Stewart Copeland‘s contemporaneous memories of the earliest days of the Police form the basis for his new book, the aptly named Police Diaries 1976-’79, which will be out later this year through Rocket 88 Books. Copeland will also be offering previously unheard demos and recordings from the era, the first of which, a proto-Police song called “Clown’s Revenge,” is out today (Jan. 12).
“Do you know where you were on September 25, 1976? Maybe not, but I do,” Copeland says by way of introduction, referencing the night he saw Sting perform for the first time. “I was a long-haired alien drummer touring the U.K. in a prog-rock band called Curved Air, and that night we were in Newcastle where I saw a local band called Last Exit. I know that because I was taking notes every day in my now slightly dog-eared, pocket diaries. I noted that they were ‘great’ and that we had a party. In a later diary entry, after realizing that punk was the future, I remark on the day that I persuaded their bassist to move to London and join me in my own punk band.”
Copeland promises Police Diaries will be “the truest account of the Police’s beginning and early days. It’s full of my original diary pages, hand-made poster designs, ragged accounts, callow observations and other scribblings of a proto-rock star, illuminated by hitherto unseen vintage photos from the deepest vaults. It’s a big, noisy book about one heckuva ride.”
As for the frenetic “Clown’s Revenge,” it was recorded in a Mayfair apartment in 1976 by Copeland (playing all of the instruments) and features his brother Ian on vocals. Copeland and Sting had their first rehearsal in the same spot that December, and once the Police began playing gigs the following year, “Clown’s Revenge” was performed several times before disappearing from the repertoire completely as Sting began contributing his own material.
Copeland will be back on the road this spring and summer with his live show Police Deranged, which finds him performing re-arranged Police material with the help of local orchestras.