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January 4, 2024 90 mins

Drummer for the Police. And more.

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Speaker 1 (00:08):
Welcome, welcome, Welcome back to the Bob Left Sets podcast.
My guest today is drummer and composer Stuart Copeland, who
has a new book, Police Diaries. Why a book? Why now, Stuart?

Speaker 2 (00:23):
Well, these diaries have been sitting in my drawer right here.
And I did a book before of all my adventures
after the police, and I discovered something very surprising, shocking
in fact, that nobody could care less about my life
after the police, no matter how amazing the adventures that
I had with royalty, with fine arts, with world travel,

you know, arrested a night in jail and Zaire who cares.

Speaker 1 (00:52):
Way wait wait wait wait, wait wait wait, stop for
a second, tell us about being arrested and spending a
night in jail and Zayir Well, I was.

Speaker 2 (01:00):
Making a movie, a documentary and kind of on a
shoe string budget, crossing Africa looking for the origins of
American music. And by the way, I was looking in
the wrong place. The origins of American music are New Orleans, Louisiana.
That's a whole nother rant about the origins of America's
most important and significant artistic and cultural feature. Another rant. Anyhow,

I'm there crossing Africa, and I pull into Kinshasa and
on my way across the Congo River into Brazaville and
I get out of Kinshasa just fine hit Brazaville and
the guy says, you haven't got a Zaire and entry
or exit visa, and that's a problem. And I was

with my director J. P. Douta, who is like the
genuine article Indiana Jones, man of the Jungle, and he
would not reach into his pocket give the guy ten bucks,
you know. Anyhow, they put us on a boat back
over to Zaire, back across the crocodile and fested, fast

flowing Congo River that separates these two halves of Congo.
And we got back to Kinshasa and a guy's there
and he's surrounded by people and everybody's you know, there's
not like a line or stand behind. Everybody's there throwing
their passports in his face, trying to get his attention.
And he plucks one, looks at it, Ah, that's a problem,
hands it back and he sees, you know, us two there,

the American and the Belgian, and he looks at them
and my, my, my, Indiana. Joe's started to get a
little heated and disrespectful even and so suddenly many have
like that. Suddenly weird dancing cheek to cheek with the
men with guns and they're frog marching us out of
the building and handcuffing us to a bench and where

we go, oh, well this is a fine how do
you do? Uh? And the waves of humanity and we're
watching boats come down the Congo River and pulling up
the port where they pull the convicts off. I'm digressing
a little bit here, stop me when you're bored anyhow.

Speaker 1 (03:07):
Well you get in jail, how long you're in jail?
And how do you get out?

Speaker 2 (03:13):
Okay? Overnight? Uh? You know, we're chained to the bench
and this is all going on eventually, you know, the
sun goes down and it's getting evening and changing the
guard and have we been forgotten or what? And I
can hear this music coming out of the guardhouse and
I sort of put my note hello, uh beau soir

uh new song e? See hello? And the guy pokes
his head obviously a different guy. What are you? What
are you doing here? Kind of thing? Is it? Well,
it's all a big mistaken Oh never mind. They took
us and they took us into a building, kind of
a building shed. I couldn't even give it the dignity

of being a proper prison, you know, but they locked
us up for the night man a few hours later,
and we saw one white guy go by. You know,
when you're in Africa, you one thing that strikes you
about Africa. There are no black people. There are old people,
young people, tall people, fat people, skinny people, colorful, rich, poor, whatever.

The blackness just you don't see that anymore until you're
in that situation. One white guy goes by, you see
one white person, and that person saw us and notified
the Belgian ambassador and who showed up with beer for
the guards and cool things out. We had to spend
the night because Ahab is going to be back in

the morning and we don't want to mess with you know. Hey, yeah,
it was sort of bribery. Took care of it next morning.
Oh sorry about a little misunderstanding. We were back of
the boat up to over the bridge, to over the
river to Brazzaville and spend the next couple of weeks
in the northern jungles of the Congo up there on
the Olesso River with the.

Speaker 1 (04:57):
Pygmies, Okay, so this book, did you This isn't in.

Speaker 2 (05:02):
The book I wrote? Then nobody could care less about
this book. The book that we're talking about is groveling
in London as starving musicians going nowhere. And this is
the hungry years when we started to achieve success. You know,
one arena, one state. They all look alike after a while.

But that hungry part, when we were in London with
no hits, no credibility, that's the interesting part of the story.

Speaker 1 (05:30):
Let's go back to the beginning. Your father was in
the CIA? Did you know that?

Speaker 2 (05:36):
I assumed it everyone in Beyroot Lebanon if their dad
wasn't in the CIA or a spy of some kind.
The kids were bragging on that they were, you know,
and so it was sort of what bay Root is
all about. It was kind of a nexus of espionage
and intrigue in the Middle East. It was a power

place and everybody's dad was a spot. Isn't yours? And
one day my brother Miles comes home from schools is dad,
are you a spine? To which our father replied, who
wants to know?

Speaker 1 (06:13):
What was his cover?

Speaker 2 (06:15):
Cultural at And it was noticed by some that the
cultural attache had it as basically what I could see
of what it looks like is cocktail parties, socializing. And
at these soires thrown by my parents, my very sophisticated
mother and my fast talking father, there were playwrights and

poets and such an interesting number of men in uniform
for some reason. Amongst the poets and playwrights and tenor singers,
and the deal was is there there were cultivating and
grooming colonels who might one day be useful.

Speaker 1 (06:59):
Okay, it was billed Beyroot as the Paris of the
mid East. It ultimately got bobbed out, never recover. What
was it like when you lived there.

Speaker 2 (07:09):
Well, we felt under privileged. We didn't have TV. In fact,
TV did arrive while we were there. I was in
they rooted for ten years, and before that entire I
left America when I was two months old and didn't
get back till I was eighteen. So in Beirut, when
TV arrived in black and white, suddenly there were you know,

Bayot Skyline had TV antennas everywhere, but the shows were
in Arabic and French, or in American shows the Virginian
Bonanza and such dubbed into Arabic and or French with
subtitles not in English. And so I grew up on
all these American classic shows in Arabic. And the first

time I heard Bonanza in English, oh man, those voices
are all wrong. You know. Has has a high, squeak voice,
whereas in Arabic he had this low southern Lebanese Palestinian
kind of voice. It was much more, you know, guttural,
and much you know, went with that big physical statue
that he had.

Speaker 1 (08:12):
Okay, so TV comes along, are you therefore addicted because
it's a new thing. Just watch an occasional program.

Speaker 2 (08:20):
Well, they only had the occasional program. It wasn't like
you can watch TV all day now. And by the way,
the first television in our household was from our maid,
our nurse maid, you know, in what was then called
the Third World, because they weren't with the Ruskies and
they went with us during the Cold War, there were
the people who were unaligned in that part of the world.

A diplomat's salary could go a very very long way.
So we lived like naybobs. We had a chauffeur, gardeners, cooks, nannies,
maids and so on. But the main name Soriat, who
was alsoinion. She what she got a television and would
let us watch it if we were good boys and girls.

So the only discipline that was imposed on the Copeland
brats was by Soriah using her television, and we would
be good boys and girls for the duration of the
Virginian We didn't realize the value of it until later,
looking back at the time, we felt underprivileged over in America.
You know, we were in an American community school, the
American Community School, and people we knew vaguely that over

on the other side of lands and oceans is this
shining light on a hill where everything is new, modern
and clean. But so we aspired to America and we
dreamed of it being tried to be as American as
we could be, even though we were all a long
way from home.

Speaker 1 (09:49):
Okay, would you go back and visit or you were
just there for the duration?

Speaker 2 (09:54):
I would I have been back to visit the.

Speaker 1 (09:57):
Reverse when you were living in Cairo, When you're living
in Lebanon, did you come back to the US or
did you stay in Europe in the Middle East.

Speaker 2 (10:05):
There was one trip that we made back to Woodside.
You know, basically I was born in a suburb of
the Cia Woodside, Alexandria, Virginia, and but just young enough
that I could barely remember it. But no, the rest
of the time I was there. After Beirut, I went
to boarding school in England AND's Darkest Somerset until until

I hit eighteen, actually nineteen, when I got my draft number,
which was two hundred and eighty six or something, which
meant that I was safe. I was on the next
plane over to pick up my college education in California.

Speaker 1 (10:43):
Okay, So how old were you when you left Lebanon?

Speaker 2 (10:48):
Left Lebanon at fourteen?

Speaker 1 (10:51):
Okay, So what's the status of the Beatles in music
when you're in Lebanon?

Speaker 2 (10:57):
Huge? They landed at Bayroot Airport and I have footage.
I don't know where this footage came from, but somebody
got it and sent it to me of my brother
in a Beatles wig at the Bayroot airport along with
his girlfriend, her sister and all their friends, squealing at
the Beatles who arrived on the tarmac, came out of

the thing kind of waved from the from the airplane
doorway the top of the stairs, and they had one
wrong beetle amongst them. I'll have to check the history books,
but apparently they did a tour of the Far East
or somewhere with either John or Paul missing and some
kind of replacement which is weird, which I've never read

about anywhere else. But there's one wrong beatle amongst them,
and they were on their way and just stopped off.
You know, the plane stopped. They didn't get off the plane,
but it flew through. That was a big event.

Speaker 1 (11:53):
Okay, So when did you start being exposed to music?

Speaker 2 (11:57):
Well, my father was a jazz player and he played
trumpet until the World War broke out and he joined
the military and became an intelligence and so on. But
my I am the youngest of four. My father filled
the house with musical instruments. There was a big grand piano,
there was guitars, there was you know, he got me
started on a trombone, and then I discovered hitting a drum.

Now this was dramatic because I was a late developer,
and uh.

Speaker 1 (12:28):
What do you mean you were a laid developer.

Speaker 2 (12:31):
I was the run of the litter. Everyone else, my agent,
at the age of twelve, was beginning to shave, and uh,
you know, their voices were dropping and you know, they're
suddenly becoming men. And I was still a squeaky little kid.

Speaker 1 (12:47):
So how was that emotionally?

Speaker 2 (12:49):
Well, I was squeaky. I was the youngest of the siblings,
which meant that I was kind of behind anyway. But
even in my age group at school, somehow I was
a little bit small or less grown up. Then I
got on a drum set and suddenly, within a heartbeat,

I am an eight hundred pounds silver back motherfucker swinging
through the trees. Kiss my ass, And that, just like
the power of the drums just suddenly gave me what
I had been lacking. Fuck shaving. I got this drum
that I can scare people with.

Speaker 1 (13:29):
And do you ever take any drum lessons?

Speaker 2 (13:31):
Yes, my father as soon as he spotted that. You know,
any parent can look at their children and you know,
give them music lessons a song. And the clue is
that if you have to say, uh, Susan, I think
it's time for your piano practice, forget, you're wasting your time.
If it's Susan, will you just shut up for a minute. Okay, there,

you got a musician in the family, and I was
that kid. As soon as I got a snare drum
and I'm banging on morning, day through the night and
will not shut up. Then my dad, to make matters worse,
got me the rest of the drum set, and I
would not shut up on that. And my brother Ian,

who was my agent when I was twelve, still was
my agent fifty years later and got me into a band,
the Black Knights, And we played the High We played
the American Community School, we played Manor House, the British School,
we played the British Embassy, Beach Club and other illustrious

venues across Bay Route.

Speaker 1 (14:41):
And what did you play?

Speaker 2 (14:44):
We played kink songs, We got to get animals, We
got to get out of this place. House of the
Rising Sun James Brown. In fact, I still have the
cold shakes that one song, feel Good Dead, like I
knew that I would. Okay, I'm getting nervous. That's coming
up there. Jet dun dun dun dun dun dun dun

dun dun dun dundun. How many duns are there? And
I lie awake at night even now trying to count
them out. But when I was twelve, that was the
moment of terror in the in the set.

Speaker 1 (15:18):
What was the brand of your first set.

Speaker 2 (15:21):
Uh? It was le Fema uh And I had I
know that because I had the snare je on my
cap for a long time. The rest of the drums
were rented, so but the le Fema was mine. My
father had already invested in lots of musical instruments, which
didn't take with my older siblings, so he just rented

me a drum set until he was sure that, okay,
this ain't going away, Stuart, would you please stop for
a second. And that was when I got to London,
and that drum set was a premiere baby blue pearl
drum set.

Speaker 1 (15:57):
What brand do you play now?

Speaker 2 (15:59):
I played Tama drums at a certain point. My first
my first professional record company bought drum set, which was
a big double Ludwig Perspect's Vistaite monstrosity. Was so cool.
It didn't sound that great, But I was making ends
meet in those days by reviewing equipment for music magazines,

and one of the things that I reviewed was these
Japanese drums. Now we're talking nineteen seventy six and nineteen
seventy six, Japanese meant cheap. Now it means extremely high tech,
high quality, you know, advanced engineering. But that was the
day of the Japanese knockoff. But these Japanese drums, Tama drums,

were not knockoffs. They were not like Ludwig Drums or
Rogers or Premiere or any of these American or English brands.
They were bigger, stronger, higher tech, better material bills, better sounding,
just superior in every imaginable way. And so I'm reviewing
these drums for Sounds magazine and I thought, I want

to get me some of these. And I at that time,
I was playing in Curved Air, which is a prog
rock band that had been successful years before I joined.
I was one of the last rats to jump aboard
the sinking ship, and I used this credibility to contact
the importer and say, hey, look, I'm with this big
band and I might be inclined to use your Tama

drums that you're importing there. And here's the review, and
here's all these reviews of the band of how big
they were before I joined, and hornswoggled the drum set
out of them, and I got this drum set and
it showed up and at my first sound check with
Curved Air with these drums, I pulled them out in
the stage and the sound engineer comes running down saying,
oh man, you got to keep these junk get rid

of those love pigs. Oh man, this you can't imagine
how much better these sounds. Please please throw away those
ludwigs and play these Japanese drums. And so I've now
been playing them for I think it's almost fifty years.

Speaker 1 (18:10):
And have you tried any other brands at this point?

Speaker 2 (18:13):
Yeah, kind of, Well, I got buddies who play other drums.
But you know, last time, I think at the forty
year mark, they persuaded Tom have persuaded me to go
down there and give a speech at the Non Music
Equipment convention, And okay, so I went down There was
a very short speech actually, but I thought kind of
hit the point, ladies and gentlemen, forty years thank you.

Any questions?

Speaker 1 (18:39):
How many drums do you own today?

Speaker 2 (18:43):
Shall we spend a moment counting them? No?

Speaker 1 (18:46):
Well this is audio only, Steward, So you got to describe.

Speaker 2 (18:50):
Okay, just standing here from the microphone here visible right now,
I got one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen.
I think that's a drum. You'd probably call that a drum.
Sixteen seventeen timpany. I got two timpany that we'll call
those drums, even though Timpany players would never call themselves percussionists.

They're timputtists. But I will count those two timpanies to jo. Okay,
where was I twenty seventeen? Many? That's how many drums
I have. Many.

Speaker 1 (19:30):
Let's go back to boarding school, everybody. I know what
the English boarding school has a bad tale to tell?
Was it culture shock? What was it like leaving Lebanon
going to boarding school in England?

Speaker 2 (19:43):
I enjoyed it. It was a great school actually, and
I know that's weird. You're not supposed to enjoy school,
but I did. And I was the American kid, But
that's okay, uh. I enjoyed it. It was way out
in Somerset, and I had a group of friends and
kind of enjoyed boarding school. It's co ed and it

had an amazing sports program that had horses. I was
able to. I learned how to ride horses. Never saw
that coming, and I became quite devoted to horses, and
I still am, although I don't I traded all my
horses and for children, but I played polo there, which
came in handy when I was a rock star in
the countryside.

Speaker 1 (20:28):
Okay, And were you playing in bands in boarding school?

Speaker 2 (20:32):
Kind of sort of like we'd get together and give
her think up a cool name for the band and
learn how to play Proud Mary. And the school wasn't hiring,
so we didn't play any gigs and we'd have to
hornswoggle somewhere to congregate to play when we'd get complaints
about the noise. I didn't last. I didn't start. I

played in bands in Bay Route when I was twelve.
But you know, in a way, when I came back
to this, you know, the first world, if you like,
I regressed my life. I went back to being a
twelve thirteen, fourteen fifteen, however old I was, whereas in
buried I was master of the universe. My brother, who
was a couple of years older, was stealing motorcycles and

we were you know, it was great coming back to
the world where you're not allowed to cross the street
without a until a machine tells you it's okay, and
if you're busting for a leak, you can't just like
pull behind a bush and unzip all kinds of constraints
on free life, you know, sidewalks or an imposition. And

so I felt kind of constrained by the civilized, developed world,
but somehow managed to acclimate.

Speaker 1 (21:45):
And you obviously speak English, and it's interesting without an accent,
never having grown up in the US. But do you
also speak.

Speaker 2 (21:53):
When I first got to England, I didn't realize that
half the words in my vocabulary were not English, because
everybody in cities like that, well we spoke Araba, franglaise,
which is Arabic, French and English. And I didn't know
that half the words were Arabic. And I got teased
about that a little bit. And well, by being the

American kid, that made me strangely very patriotic. As a
matter of fact. God, now, yes I am American, kiss
my ass.

Speaker 1 (22:24):
And you're in boarding school with the boys. What about
the girls?

Speaker 2 (22:28):
Oh there were girls.

Speaker 1 (22:29):
It was co ed.

Speaker 2 (22:30):
Oh really, Oh yeah, yeah. It was a very advanced
modern boarding school. It was it was a kind of
a new concept at the time. It was like the
New Age. It was a new version of boarding school.
It wasn't Eton and Harrow and Stowe and Rugby. It
was the new face of education and It had a

very It had a robin hood policy where Elizabeth Taylor's
kids were there, and the potentates of Africa, the Saudi
princes were there, and they paid the bills while interesting kids,
which was I guess me, had a reduced rate, so
they had, you know, it was a very interesting student body.

And they poached sports stars from other schools, so we
had the top under twenty one tennis players and so on.
It was pretty cool concept of a school, but it
was not like the old fashioned boarding schools. It was
very modern education system and co ed right there. But

you know, the rules were if you know, a private
assignation would be you could get expelled for a private assignation,
which is just if you're alone in a room with
a member of the opposite sex.

Speaker 1 (23:45):
Well, that didn't need stop you did it. No, So
how did you end up going to college in the US?

Speaker 2 (23:53):
Well, at first I went to American College in England
because of the Vietnam War, and I was Draft board
one hundred, which means that Colorado and Arizona they have
a quota of how many eighteen year olds they had
to send to the army for the Vietnam War. The
draft no escape, whether you were a senator's son or

whatever you're going. And they had a lottery system where
every date of the year, three hundred and sixty five days,
every birthday, they're all thrown into a bat hat and
they pull them out one by one. You get a number. Okay,
January seventeenth, that's one, September fourteen that's two, and whatever, whatever,
And every birth date gets a number. And usually the

you know, in every state, Colorado would be drafting up
to you know, one hundred and fifty or something like that.
If you were below one hundred, you're getting drafted. Get
over it. And so I but draft Board one hundred,
which was expatriates Americans living abroad who turned eighteen outside
of America, that draft board had a quota of zero.

So as long as I stayed outside of America, I
was absolutely legally safe from the draft. At the minute
I set foot in America, I'd have to reregister in
whatever state that might be, and I was not prepared
to do that until I got my extremely high draft number,
which meant I was safe. So I showed up here
in California, Point Loma, San Diego, which turned out to

have the best surf on the West Coast, and all
my buddies were surfers in California. Here I come.

Speaker 1 (25:31):
So you went and graduated where Berkeley.

Speaker 2 (25:34):
I didn't graduate, though I went. I did four years
of college. In fact, I did four years in three
and a half years. And I was all ready to
come back next September to do underwater basket weaving, and
I had like three more credits to do. But as
I did every summer, I went back to London and
roadied for bands, and this time I went and played

in a band and it turned into a thing. And
suddenly I'm in a professional band touring Europe. And I
want to go back to Berkeley maybe next year or never.
And I never did make it back there.

Speaker 1 (26:06):
And would your parents say about that?

Speaker 2 (26:10):
Well, I was launched into life happening, that's the main thing.
And I didn't really give it any thought until years
later when I wrote to UC Berkeley and said, any
chance I could do those last couple of courses, just
to cross the T dot THEI. And they said, well,
that major doesn't exist anymore, and there's several other courses,

and no, you can't do a correspondence course from LA
you'd have to come up here and well, okay, I'll
a word myself a degree in life with my seven
kids and whatever I've small achievements I've made in a
life later for that, but I would like to go
back there and teach one day.

Speaker 1 (26:53):
Did your seven kids go to college?

Speaker 2 (26:56):
Yeah, well I'm graduated from UC Berkeley.

Speaker 1 (26:59):
Okay, So when you're there for three and a half years,
how involved are you in music? And are you playing
the drums? What's going on?

Speaker 2 (27:08):
Well? The United States International University, which had a campus
in England, one in Nairobi, another one in Mexico City,
Steamboat Springs, and put Loma, California with the best surf
on the West Coast. I was there for two years
and then and majoring in music. But then when I

went to Berkeley, you know, applied to Berkeley. In those days,
they had over capacity. It's hard for people to imagine now,
but I just notified them of the blessing of my
decision to attend their university, to which they had more
capacity than they had students. In that era, I was
at the end of the Baby boom, and all the
all the institutions were built for the Baby boom and

they were running out of babies by the time I
came along, so it was easy to get into college.
But so I go to the music school there and
they gave me a test and I failed that test
miserably because I'm not a penist. I was playing drums,
and I knew three chords on the guitar and was
dedicated to music and so on. But they declined me
at the music school, so I went and studied public

policy and communications, communications and public policy instead, And looking back,
I think if they had accepted me, I would probably
be the timpanist with the Ohio Symphony now. But since
they didn't, and the stuff that I needed to know
about being a musician I already knew from my first

All I needed was, you know, music theory, one oh one.
That's all you really need. The rest is God given.
It's talent, it's gift, it's imagination. And so what I
did learn was how media works, how promotion works, how
to communicate, you know, how to manipulate the zeitgeist, and

so that came in very handy. I could use all that.
That's what my career. Everyone else in that major, by
the way, was going to be a politician. Or in advertising.

Speaker 1 (29:06):
So did you play in bands in Berkeley?

Speaker 2 (29:09):
Yes, I did, you know, just jatting with people, not
playing show we you know, played the occasional kegger with buddies.
And in fact, one of my buddies in Berkeley. Uh,
did a recording. Got a lacker printed up two hundred
copies of an actual record designed the art himself, called
the Grand Zilch of Ozone, and released this record. Most

of them ended up moldering in his you know, garage. Uh.
But years later they were discovered and people have been
making it. This is like a lost relic, you know,
the Grand Zilch of Ozone, which is barely recognizable as music.
But yep, that's me on there banging stuff.

Speaker 1 (29:52):
Let's go back to your seven kids. You're a household
name in the music world. You certainly made money during
your life. How do you deal with kids and make
sure they have their own life? Or do you support them?
How do you wrestle with all that?

Speaker 2 (30:09):
Well, each one of them needs different wrestling and different
encouragement and different you know, different. They're all different. They
just come out of the box completely different. Even if
they grow up in the same environment, they're different. And
what works for the goose, does not work for the gander.
And so I don't have a single formula for how

to raise successful children. My father did, or rather, he
had all kinds of books on the subject, and he
was determined and it was kind of the beginnings of
pop psychology. And he had all these books lying around
the house, you know, how to raise a genius, and
ten Steps to Personal Power and all this cool stuff,
and I kind of absorb those. I don't know how

much use they were. But the kids just have found
their own destiny, and you do your best to encourage
what they're good at. And you know, like my father
did when he spotted that I could actually was interested in,
he just put every resource in my path to make

it happen. And of my seven, only one of them
was born with the actual handful of gifts that it
takes to be a musician. And of course he does
something else for a living. He runs a post production
facility that he invented.

Speaker 1 (31:27):
So if they're in their twenties and thirties and they
call you for money, what do you say.

Speaker 2 (31:33):
They haven't really, no, they're all gainfully employed. My youngest,
he just graduated a few years ago. From Northwestern and
she was offered, you know, a six figure salary straight
out of college as a wolf on Wall Street, kicking
aid and taking names, you know, all six foot tall

of her. And she doesn't need money. She's my retirement policy.

Speaker 1 (32:00):
Huh okay. So you're talking about your father and your brothers,
you're all very entrepreneurial. Where did that come from?

Speaker 2 (32:08):
Well, my father was not entrepreneurial at all. He was
good at skuld duggery and the social society, but no
kind of businessman really. Later on when he left government employee,
this is what all the agents would do. By the way,
they would work for Uncle Sam, get their credibility going.
Then they would take a job. They would quit and
take the same job. But now you're working for Aramco,

the oil companies, doing the same job, the same manipulation,
the same negotiating and navigating through the political wins of
the Middle East, you know, the same basically the same
job only but for oil companies. For Uncle Sam, they
make a load of money. Then they go back to

work for Uncle Sam again where they make less money,
but would get in with who decision makers are within
the American as system. And he did that. He was
mostly private. By the time I was in my teens
and saw what he was doing. He ended up in
England as a talking head. Whenever there'd be a flare

up in the Middle East, they'd call Old Miles Copeland
and say, well, what do you think? Well, and he
didn't care about what was happening. He just wanted to
throw bombs and he would he would have some formulation
that would just get the most tongues wagging and the
most glorious outrage inspired. You know.

Speaker 1 (33:30):
Okay, so was your father inherently your reverend?

Speaker 2 (33:34):
Yes, one time there was a huha in England about
the American embassy. Was somebody American was caught spying on England,
on our other friends. Okay, can you believe it? America
is spying on its own friends? And so they get
Old Miles Copeland on the screen to ask him, is
this true? Could this be true that the American is

spying on England? He says, of course it's true. What
do you think You're some third world country that nobody cares.
You're one of our most important allies. Of course we're
spying on you. By the way, you're not spying on us.
Call your MP he loved that stuff.

Speaker 1 (34:10):
But go back to you. Why why are the three
of you so entrepreneurial. There must be something in the
water or something, the upbringing.

Speaker 2 (34:17):
Hunger, greed, materialism, you know, usual stuff. I'm not. I'm
not I'm not not an entrepreneur at all. I just
bang stuff. I like to make music.

Speaker 1 (34:28):
Yeah, but for me, so you're the drummer. The drummer
is always the business guy. Yeah, you learned the band.

Speaker 2 (34:35):
Yeah, that's because you can't send the singer in to
collect from the club owner. You know, you want the
band to get paid, you send in the drummer with
his knuckles dragging. Give us money now.

Speaker 1 (34:49):
Okay, So during the summer when you're in college, you're
going to the UK and you're roadying. Tell us about that.

Speaker 2 (34:56):
Well, I would roady for bands that Miles managed or
Ian was the agent of, and like Wishbone Ash. You know,
you show me a back line drum set and three
amps and I can you know an afford transit van.
I'll get that sucker loaded right up in a heartbeat.
You know I've got all the skill. Basically, I'm a

glorified roady, very proud of my roadying skills. Even today
in my studio, I do all my own wiring and
everything because I'm a gearhead like that. And then I
started tour managing, and I tour managed Joe Armor Trading
across America for three months.

Speaker 1 (35:33):
You know, not everybody is as sophisticated as we are.
Tell us what a tour manager does.

Speaker 2 (35:39):
The tour manager gets the artist out of the hotel
into the bus, out of the bus, onto the stage,
off the stage, back into the bus, out of the bus,
back into the hotel, in whatever condition. And that's the job.
The roadie has the same job, but not for the artist,
for the gear gets the gear out of the truck,

onto the stage, sets it up, off the stage, back
into the truck. Much simpler job.

Speaker 1 (36:08):
But as little sleep as the musicians get. Traditionally, the
tour manager gets even less.

Speaker 2 (36:14):
Yeah, and it's a trap many tour managers. You know,
high attrition rate on tour managers because they're right next
to the artists, and the artists can go to bed trashed,
wake up at three o'clock in the afternoon in time
to stagger on stage and be brilliant for an hour
and a half and then stagger back off stage, the

tour manager is living along that, and many think that
they too can live like that and be drinking and
carousing till late. And you know, no, they've got to
be They've got to be up talk, you know, talking
to New York at nine o'clock in the morning, and
they got to be booking those flights, and they got
to be making you know, they got plates in the

air to deal with. And many a tour manager forgets
that they are not a talent can go and live
their dissolute lifestyle. Term managers got to get up in
the morning.

Speaker 1 (37:05):
Okay, So you spend three and a half years in Berkeley,
you come to the UK and then you get in
a band. How does that happen?

Speaker 2 (37:16):
The band in question was a violin player named Daryl
Way who was starting a new band. And I came
over and we jammed and hey, let's do a band.
And we got a band together. We played a couple
of shows. We were called Stark Naked and the car Thieves,
which was my brother Ian's Vietnam band. Cool name, and

so we were just about to hit the big time,
or we thought we were. When curved Air, his previous band,
had a tax bill and so they figured, okay, well
they would the band would reunite for one tour to
pay off their tax bill and that would be that.
And okay, well that's me back on the street. Okay,

well wait a minute. I pull out my briefcase and
appointed myself tour manager of Curved Air, which I was,
and I was tour manager for a little while. But
the tour was a big success. The audiences raved, the
you know, the reviews were great. It was all wonderfulness.
But two of the guys, including the drummer, decided to
go back to their lives and didn't want to carry on,

which left the band in need of a drummer. I
know a guy, and so did their leader, the violin player,
and so I became. I went from being the tour
manager of Curved Air to being the drummer in Curved
Air and as I did many times in my life,
going from behind the camera to in front of the
camera and then back behind the camera and back and forth.

Speaker 1 (38:40):
Okay, when was the dream, if ever to be a
successful musician?

Speaker 2 (38:47):
Remember that story of meeting twelve Yeah, and it was
Jane McRoberts, all fifteen years old of her and at
the British Embassy Beach Club, and I'm playing we got
to get out out of this place or whatever, and
she and I'm twelve and she's fifteen, and she's dancing
to my beat. And I'm thinking, oh, Lord, thank you

for this gift that I can induce this fifteen year
old goddess to be grooving to my beat.

Speaker 1 (39:16):
Where is she today?

Speaker 2 (39:17):
She's in Arizona. Actually, you know, we kept in touch
like every ten years or something. She's got four kids
and you know whatever. Whatever, he's probably a grandmother by now.

Speaker 1 (39:30):
Okay, so you get bidden by the bug. But there's
a lot of diversion. You go to boarding school, you
don't play out in band. You go to Berkeley, you
don't play out in bands. You're roady.

Speaker 2 (39:39):
Wait a minute, Wait a minute, there's one one other,
one other epiphany there that I sense where you're going
with this here. Yes, and I may be wrong, but
there was another epiphany. The music part, not just the
banging stuff part, not just the eight hundred pounds silver
back part, not just the power rush, not just the
sex of inspiring a young girl to move in a

sexually suggestive mat which music does, by the way, only
music is the only art form which usurps motor control
of your body and makes it perfectly okay for you
to thrust your pudenda in public. Anyhow, it turned out
that there was more to music than that which you
would think would be enough. But in boarding school, the Sunday,

the Christmas service every year was in Wells Cathedral, this
gigantic Gothic cathedral. Actually it's two cathedrals stuck together, huge,
beautiful with a stained glass winter and everything. And the
Christmas service is a thousand students, parents, teachers, voices raised
and Christmas carols and the you know in the and

acchoir and the huge organ church organ. I mean that
is a musical thing. And I'm in the orchestra school orchestra.
But I only had one song to play, which was
Drummer Boy or something Dun dut dun dune, Dun dun
dun dune Da da da dun dune you know that one? Uh?

Speaker 1 (41:05):
That was my only little drummer voice.

Speaker 2 (41:07):
Sure, yeah, uh. And so I was a nervous, twitchy
kid and mister Fox, you know, annoyed with me, just
rattling and you know, waiting for my moment could then
go there and he kicked me out of the You know,
the church is the long part is full of the
thousand voices raised in song. One of the wings of
the cross is the band, the orchestra. That's me uh.

And the other huge part of the church was another cathedral,
stuck two together, and so I was banished alone to
that other part, flood lit from the outside with the
stained glass windows in a thousand voices raised in song,
the beautiful Christmas carols. That just oh, just the heart

soaring with the you know, I'm right now, I'm sixteen,
and I can't even absorb this amount of aesthetic excellence,
this beauty, this emotion, this power. Oh I'm not religious remotely,
but man, just lit up by that music and the
visuals and everything alone in that thing that was. That

was a moment. Then came the time, Okay, I'm called
back to the stage and okay, we're playing that song now,
Copeland to your station, and I'm there and I'm just
in the still, you know, after the last hymn, the
echo echoing through the cathedral and you can hear people
straining in their seats waiting for the next wave of

the Shaman's wand and that shaman is me and I
raising my stick and mister Fox is looking at me,
and it comes down dun dundune, and the thing builds
and I'm the helmsman of this gigantic ship of music. Ah.

I still get the chills today thinking about how fried
my little brain was by that moment and that stuck
and through all the rock and roll, all the good times,
all the hanging around, that depth of the power of
music is something I still take very seriously.

Speaker 1 (43:21):
Okay, so you're in curved air the drummer, how does
that play out?

Speaker 2 (43:27):
Well, it was a time of change. We were the
end of the hippie boom. I was two years too
young to be a real hippie. It was rancid by then.
You know, the waves had washed and we were swirling
in the subs on the back side and it was
kind of over. But I was playing in this prog
rock group and it was doing okay, but it was

kind of you know, the music industry was a locked door.
And then suddenly one of the sex pistols on national
TV said fuck, and the tabloid newspapers erupted in glorious
fury of absolute exaltation, of rage, and thus was born

the sex Pistols and the punk revolution. New you know,
short hair not long hair, sniffing, glue not smoking pot,
hate and war rather than love and peace. It was
a whole new hairdoo, same music, by the way, same
EA and D chords on guitar, bass and drums, not
a little faster okay, and the lyrics are mostly shouted

rather than sunk, and there shall be no guitar solos.
But it was a new order, a new world. And
these clubs started opening up in London, new bands. All
the old media radio one who could care what's getting airplay,
It's what's happening in the clubs. And that's where the
Police was born. In that world. I decided I wanted
a band in that world, and so I needed to

find me a guitarist and a bass player, one of
whom needs to sing.

Speaker 1 (44:58):
Okay, before you get the people say don't quit your
job until you have another one. You're in curve there
and you say, fuck, this is going to end. I
got to get a new thing, or does it end?
And then you say, well I got to get a
new thing.

Speaker 2 (45:12):
Well they both happened, they overlapped. I don't my diaries
don't tell what happened. There's the last Curved Air date,
which is whatever it was, and then no further mention
of Curved Air. I was already dabbling with this new
band of mine, and I don't even recall, I don't

make any mention in my diary of the Curved Air's demise.
I think it was an We didn't break up, it
was just there weren't any more dates. And you know,
without us even knowing it, we all kind of had
jumped ship where the ship had vanished under our feet. Anyhow,
I was on a new mission with my new band,
the Police.

Speaker 1 (45:54):
Okay, but you need money. What are you living on?

Speaker 2 (45:57):
I had money saved up from Curved Air, which I
was able to stretch a long way. Uh. And also
I did sessions. I did a journalism on the side,
reviewing equipment and just made ends meet. And then when
then when I met Sting, when he moved down to London,

and he was a complete stranger. Long story, you'll have
to read the book. He calls me up from a
phone booth, doown So.

Speaker 1 (46:24):
Wait, wait, wait, let's go way way way way back
before Curve Deer ends. Are you the guy who's in
the clubs every night? Are you making this like a
science project? Let me find out everything about this scene.

Speaker 2 (46:35):
Yes, yes, absolutely, But Curved There is still going and
I'm already scheming that I want to do it yourself
banned this thing because Curvedir everything we did put us
deeper in debt to the man. We do a photo
session where you know, comes off the top, We do
a gig, costs money. We got three roadies, light show pa,

all this stuff going on, and we never saw the
money them. All money all went to the bosses and
we got a salary, and I was done with that.
I wanted our own band, you know, where I'm in
charge of the money and what gets spent. Of course
there wasn't any money to spend, but I was going
to do the spending my goddamn self. And so I

was already hatching this scheme. And one night Curved Air
was had a night off in Newcastle and the local
journalist Phil Suckcliffe took us to see the local hot
cool jazz band which is called Last Exit, and they
had rather a useful looking bass player whom I need
a base either. The guitarist basically needs to sing and

there's a guy playing pretty big, good bass and he's
singing too. Check and let's check. Yep, he's got an amp.
Very important, but better than any of that was the
obvious charisma of the guy, just this charisma flashing out
of every pore. And I looked at that guy and
I said, now there is a meal ticket. And so

a few weeks later I called that that journalist and said, hey,
you know, philk, can you give me that guy and
the last Mexican, the bass player, can you give me
a number? And I start telling you about this cool
new thing happening in London, this punk thing, and you know,
it's all great, would say. But as soon as the
word punk came out of my mouth, this is from me,
I was sort of and I could sense the temperature
had dropped thirty degrees. And he said, no, I'm not

giving you his number. You're gonna lure the you know,
the star of our finest art band down to the
pit of Satan in London for a punk Are you kidding?
You know, because for anybody who had a job, any
adult in the music industry or entertainment, for them, punk
was the Antichrist. It was the barbarians at the gate.

It was the destruction of everything that is beautiful and
sacred and pure, and you know the very mentioned would
cause fistfights, you know. And so he wouldn't give me
the number. I hung up, and I'm kind of well,
what's the matter with that guy? And then walking around
in sirt will find me. I thought of a much

more persuasive h tank on it, you know, much better
persuasion for Phil, you know, and I call him back up.
You know, basically I was going to say, give me
a fucking number. Okay, uh, you know, I would have
thought that would be much more persuasive. But he didn't
pick up. His girlfriend did, and oh, hello, hi Stewart,

I'm in curved Aaron, I was, you know, I was
talking to Phil, and I says, is there anything I
can help you with the house? You know that bass
player in the last X Oh sting, Yeah, I'm looking
for his number? Hang on a tick and she goes
and gets Phil's phone booking seven four three, nine, one
eight five two.

Speaker 1 (49:50):
Any wait, just be did you make that up? Was
that the real number?

Speaker 2 (49:53):
Oh? You can call that today? He still picks up. Okay,
just kidding, Okay, the it's in the diary. It's in
the book. You can see it. Actually he had two
or three different numbers at the time. That was a
number of Newcastle, and he had a couple of different
numbers in London. And I'm several from you know anyway.

Speaker 1 (50:13):
Okay, so you got the number, then you call them.

Speaker 2 (50:16):
One minute later I hear that voice that we are
now also familiar with. Keep talking, and uh those two
words were very important. Keep talking. And because I started
out with I'm interested in you, not your band, I'm

down here in London getting something together. And are you
a free agent? Keep talking? Okay? Okay? So I kept talking,
and I bent his ears with my grandiose schemes and
convincing certitude, and basically spent the next two years talking happening.

We got a photo session, we got a review coming up,
we got gigs, we got you know, basic guy to
keep talking because when you know, when he got down
to London, everybody was after him. And and I look
back and I wonder how did I hold on? How
did the police survive with everything going on around? You know? Anyway,
I tell you how we survived and why, because a

few weeks later, my phone rings. It's me. I'm downstairs
in a phone booth. I can't even begin to For
some reason, singers all have husky voices. I guess because
sell all that singing they do. The speaking voice is
very kind of husky. And come on up. And he
comes up, and I put a bass in his hand,

and I get behind the drums and we start playing.
And oh my god, we surge high. We rock it
forth into the outer galaxies. We dig deep into the
bowels of the earth. We thrust forward like an invading army.
We were tracked and retreat into subtle, subtle poignance, and

just like everywhere we go, it rocks and it's cool,
and we are locked at that, you know, locked at
the groove. And it's what's called it's this, it's the
holy grail of all ensemble playing, which is called the pocket.
We had a pocket. We just had. He's a complete stranger,
this guy, he's a complete stranger standing in my house

and we're playing this cool stuff, which means this is
the You know, we knew that we were in the
right company, and we didn't have any songs. And for
the next two years we stuck it out. We didn't
have rocks in We didn't have message in a bottle.
We didn't have every breath you take. We hadn't didn't.
He didn't even know he could write songs. He was
a jazz player, used to playing bass while somebody else

takes the solo. He wasn't a songwriter yet. And besides,
I had told him that I had song Yeah, I
got we we got a band, and we got I
got the songs, and we got gates coming up. It's
all going on, and so, uh yeah, I had these
you could call them so more like basslines. Was shouting,

you know. The lyrics were like I hate the world,
the world hates me, and you know, basically you know,
standard issue punk rama because that's the only work it
was available, and uh, that's where we had to play,
and we had to wear the uniform and uh and
we'd had that incredible jam. And that night I took

him down to the Roxy Club, which is the opening
of the first proper punk club in London, and we
saw Generation X, which was Billie Idol in his band,
and and we're there looking to our left and to
our right, you know, thinking okay, these are the minnows
us sharks will devour. We're gonna eat everybody's lunch, and

we're still high off what we because we knew, just
the two of us playing together, we've got something rare here.
This is really cool. Uh. We knew that. Well, we
were arrogant, okay. Uh, And so we started. You know,
I introduced him to Henry, my guitarist, who could play
three chords that I taught him. But he had the

right black shades and the correctly upturned leather jacket collar. Uh.
And was a genuine punk, which neither Sting nor I
were genuine punks. But Henry was the real deal. And
so we uh, we were the police.

Speaker 1 (54:25):
And uh a little bit slower. First when he came
to you, he was already Sting. He already had that name.

Speaker 2 (54:33):
Yeah. The only person who calls him Gordon is Trudy.
And what she's calling him Gordon, I take cover.

Speaker 1 (54:42):
Okay. In the book, you constantly referred to him as Stingo.
Any particular reason you call him Stingo, Well, just.

Speaker 2 (54:49):
To make it mine. You know, he's my buddy. Well,
you know he calls me Stewie. You know, if I
can suffer that indignity, then he'll put up with whatever
I call him, that's a term of endearment.

Speaker 1 (55:02):
How long after you get your buddy the guitarist in
do you play out.

Speaker 2 (55:08):
Shows? Yeah? Well not long because arriving from America at
that time were a handful of American acts out of Queens,
New York, The Heartbreakers, Donny Thunder and the Heartbreakers, Blondie,
Wayne County and the Electric Chairs and won Cherry Vanilla,

and she brought her guitarist and her keyboard player and
was looking for a rhythm section. She figured she'd hire
a couple of guys in London, say were hotels and salaries,
and so I ran across them and offered our services
as the rhythm section and the opening act. And I
provided backline because I had the gear, and so she

got so sting and I were the bass player and
drummer in her band with her guitarist Louis Lapoort and
keyboard players. Zecha and the Police was the opening act
with Henry. We play our our eight songs in about
four minutes. We were fast and then come back on

the stage just Cherry Vanilla's been and they were really
good musicians. Actually, it was a good band. And once
again I'm surprised that. You know, Cherry's manager was trying
to steal sting as everyone else was, and I was
surprised that he stuck with me and Henry. And later
on one day we were doing sessions. We were the

happening rhythm section. That's how he paid the rent. And
in walks Andy Summers on this session, and he's really
way above us. He was you know, triple scale. You
know you'd pay somebody else, you pay Andy times three
and legendary player. And for some reason he latched onto us,

this fail fake punk band, we're going nowhere. Uh remember
we didn't have those songs yet, and we just had
my bass lines with shouting. But we were a heck
of a rhythm section and Andy just decided that we
need him in his and he accepted our non invitation
and was suddenly a member of the group. Uh. At

first we couldn't believe it. You know that session driving home,
this thing is seething with musicality. He had it all
bottled up. We've been playing our crap punk songs and
so on, and just but a day of actual music
with real musicians reminded him of his reason for living.
And he's driving home sething and saying we got to

get that guy. And I'm humoring him. We're not going
to get that guy. Sure, i'd be great, I'd be great.
We're not going to get that guy. And and he's
going on, he's on a rant. He got Henry's a
crap guitarist. You're a better guitarist than Henry And you're
a crap and and and I'm you know, he carries
on with his tire. But I'm taking aback at this
unexpected accolade. Really I'm better than Henry. Okay, I'm crap,

but I'm better than Henry. Uh. And So we ended
up doing a show with the guy who employed this
guy named Mike Howett and other things. So we kept
running and then there was mixing that album, and we
kept running into Andy and Stein and I are plotting, Hell,
can we get that guy? What can we offer him?
You know? And one day I run into him on

Oxford Circus tube station in London. Then he pulls me
into a cab and say, hey, look you and that
that bass player. I think you got something, but you
need me in the band. And I accept. And that's
very Andy, by the way, direct to the point. And uh,
I couldn't believe it, and I called Sting, I'm doing
done deal. That's it, that's it. We can hold on,

hold on, And I explained to Andy, Uh, just so
you know the record company, that's me on the phone
selling boxes of records to record stores in Birmingham and Manchester.
I am the record company. You're looking at it management
once again, you're looking at this is it. I got
to see this briefcase. That's my briefcase. That's the manager roadies. Yes,

we do have a road crew. That would be you
on one and I will take the other end of
your amp. But that's you are the road crew. And
basically I'm throwing all this stuff at him to kick
the wheels, you know, to shake it loose, because I
was sure he'd quit after a week and we'd be screwed.
But he stuck to his guns and he canned all

of his sessions except for one which was critical this
German composer. He kept that gig and brought me along
and then Sting too, and that's another story that's in
the book, and was determined to join the band. Okay,
now we have an actual musician on guitar.

Speaker 1 (59:55):
He gives you an ultimatum, I'll come in the band,
but it has to be a tree. You got to
get rid of the other guitarists.

Speaker 2 (01:00:02):
That's right. And we said, well, well, so now Sting
and I are scheming and plotting and not how do
we get Andy in the band, it's how do we
get Henry out of the band? And because he was
our best friend, he was just the best guy. Uh.
And he was very cool. He was great on stage.
I mean he could only play three courts man, he

played them with great panache. And he was the real thing.
The only reason people paid any attention to the police
was because Henry was credible. The others, you know, the
other two guys were obviously obviously real musicians. You know,
fuck that. But Henry was the real thing. And it
just had a vibe about him. And oh my god,
it just you know, he was the life of the party.

And you know, both of us we loved Henry. It
was really hard, but we had to you know, music
supersedes humanity.

Speaker 1 (01:00:53):
How did you tell him? What did he say?

Speaker 2 (01:00:57):
Well, he could. We went into the studio and I thought, well,
let's give him one last recording here. Uh. And actually
John Cale theoretically was producing the session, although he didn't
really do much in the way of producing, uh, and
he could send something was wrong. So he calls Sting
up later and say, what's the matter with Stuart's weird?
What's going on here? And and and Sting says, oh,

I'm so sorry Henry, thinking we decided I was going
to tell Henry, but I was such a such a
you know, such a pussy that I hadn't uh And
it was disgraceful. Uh. And he calls up and says,
what's in So Sting's commiserating, and Henry got wait what
what what? Uh? So he's on the phone to me
and uh, what's what? The Sting says things, you know,

and I had to, you know, finish the job. And
it was terrible. The next day he was scooped up
by Wayne County in the Electric Chairs, who are a
bigger act than us, And within two weeks we are
opening for him in the electric Chairs. Now, Henry was
a great guy, and the Electric Chairs were one of
the best hangs in show business. They were just all

those bands, they were great fun. Uh. And there we
were opening for Henry. Uh. So he was a happy
guy and he did have a big career in France
because he's Corsican French and h he was one of
the judges on the Big Talent television talent show. He's
a he's a big star in France now and he
did get pretty good on the guitar while he was

at it. As the year we did, we did, and
Andy did us a favor because as soon as we
had Andy in the band with his harmonic sophistication, now
Sting's ears prick up. And he's had a couple of
years of being the discipline of the punk format, which
is verse chorus, verse chorus, guitarist, you know, not guitars.

No guitar solo is allowed, bridge verse chorus out of course, course,
chorus courus out, you know, just a simple that's the format.
That's the formula of a pop song. Ram down his throat.
And so now he had an actual musician, but he
had he was writing songs for the Police book, but
with only two chords. You know, they weren't the big

songs that we're familiar with now, I think Visions of
the Night anyway. But now with Andy, his mind just
started exploding with music. And that's when he came out
with those songs that you have heard of, and one
by one they replaced our dumb, fake punk songs. And well,

you know, every time he said I got another song,
we would leap on it like piranhas. And suddenly with
every song he brought in, it was like an upgrade,
and we started we started turning into an actually pretty
good group with kind of a unique sound, just in
the nick of time. Because Andy was we were already unhip,
but with Henry and the band we had some friends.

But without Henry, and everybody knew that Andy had been
around the block a couple of times too many times.
He was ten years older than Stuf and Sting and
I were bat it up. But Andy and his first
show with the band, actually well Henry was still in
the band. We played two shows with two guitarists, and
he comes on stage and he's now made the big

step of cutting his hair, which it's hard to emphasize
enough what a big deal that was. That means he
exchanges one whole friend group for another group. I mean,
it's like coming out as punk and all those people
would close their doorst rim and all these new people are,
you know, not that hospitable punks. That was his new family.

So he cut his hair and he made that huge
leap across the rubicon. But he had not yet traded
in his sartorial equipment. He was still in bell bottoms.
Short hair and bell bottoms busted. And that's when the
last shred of credibility of the Police as punk band

fell away, and we knew we better come up with
some good music or we are screwed. And we did.

Speaker 1 (01:05:14):
Okay, when did you come up with the name Police
and when did you start to use it?

Speaker 2 (01:05:20):
I had the name Police before I had the band,
and I had a manifesto, which I still have, by
the way. That's uh. When I when I'm in moved,
when I need some light comedy, I'll pull out my
vitriolic document statement of Purpose. It's quite funny, really, written
by a wild eyed twenty six year old. And yeah,

it was all planned, it was. It was all on paper.
In my book. I've got page of all the other
band names that I was considering. You know, Artillery Teeth,
London Teeth. There's a lot of a lot of orthodontic
imagery in the names of this group. You know, Teeth
of London, you know biting, you know, the bite. You know,

actually we should have been called the bite.

Speaker 1 (01:06:11):
Okay, you've been living in London. But the police weren't
cool in America. They were referred to as the pigs.
Did you worry about.

Speaker 2 (01:06:20):
The point, that's the point. The punks were the anti hippies.
They wore suits. Okay, they were fucked up, slashed with
razor blade suits, but they were suits with tie, skinny tie.
They had short hair, not long hair. They did not
smoke pot, They sniffed glue. They did not talk about
peace of love. It was war, anger and anger and anger. Uh.

And so the punks were to hippies, it looked like
the Man, the Revenge of the Man. You know that
all the hippies rebelled against suits and short hair and everything.
Suddenly the suits and short they were peering up from
the streets, wild eyed, high on sniffing glue, and uh.

It was like every hippies nightmare.

Speaker 1 (01:07:06):
Okay, have you ever sniffed glue?

Speaker 2 (01:07:09):
I tried it. I don't get it. Uh no, don't
do it. There's there's gotta be a better way of
getting high.

Speaker 1 (01:07:19):
Okay, in the era, how are you with alcohol and drugs?

Speaker 2 (01:07:24):
Drugs, Yes, alcohol, not so much. We were stoner's drinkers
were a different trime. And I was still leftover hippie.
I guess, uh California kid, Uh still smoking pot as
medication to I was. I was an anxious guy looking
at these diros. The activity, I mean, unbelievable hard slog.

The police was after curved Air in the lap of
luxury with three roadies, light show and everything you know
and a salary uh and curve in police. It was
scrabbling for every penny, carrying our gear in and out,
driving the length of the nation for a gig, you know,
for thirty quid? And so I forget where are we going? Oh?

Speaker 1 (01:08:07):
You gottat you covered? Let me go back. What we
didn't mention is you end up in a relationship with
the lead singer of Curve Deer, who also comes with
a child. Yes, what is she thinking about you at
this point scrounging and starting over?

Speaker 2 (01:08:25):
Well, we were both at it. She on her own,
she had her solo career which she was pursuing with
great energy, and we both were living parallel lives, struggling
with our various bands, and she was doing a lot
better than me. Because she had the momentum of being
the star singer of Curved Air, and so she was
doing much better than me, and I was, you know,

an appendage. You know. We go places and meet people
and they would be all interested in meeting her, and
I'm standing there like a lunk, and who could care less,
you know, And that was sort of my social position.
And one day my group kind of came out from
under and overtook. But you know, we were we're very

bonded and had you know, we're both working it every
which way we could.

Speaker 1 (01:09:11):
And how did that relationship end?

Speaker 2 (01:09:14):
Oh? Three kids, twelve fifteen years later something I can't remember.
How we eventually did get married and and my camera's
running low on guests. We eventually did get married, and
she came with a son, and we had two more boys,

and how did it end? We eventually divorced very amicably,
and we had, you know, when I was traveling the
world and playing Polo and Lottie Dot and she was
still you know, she didn't want to be seen in
the Mercedes with her hippie friends, playing folk clubs and everything.
She hated the image of being the rock star's wife,

and she wouldn't be caught dead in the Mercedes. You know,
only a you know, a third hand VW bus would
suit her. And she's just a wonderful person. I've been
very blessed, fortunate and both of the women that I married.

Speaker 1 (01:10:15):
Okay, so so far this story is about you. At
what point do your two brothers become involved.

Speaker 2 (01:10:24):
Well, my brother Ian was my agent at the age
of twelve, got me into my first band, the Black Knights.
He was the coolest kid in Beirut and they really
wanted him in the band because he was the fonds,
but he couldn't play drums. My other brother, Miles, was
kind of a music mogul and he started up the

company managing bands such as Effect. He put together Wishbone
Ash and other prog bands of the era that you
wouldn't have heard over over here in the States, like Renaissance,
Curved Air, but we are of all those, Wishbone Ash,
absolutely Climax blues band, Oh I love van Al Stewart
and such. And they had kind of a music empire

and that's where I learned all my skills as roadies
for all the groups and eventually tour manager for some
of those groups. My first tour of America was but
Joana Armor trading just her an acoustic guitar and me
and my briefcase for three months across America, ending up
in San Francisco.

Speaker 1 (01:11:25):
What point does Sting come in with roxane and you
immediately hear it.

Speaker 2 (01:11:32):
About a year and a half in. We were struggling
and starving and going nowhere for about a year and
a half, and he wrote it without any agenda. It
was certainly not a police song because we were still
theoretically a punk band, and he wrote it before Andy joined,

and he had it there in just one afternoon. He
was playing it to Andy because you know, out of
shot of their taliban drummer, you know, because I was
the one cracking the punk whips and no, we got
to be punk, we gotta be punk, and they're saying,
can't we just play, No, we can't play, just play
some music. We gotta be punk, and they considered me
to be the wild eyed you know, uh, morality police

of the band, and so secretly thing might have played
this Busanova lament to Andy, who immediately said, we got
to play that, we gotta play that, which we did
for every song, whatever song He pulled out. We suddenly
we got to play that, and so he pulled it
out in a rehearsal and I gave it a drum

beat that was kind of bass awkwards uh and made
it into a police song. It wasn't punk Barama, but
it was still a rock song, even though it was
kind of a lament. And that was about a year
and a half into the band, you know. And by
the way, it sank without a trace when it first
came out and can't stand.

Speaker 1 (01:12:59):
Okay, but anybody heard in America it was one listened
smash and it was played. Did you realize how great
it was? Or it was just another sting song.

Speaker 2 (01:13:08):
It was a throwaway song. And it was my brother
Miles who put his finger on it. That's what he does.
He provides dumbass, which is forgetting musicality sophistication. He hears it,
folks are going to love this, And I don't care
if it's any good or not, but I do know
folks are going to love this. And so we were

recording our album basically on a deal with the studio
owner who was just trying to get any bands in there,
would make any deal just to get some albums recorded
in the studio so he could establish himself.

Speaker 1 (01:13:41):
Wait wait, this is Nigel Gray.

Speaker 2 (01:13:43):
This is Nigel Gray.

Speaker 1 (01:13:44):
Nigel Gray was nobody at the time, nobody.

Speaker 2 (01:13:48):
He just said he was a doctor. He was a
family doctor who invested in some recording equipment which he
put in this above a darry and started just recording
bands on the off chance that one of them would hit.
And one of them was Clark Kent, which was me
on guitar, bass and drums, singing songs that were even

too dumb for the police, but one of which was
picked up by Radio one BBC and became a hit.
They put it on the playlist and suddenly Clark Kent
is having a hit, which was a secret identity thing.
And long story short, the Police had released Rock Sand
and Kanstan Losing You Sank without a Trace, but suddenly
Clark Kent is having a hit. And so the record

company got me and the band and signed you know,
A and M Records, who had just done a singles deal,
said okay, let's get these guys, let's sign them up
for an album. And they signed us up for an
album and we were recording that album when Miles comes down.
He hadn't. He wasn't officially our manager yet. He was
just my big brother, and I used his rolodex and

his offices and his resources and his wisdom and his vice,
but he wasn't technically our manager. And he hears all there,
and you know, it's kind of it's just another rock band.
Then last thing we played in was rock Sand that's
a hit. And the legend is that he tore off
all of his clothes and went running down Leatherhead High

Street shouting eureka. Well that myth. I started that myth,
so it's true, and he took it to he said,
I'll take that to a record company and and then said, okay,
we'll release that as a single. And the rest is history.

Speaker 1 (01:15:34):
Okay, but let me just wrap up a couple of things.
One is the album done when you tour America?

Speaker 2 (01:15:43):
Yes, And when we go to America it is. The
record company is not aware of us, the American record company.
In fact, there's a famous conversation where Miles calls up
the American record company and says, Okay, I got this
band of the Police, I'm bringing them over and they said,
don't bring them over. We're not going to give you
tour support. I never heard of them. They don't mean
anything but a punk band, forget it. Uh. And Miles

is never mind. I bring up, well, we're not giving
you any you know, and there's the famous list of
knots that they're not going to provide us. Uh. But
we came over anyway. We came over with my drums
as check, you know, as luggage, and uh pulled up
to the CBGB's in New York City. And by this
time Miles and Ian had gotten a truck or actually

a van, a station wagon with two amps and a
drum set, and they had just brought Squeeze over UK.
Squeeze who played these the circuit of clubs that my
brother Ian had found one in Philadelphia, won in Boston,
Won in New York and so on, Grendel's Lair and
the Right Club in Boston, so on, like a circuit. Uh.

And we were the second band to come over on
that circuit. Unknown, but we were English and there was
a scene and you know, for kids who were thirsty
for something new Thursday night at the Rat Club in Boston.
Whoever's playing, they're English cool, I'm going down and Uh.
That's how we started to actually strike a light in uh,
in America.

Speaker 1 (01:17:08):
So the legend is the album was not out in
America when you toured. Is that correct?

Speaker 2 (01:17:13):
No, the album was. The record company wasn't aware of it,
which meant that it wasn't out, but it was available
on import and radio stations were playing it WBCN and
and Boston was playing it, uh, w MMR and Philly,
you know whatever the stations were. You know they were
they were playing, particularly college stations, and so uh another

long story. When I was touring Jon Armer Trading's tournament,
she was on an M and I met their you know,
artist relations guy. I happened to know him, and he
heard about this band and her. You know, he was
starting to hear they're starting to get positive feedback, but
not even are they even on our label. They had
no idea we were signed in England. And so he
comes out to check out a show in Indiana or something.

Calls up Jerry Moss the next day, who's the m
of A and M Records? We got to hit here,
you know, send money. We didn't need money. We were
completely self sufficient, you know, two hundred dollars a night
and we could get to the next city, and uh,
you know that's two hotel rooms for three, you know,
three in the band and one guy. Uh. So that's

when record company A and M showed their true colors.
They immediately they said, well, let's check this record out. Whoah,
And they started coming to shows whoa. And by the
time he got to Los Angeles, the headquarters, they were
out there on full parade with every resource you know.
And these are all the things they're gonna do, not
the knots. These were they gonna can and will do.

And they really did run with it. They were absolutely
the best record company ever.

Speaker 1 (01:18:50):
And were you ever disillusioned, especially driving in a station
wagon cross country or did you always know you were
gonna make it? And did you have any idea you
were going to be as big as you were?

Speaker 2 (01:19:02):
Oh? Absolutely, And that's the same answer that most musicians
would give you. Bands are eternally optimistic, mutually affirming. We
are the best, aren't we? We kick our ass? Don't
we totally? Last night we blew us away? You know,
that's how bands work. And so yes, we were convinced,

absolutely certain in fact that we would dominate and rule
the world. And we had that same arrogance from the
moment the day Sting and I met and we went
down to the Roxy Club and saw Generation X and
looking around at the minnows on our left and on
our right that US sharks were going to eat. We

knew that we were going to rule the world, the
same way Generation X knew that they were going to
Ruin rule the world, and the same way that Evil
Edna's Horror Toilet assumed that they were going to rule
the world.

Speaker 1 (01:19:58):
Okay, in the beginning, you're writing a lot of songs
on the albums, and then as the albums go down
the path, you're writing fewer songs. What goes on there?

Speaker 2 (01:20:10):
Well, most of my songs. At that time we're going
to Clark Kent, and I was managing the band too,
so I didn't have time. But you can see in
the book I have the set lists, and the first
set list are all my songs, one animal song, one
curved air retread, and you know my handwriting, and then

one by one, stings songs start appearing, Visions of the night.
I can't remember whatever they were. They were not the
big ones that were familiar with now, but they were
better than anything I'd written, and one by one, and
then the last one that appears, and it's like now
fifty to fifty. But look closely and you'll see that

it's now Sting's handwriting doing the set list, because by
now it's his band.

Speaker 1 (01:21:01):
Okay, you keep a diary throughout all this why.

Speaker 2 (01:21:07):
I don't know. I keep stuff, but you.

Speaker 1 (01:21:09):
Stop keeping the diary according to the book, Well.

Speaker 2 (01:21:13):
I got a movie camera and that story is taken up.
You know. The book kind of ends, you know, I've
got date sheets of what happened when you got to America,
but the narration really ends when we leave England and
go to America, and the story is picked up there
by my Super eight camera and the film Everyone Stairs,

which came out a few years ago, you know, which
is all the Super eight footage of the Rise and
the rocket ship ride of the Police, which I got
all of on Super eight.

Speaker 1 (01:21:45):
So when you go through the diaries and your other paraphernalia,
are you reminded of what happened? Or you remember vividly? Anyway?

Speaker 2 (01:21:54):
Well, my memory is wrong in many cases, and I've
learned that I've been set right by fans sometimes. And
somebody would say, when you used to play such and
such a song. Did you use the such and such?
And they go, well, we never played that song, And
then another family, Oh, yes you did, and here's a recording.
So memory is a very flexible thing, very creative thing.

And the diary, you know, I read Sting's book, Andy's book,
Henry's book, Miles's book, and their memories diverged from mind.
But I've got the receipts.

Speaker 1 (01:22:30):
So how did you actually assemble the book?

Speaker 2 (01:22:33):
I didn't, Well, I did. I wrote all the commentary, uh,
describing what's these mysterious because a lot of big events,
you know, I met Sting, I met this bass player
named Sting. I had no idea that this is going
to change my life. So it doesn't have a it's
not a red letter day. There isn't like a it's
not underlined in capital letters or anything. It's just you know,
I didn't realize at the time. So there's commentary, modern

commentary that goes along with it. And uh, I wrote
that in the pictures and doodles and accounts. I sort
of and not photoshop it in word. I just sort
of plunked the images that I wanted to use, but
they but the publisher had an artist who really turned
it into a work of art with all his graphic design,

and it's a coffee table book. It's very visual and
it has all my doodles and accounts. Don't look too
closely at the numbers.

Speaker 1 (01:23:26):
So where can people get the book?

Speaker 2 (01:23:30):
I think it's available online. Rocket Books is the publisher,
and I don't think it's in stores, and so I
think you got to buy it online.

Speaker 1 (01:23:39):
But is it going to be in stores at some point?

Speaker 2 (01:23:41):
I hope so, yeah, I hope. You know. They did
the book, which I don't know costs whatever a book costs,
and then they did the deluxe version for two hundred dollars,
two hundred dollars because I sign it, or some little
upgrade meaningless upgrade. And then for five hundred dollars you
can get the same book with some other with a poster.

Those went overnight. The most outrageously priced versions of the book.

Speaker 1 (01:24:10):
Is this book a labor of lover? You actually making
money here?

Speaker 2 (01:24:14):
Well, those stupidly priced ones turn over instant moolah. But
it was a labor of love. It was just fun
to do.

Speaker 1 (01:24:22):
Okay, you're very verbal with a very strong personality.

Speaker 2 (01:24:27):
Not so much at the moment and.

Speaker 1 (01:24:29):
You, well, we're reaching the end of the feeling we've known.
But yeah, and you have this charisma. How do you
get along with people? People who are either in orn
or they say I can't get a word in edgewise,
or it's oil and water or it's all groovy. What's
it been like during you?

Speaker 2 (01:24:45):
I'm a noisy son of a bitch and I'm the
epitome of the interrupting cownt.

Speaker 1 (01:24:52):
Okay, how is that in the band? How is that
in a band?

Speaker 2 (01:24:56):
Uh? Virtuous for the other guys? And I'm very thankful
that they put up with me. I am a noisy
son of a bitch And did that one of the
other guys in the band is quiet and deep.

Speaker 1 (01:25:12):
And opposites attract? And did this cause tension in the band?
And ultimately was it a cause of the dissolution?

Speaker 2 (01:25:20):
No? No, we fought and there's tension. Then we've realized
a couple of things. One is that that tension is
what made the band work the way it did. And
more importantly, for our souls, we understand that the cause

of the tension, which was to put it as simply
as possible, We make music for different reasons. We listened
to different kinds of music. We make music different ways,
with different intentions. Music fills a different place in our lives.

And so obviously when it comes to you know, whether
or not we're going to play this song is a
done deal. It's a great song to listen to, that lyric,
that's a cool line. Here how we play it? And
then now comes the other ingredient, which is to give
a shit, where no one wants to just be a passenger.
I don't play in a band so that I can
be like a session guy in my own band. No,

I have a band so that I can express myself musically,
and if I don't express myself musically, I shall go mad.
And so that's because we give a shit and we
have different intentions, there's going to be a clash. And
it was not a matter of ego or anything like that.
It was just that music is real important to us.
And when we came to realize that during our reunion tour,

we had band therapy and we got it all set
and we couldn't believe it. We realized what it was,
what was going on. But we still we clash musically,
and we still the factors that cause that tension are
still there, but we understand that it's not evil intention,
it's not the work of Satan. And when we're not

making music, we get along really well.

Speaker 1 (01:27:16):
And everybody's been not everybody. A lot of people have
been selling their rights in the last couple of years.
Is that something you've entertained?

Speaker 2 (01:27:26):
Not really, No, nobody's made an offer. You know. I'm retired.
I'm comfortable. I live a very simple life, and that's
really by designs so that I can be free of
all such considerations. I'm I'm completely free, and as long
as I don't have ten houses around the world and
twenty cars and you know, any of that, I live

a simple life, which makes me free.

Speaker 1 (01:27:52):
And what might we be looking for from you in
the future.

Speaker 2 (01:27:58):
I'm currently in gauged on a couple of very cool missions,
but I'm superstitious about talking to them until they come
to fruition. But I'm deep at it. You know. I've
been playing Police Deranged for a orchestra for two years
and I'm done with that, that's for sure.

Speaker 1 (01:28:13):
Okay, you also became a film composer. Where did you
get the chops for that? And how did you get
the gigs?

Speaker 2 (01:28:20):
I didn't have the chops. I learned them on the job.
It was Francis Coppola who gave me my first break
and explained to me what he needed and it just
came to me. And since I was inventing the wheel,
it meant that it was different from how you're supposed
to do. It equals revolutionary. And I retired from that
about fifteen years ago, after twenty years. You know, the

film composer is not an artist, he's an employee. And
a result of that employment, under the harsh yoke of
cruel employ I learned all kinds of things that an
artist would never learn. Among those things was orchestra, and
so I learned. I had an involuntary education in orchestra.

And then I retired and I do the same job now.
By the way, I write opera, which is music and
storytelling with music. Only in this world, the composer is boss.
You know, on television, the writer is boss. Everybody works
for the writer. Films, the director's boss. Everybody works for
the director. In opera, it's the composers medium.

Speaker 1 (01:29:30):
To what degree is there a market for opera?

Speaker 2 (01:29:33):
None? The business model is to lose money. Rich people
or governments pay for it. There is an audience for it.
People do love it, and people do come out and
see it. It's a very rarefied world. I'm not going
to play, say Stadium with my next opera, but I
got to play in Weimar at the National Theater there.
I got to play last summer my pieces The Witches

Seed played in Italy and by the Lakes there living
the dream doing opera in Italy and the year before
that in Germany. And it's just a really fun mission.
It's no way to make a fortune. It's just a
really great life.

Speaker 1 (01:30:08):
Okay Stewart, I want to thank you for taking the
time to speak to my audience. You've been very forthcoming.
Until next time, This is Bob Left SAIDs
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