music | Andy Summers, the police legend who still has a rope at 80

According to the latest rating of Rolling Stone magazine, Andrew James Summers (Blackpool, England, December 31, 1942) ranks Ranked as the 85th best guitarist in rock history, But, as everyone knows, there are no 84 guitarists more influential in rock history than Andy Summers. This airy little blonde guy from Harpo Marx is blowing out the candles on the last day of the year and this time, it’s hard to believe he’s turned 80, a happy reason to celebrate the musician whose six strings (and his tech accessories) created the sound of The Police, one of the The most important, unique, and popular group of its day, even today.

Born during World War II to a father stationed in the Royal Air Force and a mother who worked in a bomb factory, Summers was the eldest of the trio. Although it was a hit in sales and charts, it was never very popular. Sure, they were fakers who took advantage of the punk riot and subsequent “new wave” to dye their hair platinum blonde, cram a few songs into under two minutes and ride on the slogan.

Conflict with Padovani

They lacked certain proportions required by the era: You had to be authentic and play bad, this latter circumstance which did not occur in any of the three band members. Sting (bass, vocals) came from jazz, Stewart Copeland (drums) had musical studies and a past to give up in hippie groups, the touring Summers (a decade older than the others) were trained on classical guitar and sheer damn it, they played five-minute solos With Eric Burdon’s Animals.

At a time when a hundred groups formed in London every week and were difficult to penetrate, It wasn’t easy for the police: parties in front of four cats in stinky clubs where spit reigned And of course, zero record sales. In case there was a hair missing in this stew of misery and doubt, the guitarist in the Pioneers line-up was another, Henri Padovani, a Corsican who went as far as punk. he is called, He had a lot of positions, but he played very poorlyAnd so they didn’t go anywhere. Precious, stinging compositions full of potential that needed skillful hands, enriching notes, and sparks that stand out. Hi Andy.

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Strictly speaking, Summers was responsible for Padovani’s departure, but as he rhetorically asks in his memoirs (“The Train I Didn’t Miss”, Global Rhythm editorial, 2006), where exactly was the Corsican to go? From a group that was nothing at all? “Sting and Stewart are on the battlefield with a man whose sword isn’t as sharp as they need it to be.”, Summers writes. Everyone saw the weak side of this project, and over the years, everyone accepted that with this guy on the guitar, the police would fulfill one of the slogans of the time to the letter: “No future”.

ropes with capo

Summers, who had been rubbing shoulders with Eric Clapton and even Jimi Hendrix, with whom he traded some guitar thumps in a studio meeting, took over because He was a musician with a straightforward idea That married like a gauntlet with what Sting was up to. “Typical barre chords used in pop or rock music – he says in his book – They seem dead to me, devoid of the slightest hint of mysteryThe capo chord is the sound of a room with all doors and windows closed.

There are debates about using capos, but the truth is that Sting went with the powerful structure of “Roxanne,” “So Lonely,” “Message in a Bottle” or “Walking on the Moon” and summer has given them the grace that it turned them into winning tricks. He improved it in a style that was later imitated profusely. He created—and herein lies the key to his connection to history—a voice. and that he aroused suspicion both in the band and in the punk hurricane, something he initially saw as another hooligan eruption with an overabundance of amphetamines from which a musical abyss separated him: “I came from another era and I still I cling stupidly to bourgeois values ​​like the desire to perfect my damned instrument & rdquor ;.

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Of course, he had a skill, forged from the guitar with which he got his first calluses on his fingers, a Spaniel his uncle had given him at the age of ten, Even the one that crashed it with the police, a retrofitted 1961 Fender Telecaster with a Gibson Double Coil pickup.Regardless of this crucial to the resulting sound, it was not created. He bought it for $200 in Los Angeles from a cash-strapped kid when he himself was barely getting tutoring lessons at such an hour, and technically permanently penniless. “I could say it’s worth a million dollars today, but it would be like giving up my soul.. This guitar has changed my life.” No less than capital was the incorporation of an Echoplex pedal which provided echoes and reverberation that ended the ‘Police Seal’, after which he slung a red Stratocaster with which he ended his days on the road.

The triumph, with the sale of staggering amounts of records and hundreds of concerts in places no rock music then approached (Egypt, India, Hong Kong), as well as a huge crowd at New York’s Shea Stadium unprecedented since the Beatles, cost “millions of kilometers and three marriages”. Those were the times when Almost everyone laughed, thanking themso much so that something called “Behind My Camel” which Summers inconceivably managed to sneak onto the album “Zenyatta Mondatta” won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental.

Origin of “every breath you take”

But Magma was favorable for jealousy and fights Not just married, but within a trio, with Sting driving a little more every day. They ended up breaking up in 1984 after five stellar albums and countless hits, especially the ineffable “Every Breath You Take,” which although the singer’s signature, we know as we do thanks to Summers’ inspiration. Sting recorded the demo using a Hammond organ that had little to do with the group’s label. They thought about it a lot in the studio, not without it Heated arguments because they were going through the highest levels of cross-hating grudges‘, until Summers grabbed the bull by the horns and recorded the track that would make the song slam into the beast.

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resentment buried with time, In 2007, The Police returned with a world tour of 150 nostalgia-inducing concerts And they earned them a million dollars every night. But a million each, Summers specified at times. Barcelona’s Olympic Stadium was the only Spanish stop on that “tour.”

After the adventure of his life, Summers turned to recordings alone or with old friends, such as Robert Fripp, and also to photography, with whom he published several books and exhibitions. He’s married Kate, the woman he divorced with complete drunken success from, and lives in California, though a bit at home, due to his energetic social networks permanently locating him here and there. A few weeks ago he passed through Cáceres and borrowed a street musician’s guitar for a few bars, and now he’s tangled with some Italian, 40-finger, to record a version of “Bring on the night.” Still going at 80, always in tune. Until the last note.

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