I receive an email from a PR person.
‘Would you like to interview Stewart Copeland, legendary drummer for the Police?’ it says.
I am a bit floored by this. Normally I get emails from PR people that say ‘we have exclusive trailers and content from a new movie with lots of explosions, and I just know your readers will love it if you post them on your secret private diary. Can I email you some banners as well?’ and I sort of get back to them with a doubtful ‘well, you know, I’m not sure that they will, but if you’re sure… here is my rate card, as I am a media owner like R Murdoch etc,’ and then I inexplicably never hear back from them. It is not as if I am going to bite their hand off or anything.
The thing is – this is Stewart Copeland, legendary drummer for the Police. So I bite his hand off.
Stewart Copeland has his autobiography out at the moment, which is hard-hitting and funny (admittedly I haven’t read it yet, or got a copy, but I’m sure it is). He is one of the pivotal figures from my early musical education – that is to say, he was the first person who I heard ever playing the drums in a sort of quiet tiddledy-widdledy way rather than a big bam crash thing, and it was that restraint and tension that made the Police one of the great subversive pop-chart bands.
Plus, when I was a teenager, I was in a Police tribute band.
Actually, we only ever played one song by the Police – but it was really good. It was ‘Walking on the Moon’. Even at that age, I had mastered Andy Summers’s complicated guitar lines; Iain, the drummer, could have filled in for Copeland himself; and Dave, who sang and played bass, had Sting’s vocals off to a T. There is a recording of us, done on a ghetto-blaster that was placed in the corner of Dave’s dad’s garage. It is astonishing. Only the quality of the production betrays the fact that it is not the Police themselves performing. We were (although I say so myself) unlucky not to be picked up by a big management company.
So I interview Stewart Copeland (legendary drummer for the Police). I am allowed three questions, and my plan is to ask him these questions and then post the answers along with our demo tape, which I have dug out from all those years ago. Then, when Stewart Copeland finds the post (AS ALL LEGENDARY MUSICIANS DO – see the comments in the Sonny Smith post for proof), he will hear the demo tape and offer us a lucrative deal of some description. (I will get back in touch with Dave and Iain via Friends Reunited, the new social networking thing).
So here you go, exclusively to Private Secret Diary: An interview with Stewart Copeland, legendary drummer for the Police.
Private Secret Diary: I’m a guitarist myself, but these days I tend to be found picking away at a banjo. (The banjo is a modern descendant of the lute.) So with you on drums, me on the banjo, who plays bass – and why?
Stewart Copeland, legendary drummer for the Police: Let’s get my old buddy Les Claypool. He’s got a banjo bass and we can do This Little Light of Mine.
PSD: I’ve read a couple of musical autobiographies recently. There was Nick Mason’s, which had a lot about lighting rigs and ended every other sentence with an ellipsis to signify wry wit – and Guy Pratt’s, which essentially went ‘woke up horribly late after too much cocaine and Guinness, then almost too late for the first number with Roxy Music as I’d inadvertently caught my cock between the E and A strings, then unfortunately drove to the wrong stadium’.
Which of these does your book lean most towards – and are there any other rock bios you’d recommend for any particular reason?
SCLDftP: More like Guy Pratt’s I guess – only my screw ups weren’t about cocaine and Guinness. I’m just a natural born fuck up. But I do use plenty of ellipses so you get the best of both worlds…
PSD: You’re a well-known polo player – a game that seems to have lots in common with my own sporting love, bowls. Assuming we still have time to put together a triathlon event for London 2012, which other sport should complete the trio – and why?
SCLDftP: Pocket billiards. I can tell we’re both good at it.
‘Strange Things Happen’ by Stewart Copeland is available from Amazon – and, as they say, all good bookshops. Now…