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Stewart Copeland's AOL transcript, June 22, 1995

Copyright 1995 House of Blues; licensed to America Online, Inc.


Your Emcee tonight is ChuckCLJ.

It was in 1977 that Stewart had recruited Sting and Andy Summers to create The Police. The band went on to extraordinary critical and commercial success, making five multi-platinum albums in a row. Praised for both its musical sophistication and adventuresome spirit, The Police eventually sold over 50 million records and helped establish Stewart as one of contemporary music's most original and innovative artists.

In 1983, Stewart began work on his first motion picture score: Francis Ford Coppola's "art movie for kids," Rumblefish. The next year, having completed the 1984 Police Tour, and having worked with Adrian Lyne on 9 1/2 Weeks, he left for Africa where he filmed and recorded his personal interpretations of native ethnic music: The Rhythmatists.

For the next two seasons he scored The Equalizer, receiving critical praise for his musical contributions to the television series. In 1987, he began his association with Oliver Stone by composing and performing the score of Wall Street, and in 1988, two films bore Stewart's unique imprint: the score for John Hughes' She's Having a Baby, and the score for Stone's controversial Talk Radio.

Subsequently he went to work with Arthur Hiller and scored See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Tri-star Pictures' first hit. In 1990 he scored The First Power, Taking Care of Business and Highlander II. His work on the experimental films of Ken Roach on Hidden Agenda and Riff-Raff have brought him exposure at the Cannes Film Festival two years in a row. Stewart's recent film scores have included Fresh, Silent Fall, and last year's otherwise forgettable Rapa Nui.

Outside of the recording and film worlds, Stewart has been involved in a diverse group of projects that reflect his special talents and ever-expanding musical vocabulary. He scored and composed King Lear for the San Francisco Ballet and completed a commission for the Cleveland Opera, Holy Blood and Crescent Moon, which was presented in early October 1989 with a 90 piece orchestra and 60 member chorus and again by the Fort Worth Opera in 1990.

In 1992, he completed a new opera, Horse Opera, which was commissioned by Britain's Channel 4 as part of the TV network's new opera series. Horse Opera, based on the original play "Cowboys" by Anne Caufield with a libretto written by Jonathan Moore, a popular British comedian, was filmed on location in Arizona for broadcast in England in late 1993.

Additionally, he wrote the music for a one act opera (libretto by David Bamberger), Cask of Amontillado based on the short story by Edgar Allen Poe. It premiered in Bermuda in the Spring of 1994.

In January of 1994 Stewart headlined the national tour, Stewart Copeland and the Rhythmatists, which was based on Stewart's experience in Africa and loosely based on the album and video of the same name.

The tour roster features Stewart performing with a diverse group of international musicians including: UAKTI (Point Music/Polygram) from Brazil; Percussion de Guinnea, a leading drum group from Africa; VINX (Pangaea), who recently toured with Sting; and Ray Lema, an original performer on the Rhythmatist album and video.

In the Fall of 1993 Stewart added another dimension to his performance career by making his first appearance as a "Featured Guest Percussionist" with a major symphony orchestra, the Seattle Symphony. He performed original compositions including a world premiere entitled Solcheeka, an excerpt from a work-in-progress, The Stars That Played with Lucky Joe's Cards, as well as excerpts from Holy Blood and Crescent Moon.

Following this performance Stewart was commissioned by the Ballet Oklahoma to create a new piece to be choreographed by their artistic director, Brian Pitts. Stewart, who also performed during the three performances in October 1994, based Prey on themes of the animal kingdom.

In March of 1995, a collection of Stewart's compositions were performed and recorded in Albany with the Albany Symphony Orchestra under the direction of David Alan Miller as well as with Miller's smaller, avant-garde ensemble, the Dogs of Desire.

Stewart explains, "For years, over a decade in fact, I have been writing music for opera, ballet, and orchestra. At first, my inexperience in these media made it unwise to record these performances, but now I am ready. It has also been difficult to get orchestras that were designed for Mozart to accurately perform new music with intricate modern rhythmic and melodic sensibilities.

Now, with the advent of David's Dogs of Desire, there is an ensemble that relishes that challenge." Works recorded include Birds and Baboons (from Prey); The Stars That Played with Lucky Joe's Cards; Noah's Arc; Solcheeka as well as two new works: Stalin's Sultry Serenade and Green Fingers (ten thumbs). Welcome Stewart Copeland!

Emcee: Welcome, Mr. Copeland.

Stewart: Well, after an intro like that, I can hardly wait to hear myself speak!

Question: Stewart, what songs did you guys play at Sting's wedding?

Stewart: "Roxanne" and "Message in Bottle" (badly). We do weddings and Bar Mitzvahs now.

Question: Do you ever see Andy ?

Stewart: Yep. Talked to him this morning.

Question: Hey, Stewart! How do you feel about the new "Police Live" CD?

Stewart: I like it. We should have done it years ago.

Question: Was the song "Roxanne" based on any personal experiences?

Stewart: Not mine. Maybe Sting's.

Question: Please to ask about "Animal Logic."

Stewart: "Animal Logic," sadly, is history.

Question: Can the drum heal the planet?

Stewart: Nope. But the right rhythm can.

Question: Is there any unreleased Klark Kent material lying around in some dark corner?

Stewart: There is some recently released KK material under the name "Complete." Re-released.

Question: What is Sonja Kristina up to these days? I really loved "Curved Air."

Stewart: She's still playing in London and just made an album called...Rats - I forget the title. We're divorced now.

Question: Will Mr. Copeland discuss his years with The Police?

Stewart: Sure. They were great.

Question: Will you ever get together with The Police and create a new album?

Stewart: I don't think so. But, I'm always working on it. It takes 3 blonde heads to make a Police album.

Question: When will you be around the Dallas area?

Stewart: No plans as yet.

Question: Hi, Stewart! What have you been up to?

Stewart: Hi, "Question!" Stuff.

Comment: Hey, Stewart. I met you in Gainesville, FL. I would just like to say that it was great to meet you and I love your music.

Stewart: Shucks, thanks.

Comment: I just had to tell you I think "Ms. Gradenko" was one of the Police's best songs.

Stewart: Thanks, shucks. Did you ever figure it out?

Comment: Forget Sting, Guys! Stewart is King!

Stewart: But Sting got the throne.

Comment: Pleasure to speak with you. I started playing music in part due to the early Police first 3 albums in particular. Just wanted to say thanks for the great jams! Stewart, you are super talented and we miss you dearly. Wish you were still with The Police although it isn't possible.

Stewart: Shanks, thucks.

Question: Who is the one preventing a Police reunion?

Stewart: The other two. (For opposite reasons) You work it out.

Question: Have you ever felt the urge to ransack Sting's dressing room just for the hell of it?

Stewart: Did so, many times. (With him in it)

Question: When will you be in Chicago?

Stewart: Soon.

Question: Anything coming up? What happened to "Animal Logic?" I have a cool Live bootleg.

Stewart: Send money!

Question: What projects do you currently have in the works?

Stewart: Film score, movie starring Winona Ryder and album of orchestral material with drums.

Question: Am I correct in assuming that there was hardcore tension between you and Sting - later years?

Stewart: Sure. Sure. Sure.

Question: What was your personal favorite album, single etc.?

Stewart: "Regatta D'Blanc," "Can't Stand Losing You," etc.

Question: What is a rhythmatist?

Stewart: Fancy name for a drummer. Sounds like you need a degree or something. (You don't.)

Question: What modern rock/reggae/punk bands are you into lately?

Stewart: Tricky.

Question: Stewart, I love your music, but I'm unable to find any of your movie soundtracks.

Stewart: Try "Rapa Nui" or "Silent Foal" or "Talk Radio." "Silent Fall"

Question: Who are you listening to today?

Stewart: Portishead and also Arvo Part. And also the music of Dr. Fahrtfinger.

Question: Is it true that your father held a top spot in the government at one time, and did it help with your career?

Stewart: Of course. The CIA controls billboard charts.

Question: Do you still see and jam with Sting?

Stewart: Yes. He lives in England and we race horses at his place. He usually thinks he's gonna win, cause they're his horses but I always make sure to get Trudy's. Beat him every time.

Question: Did "The Police" approach making an album as a "jam" or as a complex orchestral experience like RUSH?

Stewart: Yes. Yes. Yes.

Question: Will you release more footage from the 1982 show? Cause I just got the live video and it looked like a great show.

Stewart: Come over to my place and I'll show you my home movies.

Question: Hi, loved "Equalizer" theme but your lyrics are so good. How about a new album?

Stewart: Might do another "Equalizer" album.

Question: What motivates you to play your music? Is it the love of it or the potential for earnings?

Stewart: One leads to the other.

Question: Didn't you write the soundtrack for "Batman?"

Stewart: Nope. That was Danny Elfman.

Question: Hi, Stuart. Do you know if it was a conscious decision by Gordon to drop his Geordie accent? It seemed very sudden when he did!

Stewart: He has been trying to shake it since the day he was born.

Question: What bands do you like to listen to these days?

Stewart: P. J. Harvey.

Question: Has Sting changed over the years from his newfound "superstardom?"

Stewart: Nope. His first step was a swagger. Success didn't change him at all.

Question: Are you doing any more work with the San Francisco Ballet?

Stewart: Would love to. Is Michael Smuin still there?

Question: Stuart, what did you think of the re-released version of "Don't Stand So Close to Me" that was put on the singles album?

Stewart: I actually liked it. Even though I had to play the drums on a machine.

Question: What is "Ms. Gradenko" about?

Stewart: Forbidden love and a totalitarian regime. (Stalin in love).

Question: Are you more talented than Sting?

Stewart: Of course.

Question: I realize it was quite a few years ago, but how much of a jerk was Sting? How much trouble did you have getting along with him?

Stewart: He is many things, but not a jerk.

Question: When you played with The Police, was your music blues-based or more on the jazz side?

Stewart: Kind of an existential expression of multilinear of rhythmic idioms that communicated directly and accurately the avuncular etc., etc., etc.

Question: Have you ever wanted to do a full symphony like your father?

Stewart: My father didn't, but I did. I'm working on the album now. Also, are you talking about Aaron? He's not my father, but I've adopted him as an honorary uncle. Besides, he spells his name wrong.

Question: What drummers were your influences?

Stewart: Animal from "Sesame Street."

Question: Are you currently producing albums for new or established artists?

Stewart: Nope. Producing is a hassle.

Question: Have you experimented with interactive or nonlinear music composition? What is your opinion on the future of interactive music?

Stewart: Sounds wild. What is it? All music is interactive.

Question: Stewart, what was you time in Africa like?

Stewart: Now there's a continent that really does pulsate with rhythm in every fiber. Clap your hands at a bus stop and everyone joins in.

Question: What projects are you using the internet for?

Stewart: I'm not (yet). This is my first time on the 'net.

Question: I am a 16-year-old aspiring musician. I am going on to college next year to study music. Any other advise?

Stewart: Study hard. Play easy.

Question: Stewart, you are without a doubt the best drummer I have ever heard. Do you prefer instrumentals or songs with vocals?

Stewart: Instrumentals. Most singers give me the creeps. How can you tell when it's a singer knocking at the door? Answer: cause he doesn't know when to come in. How can you tell it's a drummer knocking at the door?

Question: What sort of music did you play with the Seattle symphony? (I think it was sometime last year.) Do you have plans to continue in such projects outside mainstream music?

Stewart: The Seattle symphony played symphonically and I played rock-a-lly. It's kinda hard to describe. It's strong, it's up and it pumps. It was interesting for the audience who had never seen an orchestra and for the orchestra players who had never seen a rock audience.

Question: Stuart, it seems you've been into "sound exploration" and movie sound tracks. What can we expect from you in the near future?

Stewart: See above.

Question: Are you into computers at home? Use an online service?

Stewart: Yes, but not at home. I spend all day on a computer and when I get home, I like to put my head between my knees and snore.

Question: Now, what is your HONEST opinion of Sting?

Stewart: !!!!&#$^&#!! If you ever met him, you'd think so too.

Question: Do you teach drumming lessons anywhere?

Stewart: I taught my son to play and now he's making a living at it. My other boys are banned from music. I'm sending them to law school....architecture....proctology... ANYTHING but music.

Question: Who do you think the best percussionists are that are out now? (including yourself of course!)

Stewart: Buddy Rich died.

Question: I'm really sorry to hear "Aminal Logic" was put to sleep. What do you think went wrong? And have you heard any of Deborah Holland's solo discs?

Stewart: Deborah Holland's solo disc is effectively a third "Animal Logic" album. It's got Stanley and me on it. Terrible cover, but a great record.

Question: Are you a rollerblader?

Stewart: Nope.

Question: What was your feelings as you walked off stage at the Amnesty show in New Jersey having played together for the last time?

Stewart: Fine. It was not quite one of the great Police shows, but...

Question: What drum kit are you using now? Why did you choose them?

Stewart: Tama. I chose them years ago because I could climb on the stands.

Emcee: Well that's all the time we have tonight. I'd like to thank our guest and our audience for joining us.

Stewart: See ya later, Folks!


Stingetc.com is copyright © 1995 - 2008 by Marisa Meisters.