Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
Stewart Copeland bonus Q&A: There's 'a 3% chance' The Police will reunite. 'We drive each other crazy!'
0 Comments

Stewart Copeland bonus Q&A: There's 'a 3% chance' The Police will reunite. 'We drive each other crazy!'

  • Updated
  • 0
{{featured_button_text}}
Five-time Grammy winners The Police, reuniting singer Sting, drummer Stewart Copeland and guitarist Andy Summers wave after performing at the 49th Grammy Awards in Los Angeles on February 11, 2007.

Five-time Grammy winners The Police, reuniting singer Sting (left), drummer Stewart Copeland (center) and guitarist Andy Summers wave after performing at the 49th Grammy Awards in Los Angeles on February 11, 2007. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images/TNS)

Former Police drummer Stewart Copeland is understandably excited about his "Police Deranged for Orchestra." He premiered it Friday with the San Diego Symphony and some handpicked rock music veterans at the symphony's $85 million new venue, Rady Shell at Jacobs Park.

To do justice to the ever-quotable musician, here is a bonus Q&A from our recent Zoom conversation. He spoke from his longtime Los Angeles home.

Q: You'll be performing a bunch of Police songs on your "Police Deranged for Orchestra" tour. The Police broke up in 1984, did a reunion tour in 2007 and 2008, and that was it for you, Sting and Andy Summers. What are the chances of another Police reunion?

A: I'm an eternal optimist: I'd give it a 3% chance.

Q: Only 3%?

A: (laughs) Yeah, not very high. There's no reason not to, but at moment we're having a great time doing what we're doing (individually). And The Police is not easy for us. We get the thrill with the power of those songs, but they pick up emotional baggage with the passing of time.

On our reunion tour, the most amazing thing was the emotion coming from the audience. But getting to that place in rehearsals was difficult. We weren't the same players we were (in the 1970s and '80s). We're not as co-dependent as we were before, and we developed different musical lives, so music has different purposes for us now.

We get along fine socially, but musically we drive each other a little crazy. When we are on stage and we are validated by the audience, then it's like: "Okay, okay, okay. This is good." But in rehearsal, we drive each other crazy!

Q: A few years ago I interviewed Stanley Clarke for a Jazz Times cover story. He told me about a Return To Forever tour of the U.S. that took place around 1973 or '74 and included Joan Armatrading as the opening act. Stanley recalled that you were Joan's tour manager and that you asked (Return To Forever drummer) Lenny White if you could play his drums each day, after Return To Forever's soundcheck was over. Lenny cautiously agreed.

A: (Laughs) Lenny told me: "Yes, as long as you don't use the (bass) drum pedal and cymbals." It was like: "You can borrow my car, but I won't give you the keys!" Years later I met Lenny again, and told him about that. And he said: "You're that guy!" Apparently, that was a favorite anecdote for Return To Forever.

Q: Joan Armatrading wasn't your only tour managing gig, was it?

A: I tour managed for Joan, Renaissance and Curved Air before I became the band's drummer. But the Lenny story is pre-Curved Air. I did that tour for three months across America, ending up in San Francisco. She went back to England and I went to UC Berkeley; I was still in college. After leaving Berkeley and before I joined Curved Air, I was a roadie for Wishbone Ash, Climax Blues Band and Curved Air before I joined it.

So, basically, I'm a glorified roadie!

Q: Did your background as a tour manager and roadie help you in the early days of The Police?

A: Absolutely, particularly in 1976 and '77 when all those English punk bands were genuinely punk. They would get booked to play at Rebecca's (nightclub) in Birmingham, but had no idea how to get there! As a result, The Police would get a lot of cancellation gigs filling in for other bands. I knew how to get a truck and I knew how to get our band to a gig. There were only three of us.

The other secret sauce was what I learned at UC Berkeley. The music I learned in San Diego became very useful later in my life. But at Berkeley, I couldn't get in the music department. So I studied public policy and learned how the media works and how to manipulate the zeitgeist. That was very helpful for The Police!

———

0 Comments

Stay up-to-date on what's happening

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

Breaking News

News Alerts