Friday, January 13, 2006

Stewart Copeland's Police Documentary


Add "filmmaker" to drummer Stewart Copeland's list of credits. His documentary, "Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out," will debut Jan. 22 at the Sundance Film Festival. The 74-minute film is culled from Super 8 movies Stewart shot from the band's early days in the mid-'70s through the early '80s.

The project started as a love letter that he intended to share only with his fellow Police-men Sting and Andy Summers, as well as a few close friends. But more people viewed the footage, and Primus' Les Claypool helped him submit the film to Sundance. As Copeland tells Billboard, "My little toy escapes from the playpen and becomes a monster."

He was also aided greatly by Final Cut Pro and other software programs in seeing the project to completion. "This Super 8 film sat for 20 years in shoeboxes while I waited for a good medium to download it," he says.

The images, including lots of performance footage, are accompanied by a voice-over from Copeland that gives a first-hand view of what it was like to go from nearly empty in-stores to playing 60,000-capacity sold-out stadiums in a few short years.

And, more importantly, it shows how getting everything you wished for can be wonderful and deeply disturbing at the same time. Perhaps, he suggests, once you have reached the stratosphere, it may be time to quit before the inevitable decline begins. "It got to the point where there was no more up to go."

...While there may never be a new Police album, there are some new interpretations of vintage Police material. "Everyone Stares" includes what Copeland calls his "derangements" of Police songs, seven mash-ups of sorts that he created using the original multi-track tapes of the material.

"I put the lyric for 'Can't Stand Losing You' over the riff for 'Regatta De Blanc,'" he told in 2003. "I got 'Demolition Man' and screwed that all up. 'Tea in the Sahara.' For 'Don't Stand So Close To Me," I took the big vocal Sting did in the 1982 version and put it over the live track we did. It's all in a different key, which was interesting. I tried to do 'Message in a Bottle' but that thing is locked like a diamond! It will not come apart!"
That last part is so true. Just ask Gwen Stefani.

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