You spent a half-dozen years in one of the most popular bands in the world -- but that was more than two decades ago. So how do you refresh your memory? For the Police's Stewart Copeland, there was a
You spent a half-dozen years in one of the most popular bands in the world -- but that was more than two decades ago. So how do you refresh your memory? For the Police's Stewart Copeland, there was a convenient archive of home movies he shot during the whirlwind ride to help him re-tell the tale.
Copeland recently compiled the highlights for the documentary "Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out," which will arrive on DVD later this year via Universal Music Enterprises/A&M. The film captures the Police's quick rise from dingy clubs to arenas and beyond, emphasizing the tight, sanity-keeping bond between Copeland, guitarist Andy Summers and bassist/vocalist Sting.
Also woven through Copeland's narration are what he calls his Police "derangements," such as a blend of the vocal from "Can't Stand Losing You" with the riff from "Regatta De Blanc."
Copeland now spends the bulk of his time scoring films and TV shows but will be back behind the kit at June's Bonnaroo Festival with Oysterhead, a trio that also features Primus' Les Claypool and former Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio. He spoke to Billboard.com via e-mail about "Everyone Stares" and the walk down memory lane it has provided.
Had any of this footage ever seen the light of day before? If not, why was the time right to revisit it all now?
It took until now for technology to provide the means to digitize the material and play with it at home. With 50 hours of film, I had to wait for cheap memory (hard drive kind).
The camaraderie between you three is really evident. In some ways, it's refreshing to see bandmates who are this tight, in this day and age of separate trailers and people who don't speak to each other once they get off stage. I would assume it was that bond that kept you guys sane once the band became so popular?
We enjoyed each other's company -- at least I did. We had each other to hang on to when the world got weird. Like any siblings, we indulged in gratuitous emotional violence, but mostly we chuckled together.
You talk about how at times all the constant travel made it difficult to actually "experience" these new and unusual places. Did re-watching the footage stimulate any old memories like, Gee, I didn't remember that one show we did in a bull ring!
I remember every scene but not the year or country.
Further to that, are there things you wish you would have done differently? Did you enjoy these shows to the fullest?
I wish I enjoyed it all more. Smelling the roses is an acquired skill.
The film sort of skips the "Synchronicity" era. Was that simply due to a lack of footage or that the state of the band at that time was better described in voice-over than actually shown?
The filming did taper off. I already had every imaginable shot of band life.
When you look back on this era, what makes you most proud? Have your kids been able to appreciate what a phenomenon the Police were and/or started to listen to the Police's music objectively?
Shea Stadium was probably the proudest moment, but there were many others. We were prideful by nature. My kids don't really get it. I'm just dad. They were impressed by the [Rock and Roll] Hall of Fame thing [the Police reunited to perform at their 2003 induction]. The little ones hung on for dear life after the show ("Go away! He's MY Daddy!").
For the DVD release, will there be any bonus footage or other goodies? Will there be a way to burn the "derangements" to MP3 or can they only be listened to in the context of the film?
There is some "Synchronicity" stuff on the extra DVD material ([manager] Miles [Copeland] singing "Every Breath You Take"). It may run to 15 extra minutes ... if I can clear it. There is great interest in the soundtrack CD. Andy is keen but I haven't even hassled Sting about it. The movie is picking up such momentum that I'll just let the inevitability factor work its magic. Or not.
Which Police songs were the toughest to pull off live, be it because of extensive studio overdubbing or other reasons?
It was never a problem. We were always better live. For songs like "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic," with big piano parts, Andy had to get extra slick.
What can you tell me about the Oysterhead reunion? Is this just a one-off for Bonnaroo or will there be more activity from you three?
Aaahhh ... Oysterhead. I love those guys. I hope there will be more activity after Bonnaroo.
What other projects are you working on? Anything in the film/TV score family? Or new music of your own?
The movie has eaten my life for the last three months.
Will the Police re-form for my wedding on May 20? You will? Great!