We had already done multiple interviews when Sting was in The Police, and now the Chief of Police had just released his third solo album by the time we reconvened to discuss The Soul Cages in 1991. Sting had lost both parents by then, the most recent his father, and was clearly wrestling with his star ascending amidst pain and personal loss. While that is an inevitable, wholly predictable, nearly universal experience for tens of millions, like sex education strangely little exists in Western culture that is readily available to prepare one for it.Not since the Beatles had a band exited the international stage at the zenith of their popularity like The Police following 1983’s Synchronicity album and eighteen month tour, so to say that Police singer/ songwriter Sting‘s first solo album, The Dream of the Blue Turtles, was highly anticipated is quite an understatement. Musical direction-wise it surprised some who did not know Sting’s pre-punk jazz roots at college, but in no way did it disappoint, with “If You Love Somebody, Set Them Free“, “Russians“, and “Fortress Around Your Heart” framed by sophisticated arrangements showcasing the lilting soprano sax of Branford Marsalis. …Nothing Like the Sun in 1987 continued that musical direction with “Be Still My Beating Heart”,”Englishman in New York”, and the #7 “We’ll Be Together” resulting in the album’s debut at #1 in the UK, a #9 peak in sales stateside, garnering three Grammy nominations including Album of the Year, and eventually selling an estimated eighteen million copies worldwide.
For The Soul Cages, Sting’s second #1-seller in the UK and a Grammy Award winner in 1992 for Best Rock Song with the title track, a new digital-only expanded edition has been released containing remixes, Spanish and Italian vocal singles, lives performances, and two covers. The extended remix of “Mad About You” and an exquisitely faithful reading of Elton John and Bernie Taupin‘s “Come Down in Time” are included here, the latter with Sting on acoustic upright bass that’s worth the price of admission.
In this In The Studio classic rock interview, Sting covers a lot of ground , including paying his dues pre-Police by playing in cabarets and backing stand-up comedians; the pejorative term “Third World countries” and the conundrum of developing nations; the alarming lack of heroes in our society today, and the failure of politicians to provide leadership; ecology, global warming, and threat of pandemic disease; how fatherhood changed his relationship with his own father; losing both parents at the height of international stardom; his favorite pop songwriter; the Nordic myth that inspired “The Soul Cages“; and the satisfaction Sting derives from writing such timeless songs as “Roxanne”, “Message in a Bottle”,”Every Breath You Take”,”King of Pain”, “All This Time”,”If I Ever Lose My Faith in You”,”Fields of Gold”,” and “Brand New Day”.
“Basically, misinformation is the most frightening aspect about American culture. People only get the information that confirms their prejudices. The opposing viewpoint isn’t really easy to find.” Sting made that observation to Spin writer Vic Garbarini, not echoing the conclusions of US intelligence agencies in the last four years, but rather presciently predicting it in conjunction with Sting’s sophomore solo release ,…Nothing Like the Sun in October 1987. –Redbeard