Stewart Copeland Recalls Andy Summers’ ‘Annoying’ Habit
Sting and Copeland had initially formed the band in January 1977, with Henry Padovani serving as the trio’s original guitarist. Later that year, Summers would replace Padovani, creating the Police’s classic lineup that would eventually go on to worldwide fame.
Still, Summers’ arrival brought a different dynamic to the group. In an exclusive conversation with UCR, Copeland admits that it took some getting used to.
“When Andy joined, it was a bit uncomfortable for me as kind of manager of the band,” the drummer explains. In those early days, Copeland handled the majority of the behind-the-scenes decision making, “because Sting didn’t have an opinion. I’d do a photo session, I’d choose the shots and he’d be [like], ‘Sure, fine, whatever.’ He’s busy doing music. That’s what he does.”
The decision making structure would change when Summers came on board.
“When Andy joined, there were a couple of things. First of all, I had to deal with a second opinion,” Copeland explains. “‘What do you mean, let me see that contact sheet!? What do you mean, you decided such and such?’”
Initially, this new dynamic caught the drummer off guard.
“It was annoying,” he confesses, before admitting that he quickly discovered the upside to this new arrangement. “It was really great to have somebody to talk to about, like, ‘Fucking Squeeze got the truck, do you know anybody else with a truck?’ To get us to Barbarella’s in Birmingham tonight. It was actually great to have Andy, with another breadhead in the band.”
Beyond having someone to share administrative duties, Copeland soon realized the musical talent Summers brought to the group.
“The other part, which is the really important part, was all of those fancy chords he had. They just lit Sting up,” the drummer reveals. “The day Andy joined the band is when Sting started writing those big songs. You know, I suspect that not even he knew what a great songwriter he was, under the hood. Because he’d been playing jazz and stuff. But forced to play three minute songs with the opportunities presented by Andy’s skills and talents, it all kind of came together and he started writing fantastic songs.”