Hot Licks! Stewart Copeland’s Police Tracks


“King Of Pain” from Syncronicity
We begin this excerpt leading into a verse of “King Of Pain,” where we find Copeland playing a repeated offbeat bass drum pattern underneath a strong snare drum on 2 and 4. He spices up this section with the open hi-hat splashes. On the chorus, he drives with his ride cymbal, and plays a simple but effective groove underneath.

King Of Pain

“Murder By Numbers” from Syncronicity
“Murder By Numbers” is a happy ditty about serial killing, and begins with just Sting’s vocal and Copeland’s polyrhythmic groove. Written in 12/8, it has a compound (triplet) feel, and Copeland plays every other count as a rim-click, establishing this 3:2 polyrhythm. We begin this transcription a bar before the vocal entrance where he plays a nice bass drum variation that functions as a fill. There is a brief vocal hold that occurs at the 3/8 measure and precedes the entrance of the other instruments. Since he continues to play the rim-click pattern through the 3/8 measure, it flips and goes from counts 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 to 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12. His hi-hat openings complicate the part even more. In the chorus, he generally plays his kick on every other note continuing the 3:2 polyrhythmic feel. Later in the tune, Copeland experiments with dropping out the snare notes for interludes, and takes many other chances, approaching this song’s drum part much more like a jazz drummer comping than a rock drummer playing a groove.

Murder By Numbers
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