The second time is apparently the charm for Stewart Copeland’s film Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out.
Copeland initially released the film as part of the 2006 Sundance Film Festival and, briefly on DVD, featuring footage Copeland himself filmed a Super 8 camera he purchased during 1978. But the drummer tells Billboard that “the first time around I had a tough time getting licenses and permissions, because the Police was a forgotten relic, moldering in the back room of a museum somewhere.” But Copeland says things have been different after a successful 2007-08 reunion tour that put closure on the British trio’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame career.
“The reunion tour did really well, and we’re all a happy family now,” he explains. “The atmosphere with regard to the film is different. It’s established now. I was able to get the licenses I needed renewed. Back (in 2006) the whole thing was kind of mysterious and people didn’t quite know what to do with it. Now it’s sort of acknowledged. It has a different place, and I’m able to put it out again properly.”
Everyone Stares — which tracks the Police from its start through its breakup — is being re-released on May 31, adding new commentary by Copeland and guitarist Andy Summers. Check out a performance at the Lorelei Festival in Germany from the film below.
Frontman Sting is on board as well, and Copeland is anxious to discredit the “huge myth” he says exists about the Police men being at any odds with each other, then and now.
“We like each other, and we always have,” he explains. “There was creative tension but our relationship with each other was then and has always been strong and we always enjoyed each other’s company — and still do. I think you see that in the film; There are a couple of sequences where we’re visiting radio stations, get in the car, drive to WMM-something, talk to the guy there, then drive across down to WZZRT, or something, and you see us living our day, joking to ourselves. There’s footage of us just wandering the halls of radio stations, just bullshitting — at one point dancing in the dressing room. It’s just three guys with nothing to do for kicks but hang out while this incredible rocket ship was on its journey.”
Copeland says he and Sting “had a good laugh about the old times” during a recent meeting in New York, but there’s no desire to put the Police back on duty. “Right now it’s just so great to hang with my buddies, who are like brothers, without clouding it with the issue,” Copeland says. “The issue is that although we’re very proud of the music we made and very proud of the impact of the band, it was very difficult. The music each of us makes in our own world now is very wonderful and rewarding. We know that when we go in that rehearsal room together we’re going to start screaming at each other again, and I’d rather laugh.”
Copeland would like to release a companion soundtrack album from Everyone Stares, featuring mashed-up “derangements” he made of the group’s songs that are included in the film’s chapter menus. “They’re very cool tracks, although I can appreciate why they were nixed back in the day– I forgot to call Andy and get him involved,” Copeland, who’s continuing to work on a number of orchestral projects, says with a laugh. “They both said ‘Yeah, sure’ at the beginning, and then they said, ‘What the hell?’ — which is quite a reasonable question. But they’ll probably be released at some point now that everything is happy with everyone.”
Copeland has also involved Sting in one of his new projects, a three-part documentary series for the BBC called What Is Music, and Why? “It’s not about the history of music or musicians. It’s about the impact of music on humans, which is more profound than we think,” explains Copeland, who’s also interviewed Patti Smith, Bobby McFerrin, Steve Reich, Francis Ford Coppola and others for the series. “We all know we love music and we like to dance and sing songs, but we don’t appreciate how deeply embedded this trait is, and how deeply it controls us — our minds, our emotions, our behavior. It’s a fascinating subject — and it was great to grill Sting-o on that point, as you might imagine.”