I have known Stewart Copeland since the earliest days of the pinstand - Better Badges - in the UK. Summer of 76 I was homeless and so I crashed on my schoolfriend John Manly in Ladbroke Grove. He'd converted the ground floor of his mews pad into a rehearsal space and two bands were taking it in turns to bash away down there. One was Motorhead, in their original incarnation, and the other was an ephemeral outfit called The Rockets. Stewart would sometimes drum with the latter. I already knew his brother Ian, and girlfriend Sonja, and so we became friends as we would chat over cups of tea while I bashed out the original punk badges In Manly's kitchen. We had a youth spent in the Middle East in common. One day Stewart came up and sat down and asked me my opinion. "I've decided to make a punk band." he said - "What do you think of the name The Police?"
I did not have to think long. "The kids'll never go for it." I said, thinking the inherent youthful distaste for authority was unconquerable, even by irony. Nevertheless, he persevered. I was right, though and, as he admits freely in his movie, and the session presented here, the punk kids did firmly snub the band. Around nine months later, in my role as music editor for the hippie rag 'it' I went to a big Gong reunion show in a hippodome in Paris, and saw Stewart playing sophisticated acid-jazz as a member of Mike Howlett's band Strontium 90. It was no surprise when I heard he'd recruited the band's guitarist Andy Summers to The Police, who started moving in new directions. In 1978 Stewart, as a last, albeit successful, ditch attempt to get a punk hit, resorted to the devious device of releasing a DIY single under the pseudonym 'Klark Kent'. By this time Better Badges had graduated to a lock-up garage, and a process camera, with which I, sworn to secrecy, helped him create the sleeve artwork. In subsequent years we cranked out 1000 upon 1000 of badges for The Police's merch stand. The last time I saw the band they were well on their way, in 1980, playing to an ecstatic sold-out Palais De Sport in Paris
So when I heard that the Film Society at Lincoln Center was screening his home movie of the band - 'Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out' - as part of a series of Rock Documentaries, I snapped up a ticket. I'd recently read brother Ian's very entertaining and detailed autobiography 'Wild Thing' so I was well primed. I didn't mind at all what I've seen others criticize in the film - that it is a bit thin on details. As a videomaker I loved particularly the rich texture of the Super8 footage, and it was evident that Stewart, who has spent the last 20 years composing film soundtracks, had gone to particular pains with the audio. In a couple of places the movie, in a hyperreal echo of the Beatles' Hard Days Night, truly gives the sense of what it is like to be caught in the maelstrom of pop fame.
I pulled out my camera and filmed as, after the screening, Stewart engaged in a Q&A session with writer Mike Rubin, and then with the audience. The resulting dialog was insightful, funny, and quite ribald at times. It runs 41:20.
|The h.264 file above is iPod compatible. The film 'Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out' was screened the next day on the Showtime cable channel, and will be repeated a couple more times in August before it comes out on DVD in September 2006.|
www.stewartcopeland.net PUNKCAST Home Page
capture captain: joly
date posted: 8/11/06
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