Stewart Copeland, Strange Things Happen

Published on December 22nd, 2010 in: Book Reviews, Books, Music, Reviews |

By Laura L.

copeland strange things happen

Ever since I watched The Police’s episode of Behind The Music, I’ve had a thing for Stewart Copeland. (That would be the drummer of the Police for those of you who were born after 1984, when they broke up.) He’s an awesome drummer, he’s quick-witted, and—gosh, darn it!—he’s cute. Yes, a man my father’s age, cute! A man who’s a grandfather, cute! So when I went to my local library recently and found his autobiography, Strange Things Happen, on display, I had to check it out.

Strange Things Happen opens in Stewart’s childhood. His dad, who at one time played with the likes of Glenn Miller, was a spy for the CIA (and the OSS before that) raising his family in Beirut in the 1950s and ’60s. Someone whom the family thought was a friend turns out to be a double agent for the Soviets and blows Stewart’s father’s cover; the young Stewart is then transferred to a notable boarding school in England, where he finds solace in his drums. Later, he moved to San Diego for music school, then eventually wound up in London, where he soon found a gig as the drummer for a band called Curved Air.

Later, he released a solo record, donning a mask and calling himself Klark Kent. He even ended up on Top of the Pops due to his hit, “Don’t Care”. Somewhere in between, he met up with Sting and Andy Summers, and the three formed the Police and ruled early MTV (as well as the world) in the early 1980s. Over twenty years after their breakup, the trio reunited for a year-and-a-half-long tour. Stewart recounts the reunion with great detail. At first, the three renew their love to hate one another, but during one point in the tour, they decide to bury the hatchet and get along swimmingly the rest of the tour.

After the Police breakup but before their reunion, Stewart found work as a composer in film and television, beginning with the 1985 Matt Dillion flick Rumble Fish. He went onto compose for many other projects, culminating in an Emmy nomination for the 2003-2004 Showtime drama Dead Like Me. (He didn’t win.) He pieced together old footage of the Police and created Everybody Stares: The Police Inside Out. The film ended up going to Sundance and indirectly gave birth to the Police’s reunion, as Sting and Andy Summers were present in Park City for the film. In the early oughties, he formed Oysterhead with Phish’s Trey Anastasio and Primus’s Les Claypool. The trio recorded an album, with a tour to follow. He also recounts the time in which he played polo against none other than Prince Charles.

I found Strange Things Happen to be a page turning read. Stewart comes off even more quick-witted than he does on TV. His life definitely lends itself to a novel, and it does so without coming off as smug. He is an excellent storyteller, painting pictures with his words. I often found myself reading this book with a smile on my face.

If you haven’t read it yet, check out Strange Things Happen at a library or bookstore near you today!

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