06.24.2007 - Andy Summers' photos wrap you around his finger - The LA Times report on Andy's exhibition at Bergamot Station...
The Police's guitarist exhibits 32 shots he snapped during the band's early '80s heydays at Bergamot Station...
Graying former groupies, cowboy boot-clad hippies and a handful of celebrities turned out at Santa Monica's Bergamot Station Friday night to sneak an intimate peek at what life was like for rock super-group the Police during the height of their success. Visitors wandered around the Frank Pictures Gallery, eyeing 32 black-and-white images taken by the group's guitarist, Andy Summers, in the early 1980s at the exhibit, aptly titled, "I'll Be Watching You: Inside the Police 1980-83."
The images certainly feed the pervasive sex, drugs and rock n' roll stereotype. Among them: a crazed fan attempting to score an autograph through the band's limo window, a maid offering room service, a naked girl stretched out beside a guitar and Sting luxuriating like a god in a glistening body of water.
"I wanted the exhibit to reflect that rock 'n' roll lifestyle," said Summers, who donned a cool leather jacket.
"I couldn't have it all be straight. I wanted to show the uh, width of the experience," he joked, pointing to an image of a woman's curvaceous body.
Gazing around the display, the 64-year-old was unable to choose a favorite of his photo.
"I like them all," he said. "I'm especially fond of the toilet-seat series, though. And that lovely pair of breasts over there."
"It just feels like so long ago when I look at these," said drummer Stewart Copeland, observing Summers' work. "I was a 25-year-old kid. That was the old Police who aren't connected to who we are at all now. We're all older and wiser, totally the same people, but our foibles have been cast in stone."
Lead-singer Sting recalled Summers' camera as a constant presence on the tour.
"I sort of got used to having Andy's camera in my face," Sting said. "His photos were more candid, nothing like those awful photo sessions that I hate."
"Photography gave Andy a world and a space that he could be autonomous over," said Brett Morgen, the director of 2002's "The Kid Stays in the Picture" who is filming a documentary based on Summers' autobiography.
Jeremy Piven, who plays harsh agent Ari Gold on HBO's "Entourage," said he intended to buy two of Summers' photos, including one of Copeland drumming, which he plans to hang above his own drum set.
"It's like the way Hunter S. Thompson wrote," Piven said. "Through Andy's photos, we suddenly get to see the belly of the beast and be on tour. It's real art."
Other stars in attendance included singer Lisa Loeb, actor Harvey Keitel and Sting's wife, Trudie Styler.
So, are things as crazy on the Police's highly publicized reunion tour today as they were nearly 30 years ago?
"It's pretty different now," Sting laughed. "I'm a much truer man. And no one is throwing TVs out of windows now."
For the record, Sting said, the tour is going "smoothly."
"No one's asking for their money back," he said with a smile. "It kind of feels like mom and dad got back together. It's a warm feeling. My instincts were perfect."
© The Los Angeles Times by Amy Kaufman