Sting has spent the past several years writing and acting in 2014’s The Last Ship, a musical based on his childhood in postwar England. In February, he headlined the NBA All-Star Game halftime show and currently, he is on a joint tour — The Rock Paper Scissors Tour — with Peter Gabriel. But today, the Police frontman has shared his plans for what’s next: a new rock album.
57th & 9th — which follows 2013’s The Last Ship, the basis for his play of the same name — takes its name from the intersection Sting crosses to get to the studio every day, and will see the artist return to the rock heavy, guitar-driven sound he has departed from for decades.
“[The new LP] is rockier than anything I’ve done in a while,” he told Rolling Stone. “This record is a sort of omnibus of everything that I do, but the flagship seems to be this energetic thing. I’m very happy to put up the mast and see how it goes.”
The decision to “put up the mast” was an impulsive one, which Sting made following advice from Martin Kierszenbaum, his new manager and former A&R representative, who also produced the upcoming LP. The recording was spontaneous as well, as Sting wrote on the spot in the studio with a small group of musicians that included his touring drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, guitarist Dominic Miller, and Jerry Fuentes and Diego Navaira (The Last Bandoleros, a San Antonio Tex-Mex group also managed by Kierszenbaum).
Elsewhere in the interview, Sting touched on a source of inspiration for his return to rock: the deaths of so many cultural icons, best heard on the ballad “50,000”. Sting said the song is “really a comment on how shocked we all are when one of our cultural icons dies: Prince, David [Bowie], Glenn Frey, Lemmy.” He said “they are our gods, in a way,” and that when they die it brings mortality into question, his own included.
Other tracks on the record such as “Inshallah” and “One Fine Day” are equally affecting, as they tell stark stories of emigration and climate change. Though while the record reaches deep to bring heavy topics to light, Sting said he has no idea what expectations are. He said rock and roll has rerouted since the “old days” and that it is no longer socially cohesive like it used to be. But in the end he said he still values the element of surprise, and while it’s his journey and people are welcome to share it with him, “I really do what the fuck I want.”
Read the full story over at Rolling Stone. As of now, there is no release date for 57th & 9th.