that perhaps is separated from my other work in that it was done post-9/11, during the Afghan war and then during the buildup to the war in Iraq, and in fact the war in Iraq. And all of that anxiety that was being given to us by the media, it obviously affected me. I wanted to get as many ideas as I could on the page because we were being told by our fearless leaders that we were in danger of being nuked within 45 minutes or, you know, an imminent chemical attack. And I didn't quite believe it, but there was certainly an anxiety in the air. And it's reflected on this record.

THOMSON: You said you are a citizen of the world. And of course as I sit in Canada I'd love to get your impressions of Canada.

STING: My earliest memory of Canada is getting through customs at Niagara Falls, parking the bus we were in, just for a breather, and seeing an apple tree by the roadside and picking an apple, a red Canadian apple, and eating a Canadian apple. Delicious, free. And I was saying, "Yeah, God bless Canada." [laughter]

THOMSON: What about social change or political activism and all of those things? Where are your efforts now? I mean, you've certainly done a number of different charities and you've fought for the rain forest. What do you want to see now?

STING: My activism is in the same place it's always been. Basically, my interest is in human rights and the environment, especially where those two things connect. Which is most of the time. Often, environmental issues are human rights issues. And vice versa. So, I've been fairly consistent in the last 20 years with that responsibility. And I do it quietly and I just, you know, do my thing.

THOMSON: Well, I do appreciate your time this afternoon. Thank you so much.

STING: Nice to talk to you, too.

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