Sunday, February 11, 2007

the police and chemistry

i am a Sting fan. pretentious and pompous ass that he may be, i am a fan. i am a fan of intelligent, eloquent songwriting and elaborately experimental instrumentation. so yes, i am a fan of the Gordon Sumner, a.k.a. Sting.

but let me tell you something interesting. Sting, in all his supposed greatness and sense of purpose has never reached the charts' top spot. he has never had a billboard number one song alone. the first and last time a number one song was billed with the name "Sting" was the group effort "All for Love", with Bryan Adams and Rod Stewart way back in 1993. The biggest chart climber he has had is probably "All This Time" from his grim and atmospheric "Soul Cages" album from 1991 dedicated to his late father. "All This Time" hit number one (as some might argue), but only on the Modern Rock charts. not exactly the cross-format charts that truly merit the greatness he has always been worthy of.

Sting represents for me a classic example of a band leader who does everything that matters on paper: he wrote the biggest songs, he is the official "voice" of the band as their main vocalist, the outspoken of the three, and is quite obviously the most charmismatic of them all. So why did he not hit the heights of his band considering his more than pivotal roles in it? couldn't he have just picked up from where he left off? Keep writing good songs (which he did), keep singing (which he did), keep being outspoken (which he still is), and... everything else... So why DIDN'T he hit the heights of his Police days?

the answer is CHEMISTRY. sometimes, even if one has all the ingredients one supposedly needs, one would still need that melding of energy that brings the best ideas to life. sort of like that jolt of electricity one needs to restart a brain.

the band split up due to ego disputes. particularly between the erstwhile leader steward copeland, who formed the band in the first place, and of course, sting, arguably the most powerful creative force and personality within the band, who eventual emerged as the leader as far as the public was concerned.

thing is, the chemistry and creative balance accorded by the rest of band helped bring Sting's ideas to a level he couldn't do alone. he had all the so-called"raw material", but the band gave him the kitchen that cooked everything to perfection. This applies to every other endeavor in almost any industry.

in hindsight, having had the business partners i did way back, i was able to engage in a lot of other things creatively speaking, while other tasks were handled and led by partners who gave more time and energy to them. And yes, we did well. Well enough for me to think that i didn't need them. i was wrong.

i didn't need them to survive, that much i can say is true. but to fly to the heights that we did back then, i needed them then. and if only ego allowed, i needed them still.

but much time has passed. and unlike Sting, there are no Grammy Awards and no passionate fans clammoring for our reunion. the egos remain, too.

and i suppose i need my ego more.

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