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Stewart Copeland explains why The Police is a terrible name

Stewart Copeland
Photos from @mariateresafurnari and The Police's Instagram

Classic Rock

Stewart Copeland explains why The Police is a terrible name

The Police was formed in London, England back in 1977 and with only five studio albums released in their career, became one of the best-selling bands of all time. Sting, Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland sold an estimated amount of more than 75 million records worldwide as the power-trio.


In an interview with The Hole (Transcribed by Ultimate Guitar), the drummer Stewart Copeland explained why he thinks that The Police is a terrible name for the band. He also recalled how the guitarist Andy Summers joined the group.

Stewart Copeland explains why The Police is a terrible name

“‘The Police’ was a terrible name. Although it achieved its hostile effect, (because) the label labeled us as punk, because it was a hostile name. But we can’t copyright it. I don’t own the word ‘police’. Grateful Dead; they own (the name) ‘Grateful Dead’. No one else can call themselves Grateful Dead. But there are people ripping us off in every city in the world. People driving around cars called ‘police!’ (laughter),” Stewart Copeland said.

The band was originally formed by Sting (Bass and vocals), Stewart Copeland (Drums) and Henry Padovani (Guitar). The original guitarist only stayed in the band for a few months in 1977 until when Andy Summers joined the group and became their only guitar player. In the same conversation with The Hole, Copeland recalled how Summers joined the band.

“We had a day doing much better music than The Police music of that (time). That night driving home, Sting is seething. I’m fast-talking the whole way, ‘We’re gonna make it, this is gonna be great…’ I had to keep talking. But that night driving home, Sting had a day of actual music. And it reminded both of us what actual music can be and how joyful it is to be doing really great music.”

“I ran into (Summers) him at a tube station, Oxford Street Tube Station in London. And he pulls me into a cafe and says, ‘Stewart, you and that bass player, you’ve got something but you need me in the band for this.’ And since then, he has expressed remorse for muscling in and stealing Henry’s gig, and I’m going, ‘All’s fair and all fair in love and bands.’ It was heartbreaking to lose Henry, but we had to do it.”

He continued:

“And as soon as Andy joined with his musical sophistication, particularly with regard to harmony and voicing and everything, that’s when suddenly the light bulb went on in Sting. And he started writing those songs now before that, none of us not even he had any idea he had that stuff under the hood.”

“I didn’t even notice that my songs are getting replaced one by one. Because they were better. Every song he pulled out was an upgrade,” Stewart Copeland said.

The Police was active from 1977 to 1986, reuniting in 1992, 2003 and from 2007 to 2008. On their final reunion concert the group invited the original guitarist Henry Padovani to join them on stage.

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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