Stewart Armstrong Copeland (born July 16, 1952) is an American musician. He was the drummer for the band The Police and is an influential drum stylist. Copeland is also popular for a wealthy catalogue of SOUNDTRACKS.
During the early days of The Police he also released music under the (then secret) pseudonym of Klark Kent. In the late 80's's Copeland formed the band Animal Logic, who released two albums before their demise. He is also a member of the supergroup Oysterhead.
Copeland was born in Alexandria, Virginia, the youngest of four children of CIA agent Miles Copeland, Jr. and Scottish Lorraine Adie, who was in British intelligence.
The family moved to Cairo, Egypt a few months after his birth, and Copeland spent his formative years in the Middle East. He attended the American Community School in Beirut, Lebanon, where he played drums at school dances, before moving to England and attending Millfield from 1967-1969. Copeland went to college in California, attending California Western University and UC Berkeley. He returned to England in 1975, playing drums for the progressive rock band Curved Air.
In 1977, Copeland founded The Police with singer-bassist Sting and guitarist Henry Padovani (who was soon replaced by Andy Summers), which became one of the top bands of the 1980s. The Police's early track list was mostly made of Copeland's compositions, including the band's first single "Fall Out" (Illegal Records, 1977) and the flip side Nothing Achieving. Though Copeland's songwriting contribution was reduced to a couple of songs per album as Sting started writing more material, he continued to co-arrange all The Police's songs with his two bandmates. Amongst Copeland's most notable songs are On Any Other Day (where he sang lead vocals too), Does Everyone Stare (later to be used as the title of his documentary on the band Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out), Contact, Bombs Away, Darkness and Miss Gradenko. Copeland also co-authored a number of songs with Sting, including Peanuts, Landlord, It's Alright for You and Re-Humanize Yourself.
Copeland also recorded under the pseudonym Klark Kent, releasing several UK singles in 1978 with one ("Don't Care") entering the UK Singles Chart that year, along with an eponymously titled 10-inch album on green vinyl released in 1980. Recorded at Nigel Gray's Surrey Sound Studio, Copeland played all the instruments himself.
In 1982 Copeland was involved in the production of a WOMAD benefit album called Music and Rhythm. In 1983, Copeland composed a musical score to earn a Golden Globe nomination for his scoring of Rumble Fish. The film directed and produced by Francis Ford Coppola from the S.E. Hinton novel also had a song released to radio on A & M Records "Don't Box Me In" (UK Singles Chart n. 91) — a collaboration between Copeland and singer/songwriter Stan Ridgway, leader of the band Wall of Voodoo, that received significant airplay upon release of the film that year. After The Police stopped touring in 1984, Copeland established a career composing soundtracks for movies (Airborne, Talk Radio, Wall Street, Riff Raff, Raining Stones, Surviving the Game, See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Highlander II: The Quickening, The Leopard Son, She's Having a Baby, Taking Care of Business, West Beirut, I am David, Good Burger), television (The Equalizer, Dead Like Me, Star Wars: Droids, the pilot for Babylon 5 (1993), Nickelodeon's The Amanda Show, The Life and Times of Juniper Lee), operas (Holy Blood and Crescent Moon, commissioned by Cleveland Opera) and ballets (Prey' Ballet Oklahoma, Casque Of Amontillado, Noah's Ark/Solcheeka, commissioned by the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, King Lear, commissioned by the San Francisco Ballet Company, Emilio).
In 1985, Copeland released a solo album, The Rhythmatist. The record was the result of a pilgrimage to Africa and its people, and it features local drums and percussion, with more drums, percussion and other musical instruments added by Copeland. The album was the official soundtrack to the movie of the same name, which was co-written by Stewart. He also starred in the film, which is "A musical odyssey through the heart of Africa in search of the roots of rock & roll." (Copeland is seen playing the drums in a cage with lions surrounding him.) The film is an almost anthropological and mythological adventure drawing from sources like Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung, similar to Peter Weir's "The Last Wave."
In 1988 Copeland followed up with The Equalizer & Other Cliff Hangers on I.R.S. No Speak, an album collecting some of his soundtrack efforts for TV. In 1986, he teamed with Adam Ant to record the title track and video for the Anthony Michael Hall movie Out of Bounds. In 1989, Copeland formed Animal Logic with jazz bassist Stanley Clarke and singer songwriter Deborah Holland. The trio had success with their first album and world tour but the follow-up recording sold poorly, and the band did not continue. Copeland has occasionally played drums for other artists including Peter Gabriel, Mike Rutherford and Tom Waits. In 1993 he composed the music for Ch 4's Horse Opera and director Bob Baldwin. He was commissioned by Insomniac Games and Universal Interactive Studios (now Vivendi) in 1998 to make the musical scores for the hit PlayStation game Spyro the Dragon. He also created the musical scores for the sequels Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage!, Spyro: Year of the Dragon, and Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly. In 1999, he provided the voice of an additional American soldier in the animated musical comedy war film South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999).
In 2000, he combined with Les Claypool of Primus (with whom he produced a track on the Primus album Antipop) and Trey Anastasio of Phish to create the band Oysterhead. That same year, he was approached by director Adam Collis to assemble the score for the film Sunset Strip. In 2002, Copeland was hired by Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger of The Doors to play with them for a new album and tour, but after an injury sidelined Copeland, the arrangement ended in mutual lawsuits. In 2005, Copeland released "Orchestralli", a live recording of chamber ensemble music which he had composed during a short tour of Italy in 2002. Also in 2005, Copeland started Gizmo, a new project with avant-garde guitarist David Fiuczynski, multi-instrumentalist Vittorio Cosma, singer Raiz and bassist Max Gazzé. The band made their U.S debut on September 16, 2006 at the Modern Drummer Drum Festival. In January 2006, Copeland premiered his film about the Police called Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out at the Sundance Film Festival. In February and March, he appeared as one of the judges on the BBC television show Just the Two of Us (a role he later reprised for a second series in January 2007).
The Police reunion (2007–2008)
Main article: The Police Reunion Tour
At the 2007 Grammy Awards, Copeland, Andy Summers and Sting performed the song "Roxanne" together again as The Police. This marked the band's first public performance since 1986 (they had previously reunited only for an improvised set at Sting's wedding party in 1992 and for their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003). One day later, the band announced that in celebration of The Police's 30th anniversary, they would be embarking on what turned out to be a one-off reunion tour on May 28, 2007. Also at that time, Copeland released the compilation album The Stewart Copeland Anthology.
In 2008, RIM commissioned Copeland to write a "soundtrack" for the BlackBerry Bold. Copeland created a highly percussive theme of one minute's length, from which he evolved six ringtones and a softer 'alarm tone' that are preloaded on the device.
In March 2008, Copeland premiered a new orchestral composition "Celeste" at "An Evening with Stewart Copeland", part of the Savannah Music Festival. The performance featured classical violinist Daniel Hope. Copeland's appearance at Savannah included a screening of Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out and a question and answer session. On August 21, 2009, at SummerFest '09, Copeland unveiled a recent composition, "Retail Therapy", which had been commissioned by the Music Society. Copeland then performed three more original works: "Kaya", "Celeste", and "Gene Pool", the last aided by San Diego-based percussion ensemble red fish blue fish. Copeland was also present for a composer's roundtable and a question and answer discussion in conjunction with the festival. Copeland wrote the score for an updated theatrical presentation of chariot-racing saga Ben-Hur, premiered September 17, 2009, at the London O2 Arena. Copeland provided English-language narration of the production, which is performed entirely in Latin and the Aramaic language. In September 2009, a memoir by Copeland entitled Strange Things Happen: A Life with The Police, Polo, and Pygmies was released by Harper Collins. According to an interview Copeland conducted with the Californian music store Amoeba Music, the book chronicles much of Copeland's life, from his childhood through the course of his work with The Police and to the present.
In 2008, Copeland was commissioned by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra to create a percussion piece involving primarily Indonesian instruments. "Gamelan D’Drum" was first performed (after two weather delays) in Dallas on February 5, 2011, and had its European Premiere at the Royal Academy of Music in London in July 2012.
In October 2009 he was a guest on Private Passions, the biographical music discussion programme on BBC Radio 3.
On August 24, 2011, Copeland was a featured soloist on the Late Show with David Letterman, as part of their second "Drum Solo Week".
On January 10, 2012, he appeared on an episode of the A&E reality series Storage Wars to appraise a drum set for Barry Weiss, buying a Turkish cymbal from the set. In July he reunited with former Animal Logic band mate Stanley Clarke for a European tour.
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