First published on 26 Nov 2008. Updated on 2 Dec 2008.
You were last in Sydney in January for The Police reunion tour. On reflection, was reuniting a good idea? I feel kind of vindicated that my timing was good. I think it was the most successful tour of all time. We played to 3.7 million people [laughs]. So it wasn't a bad idea. At the same time, we had a lot of fun and I think the band sort of reached what the Americans call closure. We've achieved closure. We didn't do too much. We did just enough to feel that particular asset had been realised - we can feel satisfied.
What's the most satisfying asset you ever realised: winning a bunch of Grammys, being featured as a playable character on Guitar Hero, or having a species of Colombian tree-frog named after you? [Laughs] You know, I get more compliments about my children than I do about anything else in my life and that makes me extremely happy. That makes me feel like I've done a good job in life. It's nice to win Grammys, it's nice to have platinum hits, to have a frog named after you - but actually to be a reasonably successful father for me is a major accolade.
Do your kids take after you? I have a few musicians in the brood. Six children. Two are very, very serious musicians with recording contracts, I have two actors, a filmmaker, and my youngest apparently is going to do a job that hasn't been invented yet. So he says.
Does it ever bother that there's so much focus on you and talk about tantric sex? [Laughs] Well, you know, it was never my desire to be a celebrity. I always thought I was a musician but I've become a celebrity by accident, and whatever you say sometimes it's misconstrued, sometimes it's distorted, sometimes it's actually what you did say.
Yeah, so getting back to the tantric sex thing... That story is almost...[pauses] that was 1990, me and Bob Geldof were drunk one day, just talking shit. The story does have a serious heart to it. No, I don't mind - I think it's funny.
It's got to be good for your reputation in some ways. Well it intimidates a lot of people, which I don't mind.
What was the message in a bottle? [Laughs] That is a stupid question. [Laughs] 'Help!'
Is that it? Yep, that's it. 'Help.'
Okay, I'm just going to keep asking questions until I get cut off. Is it you that'll cut me off, or is it the handler? It's not me, I'm far too polite. How long do we have?
[Lying] We've had about four minutes. You have two minutes left. Make use of them. Come on.
Okay, does it bother you when people call you Gordon? No one calls me Gordon.
When was the last time you got called Gordon? Probably when I was seven. About 50 years ago. No, no one calls me that.
So you even sign off your letters 'Sting', and your emails? You know, it's funny - your parents name you and yet they don't know you. So when your friends name you, you get a name that sort of fits you. I mean, I'm less Sting-y than I used to be, but it certainly suited me when I was a teenager. [Pause] How do you feel about being Hamish?
I don't mind. But actually, I was having this conversation the other day with someone the other day - that nicknames can much better represent your character than the names you were born with. They do. It's also very short and cryptic for writing autographs.
Yeah, it would save you a lot of hand movement. It really does.
You're in Sydney this month to play the lute. What could possibly be next for you? My whole thing is just to be learning and hopefully be evolving and developing what I have. There's no end to that. There's no end journey. There's no end of the journey. It's just ongoing. I have no idea what I'm doing next.
So no idea about when you're going to say, "Stuff all this" and head off to the garden? I can do that and still be a musician. I'd always take an instrument with me. I'll never stop playing music. Whether I want to be in the public eye or release another record, I don't know, but I'll always be a musician.
What did you think when people make fun of your lute-playing? Oh, it's hilarious. No, it's all good - it's all good that people are interested and make comments. I'm far too thick-skinned to be affected by it negatively. No, it's good - you become a public figure and sometimes you're ridiculed and sometimes you're praised, and it's all part of the rich tapestry of life.
OK, bye Gord.. Sting! [Line goes dead.]
Sting & Karamazov play at the Opera House on Sun 30 Nov.
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