Hot Licks! Stewart Copeland’s Police Tracks

Zenyatta Mondatta

“Driven To Tears” from Zenyatta Mondatta
The intro to “Driven To Tears” features more of Copeland’s tasty cymbal work with hi-hat eighth-notes played over a stepper’s bass drum pattern. He breaks it up by adding sixteenth-notes, triplets, and the syncopated rhythm you find in measures six and seven. He moves the pattern to his ride cymbal after the tom fill, where he varies his dynamics and uses his ride bell for accents, occasionally omitting notes. In measures 21 and 22 he repeats the syncopated rhythm he played earlier, this time on his ride cymbal. The chorus breaks down to a reggae feel with cymbal crashes on 3, and Copeland uses hi-hat fills to set them up.

Driven To Tears

“Every Breath You Take” from Synchronicity
This song was The Police’s biggest hit and features one of Copeland’s simplest drum parts. The groove was built on top of a drum machine bass drum pattern with separate overdubs for every instrument. This helps explain how Copeland played the cymbal swells and why the intro is so sparse. On the “Every Breath You Take” video that MTV played to exhaustion, Copeland can be seen keeping time by playing eighth-notes on his floor tom accented with his kick drum at the beginning of the song. However, at the Police’s induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, he started the song with a snare flam and played time on his hi-hat. Whatever works, right?

Every Breath You Take
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