Copeland Curates New Police Documentary
Add "filmmaker" to drummer Stewart Copeland's list of credits. His documentary, "Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out," will debut Jan. 22 at the Sundance Film Festival.Add "filmmaker" to drummer Stewart Copeland's list of credits. His documentary, "Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out," will debut Jan. 22 at the Sundance Film Festival. The 74-minute film is culled from Super 8 movies Stewart shot from the band's early days in the mid-'70s through the early '80s.
The project started as a love letter that he intended to share only with his fellow Police-men Sting and Andy Summers, as well as a few close friends. But more people viewed the footage, and Primus' Les Claypool helped him submit the film to Sundance. As Copeland tells Billboard, "My little toy escapes from the playpen and becomes a monster."
He was also aided greatly by Final Cut Pro and other software programs in seeing the project to completion. "This Super 8 film sat for 20 years in shoeboxes while I waited for a good medium to download it," he says.
The images, including lots of performance footage, are accompanied by a voice-over from Copeland that gives a first-hand view of what it was like to go from nearly empty in-stores to playing 60,000-capacity sold-out stadiums in a few short years.
And, more importantly, it shows how getting everything you wished for can be wonderful and deeply disturbing at the same time. Perhaps, he suggests, once you have reached the stratosphere, it may be time to quit before the inevitable decline begins. "It got to the point where there was no more up to go."
For Copeland, visiting his past brought many thoughts to mind. "It's very cheerful," he says of the footage. In fact, when he looked for scenes to accompany his narration about the band's demise, he could not find shots "of us looking pissed off at each other." However, he admits, "I put my camera down the last year or two. I felt like I should be living it instead of shooting it."
Looking back on the Police's career was bittersweet. "I wish I'd enjoyed the ride more," he says. "The concerts where I was playing with the best band in the world -- we were given the biggest gift in the world -- why am I not cracking a smile?" Also, he says, as the band was disintegrating, he regrets all the arguing. "We could have been nicer about it ... there was a lot of shouting."
Copeland says Summers and Sting have seen the documentary "and are very keen on it," but that he never planned to include narration from them. "If I'd made it partially their documentary as well and we'd all gotten together, it would have been, 'Why don't we record another record?,' and since that ain't going to happen, I guess the band movie isn't going to happen, so I just made it on my own," he says.
While there may never be a new Police album, there are some new interpretations of vintage Police material. "Everyone Stares" includes what Copeland calls his "derangements" of Police songs, seven mash-ups of sorts that he created using the original multi-track tapes of the material.
"I put the lyric for 'Can't Stand Losing You' over the riff for 'Regatta De Blanc,'" he told Billboard.com in 2003. "I got 'Demolition Man' and screwed that all up. 'Tea in the Sahara.' For 'Don't Stand So Close To Me," I took the big vocal Sting did in the 1982 version and put it over the live track we did. It's all in a different key, which was interesting. I tried to do 'Message in a Bottle' but that thing is locked like a diamond! It will not come apart!"
The artist is in talks with Universal Music & Video Distribution about releasing the soundtrack, which would include the derangements, and the DVD.