Saturday, February 17, 2007

ghosts in the machine.



Everyone knows the Police are going to give synchronicity another chance with a post-Grammy reunion tour. The Extrapolater directed me to a Slate article that pretty much dissected Sting, and gave those of us Police die-hards who are lukewarm at best about Sting's solo career reasons behind our dislike, mostly that Sting is too blissfully earnest and has always been trying to enmesh himself in the label of "artiste."

Stephen Metcalfe makes the point of Stewart Copeland's founding of the band as a sort of punk cash-in and his domination of the band as its rhythmic pulse. What he omits is Copeland's ex-patriate status (his father was a CIA man); ego and what was seen as a unique sort of American careerism propelled the band's drive while Sting wrote songs the band re-arranged for their strengths. Despite the fact that Sting was the songwriter and voice of the band, the reason this band split up is because they were equals in what they brought musically and fought too much to make it work. Andy Summers is still considered a heavy influence in certain sectors of guitar playing (most of the conventions of New Wave guitar, such as extreme delay and chorus, are due in no small part to him), and Copeland is routinely name-checked when current rock drummers are asked for their favorites.

I'd like to go see the tour, but I've always hated stadium and arena shows -- the Pixies at the Greek Theatre in L.A. was as big a crowd as I like going to.

1 comment:

extrapolater said...

Aaagh! The Pixies is one of the best shows I've ever seen - though I'm old, so I saw them in the last blush of their initial career before they broke up, not the reunion tour.

I also saw an excellent Tom Waits show that I will always treasure.

As for the Police, what a fantastic band. It doesn't even bother me to find out they were just aping the real thing - they did it well, by god. I don't even fault Sting for being what he is - it's clearly working for him. He took a big chance going all jazzy, and it paid off.