He is one of the greatest drummers in the history of music. His playing even influenced Neil Peart, who also became a very close friend of him. He is one of the founders of "Police" and its unique musical style has a lot to do with his versatile drumming, but he is also a musician in his own right and even composed a rock opera. Here are some interesting facts about Stewart Copeland:
(Photo: Joby Sessions/Future Publishing)
1. He was born in Alexandria, Virginia, USA, on July 16, 1952. His full name is Stewart Armstrong Copeland.
2. He is the youngest of four children. Son of a father who served in the American intelligence in the Middle East during World War II and a Scottish mother who served in the British intelligence in the Middle East at that time.
3. Copeland spent most of his childhood in the Middle East. A few months after his birth, his family moved to "Cairo" in Egypt and at the age of 5, the family moved to "Beirut" in Lebanon.
4. Copeland started taking drum lessons at the age of 12 and already at the age of 13, he was playing drums as part of the school band.
5. As a child Copeland listened to a mix of Lebanese music, rock, and roll, jazz, and reggae. The drummer who influenced him the most was Mitch Mitchell who was part of Jimi Hendrix's band, but he was also influenced by Sandy Nelson and Ginger Baker.
6. At the same time, Copeland stated that because of his "compulsive listening" to Buddy Rich, he considered himself "allergic" to jazz.
7. Despite being left-handed, Copeland plays a right-handed drum kit. He places the hi-hat on the left and the ride cymbal and floor toms on the right.
8. At the age of 15, Copeland returned to England where he completed his high school studies and later moved to the USA and studied at the University of Berkeley.
9. In 1974 he returned to England and became the tour manager of the progressive rock band "Curved Air". Later, in 1975, he became the band's drummer, where he also met the singer Sonja Kristina, whom he would marry in 1982.
10. In 1977, after the breakup of "Curved Air", Copeland formed "The Police" together with bassist and singer Sting and guitarist Henry Padovani, who was shortly replaced by Andy Summers. Copeland was the youngest member of the band.
11. Police's first songs (even before its debut album) were mostly Copeland-penned compositions, including the band's 1977 first single "Fall Out" and its B-side "Nothing Achieving."
12. Later on, Copeland's contribution to songwriting gradually decreased, while at the same time Sting's part in writing increased.
13. Among the notable songs that Copeland wrote exclusively for the band are: "On Any Other Day" (in which he also sings), "Does Everyone Stare", "Contact", "Bombs Away", "Darkness" and "Miss Gradenko".
14. Copeland also co-wrote several songs with Sting, including: "Peanuts", "Landlord", "It's Alright for You" and "Re-Humanize Yourself".
15. Copeland's playing style is very unique and it includes an increased and complex use of hi-hat. In fact, in most of the songs of "The Police" Copeland only uses hi-hats and bass drums to keep the rhythm going.
16. His special hi-hat playing caught the attention of Peter Gabriel who invited him to play them in the song "Red Rain".
17. Copeland is also one of the few rock drummers who use a traditional grip rather than a matching grip.
18. In the 1980s, when many musicians were looking for a bigger sound with bigger drums, Copeland added to his drum set the "Octobans" - eight six-inch drums in the shape of narrow tubes invented by "Tama Drums" in 1978.
19. Copeland also used another innovation, a "Splash" cymbal based on his own toy that he helped "Paiste" design.
20. Outside "The Police", Copeland recorded under the pseudonym of Klark Kent, and released several singles, including "Don't Care" which entered the UK singles chart in 1978. Later in 1980, he also released a full album called "Klark Kent: Music Madness from the Kinetic Kid", in which this song was included. Copeland played all the instruments and sang himself.
21. In 1983 he participated in writing the theme song for the movie "Rumble Fish" - a movie, directed and produced by Francis Ford Coppola. The song "Don't Box Me In" featuring a collaboration between Copeland and singer-songwriter Stan Ridgway, leader of the band "Wall of Voodoo", earned Copeland a Golden Globe nomination in 1983.
22. In 1985 he released the soundtrack for the film "Rhythmatist", which was influenced by his visit to Africa. It features African drums and percussion. Copeland is seen in the film playing drums in a cage with a large number of lions surrounding him.
23. After the dissolution of "Police" Copeland began a career composing soundtracks for films, series, operas, and ballet including: "Wall Street", "Highlander II: The Quickening", "Taking Care of Business", "Star Wars: Droids", "Babylon 5" and more.
24. He also contributed his voice to the movie "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut", in which he plays an American soldier.
25. And if that wasn't enough, then in 1998 he was invited by "Insomniac Games" to create the musical score for the hit "PlayStation" game "Spyro the Dragon". Copeland also created the scores for the sequels Insomniac "Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage!", "Spyro: Year of the Dragon", "Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly".
26. In 1989, Copeland formed "Animal Logic" with jazz bassist Stanley Clarke and singer-songwriter Deborah Holland. The trio achieved success with their first album and the world tour that followed.
27. In 2000 he teamed up with bassist Les Claypool after a guest appearance on one song from Primus' "Antipop" album. This collaboration gave birth to the supergroup "Oysterhead", which also included Trey Anastasio from the band "Phish".
28. In 2002, Copeland was hired by Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger of "the Doors" to play with them on a new album and tour to accompany it, but an injury prevented him from fulfilling his commitment and the matter ended in mutual lawsuits.
29. In 2005, Copeland released the album "Orchestralli", a live recording of chamber ensemble music, which he composed during a brief tour of Italy in 2002.
30. Back in 2005, Copeland formed "Gizmo", a new project with guitarist David Fiuczynski, multi-instrumentalist Vittorio Cosma, singer Raiz, and bassist Max Gazzè.
31. At the 2007 Grammy Awards, Copeland, Andy Summers, and Sting performed the song "Roxanne" together. This was the band's first public performance since 1986 (except for an impromptu set at Sting's wedding in 1992 and a performance as part of their induction into the "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame" in 2003).
32. One day later the band announced that in celebration of the 30th anniversary of "Police", they embarked on a one-off reunion tour on May 28, 2007. The tour included 151 shows across five continents.
33. In 2017, Copeland formed the supergroup "Gizmodrome" with Adrian Belew, Vittorio Cosma, and Mark King. They released an album of the same name in which Copeland also takes the lead vocals.
34. In 2021 he released the album "Divine Tides" together with Ricky Kej, the album earned Copeland his sixth Grammy.
35. Copeland's brother - Miles Copeland III founded the label "I.R.S. Records" and was also the manager of "The Police".
36. In the 1980s, Copeland prevented the appearance of "Police" in Israel, against the background of his opposition to its involvement in the First Lebanon War (you remember that he grew up in Beirut, right?).
37. Copeland influenced many drummers with his playing, including Neil Peart - drummer of "Rush".
38. The two became very close friends. In fact, Copeland was part of Neil Peart's closest circle, which included only his family and closest friends, who knew about the terminal diagnosis of brain cancer that led to his death.
39. As part of his membership in "The Police" band, Copeland released 5 masterpiece albums between the years 1978 and 1983, 4 of which are on the "Rolling Stone" magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
40. Beyond his role as the band's drummer, Copeland is also responsible for singing background vocals, he plays keyboards, producers, and is responsible for the band's arrangements.
41. On July 22, 2022, "The Witches Seed" - a rock opera he composed, premiered on Broadway. He was assisted in the production by Chrissie Hynde who also contributed some songs to the opera, which tells the story of 3 women accused of witchcraft during the witch hunts in Europe.