Can't Stand Losing You: Surviving The Police

Written by Matteo Sedazzari
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Can't Stand Losing You: Surviving The Police – (2012) is a documentary based on The Police’s guitarist Andy Summers’ critically acclaimed autobiography from 2007, One Train Later: A Memoir Paperback.

Can’t Stand Losing You begins with The Police performing on New Year’s Eve 1983, (Andy Summers birthday coincidentally enough) at Wembley Arena on the British leg of their Synchronicity World tour. A tour that lasted nine months, July 1983 to March 1984. As the clock strikes twelve, Andy Summers, Stewart Copeland (drums) and Sting (Bass & Vocals) all know that they have reached the pinnacle of their career, then Summers starts to narrate, as he knew at this stage the end was nigh. The mood of Can’t Stand Losing You moves from one of excitement to that of reflection as it fast forwards to the then present (2012) with Summers finishing a yoga session in his mansion, before retiring to his outside study, to write and narrate his journey.

Police andy summers sting stewart copeland 2

For it has been a remarkable voyage for Summers, as ten years previously to New Year’s Eve 1983, Andy Summers had recently married American Kate Lunken in 1973 and was now earning a living as a guitar teacher in Los Angeles. Prior to this date, Summers had been in touching distance of success, a talented and handsome guitarist, who cut his teeth on the Bournemouth British rhythm ‘n’ blues and soul scene, with Hammond organ player and bandleader Zoot Money, in Zoot Money's Big Roll Band. Before he, Zoot and the rest of the band relocated to London where they became a firm favourite with the London Mod Scene. Summers was in the midst of Swinging London, and R ‘n’ B bands like The Yardbirds, The Animals and The Rolling Stones achieving chart success, Summers thought it would only be a question of time before he and Zoot Money move from the fringes of music to the mainstream. Yet despite being signed to Decca, (home to The Rolling Stones), then Columbia in 1964 and 1965, Zoot Money's Big Roll Band failed to achieve chart success.

photo andy summers 196 mod

As music evolved into the psychedelic scene, Summers and Zoot Money decided to turn on, tune in, and dropout and became Dantalian's Chariot in 1967. This proved to be a big failure as gigs outside of London were not that receptive to the message of ‘love and peace’. Unperturbed and still passionate to become a successful and wealthy musician, Summers joined Soft Machine for a short American tour in 1968, before being asked by Eric Burdon to record and join his version of The Animals. Again, this venture did not meet expectations for Summers, yet he stayed in America until his father lent him and his wife the money to return to the UK in 1975 and relocate to London.

the police sting andy summers stewart copeland zoot money

A Youthful Andy Summers at The Front (Zoot Money) 

A boy, who taught himself the guitar at the age of 13, and was born in a caravan during the war as his family had no home, was truly down on his luck. Yet that was all about to change within the next few years, as in 1977 Summers joined Strontium 90, a one-off music project to support the progressive rock band, Gong in Paris, and London. Within this project were Sting and Copeland from a little-known Punk band, called The Police.

Sting and Copeland were impressed by the musicianship of this mature musician and asked him to join their band as their second guitarist to Henry Padovani. They only played as a four-piece twice, before Summers gave Sting and Copeland the ultimatum, Padovani or me. Even though Padovani was their friend the duo chose Summers as he was a more accomplished guitar player. So, at the age of 35, an original Mod and former hippy was now part of the 1977 London Punk scene, and then with the rise of New Wave in 1978, The Police were slowly forging a career. Then in 1979, The Police broke the hit parade, and the rest is history as they say… including a one world reunion tour in 2007, that witnessed Henry Padovani play with The Police in Paris on 29th September for their encore.

sting stewart copeland andy summers zani

Can’t Stand Losing You is far from a kiss and tell music documentary, nor is the screen filled with musicians or actors with tales of inspiration or situations with the blond trio, nor does it cover how Sting and Copeland formed The Police. Can’t Stand Losing You is purely Summers’ journey, his perspective, and interpretation of the events surrounding the band. This alone, makes compelling and intelligent viewing, as Summers along with his own private and, at times, risqué photo collection (as Summers had the foresight to purchase a camera, and took snaps from recording sessions) to entertain in his hotel room after a gig, presents an exceptional and comprehensive insight to what it was like to be a global rock star, and how he survived it as a middle-aged man.

Summers doesn’t boast, nor does he play the victim, yet he acknowledges his accomplishments, and so he should, conquering America was no mean feat, as well as admitting his flaws, and how he learnt from them. He is diplomatic and respectful towards his former band members, yet you get the feeling he was closer to Copeland than Sting. The only negative feeling you get from Summers is, he is still disappointed that The Police broke up in 1986.

Of course, fans of The Police, and Summers, if they haven’t already done so, will love this film. Yet fans of music, and people with an interest in popular culture, will enjoy the authentic tale of the rise and fall and rise of Andy Summers.

happy andy summers

Read 4528 times Last modified on Wednesday, 03 June 2020 07:37
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Matteo Sedazzari

Matteo Sedazzari

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