12.01.2007 - Stewart Copeland interview in Q Magazine's Review of 2007 ''The Great Return - The pros and cons of settling your differences...''
The Great Return - The pros and cons of settling your differences...
2007 - how was it for you?
Stewart Copeland (drums): I started it as a schlock TV presenter/judge on [BBC reality TV talent show] 'Just The Two Of Us'. I enjoyed the hell out of it. But I was aware that I had destroyed any credibility I may have once had. I used to read the website message boards for 'Just The Two Of Us', and people were like, "Who is that loud American?" They had no idea what I had done before. In May, The Police began their reunion tour. I like to think maybe Sting agreed to get The Police back together again because he saw his old buddy's career going down the tubes.
Had there been talks before about re-forming The Police?
SC: There had been no conversations about The Police getting back together. Then, Andy [Summers, guitarist]and I met last year at the record company to talk about doing something with the 30th anniversary of the band, and we were yawning our way through the latest plans to scrape the barrel and get another couple of thousand sales out of a hits album. But at the same time, I had my film [Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out, from footage shot by Copeland during the band's heyday], which we'd taken to the Sundance Film Festival, and Andy had written a book [One Train Later], so it felt like there might be something more there.
So what about Sting?
SC: Over in Stingworld the P-word hadn't been spoken for years, and then, I think, suddenly it became permissible to use that word again. What changed? Maybe it was the day Sting showed up for the party at Sundance [in February 2006] with me and Andy, and those three blond heads were there together again in a room. It was the first time in 20 years it felt like there was that bond, that we were three parts of one thing. Before that, I thought it was completely on the shelf. Then, last autumn, Sting made the calls...
How were the first rehearsals?
SC: The most surprising thing was how we didn't fit together at all. The way I used to play those songs was all about how it worked with Andy's guitar and Sting's bass. After 20 years away, doing opera and ballet and playing with every other musician under the sun, it felt odd. It took us more than four months to get it right.
Any more screaming arguments? Fist fights?
SC: We're all older and possibly wiser, but we're also cantankerous. At the end of every day's rehearsal we would patch up whatever problems we'd had, so that when we started again the next day, the problem was gone. It wasn't until we got in front of an audience that it really verified what it is that we do. We were blown away by the response. It humbled us. Wow! We really are these people's memories, the sound of them growing up.
You slammed the second night of the tour, in Vancouver in May, on your own website, writing that Sting jumped like "a petulant pansy" and that the whole gig was "unbelievably lame"...
SC: It was a sincere criticism. If you read the piece in context it wasn't that vitriolic. It was an acknowledgement that we were only human, and we were struggling to make it work, playing as if our lives depended on it, and we still had to get it right. But next thing, everyone has picked up on it - The Chinese Daily, Al Jazeera! When Sting and Andy first read it, they were like, "Oww!" But then they got it.
What's the difference about touring with The Police now and the last time, back in 1984?
SC: Back then I was never relaxed, I had so much anxiety. And I know how crazy that must sound to people who do real jobs. Now we're relaxed, we have our families and our friends with us, and we have separate dressing rooms.
Sting was photographed outside the Relax bordello in Hamburg in September. Were you tempted to join him?
SC: He never asked us to go with him! His 17-year-old daughter said it best, though: "Dad, at least you didn't get busted playing golf." None of The Police play golf.
What's with those rather camp drumming gloves?
SC: I've got pussy hands. I used to wrap them up with yards and yards of gaffer tape in the old days. I don't know why I suffer so much hand trauma but I do. Hey, delicate hands that play drums can be as soft as your face.
What are the chances of a new Police album?
SC: At the moment, none, but, hey, remember that anything can happen. We're looking at this as a year of us playing together. It was difficult at first - and I'm sure all three of us were going, "Oh God, when will this be over?" But now it's quite unsettling, because I'm enjoying it, and I'm scared that when it's over in June , I'll want it to keep carrying on. And right now, this is the music that everyone wants to hear, not a brand new album.
Have Led Zeppelin stolen your thunder?
SC: Led Zeppelin getting back together is a great thing. I wish it was still his dad there, but Jason Bonham's a great player. I hope they discover, as we did, that it's a healing experience worth having. That was clever of them, though, wasn't it? Announcing the one show for charity... I bet this is just the start.
© Q Magazine by Mark Blake