Thursday, October 12, 2017

Episode 326: Stewart Copeland

Episode 326: Stewart Copeland
Pat travels to Stewart Copeland's home studio to interview the legendary drummer about his career with The Police and beyond.
From October 12, 2017

With your host:

Pat Francis

Liner Notes

  • This week Pat travels to a remote location to record for the third time. Pat is pleased to be recording in the Sacred Grove. The studio of the legendary drummer of The Police, Stewart Copeland. It is just an amazing space.
  • Stewart has "the world's largest collection of the cheapest instruments that money can buy!" There are instruments everywhere.
  • Stewart can play as much as he needs to on most of the instruments lying around. All he needs is Pro Tools, a couple of good notes, and lots of undo to create what he needs. The only instrument in the studio he just cannot play is the Bassoon.
  • All the instruments in the studio are mic'd up and when you hit record everything gets recorded wether it is being played or not. There are also 6 cameras in the room recording as well.
  • Stewart's first instrument was the trombone. His father was a musician and filled the house with instruments hoping that his kids would pick them up. One of his friends had a catalogue with drums in it and they stuck first, but it could have just as easily been guitar.
  • Stewart doesn't have a regular practice regime for his drums. In fact he doesn't even look at them unless he needs to. If he has a set coming up, he will usually get it all worked up in about a week. He finds he plays better that way rather than playing all the time.
  • With Gizmodrome Stewart will be playing the guitar primarily, with a stint on the drums for a song or two. He discovered that guitar players have it easy during a show compared to drummers. When he plays guitar he can get through the show in the same shirt without having to change it.
  • When Pat saw the lineup for Gizmodrome he assumed Mark King would be doing all the lead vocals. Stewart agreed that would be the common expectation.
  • During the Synchronicity tour in 1983 Stewart had not yet discovered golfer's gloves to protect his hands from taking a beating while playing the drums. He used to wrap his fingers in gaffers tape to keep his fingers from bleeding.
  • Anymore his playing is about finesse and amplification. He is playing with orchestras now and playing soft is where it is at with them. In a rock band the volume a drummer plays at is between 7 an 12 (guitarists can only get to 11) but an orchestra needs the volume between 0 and 4. All the techniques that a young drummer learns taking classes come into play at those volumes.
  • Gizmodrome will tour in 2018. They will of course be playing things off of Gizmodrome as well as filling in with everyone's back catalogue.
  • Stewart has not been to Russia or large portions of Asia. He had been to Hong Kong back in the day but it is a very different place now. He has just discovered China. He loves Beijing. It's a wonderful place that has been hiding right in front of our eyes.
  • Stewart has 7 children and 4 grandchildren. One of his children is profoundly musical and the others have bits and pieces of musical gifts.
  • Curved Air was tho first band that Stewart was in that recorded an album. They were big before he joined them. He could be considered "to be the last rat to jump on a sinking ship."
  • His very next band was The Police. Everyone was from prog rock bands and got a hair cut. At first the lineup was Stewart, Sting, and Henri Padovani.
  • Andy Summers joined the band and he convinced them he was what they needed. They played for a while with two guitars but after only a short while it was clear they only needed Andy.
  • The Police produced their first album by themselves. It never occurred to them to do it any differently.
  • For the second album, Reggatta de Blanc, they were short on material so they had to create songs in the studio. They had been out on tour solidifying their sound and getting in lots of playing time so it wasn't that hard. When you are under pressure to produce the quality doesn't diminish. You just don't have time to tweak it a lot and that might even up tho quality a bit.
  • At first everyone in The Police was co-dependent on each other to make the music but after a little while they all figured out how to do it. Sting, in particular, started to learn how to use a studio and how to use a guitar, bass, and drums. It got to where you didn't have to consult to get things done. At that point, everyone started to have their own ideas and it really became a power struggle. It made the band stronger but it wasn't enjoyable.
  • The albums got harder and harder to make. The third album, Zenyatta Mondatta, was really contentious. In hindsight it is really surprising that there were two more albums after that. Compromise and music are two things that do not go together, but everyone recognized that the results were outstanding. It was hell making those albums from an emotional standpoint.

00:22:54 Zombies in the Mall Gizmodrome Gizmodrome Pat
00:25:53 Man in the Mountain Gizmodrome Gizmodrome Pat
00:30:04 Summer's Coming Gizmodrome Gizmodrome Pat
00:36:03 Heaven (Never Seemed So Far Away) Airborne Curved Air Pat
00:39:56 Fall Out Fall Out [Single] The Police Pat
00:40:44 Nothing Achieving Fall Out [Single] The Police Pat
00:44:46 Peanuts Outlandos d'Amour The Police Pat
00:55:32 It's Alright for You Reggatta de Blanc The Police Pat
00:57:25 On Any Other Day Reggatta de Blanc The Police Pat
01:01:55 Does Everyone Stare Reggatta de Blanc The Police Pat
01:07:23 Bombs Away Zenyatta Mondatta The Police Pat
01:08:18 The Other Way of Stopping Zenyatta Mondatta The Police Pat
01:12:35 Don't Care Klark Kent Klark Kent Pat
01:14:02 Away from Home Klark Kent Klark Kent Pat
01:22:07 Tulsa Tango Rumble Fish [Soundtrack] Stewart Copeland Pat
01:26:24 Miss Gradenko Synchronicity The Police Pat
01:30:21 Spin This Gizmodrome Gizmodrome Pat

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