Answer the questions below. The activity is suitable for strong intermediate 2 students.
1 How old was Sting at the time of the interview?
2 What does '25' refer to?
3 What does Sting have a problem with?
4 What physical feature did he share with his dad?
5 How long ago did his father die?
6 What does Sting say in his book about commitment and being committed?
7 What do we learn about his marriage?
8 What upsets people about him and Trudy?
9 What kind of album is he going to release next?
10 What job have two of his children chosen?
Hello, I’m Belinda Luscombe. I’m an editor-at-large at Time Magazine. Today we are interviewing a sixt-ish (1) white male, father of six, has written a few songs, plays the guitar, arguably saved a couple of acres of rain forest, goes by the name of Sting. Mr Sting, hello.
Now, we are here actually to celebrate your 25 years, just as a solo career (2), that doesn’t even count the stuff with Police [Yeah.], and you have this book. You say in the book that when asked your religion, you write devout musician, which is kind of interesting. Does that mean you pray to Angus Young every day or how does that work out?
It’s not a frivolous answer, you know, my spiritual path involves music. I’m essentially agnostic, which I think means I don’t know. And I’ve chosen to live my life without the circle of certainties of religious faith. I think they’re dangerous, actually. I don’t have a problem with God, I have a problem with religion (3). And so I think being a devout musician is a serious answer. I think it’s something that gives my life value, and it does give me spiritual solace.
You write in the book… something that your father said to you on his deathbed that you said was devastating.
Well, well, my Dad and I had the same hands, had exactly the same hands (4). And I hadn’t really noticed that before until he was on his deathbed and I mentioned this to him. And then he said to me, well, you used your hands better than I did. My Dad was a milkman. And I realized that that was probably the first compliment he’d ever paid me and that was kind of devastating to me. Timing was amazing. And I suppose I include it in this book because I, I wanted to reassess whether, in the 25 years since my father died (5), whether I’d actually used my hands well, you know. So I was forced to have a retrospect of my own work and was pleasantly surprised by what I heard. Some of the musical decisions I made as a younger man impressed me. I didn’t think I was that smart. I think maybe I was smarter then, I don’t know.
Another thing you say in the book and this is, you know, as a woman, this is obviously something that spoke to me, it’s that commitment is not human nature. It’s not an advantage to be committed (6), and but you say that it’s better than human nature. It’s learned in the same way that, I guess we learn…
Did I say that?
You do. I mean, I was shocked too, ‘cause it seems kind of atypical thing to say for a rock star, we all missed the point of being a rock star here?
You know, I think commitment, to one person is not easy, from either side of the relationship, and yet the effort to do that is important. It’s an important one to make. And I think it’s a daily meditation. You know, I I’ve been married to Trudy for 30 years (7)…
Which in rock star years is like a thousand.
In rock star years it’s impossible. But I, I’m glad that, you know, we’re married and we have a good relationship. You know, she’s my best friend, and I like her. You know, I could say I love her, of course that’s a given, but I actually like her. I actually like, I enjoy her company (7). So I want to maintain that, I want to sustain it for as long as possible. I don’t, I don’t take it for granted. I think that’s a mistake.
One thing that really seems to upset people the most about you and Trudy is that you talk about your sex life (8). Now, is that a policy that you do that or is it, is it unusual, or is it just us journalists talk about it a lot.
We have fun. We have fun. And I think journalists are obsessed, people are obsessed by sex. Everyone’s obsessed by sex. I think it’s the strongest impulse in human nature. And we just have fun with it, you know, I mean, it’s silly.
There’s a lot of people who would like to hear you release another rock record. Is that something you consider?
It’s a kind of nostalgia that you are talking about, which I don’t really wanna pander to. I’ll do what I choose to do, what interests me, what intrigues me. It may well be rock and roll (9). But I don’t believe that there is a, there is a massive amount of people going I wish they would do a rock and roll record. They don’t exist.
Two of your kids, so far, have gone into professional music careers (10).
Not, not because I encouraged them at all.
Is it, it’s a very different world out there now from when you started... some Police, you know, galvanized so, so many people drew so many it was able to become this mass enjoyment phenomenon. Those kinds of bands are rarer now. It’s hard to, to do that with, with the, so many different, the way the music industry has fragmented. Does that concern you that they’ve gone into the music industry at all.
I don’t play music to become rich and famous. You play music because it feeds your soul. Whether or not you become famous, or you sell lots of albums, or you sell lots of concert seats, is completely beside the point. And, my kids would say, well, that’s easy for you to say because you are rich and famous, and you do sell records. I say, that’s true but I’m, I’m still telling you the truth.
Do you think you’ve got another 25 years of music left in you?
I’ve got 25, years of learning in me, definitely.
Right. Thank you very much.