During a lengthy reunion tour that concluded on August 7, The Police didnâ€™t necessarily resolve the conflicts that blew apart one of rockâ€™s most successful groups nearly 25 years ago.
At least its members seem to understand them better.
â€œPeople donâ€™t really change,â€ guitarist Andy Summers told The Associated Press. â€œWeâ€™re the same three (jerks) we always were. Iâ€™m actually quite proud of the fact that itâ€™s gone on as long as it has.â€
The Police had initially planned to end their 30-year reunion tour a year ago in Giants Stadium, bringing full circle to a career where the first US show was in New Yorkâ€™s grungy CBGBs nightclub. Things were going so well, both personally and as a business, that they kept adding legs; the reunion tour will end as one of the five biggest money-making rock tours of all time.
At the simplest level, Summers said it has been immensely satisfying to see the faces of fans who had grown up listening to songs like Roxanne, Donâ€™t Stand So Close To Me and Every Breath You Take. â€œIâ€™m in front of the stage and you literally see people break out into sobs or kiss each other and jump around expressing joy,â€ he said. â€œItâ€™s been quite emotional in many ways.â€
Some things never change: Summers was stuck in the middle between the â€œtwo kids scrapping on either side,â€ headstrong singer and composer Sting and drummer Stewart Copeland, the volatile anchor of the bandâ€™s meld of punk rock, reggae and jazz.
Copeland views Sting as a musical genius, but one sure of his ideas and not really interested in collaboration. Now that Copeland has spent several years composing film music, hiring musicians to play exactly the notes he wrote, he can understand why he drives Sting nuts. â€œWhen he exercises his right to have it the way he imagined it, itâ€™s a problem for both him and me,â€ he said. â€œI just canâ€™t do it. I canâ€™t remember it. I have my own ideas. Iâ€™m incorrigible.â€
When he was 25 years old, he couldnâ€™t understand all this, said Copeland, now 56.
Sting, Copeland and Summers would occasionally socialise after the band broke up in 1984,
â€œbut not to the extent where we were able to clear up our misconceptions about each other,â€ he said. â€œIt was really good for us to figure out what made the band work and what didnâ€™t work, so we could appreciate each other unconfused by these other issues.â€
He doesnâ€™t want to overemphasise the conflicts, because Copeland said theyâ€™ve really been having a good time on the road.
The last leg of the tour has contained the best shows, he said. â€œAs weâ€™re getting more into it and less uptight about living the legend, it is actually becoming the stuff that got us here,â€ he said.
So is this really the end? â€œYes,â€ Copeland said. â€œIt was the commitment in the beginning that made it possible, that it was a finite commitment. That has actually made it a lot of fun.â€
Same question to Summers. Is this really the end? Yes, but...
Maybe itâ€™s because heâ€™s seen the history of bands like the Eagles, who are now a fully functioning recording and touring unit again after once saying hell would freeze over before they would reunite.
â€œIâ€™m fully prepared to say that was it, weâ€™re fine and weâ€™re done,â€ Summers said. â€œOn the other hand, Iâ€™m fully prepared if someone comes back in a couple of years and says we ought to give it a go. You have to consider it.
â€œA lot of bands, like the Eagles... everyone sort of matures and they realise that itâ€™s fantastic business and the impetuosity that comes with being very young and walking away from something that is really successful, you kind of get over that.â€
He said he doesnâ€™t expect it to happen, but â€œthatâ€™s the model thatâ€™s out there for me.â€