Andy Summers Debuts Film, Says Open to Police Reunion
Stewart Copeland had his say about The Police on film with "Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out" in 2006. Guitarist Andy Summers is coming this week with his own "Can't Stand Losing You." Does that mean Sting can't be far behind?
"You have to wonder, haven't you, because if one does something the other has to do it as well," Summers tells Billboard with a laugh. "It's sort of pathetic on one level, but there you go..."
"Can't Stand Losing You," which premieres on Nov. 9 at the DOCNYC documentary festival, is based on Summers' 2006 autobiography "One Train Later: A Memoir" and is narrated by the guitarist with readings from the book. Summers says he first got the idea for the film six years ago and was inspired by the 2002 adaptation of film producer Robert Evans' "The Kids Stays in the Picture" -- even consulting co-director and co-writer Brett Morgen at the outset of the project.
"I thought, 'I've got all the same material. I've got the whole life story written. I've got all the photographs of the band and everything'...," says Summers, who also published a collection of his photography, "I'll Be Watching You," in 2007. "So the inspiration was to make a film like 'The Kid Stays in the Picture,' but not like a fantastic Hollywood picture of my life but an art house film with all the still photography and all the writing. It went from one thing to another" -- including another director before settling on Andy Grieve -- "and this is where we've gotten with it. I think it's very good."
"Can't Stand Losing You" makes extensive use of Summers' photos as well as vintage footage from the late 70s and 80s and from the Police's 2007-08 reunion tour. In one scene during the latter the guitarist happens upon a karaoke bar in Japan where a fan is singing "Every Breath You Take;" Summers, sporting a hat, joins the young man and then reveals who he is to everyone's mutual delight. Sting and Copeland "were pretty cooperative" about letting him use the materials as well as their likenesses, Summers adds. "We're a band with three massive egos, and everyone's a rival at the same time," he notes. "But they were pretty good about it and didn't have any problems with it."
Summers, Grieve and the film's executive producers will attend the DOCNYC premiere, with a Q&A following the screening. The movie is slated to be shown at festivals in Miami and the Bahamas, with others being lined up. "I don't know if it'll get as far as theatrical distribution or if it will get through the festivals and then go on TV and DVD and all the rest of it," Summers says. "I think we're just at the tip of it."
Doing the film, he adds, left him with a warm feeling about the Police and its music, and despite the group's claims to the contrary Summers doesn't rule out another reunion in the future. "I never say never about anything; the world is strange, so who knows," he says. "Surely if you're human, there's a little part of you that wants this great stuff to carry on. You can't simplify it. It's a mix of 'Thank God it's over' and 'Why are we stopping?' But it does end and you get on with your life again and let it fade away."
Summers has certainly been getting on with his musical life during the past year. He released an album, "Fundamental," with Brazilian singer Fernanda Takai and recently toured that country with her. And Summers is getting ready to launch a new rock band, Circa Zero, he's formed in Los Angeles with singer Rob Giles; the group's debut album should come out in early 2013, with a tour to follow.
"We definitely want to go out and play," Summers says. "The songs are great, very strong pop/rock, lyrical. Rob has a killer voice. So it's been fun. I'm looking forward to having a go with it."