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Publication Date : 07-12-2012
On December 12, rock fans get to hear what Sting has been up for the past seven years as he makes his long-awaited return to Thailand. Since his last Bangkok visit, in 2005 with the Sacred Love World Tour, Sting has released three more CDs - "Songs from the Labyrinth", "If on a Winter's Night …" and "Symphonicities". This time around, he has ditched the orchestra, strapped on a guitar and set off around the world with his Back to Bass Tour.
Sting is a rare breed of artist, able to establish a lasting career in the turbulent music industry while simultaneously winning praise for his massively diverse musical style. Incorporating jazz, reggae, classical, new age, and world beats into his music, the former Police man has notched up 16 Grammy Awards, three Brit Awards, a Golden Globe, an Emmy Award and several Oscar nods for Best Original Song. He also has a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
He took time off from the Asian leg of his world tour to answer a few of our questions.
You recently released your 25-year "Best Of" box set. How did you make the selection from such a huge discography?
The most challenging part of the process was choosing the songs and, inevitably, there were many that didn't end up on the box set. We remastered everything and remixed a lot of the songs that were included. I found things I hadn't heard before or otherwise had completely forgotten about. It felt like I was excavating these pieces of history. That was an exciting kind of archaeology in a way, trying to make these songs sound fresh and modern. I think there's a timeless sound in there that I'm very proud of.
Will we hear a new album soon?
I don't really have a plan quite yet. I enjoy and appreciate the creative freedom I have and the ability to do what interests me. I get bored pretty easily and so I always like to do something new and something that is hopefully surprising. I think my audience has come to expect that element of surprise.
You've collaborated with a diverse group of artists. How did you pick them?
Well, particularly for my 60th birthday concert last year, I have some very nice friends and so I asked them to come and help me celebrate this landmark; let's sing some songs and we'll see what happens! I had no idea what it was going to be like, but we had a lot of fun. It was my idea of a good party.
You're one of the few artists able to maintain a good balance between art and commercialism. Where do you draw the line?
I'm very fortunate in that I've always managed to do exactly what I like, and largely it's coincided with popular tastes. You can never guarantee that, though.
How would you describe the Sting of today?
I tend to live in the moment and don't really think too much about the future or necessarily about the past. I recently celebrated my 61st birthday, and I'm glad that I'm my age. It's fun because I have both sides of it - a bit of wisdom and the energy of a younger man.
Why do you call the tour "Back to Bass"?
I had just finished the Symphonicity Tour, performing symphonic arrangements of my songs with large orchestras, and I wanted to do something completely different for the next tour. We had the idea to sort of go back to basics - hence, the Back to Bass tour. The music is rockier and the arrangements are much more stripped-down.
How do you feel playing bass live on stage again?
I've enjoyed playing with these musicians. With a rock band, you're able to be spontaneous - change a key, change a chorus. On the previous tour where I was performing with an orchestra, I really had to concentrate and stick to the score.
What's the reaction from fans been like so far?
Wherever I perform, I often see people I recognise from 15, 20 years ago. I love touring and I still get a buzz from being on stage. There's no way to describe the feeling of playing for thousands of people who are pleased to see you. That's something you can't be blase about. And no one's asked for their money back yet. I don't think so anyway!
What can we expect from your show this time?
The Back to Bass tour is unlike anything I've done in a long time and most importantly, it's a lot of fun! I hope to see you all there.
The Nation is giving away six tickets courtesy of BEC Tero Entertainment (for three lucky winners) to watch Sting's concert next Wednesday at Impact Arena, Muang Thong Thani.
All you have to do is tell us when Sting's last Bangkok concert was held. Mail your answer to email@example.com (Subject: Sting) by Saturday noon. The winners will be announced on Tuesday.