In His Own Words: Stewart Copeland
Wizard Behind The Curtain
Once I’ve got it all recorded and they leave I get out my scalpel and my turd polish. [chuckle] And in some cases I only need the #2 turd polish and in the some cases I need the #11 turd polish, you know? Dr. Svengali’s Turd Polish! [laughs] and I can fix anything, you know? I had Jeremy Piven over here banging on the drums – made him sound like a god. Actually, he’s pretty good already, so I don’t get all the credit. Or I might do a collage-type thing so you get three Taylor Hawkinses. If you see the Thomas Lang video [“This Drummer Is At The Right Gig”] – it’s actually one of my favorite videos. Thomas Lang is like the circus act of a drummer, he is fantastic. He is almost too good to play sessions and be in bands, and everything.
A Police Matter
I remember when we were rehearsing for the reunion tour, after a long hard day of snarling at each other and beating each other up, we’d have a wonderful dinner at Sting’s palazzo. And after dinner we’d go down and pick up acoustic instruments and just play into the night and just have a great time as long as there was no agenda. So a couple weeks ago Sting was in town, and I said, “Hey, why don’t you come over?” I had full intention of sneaking him into the room here with Andy [Summers, guitarist of The Police] and a couple other musicians too – you know, Ringo or whoever. It’s a party, and I would have so much fun with that because both Sting and Andy are such great players. It probably will happen some day but completely on a casual basis. It wouldn’t be The Police, though, because when they leave, instead of us arguing about Should there be a guitar solo or a keyboard solo, or should it be slower or faster? and all of the stuff that we always argue about, we’re just drinking wine and playing music, and then they leave. And then a month later I’ve got this cool track where I get to cut up all their music and make my version of it – mwuah-ha-hah! Of course, it wouldn’t be The Police because it’s not The Police unless there’s Sting and Andy beating me up. But it’d still be cool. It’d be the Sacred Grove.
The Great Hollywood Kiss-Off
I had a great experience composing for film. I Ioved working with directors, love working with pictures, but it’s kind of a rat race that’s highly competitive. And there are hungry cats out there – a lot hungrier than me. The other factor was that the film scoring budgets just vaporized. I was lucky to be a composer in the golden age of film composing when they really had good budgets. And it’s now at the point [where it’s not doable]. During those years I didn’t have time to write an opera because I was busy earning a living as a rock and roll entertainer. Now it’s kind of reversed where my day job is composing orchestral music for other people to play. I don’t have directors or anything; I only have critics. And I’ll take my chances with the critics rather than with producers and studios. For instance, when the Dallas Symphony Orchestra commissioned a piece, I show up with the score, put it on the stand, they count it in. Period. I don’t get notes. No matter who you are, you have to serve somebody, and I think fine arts composing is a better master than Paramount.