Results for Andy Summers

interviews

Andy Summers of The Police

This week Jim and Greg sit down with Andy Summers, former guitarist for 1980s supergroup The Police. Andy was in town promoting his latest tome, "One Train Later." It's a memoir — a good one according to Jim and Greg — about his years before and during the Police era. Andy is honest and frank in the book, and it comes across in the interview. Our hosts start things off by asking Andy about the origins of the band and The Police's distinctive sound. Andy was largely influenced by jazz growing up and firmly established himself as a professional musician well before he helped form The Police. He had a brief stint with the jazz fusion/progressive rock band Soft Machine and did session work during the 1970s for artists like Neil Sedaka and Joan Armatrading. His Police band mate, drummer Stewart Copeland also came from a musically trained background. Jim points the irony in having two highly trained musicians emerge out of the British punk scene — a scene that demanded unpolished musicians and hated solos. Andy considers The Police to have been fake punk band.

Although Jim did not get to catch The Police at their first US gig at CBGB's, he did see the band shortly after at New York's The Bottom Line. The young self-proclaimed“drum geek”strategically sat behind Stewart Copeland's drum kit. He discovered The Police's disdain for each other, noting the“nasty, nasty”words Stewart had written in magic marker on his drum skins cursing the other band members. Jim asked Andy what it was like to work in such acrimonious conditions, especially with the rising megastar Sting. Summers says nothing negative about his experience and feels the fights helped fuel the creativity of the band. Greg reiterates that although several people over the years mistake The Police as Sting's band, Andy and Stewart really shaped the sound. Andy concurs, detailing how songs like "Walking on the Moon" and "When the World is Running Down" involved all three members of the band.

As the interview nears a close, Jim asks the question that burns in the brain of many a Police fan: Will The Police reunite? Andy is up for reuniting and is in contact with the other two members (he had dinner with them this year) but he won‘t sit around waiting for the phone to ring. He’s busy with his own career, producing solo albums, and working as a photographer and bandleader. The closest the Police came to a reunion was in 2003 for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. A reunion still sounds possible — let's hope this former Sting fan doesn't squelch such a possibility.

Go to episode 53

Buddy Guy

Blues legend and fellow Chicagoan Buddy Guy visits the show this week. The 70-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is back in town for a month-long stint at his club Buddy Guy's Legends. The club has been a mainstay for blues in downtown Chicago for more than a decade, but Buddy recently announced that he is being forced to find a new location. As residents and Sound Opinions listeners know, the city is not always kind to music clubs, but in his interview with Jim and Greg, Buddy stresses the need to maintain such venues. Our hosts also recommend listeners check out the bluesman at his best — live and stripped down at Legends — while they can.

One thing that makes Buddy Guy's music so unique is his sense of melody. He explains how he will listen to spiritual and gospel music on the radio as inspiration. As Greg states: he's trying to imitate the voices. He learned this from B.B. King and went on to inspire vocalists like George Benson. Another musician who inspired Buddy was Guitar Slim. Before seeing Slim play, Buddy didn‘t know how far he could go with a“strat.”Now he is known for his violent, high-energy style. This style wasn’t appreciated by his former label Chess Records, but was adored and emulated by British blues fans like Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Andy Summers.

Go to episode 58
dijs

Greg

“Sheela-Na-Gig”PJ Harvey

With a great guest like Andy Summers on the show, Greg explains that he feels like the legendary BBC radio host John Peel. Mr. Peel had every band under the sun perform on his show up until his death in 2004. One the artists Mr. Peel embraced throughout her entire career was Polly Jean Harvey — John first had her on his show back in 1991, when she was only 20 years old and fresh from a sheep farm. Greg chooses, "Sheela-Na-Gig," a song from that original session, which has been compiled into a new album, PJ Harvey: The Peel Sessions, 1991 - 2004. The title,“Sheela-Na-Gig,”is a reference to the Irish fertility goddess. The sheela na gig figure is commonly found in stone carvings, though its meaning is debated. Some argue it was meant as religious instruction to warn women away from the sins of the flesh, while others think it was meant to protect people from evil. In her song, PJ Harvey reworks the symbol's misogynist meaning via a war of the sexes dialogue, turning the symbol's negative connotation on its head.

Go to episode 53
news

Music News

First up in the news is the official announcement of The Police reunion, which will kick off at this month's Grammy Awards. Jim and Greg asked Police guitarist Andy Summers about a potential reunion when he was on the show last year, but he wouldn‘t give up any secrets. What isn’t a secret is the potential for big bucks — something our hosts suspect to be the prime reason for Sting, Summers and Stewart Copeland joining forces again. Also cashing in on a reunion is Van Halen. The band has announced it will perform at the 2007 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, with a possible tour to follow. And, with pending reunions by Rage Against the Machine and Smashing Pumpkins, 2007 is poised to be the year of the reunion. Jim and Greg are still keeping their fingers crossed for reunions by The Smiths, Hüsker Dü and The Replacements.

Also making news is rocker Tom Waits. He sued car manufacturer Opel for using his vocal likeness in a recent Scandanavian ad campaign. Waits refused to lend his own voice to the commercial, so he believed Opel went out and found the next best thing. A judge agreed, and Opel was forced to pay an undisclosed settlement which Waits plans to give to charity. This isn't the first time the singer has had to tangle with an auto company. Last year he won a case against Volkswagen-Audi, which also impersonated his voice and changed his song without permission.

Next up Jim and Greg discuss YouTube's new plan to share revenue with some of its content providers. The website's co-founder Chad Hurley made the announcement at the World Economic Forum in Davos, and explained that revenues will only be shared with users who own the full copyright of their material. Guess this means that Lasse Gjertsen should be expecting a check sometime soon.

Go to episode 62

Music News

Jim and Greg start off the news segment by discussing Police drummer Stewart Copeland's blog posting about the band's first reunion gig. Despite critical praise, Copeland was dissatisfied by their performance to say the least. Jim and Greg wonder how dissatisfied fans were, especially those who dropped hundreds of dollars to see Copeland, Sting and Andy Summers.

Of course, the men of the Police aren't the only musicians requesting big bucks this summer. An East Hampton concert series called Social is asking fans to pay $15,000 to see five shows by Prince, Tom Petty, Dave Matthews, Billy Joel and James Taylor. Audience members will be treated to celebrity chefs, art displays and Moroccan pillows rather than the usual uncomfortable stadium seating. This elitist trend in music is disheartening to Jim and Greg, and they wish more consumers would react as people in Italy recently did. After charging between $200 and $1200 for tickets to a show in Rome, singer Barbra Streisand received protests from Italian consumer groups. She recently had to cancel this show, though her camp has not admitted the protests were a cause.

The band Wilco is making news for more than just appearing on Sound Opinions. The Chicago rock group struck a deal with Volkswagen to allow the car company to use its music in a new series of ads. This practice is becoming more and more frequent as bands have fewer and fewer options to get their music heard, but Wilco is one of the last bands Jim, Greg and their fans expected to“sell out.”But, what makes this marketing strategy unique is that VW will feature not just one, but six different Wilco songs in six different ads. The commercials will be released almost like singles, making them as much ads for Wilco as they are for the cars. The band has already received its fair share of criticism, but thankfully they've got family on their side.

Go to episode 80