Day 13 - A picture of your favorite band or artist.
I was telling my husband that I was a little nervous about this entry. I mean, admitting that Sting is my favorite artist pretty much does away with what little rock-n-roll street cred I might have been clinging to. I mean, he's a bloody wanker! He's a snooty, self-righteous, tantric yoga practicing, castle-owning, ancient mandolin playing tosser! And g-d help me, I love him.
I started paying attention to music--I mean PAYING ATTENTION, when I was in my teens/preteens. And I suppose I am lucky enough to have been a teen during the height of the Police. Lord knows if I had started paying attention a few years later, my favorite artist might have been Terence Trent D'Arby (shudder). I remember the first concert I stayed up to listen to on the radio was a Police concert. I remember I was trying to record it on my piece of crap radio, but it had to be at a certain volume to work, and I remember my mom coming to my room to tell me to turn it down. (and so it began) Even now, when I listen to the Police, I get this fuzzy spot in my chest--not just nostalgia, but it's almost time travel. I am transported back to my old room, painfully outgrowing the frilly yellow bedspread and the collection of dolls, and recognizing the soundtrack of my soul.
I should point out that the early part of my youth was spent in southern Indiana--not exactly a hotbed of rock-n-roll. I was lucky to get out liking the Police. I mean, it could have been Hank Williams Jr.
I should also point out I was raised in a household that had a heavy James Taylor/Carly Simon influence. And Lord knows the rise of Lionel Richie was not ignored in that house, either.
You see what I'm getting at? Divine intervention played a part in my liking something unlike the music that surrounded me. I was meant to be a fan of Sting and the Police--he was the first artist that was truly MINE--different from the world around me, and the influences that were trying to shape me.
Even when we moved out to California when I was 14, and I was introduced to Oingo Boingo and Depeche Mode, I knew I was a poser in liking them. Don't get me wrong--I liked them, and still do--but I was bound to like them as I tried DESPERATELY to fit in to this newer, faster culture. I was trying so hard to make friends and lose the accent that made others judge me so quickly. Embracing Boingo and the Cure was my ticket into a world that would take years for me to understand. And I never really felt like I fit in (as is a teenager's dilemma). So, it should come as no surprise that I clung to Sting and the Police as the one thing that was solid in my transitory life.
And throughout all my life, he has been that--with or without Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland. All throughout the painful 80's, when he went solo and wrote weird jazzy stuff. I remember how poignant "Russians" was--although to hear it now, it seems so simplistic and dumb (kind of like the actual Cold War, no?) And I still have a soft spot for "Fortress Around Your Heart"--remember I was a teenager, full of angst and despair. I dug a lot of his 90's stuff--again because it spoke to some inside part of me that was warm and witty, albeit languishing. Lately, I can't say I dig much of his new stuff--I mean there's nothing there that creates that fuzzy spot--but I can respect him as a musician. he uses some trippy time signatures, and his knowledge of old instruments, while still on the wanker side, is pretty impressive.
And we can't ignore his role of Fayd in the so-bad-its-amazingly-good Dune.
I suppose it would have been easier to discuss my love of Dave Matthew's Band (who was a close second) or even my respect for Ella Fitzgerald or Miles Davis, which would at least have garnered me some props from the Jazzy crowd. But no. Imma stand by my love for Sting. Yeah, he's got some stinkers, and I know I'm not the only one who'd love to smack that self-righteous yoga smirk off his face, but amidst all that are some songs that have become my internal soundtrack. They mark those moments in my life when I learned vital life lessons, big or small. So I'll stand up and say I love this wanker, even if that makes me one too.