SPIN DOC­TOR

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music - IAIN SHED­DEN

A S I was say­ing to Andy Sum­mers of the Po­lice just the other day: I don ’t

‘‘ sup­pose you could see your way to lend­ing me a cou­ple of hun­dred bucks just un­til you get here be­cause what with Christ­mas and all and go­ing on hol­i­day and the in­ter­est rates and that bloody car and now it ’s my teeth as well I ’m just a wee bit stretched at the minute. It would only be a loan, you un­der­stand. Meet you back­stage at the first gig and we can sort it out, no ques­tion.’’ OK, I ’m ex­ag­ger­at­ing a lit­tle but I did sug­gest to the Bri­tish gui­tarist that he might be able to spare some change, fol­low­ing the an­nounce­ment that the Po­lice re­union tour grossed some­thing like $ US212 mil­lion in 2007, mak­ing it the high­est earner of the year, and that’ s be­fore they even set foot in the south­ern hemi­sphere.

We don’ t get all of that,’’ Sum­mers, a down‘‘ to- earth friendly char­ac­ter, was quick to point out. You mean Sting gets it?’’ I felt like

‘‘ say­ing, just to break the ice fur­ther, be­fore ac­knowl­edg­ing that yes, crikey, there must be a lot of ex­penses when a three- piece band goes out on the road to play its great­est hits in sta­di­ums. Sum­mers turned 65 on Mon­day but clearly his bus pass ap­pli­ca­tion can wait un­til he gets home from the Po­lice global ex­trav­a­ganza later in the year. In fact Sum­mers is far from idle, even when he’ s not ap­ply­ing his con­sid­er­able gui­tar tech­nique to the Po­lice’s pa­rade of hits. He has his own trio, which played in Aus­tralia a few years ago, and he pub­lished an ex­tremely well- writ­ten

One Train Later: A Mem­oir au­to­bi­og­ra­phy, last year. A book of his pho­to­graphs from his

I ll Be Watch­ing You , is also life in the Po­lice,

’ avail­able. A se­lec­tion of those pho­tos will be ex­hib­ited in Syd­ney while he is here.

No doubt the on- the- road ex­pe­ri­ence has changed some­what since Sting, Sum­mers and drum­mer Ste­wart Copeland were do­ing it tough on the club cir­cuit in Bri­tain al­most 30 years ago. We have our own peo­ple now’’ is

‘‘ Sum­mers’ s mat­ter- of- fact ex­pla­na­tion of life back­stage at Po­lice HQ. The tour be­gins in Bris­bane on Jan­uary 22.

Not all in­ter­vie­wees are as forth­com­ing and good- na­tured as Sum­mers. Lou Reed, for

Spin Doc­tor ex­am­ple, is no­to­ri­ously dif­fi­cult. has had that du­bi­ous plea­sure a cou­ple of times, the last of which in­volved the New York bard push­ing me to the floor in an ef­fort to ex­plain some of the in­tri­ca­cies and dis­ci­plines of tai chi, dur­ing which the words could break

‘‘ your legs’’ were men­tioned in a mis­chievous tone. So it will be in­ter­est­ing to see what Mr Prickly has to say to hun­dreds of mu­sic in­dus­try freeload­ers and deal- do­ers when he ad­dresses them at this year’s South By South­west mu­sic sem­i­nar in Austin, Texas. Reed has been an­nounced as key­note speaker at the an­nual in­dus­try pow- wow in March.

spin­doc@ theaus­tralian. com. au

Il­lus­tra­tion: Tom Jel­lett

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