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  • THIN LIZZY'S Scott Gorham Talks New Documentary, International Hits, & Diverse Success with The Aquarian
    June 20, 2022 Thin Lizzy’s Scott Gorham Talks New Documentary, International Hits, & Diverse Success They might not be back in town, so to speak, but they are back… this time on newly restored DVDs. The best rock documentaries appeal to everyone from an artist or band’s fanatics to people that have never heard of the group. Such is the case with Songs for While I’m Away, the poignant, compelling and pull no punches story of Phil Lynott, the charismatic Thin Lizzy leader and all-around rock star. The superior film by Emer Reynolds is part of The Boys Are Back in Town, the new documentary/concert package that also includes Thin Lizzy’s storied 1978 performance at the Sydney Opera House. Lynott seemingly was born to be a rockstar. Raised as an African-American in overwhelmingly white Ireland, the film explores his unique upbringing and the love, passion ,and strong ties that bound him to his homeland, even while he made his musical name in London. The film tracks Lynott’s first bands in Ireland to Thin Lizzy’s final lineup, as well as the musician’s dramatic rise and drastic fall. Thin Lizzy guitar mainstay Scott Gorham, Lynott’s right-hand man, is interviewed extensively throughout the documentary, providing a multitude of great stories, first-hand fun and sobering reflections of Lynott and his legacy. Though best-known for its mega-hit single, “The Boys Are Back in Town,” a tune that relates to listeners more than 45 years later, the film features plenty of other fantastic Thin Lizzy songs. Lynott’s former wife, Caroline, and his two daughters also reflect upon the man, giving further depth to his story. Songs for While I’m Away is an excellent work that pays homage to Lynott’s legacy and will resonate long after the film’s final scene. The concert portion of this new release captures an energized, 1978 performance outside the Sydney Opera House. It was a transitional time in the band. Guitarist Gary Moore had just joined, replacing Brian Robertson, while drummer Mark Nauseef sat in for Brian Downey. Still, the band fired on all cylinders as they rocked through a set including scorching run-throughs of “Bad Reputation,” “Waiting for an Alibi,” and “Cowboy Song,” and high-class renditions of classics like “The Boys Are Back In Town,” “Jailbreak” and “Still In Love With You.” With plenty of video documentation of other line-ups it’s great to have this version of Thin Lizzy preserved for perpetuity. We recently had the pleasure of talking with Scott Gorham. When you were approached to appear in the documentary were you hesitant or did you jump right in? I was straight up in no problem. You’ve got to remember that Phil Lynott was one of my all-time best friends. There was not going to be any way that I was not going to be interviewed. I thought the inclusion of his ex-wife, Caroline, and his daughters, Sarah and Cathleen, was important. I think it’s the first time they’ve done any interviews at all about their father. I think part of the reason is they were extremely young when Phil passed away. They were asking me a ton of question about their dad and I was telling them this story and that story. They wanted the whole nuts and bolts, too, all of who Phil was. We had a great time. Songs for While I’m Away is a captivating film for both Thin Lizzy fans and people that have never heard of the band before. Why do you think it appeals to such a wide audience? Well, Phil was a really interesting character, the way he grew up practically the only Black person in Ireland at that time. On the first tour I was noticing how white Ireland actually was. It made him really grow up in a different way. He was very tolerant. but if you pushed him you better be able to throw down. He was an interesting guy, even when he wasn’t singing or playing the bass. The film has footage I’d never seen before, of him as a really young guy and photos with his mother. Courtesy of Mercury Studios Phil was such a commanding presence onstage. What was it like playing with him for the first time? He even developed my personality on the stage. The first show we ever did was in the Wolverhampton Lafayette Club. We had rehearsed for three weeks and you kind of stand around, you’re not playing a show. On the first song, Brian Downey counted us in and all of the sudden all three of the guys exploded on the stage, running around. I’m backing up and I’m thinking, “Oh boy, nobody told me about this, what’s going on?” I kind of cowered back to my amps. Phil kept looking over his shoulder waving, “Get up here!” Finally, he dragged me to the front of the stage and said, “Right, don’t move from there for the rest of the show.” He wanted everybody in the spotlight. He just didn’t want him. That right there showed me what a cool guy he was. He wanted everybody to be a star Phil’s father was completely absent in his life. How do you think this affected Phil? I remember the day Phil first met him, it was maybe 1978 or 1979. We were at the Top of the Pops here in London, doing a recording for a TV show. This guy showed up almost out of the blue and it was his father. He was wearing a white three-piece suit, white shirt, white tie, white patented leather shoes, and a white fedora. Phil said to me, “I don’t want you to leave me alone with this guy.” I said, “Hey, why don’t I get some coffee?” I thought I’d jump back because I wanted to give Phil a couple minutes alone with him. As I was getting the coffee and getting ready to go back in the room this guy was, wham, he was out of there. Maybe 15 minutes in and out. I think Phil thought, “You didn’t give me any of your life, I’m not going to give you any of mine.” You co-wrote so many songs with Phil. How was that process? It was pretty easy, really. A lot of times I would be coming up with a riff or a chord pattern. He’d say, “Let’s just embellish on that because I have a part to go with that.” The first song I ever wrote with him was on the first album I played on, Nightlife. I was just playing this chord pattern for a couple of months. He said, “Can you give me more of that. Would you mind if I wrote some lyrics to that?’” I was like “Hell yeah,” and song turned out to be a song called “She Knows,” and that turned out to be the opening track. I thought that was a really cool thing to happen. Thin Lizzy is best known around the globe for “The Boys Are Back in Town.” Yet that doesn’t even begin to cover your catalog. Do you ever think that’s all some people know of Thin Lizzy and wish they had dug deeper into your discography? I think any band that has any kind of international hit will take it. At the end of the day it is the harmony guitar and his vocal phrasing and the lyrics, and it’s absolutely pretty representative of the Thin Lizzy catalog. I’m ok with it. How many bands do we know that come and go and maybe have a hit and people forget about it off the bat, and then you’re lucky enough to have songs that people will remember for years to come? That’s very cool. Was the band cursed in trying to break American tours? A major US tour in 1976 was cancelled when Phil contracted hepatitis. A second American tour that year was cancelled when guitarist Brian Robertson injured his hand. Then guitarist Gary Moore abruptly left the band during a 1979 jaunt, though Midge Ure replaced him mid-tour. It seemed like America always was a curse. We would go and tour everyplace else in the world and we’d never ever had a problem. It seemed like every time we stepped on that ramp to fly to America it seemed like things would go wrong. It was almost like someone up there saying, “Guys, this is what we’re going to do. We’ll give you the rest of the world but you can’t have America. Are you ok with that?” The answer to that kind of has to be yes and no at the same time. I know Phil loved America – and it’s my home country, so I, of course, wanted to be big in my hometown. Phil also wrote a lot of songs about America. To not be able to do it was more bad luck than anything else. It was kind of a stinger. The concert portion of the DVD captures the band at the Sydney Opera House in 1978. With guitarist Gary Moore just having rejoined the band and Mark Nauseef sitting in behind the drum stool for Brian Downey, was it a difficult period? It was a really testing period. A period that I really loved even though in the pit of your stomach you’re thinking, “is this going to work? Are people expecting something else?” But the more we went on the better this band as a unit became until it was just really tight. What do you remember about the show? The Sydney Opera House was a day of just absolute chaos. The rest of the Australian tour went like clockwork, nothing went wrong. That didn’t quite happen in Sydney. The Sydney fathers, if you will, didn’t want us to be anywhere near the Sydney Opera House. They put a cap on 6,000 tickets and we all kind of understood that. The Opera House is like their Taj Mahal or their Eiffel Tower. You look at it from anywhere in the world and you know it. The problem was that a DJ in Sydney had got on the air and said, “You know, ladies and gentleman, Friday night we all know what that is: Thin Lizzy will be playing live at the Sydney Opera House and there are still tickets available.” It was completely sold out like weeks before that! We get down there and they’ve got enough security for 6,000 people. It wasn’t thousands that showed up, it was tens of thousands of people that showed up and these security people are just completely overwhelmed. They let everyone in, so, ok, great, that was going to be fun. There have been estimates of 60,000 people. The next problem is our PA is big enough for 6,000 but not big enough for 60,000 people. We just walked out with the attitude of, “This is going to be fun, we’re going to have a great time.” What does the future hold for Scott Gorham? My partner in (post-Thin Lizzy band) 21 Guns wants to do another album, which I’m really up for. I really love that band and I think we’re going to come up with some really good things. I know there’s people that want me to get out and do the whole Thin Lizzy thing again. We’ll see what happens on that front. I do love playing that music. Right now in my near future I’m going to try to focus on 21 Guns and we’ll see that happens after that. YOU CAN GET MORE INFORMATION ON SONGS FOR WHILE I’M AWAY BY CHECKING OUT THE THIN LIZZY WEBSITE. PRE-ORDER THE DOCUMENTARY HERE! SOURCE
    Stewart Copeland on ‘The Police: Around the World’ Reissue, Writing Operas and the Pull of Nostalgia June 2022 Back in the fall of 1978, a little-known trio called The Police landed on US shores, winning over exceedingly small audiences in clubs in New York City, Philadelphia and Boston. From those very humble beginnings, the Police would explode, thanks to a smash debut album, Outlandos D ‘Amour, filled with spectacular songs (“Roxanne,” “Can’t Stand Losing You,” Next To You” among them) driven by the powerful musical combustion of bassist/ lead vocalist Sting, guitarist Andy Summers and drummer Stewart Copeland. Their tsunami of global success built and built, and soon The Police was the biggest band in the world. Released recently, a newly expanded version of their documentary, The Police: Around the World deftly blends electrifying live footage alongside scenes of the band exploring exotic locales in India, Egypt, Japan, Hong Kong, France, South America, Australia and Greece. We spoke to founding member Stewart Copeland, who regaled with stories of their magical adventures. Rock Cellar: Watching the documentary, The Police: Around the World, what’s really interesting is when speaking to rock bands about their touring days, they normally respond with stories of hotel rooms, planes, arenas, another hotel room, and so on — but with The Police, both collectively and individually, you were able to get out and see the world during this period. How did you manage that? Stewart Copeland: Well, Cairo has a lot more to draw you out of your hotel room than Detroit. To be in Bombay, you’re not going to be sitting in your hotel room at the Taj Mahal. You want to be out on those streets. Also, we had become avid photographers. We’d been through Tokyo’s camera stores with all the latest technology, and we all were festooned with cameras and we wanted to get out there and take pictures of cool stuff, namely each other in cool places. Rock Cellar: On that ’79/’80 tour, what were the highlights of the historic locales that you visited? Stewart Copeland: I think being able to go out to Giza, next to Cairo, and just hire three horses and take off across out the desert unsupervised, unmonitored, unfettered. And just we galloped around all three of the big pyramids out there, all the sub pyramids and all the different places where it’s too hot and dusty for tourists to walk to. We could just ride there, and it was all kind of unmonitored. I very much doubt you could do that today, and you certainly could not do that at Stonehenge, for instance. To be able to have adventures like that stand out. Rock bands don’t go to Bombay. There’s never been a rock band there, and when we were doing it was an open-air venue and we were doing the soundcheck. The people out in the streets heard it and went, “Wow, what’s going on?” They climbed the walls and swarmed the place, and the place was already packed and no one could get them out by the time we finished the soundcheck. All the fancy people who had bought a ticket, I’m not sure what happened to them, but when we played the show, those people from the streets of Bombay pretty much responded the way they do in Detroit, where Sting goes “E-o-oh” and they all go, “E-o-oh.” I guess it tells you something about the universal humanity of music. Rock Cellar: There are bands that break out and maybe they’re big in England and the US, but there are other locales where they haven’t broken through. But when the Police broke big, it was everywhere. It wasn’t just America and England, as the band was pretty universally embraced. Looking back, can you explain that beautiful sense of fortune for everyone getting it? Stewart Copeland: Well, because we went there, and that was largely due to the vision of our manager, my brother Miles, who had a vision of world conquest. A lot of these places that we went, particularly the places in this movie that are so exotic, they were not markets. We were not going there to break a new market. We were going there to have a wild adventure. But we did play Latin America and we did push the boundaries of where bands can play, and the reason we were popular everywhere was because we went there. Rock Cellar: There’s a couple of shots in the documentary where you can see your drum heads and there’s some writing on it. What was written on them? Stewart Copeland: It was a bit of self-provocation. And the words are, “fuck off you cunt!” A lot has been speculated on not only the meaning of those words, but to whom they were directed. Rock Cellar: Was that a cathartic way for you to get out your aggression, hitting those drum heads? Stewart Copeland: Yes, they were not actually projected at any individual, if anyone it was myself. By the way, that was written at a time when there was so much fun and joy in my life that this “fuck off you cunt!” was not a dark, hostile cry of rage. It was more a jocular challenge with a twinkle. Rock Cellar: Watching the performances in the documentary, the band is super tight. Talk a bit about the chemistry of The Police. It seems there was that intangible magic, that zone that you fall into where the muscle memory follows it, but you transcend from that as well. Stewart Copeland: There were three of us, which meant that the formula was very simple. Each of us had a larger role, because there were fewer of us. And we just found that sweet spot of how to take Sting songs, how to use Andy’s guitar playing and how Andy’s guitar playing inspired me. This three-way crosstalk landed on a magic place that seemed to work for people outside the band. We just got into that groove. We knew what it was that inspired us in each other and worked it and played show after show after show, working it. When you’re getting a positive response from an audience as you’re doing something like that, there’s a feedback, and it builds momentum and that sustained us through five albums. Rock Cellar: Looking back at this specific period, ’79, ’80, do you consider that a performing peak for the band? Stewart Copeland: Actually, no. We still had four more years where we made three more albums and we were young and hungry in this film and we were not at the top by any means. We were working it and we were working our way up. Years after this, we did get to the stadiums and we did two albums worth of stadiums. And by the way, I think that’s when we really were hitting our best. When we played Shea Stadium, I think all three of us agreed Shea Stadium was our finest hour. When the stars were aligned, Joan Jett came out and killed it, woke the place up, then we came out. It was just one of those magic evenings where everything was right and Sting had a fractured rib. Rock Cellar: So the transition from playing small clubs on that first tour to playing theaters and then arenas and then jumping to stadiums, how did that impact on the communication of the band and feeding off of the larger audience and how to deliver on a massive scale? Did that alter the sense of presentation and performance? Stewart Copeland: The shows brought us back together again, starting with our third out of five albums, Zenyatta Mondatta, which we recorded in Holland. That’s when we started to have a lot of tension in the studio. “How should we make this record?” Because once you make it, you’re locked to it. By the time we’d get out of the studio, we were at each other’s throats. But as soon as we started playing shows, the affirmation of the audience, really, was what saved us, and we just had so much fun playing those shows and hitting the crowd where it hurts. That was very band-affirming and it retied our bonds and got us all worked up. “So, hey, let’s go back, let’s do another album” and then we’d get back into the studio and be at each other’s throats in no time. But then we’d get out of the road again and go, “wow, hey, we are a cool group.” Rock Cellar: You look at The Who and you look at the Kinks, and certainly the Stones have gone through and the Beatles and so many of the other great bands like the Police, have gone through major inner band conflict. When were you able to channel in a positive sense, and when did it get too much? Stewart Copeland: When we played shows was when it cured all of our blues, that’s when it came together. When there’s no overdubs, there’s no cold clinical studio atmosphere. We have a visceral, heaving audience in front of us on a mission, and I’m on stage to complete that mission with the right two guys. We all felt that power of what we do together in front of an audience. The studio albums got more and more difficult, and we now understand that the reasons for the conflict were legitimate reasons. It was not jealousy or egotism or anything like that. We had different ideas of what music is for in our lives, let alone what music we should be making and how we should be making it. Just fundamentally, we had different points of view about what music is for. And so on top of that, all three of us also had a very strong idea of wanting to participate in the creative process. Each of us thought the band was there for us to express ourselves artistically, and we felt that very strongly. So with artistic truth and musical truth, there are three versions of it in the band, and that makes it very tough for some people to compromise under those circumstances. Since those days, each of us has gone off and not compromised and has led great, fulfilled musical lives. But we understand that forcing us to compromise produced a really great artistic result that didn’t make it any fun. Looking back on it, I’m very grateful that we held on to Sting for three more albums than we deserved, because he knew how to make records, he knew how to write songs, he knew how to produce them, arrange them, and we didn’t. It just became more and more of a compromise for him to deal with other points of view in the making of that music. But he did. He hung in there, and he put up with Andy and I with our own opinions and having to make compromises for three more albums, until finally we all agreed that we had gotten to the good place and let’s all go have some fun on our own. We have to melt down the golden cage, and that’s when I went off and had 20 years as a film composer, Andy went off on his various missions, and it was the right time. Rock Cellar: I saw the reunion show at the Hollywood Bowl. Did that reunion tour deliver on the final chapter for you and end it in a positive way for you? Stewart Copeland: Yeah, it was very positive, and that’s where we reached all of this understanding, in hindsight, about what the conflicts were all about. They were all for very honorable reasons. To play the reunion tour brought us together to remind us of that. When we were rehearsing for the reunion tour, that old tension arose, there we were rehearsing for this tour for stadiums around the world where tickets just got sucked up in 20 minutes. We’d all forgotten about it, I was a film composer. I was wearing Gap clothes as a suburban dad. You don’t want to be a rock star in snakeskin pants when you’re a film composer. So I’d forgotten all about the rock and roll experience in general, and The Police in particular. When the tickets went out and just disappeared, vaporized, the three of us realized, “Wow, this is way bigger than any of us imagined.” But still, we’re in a rehearsal room figuring out how are we going to do this? And the old tensions began to assert themselves until we hit the stage again. And just like before, when we got in front of an audience and the audience went bananas, it affected us. We could look into those first rows and see the emotional impact of those old songs. But those old songs that people grew up with, whether they’re even a Police fan or not, they were on the radio. They were part of the zeitgeist of their formative adult years, and they have emotional impact, and that had an impact on the three of us on stage. We were very emotionally overwhelmed by the audience, and we’re prepared to look at each other. “Okay, we’re ready to give it up. We rule.” Rock Cellar: It didn’t feel nostalgic to me, it felt alive. Stewart Copeland: Well, there’s nothing wrong with nostalgia. There’s nothing wrong with nostalgia at all. It’s very important. The relationship between memory and music is very profound and very emotional. And the word nostalgia might have a connotation of looking backwards, but there’s no problem with that when there’s an emotional impact. That’s what music is for. It’s a very human, binding thing which involves memory and the future and the here and now and the Homo sapiens to our left and to our right. We are bonded by music. It’s a two-way emotional charge. Rock Cellar: Before we wrap up, let’s go back to the band’s beginnings. Recount the band’s first U.S. tour, where you were playing to less than ten people in a club in Boston or a small crowd at Grendel’s Lair in Philadelphia. Stewart Copeland: The first show in America was at CBGB’s in New York City. I got there as an American citizen and came a couple of days earlier, but Sting and Andy were held up with their visas and they got their visas just in time. So they arrived at Kennedy Airport and went straight from the airport to CBGB’s with their suitcases, plugged into amps they had never seen before, turned around and went “Hello America” and it all began. And then the following night, we were in Grendel’s Lair in Philly. And then the night after that up at the Rat Club in Boston, I think. The important thing about that period where we were playing two shows a night, night after night, we had to pad our skinny repertoire by stretching songs out and improvising and jamming. And that’s where we discovered our band sound was in Grendel’s Lair, Philadelphia, among other sweaty joints. Rock Cellar: After the Police, you went on to work as an orchestral composer. Stewart Copeland: My 20 years as a film composer gave me an involuntary education on how to use an orchestra. I actually took courses as well, the actual spelling of how you put it on the page. But score after score, I started out with people arranging them for me and we’re at the orchestra date, and I’ve got the score in front of me, and I’m thinking it should really just swell here. Well, you put a hair pin. Okay, cool. So I put hair pins all over, and I’m doodling on these scores more and more to the point where I start to orchestrate myself and get a much better result. So that’s where the orchestra chops came in. The Police Deranged work I do, when I made my Super8 film using the film that I shot back in the day and made it to a film called Everyone Stares. With the score for that I had to chop up Police music, and once I got out the scalpel and I got out the multi-tracks and I got out all these live recordings where I found these extrapolations, lost guitar melodies, lost vocal approaches, and I started to incorporate all those, that’s where The Police Deranged for Orchestra comes in. On the mic, I’ve got three soul singers, three soul sisters on the mic singing these arrangements. My last show was three nights with the Nashville Symphony and the show is very successful because of that emotional nostalgic impact. Nostalgia has a pejorative to it, but it’s emotionally very powerful. As long as people know that they have emotional baggage, that’s when you get a great result at a concert. And this show is really lighting up houses. I’ve played with the Cleveland Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, Portland, all these different orchestras. We played six shows last year. We’ve done four shows this year. It’s billed as “Stewart Copeland’s Police Deranged for Orchestra.” Also, in a couple of weeks, I’m doing Oysterhead in Atlanta at the 420 Festival, and that’s always a trip. The Oysterhead comes down from the mountain very rarely and every time we do, our audience has increased tenfold. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Oyster Head. We go out there for two hours to make shit up, which is the opposite of “Police Deranged for Orchestra,” which is all for an orchestra on the page, everybody’s reading except me. I’m just making shit up. And then later on in the summer, my 7th opera, The Witch’s Seed, goes up in Italy. So that’s my day job, writing opera. Last year in Germany, I had a premiere in Germany for The Electric Saint, which is about Nikola Tesla. That went up at the German National Theater, which is their Premier National opera company in Weimar, and that’s pretty darn fancy for a rock drummer. And this is all in the glow of my new Grammy that I won this year. “Rock Drummer Dreams of Being an Actual Musician.” Well, there I am on the cobblestone streets of Weimar where Schiller walked in, Gerta and Wagner with the Premier opera company singing my songs and playing my music and all rigged up this huge edifice working my shit. That’s living the dream. SOURCE
  • ROLLING STONES "Licked Live In NYC" is out now! View "Gimme Shelter" HERE
    Out now......To celebrate their 40th anniversary, The Rolling Stones embarked on a worldwide tour in 2002 and 2003 that would cover 117 shows in a variety of theatres, arenas and stadiums. This show captures their January 2003 performance at Madison Square Garden in New York City and features a guest appearance from Sheryl Crow on “Honky Tonk Women”. Licked Live In NYC includes previously unreleased performances of “Start Me Up”, “Tumbling Dice”, “Gimme Shelter” & “Sympathy For The Devil”, along with 3 bonus performances from Amsterdam and rehearsal footage.
  • THE ROLLING STONES "Licked Live In NYC" Featured in CNN's "Hollywood Minute"
    View the full video HERE.
  • Goldmine Magazine discusses THIN LIZZY and PHIL LYNOTT with longtime guitarist SCOTT GORHAM - read here
    June 6, 2022 As a guitarist for Thin Lizzy from 1974–1983, Scott Gorham served as the right-hand man to the band’s charismatic and talented frontman, lead singer/bassist Phil Lynott. An impressive new documentary, Songs For While I’m Away (full title: Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy Songs For While I'm Away + The Boys Are Back in Town - Live At The Sydney Opera 1978), charts Lynott’s deep history, from childhood roots, his formative musical beginnings, Thin Lizzy’s climb to rock stardom to his tragic untimely passing in January 1986. Framed by revelatory performance footage, archival audio interview clips from Lynott, interviews with Thin Lizzy bandmates, Lynott’s family and friends, Adam Clayton of U2, Metallica’s James Hetfield (and more!), the documentary is an extraordinary primer into the artistry and psyche of a fallen rock and roll giant. The following is an interview with Scott Gorham, who continues the serve the Thin Lizzy legacy to this day. For people that don't know Phil Lynott as deeply as you do, what story does the new documentary tell? Scott Gorham: Well, I think the main thrust of the story was how a guy like Phil Lynott grew up. What turned Phil Lynott into Phil Lynott. And some of that is growing up in a country where you are literally the only colored face. I even noticed that myself on these early tours that we did with Thin Lizzy, I would look around just coming in from England and America and all that, where the color faces are everywhere. In Ireland, there were none and I kept thinking, how do you do that? How do you grow up in a place where you are the only one and that's got to affect your personality in some way, shape or form. I think with some person, it might have affected them with negative impact, but I think with Phil, he grew up with the positive impact. Okay, I'm a little on the lonely side here. But he had so many friends growing up in Ireland that the whole color thing just was not a factor, even though he saw nobody like himself at all for years and years. If you get enough friends around him, just say, "Well, that doesn't make any difference, man, because you're just such a cool guy so forget about it." You knew Phil so well, while watching the documentary were there revelations about him or insights into his character that resonated with you or did it just solidify your impressions and your relationship with him and his character? Yeah, it's more of the latter. He and I hung out all the time together. We were like these great best friends and brothers all at the same time. We were on the road so much and then in recording studios that we practically lived out of each other's pockets. But one of the great things to look out for on the documentary is his wife Caroline, and his two daughters, Sarah and Cathleen, who for some inexplicable reason, decided this is the time that we are going to talk about our father. They'd never done it in the past. They felt it was time that they actually spoke about him, which I had wanted them to do for quite a long time. And they came out and they did it and they come off great. I was in Ireland just recently, and I spent a lot of time with them talking about their father. They wanted to know stories, and they didn't want me to whitewash it in any way. They didn't want me to clean it up. They wanted to hear warts and all what their dad was like and what we got up to and I found that pretty cool, that they could take a lot of these stories in stride and actually, really be very proud of their father, which is a really cool thing. As far as revelations, no, like I say, he and I for eleven years traveled around the world, talked about everything, got everything together and how many secrets can be kept when you're that close? Phil was extremely proud of his Irish heritage, and it's such a part of not only his character but his artistry. Well, he was extremely patriotic about Ireland. To give you an example, we would do interviews all over America and it always seemed to be me and him. If the journalists just made a tiny mistake about the size of Ireland or where Ireland was situated in the world or mispronounced an Irish capital he would just jump all over that. And for the next 30 minutes, these people were getting an Irish lesson to the point where I finally had to say, "Come on, man, we're over here trying to sell albums. This is not supposed to be a history lesson." He said, "I know, but these people got to understand. These people don't even know where Ireland is and I got to let him know." He was that sort of passionate about it. We'd be on tour in Ireland and we'd be walking around whatever city and he'd go, "Hey man, you see that statue of that guy over there?" "Yeah." "You know what that guy's name is?" "No." And then he would tell me, and for the next 15 minutes, I'm getting a history lesson on this damn statue that I've already forgotten about. I don't know if you could call it over passionate about Ireland. I'm American and I don't know that much history. I don't even come close to knowing as much history about America as he does about Ireland. So you're right to ask that question. He was very passionate. Phil Lynott onstage. Photo courtesy of Mercury Studios It surprised me that it seemed that Phil was a little embarrassed by the song "Whiskey in a Jar," which became a big hit. It's a beautiful reworking of an Irish standard. Did have a conflicted view of that being the first song that really pushed the band over the top? Yeah, well, I think some of that is my fault, especially when we first started out hearing the kind of songs that we were coming up with in writing and recording and playing. We'd get to "Whisky in the Jar" and it just seemed to be the oddball song. It just seemed to be out of order. I said to him one day, "Hey, how about if we drop 'Whiskey in the Jar'? It's not really an original song. Let's just stand on our own two feet of things that we had written, not from songs that other people had written." And he surprised me. He agreed almost straight off the bat, "Not a problem. I think you're right. Let's drop it." And that's what we did. Now, if I had got somebody new in the band, and they said to me, "Hey Scott, maybe we ought to drop 'The Boys Are Back in Town,' it's a bit old. I would have said, "Okay, you're fired." (laughs) Well, there is an anomaly, though. One of the Thin Lizzy’s signature songs was the Bob Seger penned, "Rosalie." How did that song wind up on Phil's radar? I think that was on Fighting, the fifth Thin Lizzy album. The record company said, "We really need a hit. I don't care what you say. We really need a hit" and that really pissed Phil off. "We can write a hit song and they said, "Yeah, but let's try a cover version of something." And we had done a U.S. tour with Bob Seger, and we all loved Bob. Every night he was great with songs like "Turn the Page" and all that we listened to every night. So Phil got this Bob Seger album with his version of "Rosalie" and he played it and he said, "We could do this song." And he plays it and I listened to it, and I'm looking down at the record player and I'm looking back at him and go, "Really? (laughs) I don't see that because it's more of an acoustic song that Bob's doing." But Phil said, "No, no, no, what we have to do is really up the tempo and put different lines in there. It was Robbo (Brian Robertson) who really got into that idea. It took me a little while to latch onto it, but when we did, all four of us really got into it. And you're right, we turned it into our own, basically, so much so that when we did our live album, the record company guy said, "All right, can you write down all the writers on each individual song?" And when it came to "Rosalie," immediately went "Phil Lynott" and it went out. It was printed with that on there and somebody brought to my attention that, "No, this is a Bob Senior song." I went, "Oh my God, that's right." We had to go to Bob Seger and apologize profusely, and "you're going to get the money. It's not going to be a problem," and he laughed and said, "Don't worry, that's fine. That's great." But that goes to how much we considered it our song. In the documentary, Huey Lewis described Phil's songs as "cinematic," and I think that's a really astute observation. He was an exceptional songwriter and had an exceptional ability in spinning these vivid stories, these mini-mind movies. Could you talk a bit about that aspect of his artistry? Well, you're absolutely right. Phil is a lyricist and you always learn to paint a picture. I've noticed this about a lot of Irish writers. It's what they do. They're very vivid in their explanations within the songs without getting corny about it. There's a lot of country and Western songs that paint pictures but it gets a little corny at some stage in a lot of their songs, But Phil always seemed to be able to avoid that corniness and being able to bring the story side to fruition, which I always thought was great, especially in rock. There doesn't seem to be a lot of lyricists that are able to do that and to come up with ideas that actually make sense and that are really meaningful and that are really cool at the same time. So it was such a pleasure when he would hand me his lyric book and he'd say, "Hey, read this. What do you think?" You'd be reading the lyrics in his book and go, "My God, that's a great line. That's beautiful how you did that." Yep, he was that guy. He knew what he was doing writing those lyrics down on the page. The edition of Songs For While I’m Away with The Boys Are Back in Town live show from 1978. One time Thin Lizzy guitarist Midge Ure observed that "Phil brought poetry into rock music." You were around Phil for those eleven years, was he an intense reader? He was and you wouldn't think it just kind of knowing the kind of person that he was. You wouldn't see him putting out a pair of spectacles and opening up a big thick history book. But he did. He would read quite a bit. I think this is where a many of his ideas came from, especially the historical Irish ideas. Maybe he wouldn't specifically go historically truthful all the time, but he always found a way to get the thought process over so you understood what he was talking about and what era and all that. And he could go the other way and just flat out write a love song so he was very eclectic in his writing. He had a lot of really great sort of mood changes within his writing, which I think is a real talent right there not to be able to just write one genre rock song, but he had a whole sort of spectrum, a whole palette of different ways of looking at life and then he'd put it down on paper. What do you think his attraction was to cowboys? He just loved Texas. I don't know what it was. I think it had to have been he grew up going to the cinema when he was a kid and there was always a cowboy and Indian movie on and I think that really fired up his imagination of what America was all about. Everybody riding horses and the big ten gallon hats and everybody's got a gun on thing and cactus everywhere, right. (laughs) And when we got to America, he made sure that the management knew that we were going to hit that whole southern section of America and stay down there for quite a while. There used to be a club just outside of Dallas called "Mother Blues" and every single time we came to Dallas, which was quite a few times, he and I would end up at "Mother Blues" and quite unceremoniously (laughs) he would walk up on stage, he didn't care, and he would grab the guy's bass guitar and say, "Come on up, Scott" and I would ask the guy if I could play his guitar and we just got up there and jammed for half hour every single time. So it became like a tradition when we got to Dallas it was straight down to "Mother Blues" at some time of the day or night. From your perspective, what period in Thin Lizzy's history was Phil the happiest? Well, probably the happiest I ever saw was the night that Sarah was born. We were in Dublin. Caroline had given birth to Sarah sometime in the late afternoon Phil went out and bought three massive boxes of cigars with little bands on them saying, "It's a girl!" He and I walked up Grafton Street and other streets and he would open up his box and say, "Hey, man, I am a father, have a cigar on me." And the whole night people were buying drinks and smoking cigars. And that was probably the happiest I ever saw on the music side, obviously. It was whenever we had a hit record, he was ecstatic." Somehow we've done it again. This is how amazing is this?" Having a hit record or another hit record, made sure that we can go back out on the road again, back out on tour. I think actually that's where Phil was the happiness was being out on the road. This is a hypothetical question, but if you could be with Phil again for just one day, were there words left unspoken that you would like to share with him, things you would ask him about and if you could jam on a song or two with Phil, which is the song or two that you would want to play with him one more time? Well, I think the song would be "Emerald" because it's a song that has everything. It's got the power, it's got the lyrics. It does have quite a bit of harmony guitar there, and everybody gets to play lead guitar. I think there was a point in time I wish I could go back and be more forceful. It was when I stopped taking drugs and a year later I was completely healthy physically. I was really healthy and Phil really noticed this. He was talking about, "We've got to get the band back together again." I'm looking at him thinking, "You know how hard it is out there. You can't go out there in that condition." I wish I would have been a little bit more forceful in explaining to him that you really have to get off of this crap. You've got to start putting it right. There's a lot of people counting on you, especially fans. They want to see you get well again. So come on, man, buck up, man. Get rid of this shit. I didn't. I kind of glanced off of the subject because I could tell that Phil wasn't the kind of guy that you demanded to do anything. He had to come up with it himself. He wouldn't ask for help because asking for help was being weak and I think that was a real flaw in Phil's personality and that's the only part that I did not like. With me, I was looking for anybody that could give me help to get me off this crap. I wish I could have been the guy that pinned him up against the wall and said, "You're going to stop this shit." But that wouldn't have worked. Thin Lizzy's Scott Gorham. Images courtesy of Mercury Studios A trademark of Thin Lizzy’s sound is the duel harmony guitars, discuss how this became a key part of the band’s sound. To tell you the truth, the whole harmony guitar thing wasn’t premeditated. In fact, how it happened with us was kind of an accident. We were in the studio and working on the Fighting album. Brian Robertson had walked out into the studio and he had one guitar line he was gonna put down. As they were recording this one line the engineer had mistakenly left this echo on that had this delay on it. So when it came back, it started to feedback on itself and in harmony, I remember the engineer jumping up and going, “Oh geez, sorry, sorry!” And we all went, “Wait a minute, that sounds kind of cool!” We played it back and I said, “Brian why don’t you just go ahead and record that line again, I’ll sit here and learn the harmony to that and I’ll go out and put it on.” So we did and we listened back to it and we really liked it. I said, “Well, as a matter of a fact, I’ve got another line in another of the songs, why don’t we do the same thing?” And we did the same thing and when we finished we said, “That sounds really good” but we really didn’t think about it anymore. It was juts another kind of cool part to have in the songs. On the next album, Jailbreak, we started to do more of that. We started to get a little bit more adventurous with it because we dug how it enhanced all these different parts in different songs. When the reviews came out, one guy said, ‘That patented twin guitar harmony line of Thin Lizzy.” And I thought, “Oh cool man, we’ve got a sound. How cool is that?” (laughs) What inspired that type of harmony guitar playing, was it a group like the Allman Brothers? I don’t know if we can call it an influence, you just kind of grew up with all of these things. Yes, the Allman Brothers were always being played on the radio. Hell, the eagles were doing it with “Hotel California.” Long before that, Les Paul and Mary Ford were doing it for chrissakes. It was something I enjoyed doing. I loved the whole harmony thing, the whole country vocal harmony deal and that kind of permeates into your head. Then you try to translate that into guitar notes. Through the years I’ve had so many people say to me that Thin Lizzy invented harmony guitar (laughs) and I go, “Woah, woah, woah, let’s back it up here.” (laughs) I’d reel off a whole list of people who did it way before us. But we popularized it. We put into the rock genre where the Eagles and the Allman Brothers were coming at it form more of a country kind of thing. We would put harmony guitars not only over major notes, we would put it over minor notes which many of the other bands weren’t doing. I think that probably set us apart a little bit because of that. Songs For While I’m Away documentary is available in the Goldmine store HERE SOURCE
  • CNN talks with ANDY SUMMERS and STEWART COPELAND about "THE POLICE: Around The World Restored and Expanded"
    Watch video HERE.
  • Forbes interview with STEWART COPELAND - read here
    Stewart Copeland On ‘The Police: Around The World’ Documentary, Now Re-Released Decades Later Still from 'The Police: Around the World.' CREDIT: IMAGE PROVIDED BY MERCURY STUDIOS By 1980, the British rock trio the Police had already established themselves as a successful group in the U.K. and U.S. with such hits songs as “Roxanne,” “Can't Stand Losing You,” “Message in a Bottle” and “Walking on the Moon.” In that particular year, the band members—drummer Stewart Copeland, guitarist Andy Summers and bassist/singer Sting—were on their first and most ambitious international tour that saw them make stops in Mexico, Egypt, Japan, Australia, Greece, Hong Kong and India. It’s a memory that still lingers in Copeland's mind over four decades after the fact. “That tour was probably the most fun tour of the whole [Police] adventure,” he says. “We were the first rock band in Greece and Bombay. These were really not markets—they were just extremely exotic places where bands did not tour. But we did, and it was darn photogenic.” Footage from that tour was filmed and later released in 1982 as The Police: Around the World on VHS and Laserdisc. Having been long out of print for decades, the documentary has now been newly restored and is available in three formats: Blu-ray + CD; DVD + CD; and DVD + LP; its extras include four complete live performances. This new reissue via Mercury Studios is another indication of continued interest in the Police’s music as well as a sign of potentially more archival material to come from the band’s vaults. Cover of 'The Police: Around the World.' CREDIT: MERCURY STUDIOS “Recently, for some reason, we got our act together and we now have a presence on social media,” Copeland says of his former band. “And the incoming message was, ‘More product.’ ‘What have you got?’ ‘What about The Police: Around the World that no one's seen but everyone's heard about?’ Because when it was previously released, it was on Laserdisc. Nobody had Laserdisc, which was very soon an orphan technology. So although it technically has been released before, it's not been out there. And it has been remastered and all of the assets have been remastered...they've gone out and cleaned it up a lot and found a lot more live material and so on.” The idea of playing outside of the traditional music markets at the time came from Miles Copeland, the band's visionary manager (and brother of Stewart), in a bid to maximize publicity for the band. “I would give Miles 100 percent credit for that idea,” says Copeland. “We, of course, get credit for leaping on it–‘Are you kidding? Yes!’ But Miles had that vision. And also he had the worldwide savvy to pull it off. Other rock roll real managers don't know who to call in Cairo or how to deal with what was then called the Third World. But Miles did have that worldly experience. “Those were cool places to visit. We had a lot of fun doing it. That was the best part. But also, we got a cool movie. It was very photogenic, and Miles' vision was to establish this worldwide presence of the Police.” The original Around the World documentarycaptured the band members performing on stage across the globe as well as soaking up the local surroundings and culture that revealed the camaraderie and humor from a group that had been known to clash. But “bands do bond,” Copeland explains, “and we were very far away from the studio, which is where all of our tensions arose. When we were out on the road playing shows and having a blast, we got along great. You can see that in the movie. Also in my own movie that I shot back in the day with a super 8 and then I later released it as Everyone Stares, you can also see how much we enjoyed each other's company.” As seen in the documentary, the audience’s reaction to the band’s energetic performances is enthusiastic, especially in Bombay. “It was an outdoor venue with a capacity for maybe 100 people or something like that,” he recalls. “But then in the afternoon, when we did the soundcheck outside, people thought there's a concert going on. They climbed the walls and stormed. By the time we had finished the soundcheck, the place was packed with, I don't know, 3,000-4,000 people. That was not a standard-issue, fire department regulation audience there. And there were people right off the street. So that was a very visceral response. It did strike us that when Sting goes “Eee-yohhh!”, the people from the streets of Bombay go “Eee-yohhh!” That tells you something about humanity.” Still from 'The Police: Around the World.' CREDIT: IMAGE PROVIDED BY KAYOS PRODUCTIONS. For Copeland, the Police’s trip to Egypt seemed fitting given that he spent his youth in the Middle East where his father worked on behalf of the CIA. “We got to ride around the pyramids,” the drummer remembers about his band’s activities in that country. “In those days, you go to Giza and you walk up to [someone] who will hire you either a camel or horse for 50 piastres, and you take off across the desert and ride unsupervised and unconstrained. It was like the Wild West. We hired these horses and galloped around it and visited the three big pyramids out there. It was just an incredible adventure that you could never have today.” 1980 was a hectic year for the Police not only with the global tour but they also recorded the Zenyatta Mondatta album, which later generated the hits “Don't Stand So Close to Me” and "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da.” According to Phil Sutcliffe's liner notes for the Police’s 1993 box set retrospective Message in the Box, the band went back on tour just hours after the album was finally completed in the studio. “We were living the dream,” Copeland says. “That's what our whole life was for: playing shows in cool places night after night. That's the reason why we drew breath every day. I'm now in my 70th year. There are other matters of life that get one's attention, you know, grandchildren and such. But when you're 29, you just wanna play shows.” Still of Stewart Copeland from 'The Police: Around the World' CREDIT: MERCURY STUDIOS Coincidentally, the re-release of Around the World comes on the 45th anniversary of the band's formation in the U.K. during the height of the punk explosion—a milestone that is not lost on Copeland. “When we made those records, we didn't conceive of them as high culture that will persist through the ages,” he says. “We conceived them more like sandwiches to be consumed right now, and we'll come up with another one next week. We just 'slam, bam, thank you ma'am.' We churned them out with love and joy and excitement in our hearts, but we never expected them to last, to our surprise. They did disappear and were supplanted by the next generation of bands and everything. “But then a weird miracle happened at the turn of the millennium where kids started to rediscover Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, AC/DC and the Police, and there was kind of a resurgence of interest in the originals. My kids now listen to Led Zeppelin AC/DC and even the Police. That's something that none of us ever expected.” As for himself, Copeland (who recently won a Grammy for Best New Age Album for Divine Tides, a collaboration with composer Ricky Kej) is continuing the legacy of his former band. He has been touring Police Deranged for Orchestra, which sees him revisiting the Police’s back catalog with an orchestra and singers. Copeland’s rearrangements of such Police classics as “Roxanne,” “Every Breath You Take,” “King of Pain” and “Demolition Man” present them in a new light while still retaining the essence of the originals. “They have emotional baggage,” says Copeland of his the band’s music. “People grew up with those songs. And even though I can play 'hide the hit’ sometimes—where I extrapolate beyond recognition and then come back to the hook—it really does have a lot of impact because it's sort of new but it hits that emotional spot that a known song–and only a known song–can hit. It's been a really fun show. The orchestras love it too because I turn them into a rock band for the night. I use the orchestra with all of its huge vocabulary to do what a rock band does, which is wake up the room and rock the house.” Additionally, Copeland, who is also a composer for film and television, is set to premiere his latest opera The Witches Seed at the Tones Teatro Natura located in the Italian Alps this July. “It's about the persecution of women in the Alps in medieval times,” he explains. “It’s a fun piece. It's set in the Alps and it's being performed in a quarry, which has been turned into a performance space. They project up on the huge stone quarry face and they put these productions on there. In fact, the reason I said yes to the commission was just to go there and do opera in Italy, in that location. That's living the dream: ‘Rock drummer dreams of being an actual musician and composer.’” SOURCE
  • ULTIMATE CLASSIC ROCK speaks with ANDY SUMMERS - read the interview here!
    May 17, 2022 In an alternate universe, Police guitarist Andy Summers perhaps could have been a sumo wrestler. That’s one moment that we see in the 1982 documentary and concert film The Police Around the World. Sting and Stewart Copeland flank Summers as he prepares for his bout, offering motivational coaching and encouragement. Of course, there’s an apparent air of satire to it all and things don’t play out well for Summers vs. sumo. There are plenty of similarly light-hearted moments like that which show the Police having their share of fun as they travel the globe. But it also captures the opening moments of a rock band that was on the rise, playing show after show that demonstrated how they had quickly become fierce players, intensely connected as a unit. Filming took place on their first world tour in 1979 and 1980, and there would be both milestones and challenges. The Police delivered what would come to be known as the first rock concert in India. A similarly important show in Egypt proved to be a complex situation and seemed doomed from the start because of both equipment and logistical issues. In the end, they pulled it off and the audience in attendance was none the wiser that there had been any problems threatening to scuttle the event. Once the film was obtained, they painstakingly worked to bring it up to date, cleaning up the footage and remastering the sound for the new reissue, which is available on Blu-ray, DVD and a variety of audio formats. Additionally, they were able to locate several performances that hadn’t been previously released. “A lot has gone into it to get it to this point,” the guitarist adds. “But I’m pleased to see it out because obviously, we’re a couple of generations on since this was done. I think it’s nice for people to see it.” Summers discussed some of his favorite moments from the original experience during a recent phone conversation with UCR. What do you remember about hatching the idea to have you face off against the sumo wrestler? Yeah, well, it’s a funny moment. I can’t remember if it was actually my own idea to threaten myself with a sumo wrestler. [It was in] the spirit of the funny things we were doing. We had a lot of time on our hands. This idea of the sumo [wrestler] came up and we actually executed it. It was a setup because we had to get permission from the sumos. We have to drive outside of Tokyo, go to the sumo house where they all lived, meet the guy and do the performance. It was done in a room that was hovering around zero temperature-wise, and I got quite sick after the fact – because it was so cold! Miles Copeland wrote in his memoir how there had never been a rock concert in India and only one that he was aware of in Egypt. The film shows what a remarkable experience it was. It was a very vivid experience. We all wanted to go to India. I think that was actually my idea, to go to India on the way back from Australia and not straight back to Italy. Let’s go to India, Egypt, Greece and then finally, Italy. India and Egypt were pretty exhausting. Miles actually flew to Bombay and didn’t know anybody at all, and was going to search around to see if he could find somebody so we could do a gig in a little basement or something or a club. There must be something – you know, just so we could put India on the schedule – but as it turns out, he connected with these old ladies called the Time and Talent Club. They had some influence in Bombay and we ended up doing the show at the Rang Bhavan Auditorium to about 3,000 people. It was an amazing night. We played really well and I think it’s quite a standout in the film, actually. We were very excited to be in India. I went back subsequently on my own for a few days. I remember standing on stage going, “I can’t believe I’m standing here doing this,” in front of this 3,000-strong mob of Indian people, all screaming at the stage. The fact that we were in Bombay doing this, it seemed like utter madness to me, but it was kind of a great moment. Watch the Police Perform 'Message in a Bottle' in Hong Kong How much experience did you guys have at that point playing big shows like that? It's not the largest show, but it's a decent crowd. Yeah, it was decent. I mean, for us at that point, this was the very early days of the band, so that was a big one. You know, 3,000 people in India? Oh, my God, I don’t think we were pulling that kind of crowd yet in the U.K. But not long after that, we were moving really fast. We started to play arenas of 10 or 12,000. And after that, of course, it just went up and got even bigger. Ultimately, there wasn’t a stadium big enough to hold the crowds. What did watching this film bring back for you? I think we all rose to the challenge. I think we were all very excited to be traveling like that. I mean, we were a hot band and everyone’s totally into the band. I think we were in those early stages before the [wave] of incredible fame that came later. We were very into being as good as we possibly could be. You know, the performances, I think they show up on DVD: It was pretty fierce. I’m particularly pleased with the Kyoto performances. We really don’t sound like anyone else. It was a very exciting time and you know, we were three young guys [traveling] around [and having a] great time in all of these countries and playing our asses off every night. What’s not to like? The film presents the band in a light that hasn't been widely seen. You used the word "fierce," and I think that's quite appropriate. You know, the band had this amazing energy. We were very intent on making every show just killer and trying to win every audience over. Like most people who start out and want to have a music career, they want to "make it," as we call it. This is what we had to try and prove it with, and we were really good at it. Obviously, It’s sort of a miraculous event that the three of us met each other and it produced this thing called the Police. You know, one guy different and it would have been a very different band that probably wouldn’t have even been a band. You cannot say, “Oh, well, I could do that.” You can’t formulate that. It happened to be the unique thing that happened with the particular three of us. There's footage of you and Sting and Stewart in India. You're playing the sitar. Was that your first time playing one? No, I was good friends with a professor of Indian music in London. He taught me and I actually had a sitar and I used to play it. I listened a lot to Ravi Shankar, Allauddin Khan and other people. I was pretty into Indian music, so that was another extra thrill for me to go there. But I probably do look like the most competent of the three of us, because in fact, I had sort of dived into it a bit. What are you really glad that this film captured? Well, you know, it was a great time and a great moment, when it’s still reasonably innocent. There’s not so much [of us] vying [for] position. That came later – you know, [where] we’re all too famous to even travel together. The typical stuff that sets in at the level that we got to, which was sort of insane. I like the sort of innocent quality that we’re all having a good time. We seem to be all getting along, and we’re really trying to kill with the performances to make this band happen. We were as one, if you like, in that period. The Egypt concert seems like it was challenging to pull off. It was fraught. I can’t remember quite what was going on in Egypt at the time but you know, the Copelands – Miles in particular and their father – had worked for the CIA, or whatever it was, and there was definitely Middle East connections. Miles must have dug deep in his phonebook and had this one phone number, which was enough to get us through the bureaucracy and whoever was in charge got the gates open, so we could get our equipment out. Now, we’ve got the equipment and we’re all stuck gazing at the pyramid of Giza and various camels and stuff, waiting to [see] if we can play. We played at the University of Cairo, but nothing worked and it was like, “This gig is not going to happen.” Everything is being filmed and there we are, all ready to go. Eventually, somehow, I don’t know if they imported something from the dam of the Suez Canal, but we eventually got electricity so we could do the show. It was sort of a tense moment. It's been mentioned that there is going to be a series of Police reissues over the next 10 years. What else is in the pipeline? I mean, we didn’t make that many records. We made five records that were all No. 1 everywhere all over the world – more than most bands. So we have a vast, very popular catalog that’s never gone away. The whole thing is kind of miraculous because here we are still talking about it all of these years later. The music never seems to go away, which it makes you feel very good about it – that we didn’t just do something that appeared and was never heard again. You know, we carry on. I can only say that over the next 10 years, [there’s a lot planned]. I know we’re going to make a documentary; there’s going to be a traveling exhibition. These things will be different. Obviously, they keep repackaging things and doing stuff with the material, so I don’t really know, but Stewart and I have a very smart and energetic manager who is intent on making sure this continues on in various forms. I think the next thing will be the documentary, an amazing documentary, made by a very talented person. We’ve got to figure that out yet. There are those CBGB recordings that were recently discovered. Have you figured out what you'll do with those? Yeah, thanks for reminding me. I'm going to write that down and ask our manager. [Laughs.] I’m amazed because that was very innocent. It was the first show we ever played in the U.S. at CBGB’s. It was the mecca of punk then. Sting and I flew from England; Stewart was already in New York. We got off the plane and got in the cab at Kennedy, went straight to CBGB’s and went on stage. It was amazing and we went down a storm. I am absolutely gobsmacked to find out that somebody had filmed some of it at this point. Who knew? We’ll see what we can do with it. SOURCE
    May 19, 2022 Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland Recall The Police’s Pre-Fame Days The group's "The Police Around the World" is peak '80s nostalgia Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers in "The Police Around the World" “Because we’d gotten into other things, I think we all came to enjoy The Police and were very proud of the work and saw it as a very closed circle,” Stewart Copeland, the band’s irascible drummer, says when asked about what things were like internally in the run up to The Police’s 2007-2008 reunion tour. “We didn’t want to mess with it and were busy doing stuff. So we were very surprised when we did the reunion tour. We thought, ‘Well, this could be cool, it’ll probably be quite popular.’ We had no idea that stadiums around the world would sell out in minutes! We had no idea — because we’d forgotten about it.” “I thought that came 10 years too late,” contends Andy Summers, ever on-brand for a band that could seemingly never agree on anything. “That should have come much earlier. It was 20 years after we’d broken up. Like, ‘Why didn’t we do this 10 years ago?’” Hard as it may be to believe, it’s now been 15 years since The Police reunited for their victory lap tour, which boasted 151 shows across five continents and grossed $362 million. Even more astonishing, this fall will mark 44 years since the release of The Police’s debut, Outlandos d’Amour, and next year will mark 40 years since the release of the band’s final album, the chart-topping, billion-and-a-half-streaming, “Every Breath You Take”-wielding Synchronicity. “The music’s remained sort of immortal, and it’s still selling really well, which is fantastic,” Summers says. “It continues on, as if we’ve never left. It’s amazing. It’s still a very thriving thing.” Indeed, legions of fans or not, for a band that felt stuck in a very particular time and place for at least the first two decades after its acrimonious split in the mid-’80s, The Police suddenly feel more timeless than ever. A great-sounding vinyl reissue of the 1992 compilation Greatest Hits — a “wonderful record of what we achieved,” says Summers — certainly goes a long way toward providing ample reminders of the intense creative heights the trio of Sting, Summers and Copeland reached during their fractious reign as kings of MTV and the pop charts. But it’s the reissue of a spiffed-up version of the 1980s home video release The Police Around the World — which captures the band pre-Synchronicity apocalyptic costumes, hungry and on the cusp of stardom, on a trek across (mostly) the Far East — and a fantastic new live companion album of the same name that are really all the evidence you need that The Police were truly once the greatest bands in the world. “I was the one who wanted to get it out,” admits Summers proudly. “I literally I had to find it, because all I had was a crappy old VHS copy. But a fan had a LaserDisc, and we slowly worked on the record company into getting it back out there. So I’m glad it’s out, because it came out at the end of 1982, and then it just sort of disappeared. Like, ‘What happened to that? That’s a serious document.’” The Police Around the World follows the band on their first world tour in 1979-80, traveling on a shoestring, and long before their nascent fame warranted it. But the idea to assume global domination before the band had actually earned it, which came from their manager, the then-budding music empresario Miles Copeland (Stewart’s brother), was an ingenious one. “It wasn’t about profit,” Copeland contends. “In fact, it was probably more about breaking even. And it wasn’t about opening new markets, because they weren’t even markets.” Moreover, it was grueling. “If you look at our schedule from back then, it’s astonishing,” Summers says. “Of course, we were young — or at least the other two were — but it’s amazing that we took the initiative and really went for it, traveling to all of these places where very few people had even heard of us. But it really paid off. It set us on a course.” “It did pay off, but it sure had its ridiculous moments,” Copeland adds. “We went to a record store in Mumbai, which was called Bombay then, and they said, ‘Ah, your record’s number one!’ And we said, ‘Well, we haven’t got a record deal in India.’ They told us, ‘Oh, that’s okay. We print them ourselves.’” That commitment — when, as Summers points outs, other English bands were reluctant to tackle lengthy tours of the U.S., let alone go to the heart of India — paid off. The band made fans, not to mention headlines, and they positioned themselves as world-beaters that MTV and U.S. radio had to pay attention to. And the film, more travelogue than documentary, follows the band through both the heights of some of the best live performances by The Police ever captured on film and the mundane slog of day-to-day life on tour, as they travel the globe with visits to local sights between performances. “It’s nice to see, because it became an out-of-control freight train,” Copeland says. “We definitely got some vertigo. I mean, it’s what we wanted. We weren’t afraid of it. But it was a little unsettling, the speed, the altitude. And we weren’t really interested in putting down roots, but we felt that if we did, if we tried to hold onto anything, we’d lose an arm.” Best of all, the physical release of The Police Around the World includes bonus features of four complete live performance in more intimate settings than you’ve likely ever seen The Police. In a word, those early days were scorching. “It was when we were still hungry,” Copeland says. “It was before we hit the stadiums. We were still playing theaters. We still had two more albums to do after this. We were still working our way in. We were still blazing. Where there was conflict, there was still collaboration and codependence. So, this movie is right in the sweet spot.” “When you’re all dying to make it, and you haven’t got any money, there’s an extra sort of fervor in every performance,” Summers recalls. “We were very keen to impress people. ‘We’re a great band and one day we’re going to be famous.’ We wanted to make it. We wanted to be very good and play to more people, you know, on the purest level just get more fans. I don’t think we ever really lost that, but the film does really show that intensity.” And that’s where the live album comes in. The 1995 release Live!, which coupled unremarkable mixes of a performance in Boston in 1979 captured by the local radio station WBCN with largely uninspired performances from the Atlanta stop on the band’s 1983 Synchronicity tour, was — until the release of Certifiable, the live album and home video which captured the band’s 2007-2008 reunion tour — the only way to hear The Police as the fearsome trio the band was in its heyday. To say that it didn’t live up to the task is putting it kindly. Now, with the Around the World live album, which features tracks recorded in Japan, Hong Kong and the U.K. on the tour of the same name, you can travel back in time to 1980, when The Police were subsisting as a live act on the superior material of their first two albums, ambitious beyond belief and full of the youthful energy — “we were very physical at that stage,” says Summers — that makes live rock and roll one of the most exciting and transporting experiences that is legal. “It’s great for people who have never seen the Police to see and hear this,” Summers says. “The performance at Osaka is great.” “I got tired just watching it,” Copeland jokes. “Like, ‘Damn! Simmer down, puppy!’ I know better now.” Still, while he does love the live album, Copeland made a confession about the film version of Around the World. “I only watched about the first 15 minutes,” he says as we wrap up our conversation. “I will share with you a personal human weakness, which is that, unfortunately, in Australia, just before we set off on all the filming, I got the worst haircut in history, and I’m suffering from a bad hair day throughout this amazing adventure. So I’m sorry to confess that I know this is a climb down from my exalted position in the world, but I can’t even look at that hairdo. The pyramids look great, Bombay, incredible, Hong Kong. But man. That hairdo. No can do.” For Summers, the trip down memory lane was a more positive experience. “Those early days were the best, no question about it,” he recalls. “We hadn’t got to the limo stage yet. It was very important. There was loads of practice and camaraderie. And we had a great time. I cherish those early days.” SOURCE
  • THE POLICE'S Stewart Copeland discusses "Around The World Restored & Expanded" with The Hype Magazine - read here!
    May 12, 2022 The Police’s Stewart Copeland On The New “Around The World” Release, Oysterhead, His Classical Career, Van Halen & More For well over 40 years, Stewart Copeland has been known all around the world as one-third of The Police, a band with 6 Grammys, 2 Brit Awards, 1 VMA and sales of over 75 million records to its credit. As a drummer, Copeland is renowned as one of the most influential players of all-time, having inspired modern greats like the Dave Matthews Band’s Carter Beauford, blink-182’s Travis Barker and Pearl Jam’s Matt Cameron. Yet that is only a small part of the story with Mr. Stewart Copeland. After The Police disbanded in 1986, Stewart Copeland dove into the composing world. Beyond television projects, he scored a wide range of films over the next decade including Wall Street, Talk Radio, Highlander II: The Quickening, and See No Evil, Hear No Evil. He also added writing music for video games onto his resume with the Spyro The Dragon series. Copeland has also been one-third of the all-star band Oysterhead, in which he collaborated with Phish’s Trey Anastasio and Primus’ Les Claypool. Rock music aside, Stewart Copeland has been working non-stop as a composer for decade within the orchestral world ever since. Gamelan D’Drum, which largely features Indonesian instruments, was commissioned by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in 2008 and premiered in 2011. The Tyrant’s Crush was debuted with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, as featuring Copeland on percussion. Stewart Copeland’s Orchestral Ben Hur wa sco-commissioned by the Virginia Arts Festival and notably performed with the Seattle Rock Symphony and the Pacific Symphony Orchestra. In early 2016, I had the pleasure of doing Q&A with him via e-mail when he was preparing for New York City performances of The Cask Of Amontillado, as based on the Edgar Allan Poe story of the same name. Prior to The Police’s record-breaking reunion tour in 2007 and 2008, Stewart Copeland directed a documentary titled Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out, as comprised of Super-8 footage he had compiled from over the years. Following the tour, he released a memoir titled Strange Things Happen: A Life With The Police, Polo & Pygmies. However, fans of The Police ought to be even more excited about the group’s latest release, The Police: Around The World, which shows The Police journeying throguh 6 continents in 1979 and 1980. Capturing behind–the-scenes footage and candid personal moments as the band explores new terrain, Around The World Restored & Expanded shows the beginning of the trio’s meteoric rise to worldwide fame. It is available in the DVD+CD, Blu-ray+CD, and DVD+LP formats, following an initial release via VHS and laserdisc; it now features restored picture, remastered audio, and complete performances of 4 bonus songs not featured within the original documentary. Last month, I had the pleasure of speaking with Stewart Copeland again, as embedded below. Beyond Around The World, we discussed The Police’s inspiration to open up its archives, his future plans in both the rock and classical worlds, his other music-oriented siblings, and whether he ever met Van Halen’s David Lee Roth. More on all things Stewart Copeland can be found by clicking here, here and here. SOURCE
  • New video from THE ROLLING STONES "Licked Live In NYC": "Don't Stop"
  • ROLLING STONES "Licked Live In NYC" on Multiple Formats - June 10
    ROLLING STONES LICKED LIVE IN NYC RESTORED AND REMASTERED WITH FOUR PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED TRACKS, BONUS PERFORMANCES FROM AMSTERDAM AND REHEARSAL FOOTAGE ~ON MULTIPLE FORMATS ON JUNE 10, 2022~ PRE-ORDER HERE VIEW TRAILER HERE “New York City, top of the world…” testifies Mick Jagger after a raucous performance of “If You Can’t Rock Me”. “It’s great to see you here looking really beautiful tonight all dressed up. You think you’re on TV or something?” New York, NY (April 13, 2022)- In 1964, The Rolling Stones arrived to absolute mayhem for their first show in NYC, after the release of their debut album The Rolling Stones. Having played New York City multiple times, at several venues, it was only fitting that in January 2003, as part of their 40th anniversary tour, they made it a point to return to New York’s most celebrated arena… Madison Square Garden. The Rolling Stones’ 40-year celebration tour with the NYC crowd bearing witness to a razor-sharp performance is evidenced throughout this entire set. On June 10, Mercury Studios will proudly present Licked Live In NYC on DVD+2CD, SD Blu-ray+2CD, as well as a standalone 2CD and 3LP. Originally released in 2003 as an HBO special and as part of the Four Flicks package, this concert has been fully restored and remastered with four previously unreleased songs: “Start Me Up”, “Tumbling Dice”, “Gimme Shelter”, and “Sympathy For The Devil.” Joining Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood, and Charlie Watts were Darryl Jones (bass, backing vocals), Chuck Leavell (keyboards, backing vocals), Bobby Keys (saxophone), Bernard Fowler (backing vocals), Lisa Fischer (backing vocals), Blondie Chaplin (backing vocals, acoustic guitar/ percussion), Tim Ries (saxophone, keyboards), Kent Smith (trumpet), and Michael Davis (trombone) who set the Garden’s stage ablaze. Kicking off with “Street Fighting Man”, the Rolling Stones made their way through “Angie”, “Midnight Rambler”, “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” and “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It)”, to name a few, as well as “Honky Tonk Women” with a special guest appearance by Sheryl Crow. The addition of three bonus performances from Amsterdam and rehearsal footage gives an insider’s view of the Rolling Stones gearing up for this tour. The SD Blu-ray package includes the additional 51-minute documentary Tip Of The Tongue, which captures the conception and preparation of the Live Licks tour’s innovative three show / three venue approach. Inspired to switch up venues on a nightly basis between arenas, ballrooms, or theaters, and setlists along with it, the band are captured preparing for this tour from the recording studio in Paris to the rehearsals in Toronto. A dynamic performance delivered at one of the most celebrated of venues, Rolling Stones Licked Live In NYC showcases a landmark, celebratory moment in the lives of the world’s greatest rock ‘n’ roll band. Track listing: About Mercury Studios: Mercury Studios is a multi-faceted content studio established to develop, produce, globally distribute, and invest in innovative, music-rooted storytelling across a range of media including film, television, podcasting, publishing, and live-streamed performance. Taking its name from the iconic Mercury Records label, Mercury Studios is powered by Universal Music Group and creates an open space for experimentation to unleash and amplify both emerging and established artists. With offices in London and Los Angeles, Mercury Studios harnesses its established relationships with best-in-class talent from music and film, seamlessly bridging the two worlds to create a completely distinctive community of trailblazers driven by original IP, innovation, and collaboration.
  • View trailer for Phil Lynott Songs For While I’m Away + Thin Lizzy The Boys Are Back In Town Live At The Sydney Opera House October 1978 Here
  • PHIL LYNOTT "Songs For While I'm Away" + THIN LIZZY "The Boys Are Back In Town Live At The Sydney Opera House October 1978" on multiple formats June 24
    MERCURY STUDIOS IS PROUD TO PRESENT PHIL LYNOTT SONGS FOR WHILE I’M AWAY + THIN LIZZY THE BOYS ARE BACK IN TOWN LIVE AT THE SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE OCTOBER 1978 ~2xDVD+CD AND BLU-RAY+DVD+CD~ ~JUNE 24, 2022~ PRE-ORDER HERE VIEW TRAILER HERE New York, NY (May 5, 2022)–With their driving hooks, twin lead guitars, lyrics saturated in working class lore, and the charismatic presence of singer/songwriter/bassist Phil Lynott, Thin Lizzy are undeniably one of the most influential bands in Rock ‘N’ Roll. Mercury Studios salutes their legacy with the release of Phil Lynott Songs For While I’m Away + Thin Lizzy The Boys Are Back In Town Live At The Sydney Opera House October 1978 on June 24. Pairing the acclaimed Phil Lynott documentary with a renowned live concert film, the set will be available as a 2xDVD+CD and Blu-ray+DVD+CD (with the Phil Lynott documentary on the Blu-ray). Songs For While I’m Away chronicles the life and music of Phil Lynott, utilizing archival footage, interview snippets from the man himself, and music from both the Thin Lizzy and Phil Lynott solo catalog. Notable conversations with Midge Ure (Ultravox / Thin Lizzy), Darren Wharton (Thin Lizzy), Scott Gorham (Thin Lizzy), Adam Clayton (U2), Huey Lewis (Huey Lewis & The News), James Hetfield (Metallica) and others, as well as Phil’s wife Caroline Taraskevics and daughters Sarah Lynott and Cathleen Lynott reveal an all-encompassing look at Phil, from his 1950s’ upbringing as a Black boy in blue collar Dublin to his rise to fame. Fully exploring his history and rippling impact on music, the film examines Lynott as a singer, songwriter, poet, father, and cultural icon. Complementing this film is The Boys Are Back In Town Live At The Sydney Opera House October 1978. Previously released on VHS, Laserdisc, and DVD, this version presents the show in the highest quality that has been made available, with not only cleaned up video and remixed audio from multi tracks, but five additional songs from this set that have never been officially released. This performance showcases the electricity of these original Rock ‘N’ Roll masters – Lynott, Scott Gorham (guitar / background vocals), Gary Moore (guitar / background vocals), and Mark Nauseef – delivering searing versions of their celebrated anthems, such as “Jailbreak”, “The Boys Are Back In Town”, “Bad Reputation” and “Me And The Boys”. Unveiling the story of Phil Lynott, then backing up the band’s power and prowess with a dynamic performance, Phil Lynott Songs For While I’m Away + Thin Lizzy The Boys Are Back In Town Live At The Sydney Opera House October 1978 echoes the importance of Thin Lizzy in the pantheon of rock music. About Mercury Studios: Mercury Studios is a multi-faceted content studio established to develop, produce, globally distribute and invest in innovative, music-rooted storytelling across a range of media including film, television, podcasting, publishing and live-streamed performance. Taking its name from the iconic Mercury Records label, Mercury Studios is powered by Universal Music Group and creates an open space for experimentation to unleash and amplify both emerging and established artists. With offices in London and Los Angeles, Mercury Studios harnesses its established relationships with best-in-class talent from music and film, seamlessly bridging the two worlds to create a completely distinctive community of trailblazers driven by original IP, innovation and collaboration. Track Listing:
  • VIEW New Video From THE POLICE "Around The World Restored And Expanded" -- "Message In A Bottle"
  • View a teaser of THE POLICE "Around The World Restored & Expanded" HERE
  • THE POLICE "Around The World Restored & Expanded" On Multiple Formats - May 20, 2022
    MERCURY STUDIOS PROUDLY PRESENTS THE POLICE: AROUND THE WORLD RESTORED & EXPANDED ~FOR THE FIRST TIME ON DVD+CD, BLU-RAY+CD, AND DVD+LP~ WITH NEVER-BEFORE-RELEASED LIVE AUDIO ~MAY 20, 2022~ PRE-ORDER HERE PREVIEW HERE New York, NY (March 14, 2022)–Embarking on their first ever world tour, The Police journeyed through six continents in 1979 and 1980. Capturing behind–the-scenes footage and candid personal moments as the band explores new terrain, The Police: Around The World Restored & Expanded displays the beginning of their meteoric rise to worldwide fame. A poignant snapshot of this pivotal moment in their career, The Police: Around The World Restored & Expanded blends footage of the band performing live with intimate footage of Sting, Andy Summers, and Stewart Copeland exploring Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, India, Egypt, Greece, France, South America, and the US. The band was filmed on and off stage as they visited local monuments, tasted foreign cuisines, and organically grew a global fanbase. On May 20, 2022, Mercury Studios presents The Police: Around The World Restored & Expanded on DVD+CD, Blu-ray+CD, and DVD+LP (pressed on silver vinyl). Originally available on VHS and laserdisc, the film is being presented on DVD and Blu-ray for the first time, with restored picture and remastered audio, as well as complete performances of four bonus songs featured in the documentary. Additionally, The Police: Around The World Restored & Expanded includes never-before-released live audio on CD and LP. Boasting songs from their first two albums recorded in Japan, Hong Kong, and England, it showcases The Police playing with a frenzy and passion that would soon make them the biggest band in the world. At the same time, the British band were enjoying their first chart success in the UK with “Roxanne” and “Message In A Bottle”. They were young, hungry, and ready to break big. As Andy Summers enthuses in the liner notes, “Like Napoleon, we wanted the world. Out of the messy and fervent atmosphere in London at that time we conceived the idea to go all around the world and film the whole adventure. As far as we knew no rock band, at least, had ever done that. We had just about enough popularity to get booked around the globe. Plans were made.” And the rest is history…beautifully captured in The Police: Around The World Restored & Expanded. About Mercury Studios Mercury Studios is a multi-faceted content studio established to develop, produce, globally distribute, and invest in innovative, music-rooted storytelling across a range of media including film, television, podcasting, publishing, and live-streamed performance. Taking its name from the iconic Mercury Records label, Mercury Studios is powered by Universal Music Group and creates an open space for experimentation to unleash and amplify both emerging and established artists. With offices in London and Los Angeles, Mercury Studios harnesses its established relationships with best-in-class talent from music and film, seamlessly bridging the two worlds to create a completely distinctive community of trailblazers driven by original IP, innovation, and collaboration. DVD & Blu-ray track listing: Features performances of: Next To You Walking On The Moon Born In The 50’s So Lonely Man In A Suitcase Can’t Stand Losing You Bring On The Night Canary In A Coalmine Voices Inside My Head When The World Is Running Down, You Make The Best Of What’s Still Around Shadows In The Rain Don’t Stand So Close To Me Truth Hits Everybody Roxanne Bonus Features: Complete live performances of: Walking On The Moon (Live from Kyoto) Next To You (Live from Kyoto) Message In A Bottle (Live from Hong Kong) Born In The 50’s (Live from Hong Kong) CD Walking On The Moon - Live from Kyoto Next To You – Live from Kyoto Deathwish - Live from Kyoto So Lonely - Live from Kyoto Can’t Stand Losing You - Live from Kyoto Truth Hits Everybody - Live from Kyoto Visions Of The Night – Live from Hammersmith Roxanne – Live from Hammersmith Intro Born In The 50’s – Live from Hong Kong Message In A Bottle – Live from Hong Kong Bring On The Night – Live from Hong Kong LP Side A: Walking On The Moon - Live from Kyoto Deathwish - Live from Kyoto So Lonely - Live from Kyoto Can’t Stand Losing You - Live from Kyoto Side B: Truth Hits Everybody - Live from Kyoto Roxanne – Live from Hammersmith Born In The 50’s – Live from Hong Kong Message In A Bottle – Live from Hong Kong Bring On The Night – Live from Hong Kong
  • Two Rockers on a podcast - RICKY BYRD on THE JAY JAY FRENCH CONNECTION - listen here....
    "Legendary rock n roll guitarist, singer & songwriter Ricky Byrd is this week's guest on The Jay Jay French Connection. Ricky spent over a decade playing Joan Jett and the Blackhearts - & has performed, recorded & toured with the likes of Roger Daltrey, Ian Hunter, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Mavis Staples, Smokey Robinson, Bruce Springsteen, Jimmy Page, Dion & Elvis Costello - just to name a few. Hear Jay Jay & Ricky discuss their deeply rooted connection through all things rock n roll, and be sure to check out Ricky's recently released record "Sobering Times," available on all digital platforms and through Sobering Times is an honest and intimate reflection of recovery delivered through his signature brand of Rock 'N' Roll. As Goldmine Magazine states "...The Faces and The Rolling Stones with a dash of Otis...It rocks like a b*tch. His vocals are the best of his career...early indications make it seem likely that this will be his career statement." Don't miss this conversation, only on The Jay Jay French Connection: Beyond the Music! Produced & edited by Matthew Mallinger" LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE
  • RICKY BYRD Talks Songwriting, Creativity and Inspiration, Sobriety, and Kittens with Entertaining Insights Podcast with Dr. Nancy Berk - links to listen here"
    Ricky Byrd's new interview with Entertaining Insights Podcast is available at: Entertaining Insights website Apple Podcasts Spotify iHeartRadio
  • "How Recovery Helped RICKY BYRD Navigate the Pandemic" - an insightful new interview now live on"
    November 11, 2021 How Recovery Helped This Creator Navigate the Pandemic This article is brought to you as part of the ASCAP Wellness Program. Since making landfall in the United States, the coronavirus pandemic has lorded over us like a menacing storm spanning far and wide, merciless and indiscriminate. But in March 2020, New York City was its lightning rod. For the first couple of weeks, residents of the Big Apple quite literally didn’t know what had hit them, and by the time they did, it was already too late for many. “Last March in New York was scary,” says Ricky Byrd, an ASCAP member and Rock & Roll Hall of Famer best known for his decade spent as a guitarist and backup vocalist for legendary rock band Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. Byrd likens those first few weeks to a Steven Spielberg movie: “There were sirens everywhere, people were dying, there were morgue trucks…I remember sitting on the couch and thinking, ‘Man, I am so grateful I am not that person anymore.’” He’s referring to Ricky Byrd, the addict. That version of Byrd hasn’t existed for about 34 years, but the Ricky Byrd of today – the “Recovery Troubadour,” as he’s become known for his unique brand of recovery-centric music – is confident he wouldn’t have made it this far in life, and certainly not nearly two years into the pandemic. Ironically, however, it’s his hard-earned pivot from that self-destructive version of himself, now long gone, that Byrd credits with the resilience and tactical toolkit that he possesses today and has found particularly useful in navigating the pandemic with confidence, composure and event contentment. Ditching drugs and alcohol 34 years ago wasn’t easy, but it prepared Byrd for every challenge he has faced since, including this one. “When the pandemic hit, I went into ‘recovery automatic,’” he says, describing a sort of psychological autopilot setting that kicked into gear when things started to get rough last year. It’s easy for Byrd to imagine how the pandemic could have gone the other way for him, had he not had the confidence to seek recovery nearly four decades ago. “I can imagine convincing myself and my family that I’ll be back in 15 minutes,” he says, referring to making a drug run, “even though we’re in this freakin’ movie where you don’t want to even see anybody. I remember, we were washing cans every time we went to the market, yet I could imagine convincing myself that it was fine. That’s how I would have thought as an addict. You justify stuff that you do, in spite of knowing the consequences. Even though you didn’t want to leave your house and people were so sick – and dying. I was just so grateful that that wasn’t me anymore. I would not be here today, for sure.” Of course, Ricky Byrd is here today, in all his glory and then some – louder, badder and shredding harder than ever. “My guitar playing got so much better when I got clean,” he says. “I got more consistent, and I wanted to learn again.” For evidence, look no further than Byrd’s most recent release, Sobering Times. “The lyrics speak to addiction, recovery, hope and inspiration,” Byrd says. And for anyone in need of recovery or interested in not only its life-saving potential but its life-proofing benefits, simply read on. How Recovery Helped Ricky Byrd Navigate the Pandemic 1. It taught him that he didn’t have to struggle in silence Similar to this pandemic, ubiquitous as it is, recovery can be a challenging, personal and sometimes isolating process. However, also not unlike the pandemic, recovery is something that many of us are going through together, even if it doesn’t always feel that way. Putting his recovery out in the open for all to see was instrumental in helping Byrd get to a place of consistent sobriety. As he puts it, “I got high in front of everybody, didn’t I?” Byrd’s megaphone of choice was the one he already knew well – his music – and his recovery-focused songs and albums – like Sobering Times and 2017’s Clean Getaway – have since inspired countless others to follow his lead along the path to getting sober. So when the pandemic took hold and the country went into lockdown, he knew that this was not a battle he needed to fight alone. Almost immediately, he joined a Zoom group that took place at noon every single day. “I just fell in love with it,” he says. “There were a lot of different kinds of people in there, and I wound up going to that meeting every freaking day for maybe the first seven months of this thing.” “I became part of the group,” he says. “That was unbelievably helpful – to me, and maybe stuff that I said to the other people. It really carried me through the worst parts of this.” 2. It allowed him to rediscover childhood joy As the haze of addiction cleared, Byrd’s true passions came back into focus. “Baseball is the only sport that I watch. Period,” he says. Growing up in the shadow of Yankee Stadium, Byrd found the sport at an early age and became instantly obsessed. “There’s just something about baseball,” he says. “People who don’t understand it, they watch it and they’re completely bored, but I understand the technique and what’s happening behind the scenes – and I love that.” While the pandemic isn’t over yet, baseball is back and with every game he watches Byrd is transported out of this dark chapter and back to his childhood, along with the feeling that hooked him on America’s Pastime in the first place. “I think that is probably the most important thing,” he says. “I just sit there and then I’m 12 years old again, and nothing else matters for like three and a half hours.” 3. It showed him there’s more than one way to get to where you’re going One of the most frustrating things about this pandemic is that it is not a problem with a simple solution, or even a single solution; from vaccines to masks to social distancing to all-out isolation, there are myriad ways to be safe and even more opportunities for missteps. But Byrd hasn’t thrown his hands in the air, because he’s learned that life rarely throws us a challenge with just one solution, including getting clean. “There are 100 different ways to get sober,” he says. And switching to a wide-angle lens allowed Byrd to place his drug problem into context and see a new path forward. “Someone suggested I focus on the alcohol instead of just the drugs, and I started thinking, ‘You know, every single time I drink I end up picking up other stuff; maybe if I cut the head off the snake, as they say in mob movies, I could fix this thing.’” It’s one of the most important lessons he teaches today – that the last thing anyone should feel is pressure to recover in a specific way. “You want to go to church? You want to join a bowling league? Whatever works and makes it happen for you is the way to go,” he says. “Whatever keeps you on the right side of the grass.” 4. It taught him not to panic every time something unexpected happens When Byrd thinks back to how he dealt with unexpected challenges in the fog of addiction, he shakes his head. “I had lousy coping skills back then. Panic mode,” he says. “I made a lot of decisions out of fear before I got into recovery, and that never works out well.” He describes his outlook before recovery as always waiting for the other shoe to drop – fearing the inevitable, yet plowing ahead with his addictions nonetheless. He remembers living afraid of what was around the corner – especially in an industry like music, he says, which is “up and down and sideways.” Thankfully, recovery changed all that, or at least the way he perceived that instability. “Over time, it taught me how to deal with things,” Byrd says. “Now I very rarely go into panic mode. I’ve grown to believe there may be something great around the corner.” So when the pandemic threw Byrd, along with the rest of us, into deep, uncharted waters, he was ready to confront the challenge head-on. Simply put, he says, “I’ve been in training for this.” He doesn’t claim to have all the answers. But he’s learned to accept the things that are out of his control, and to take ownership of those that are within his reach. “It’s a scary world to live in,” he says. “There’s a lot to be afraid of. But, with that said, you can’t have that rule your life, where you’re like a deer in the headlights and you’re afraid to do anything. If recovery taught me nothing else, it’s to keep my eyes and ears open, not panic, and realize that everything happens for a reason.” 5. It revealed that anything is possible when you take it one step at a time When Byrd first started on his recovery journey, like anyone, he had a lot more questions than answers. Fortunately, he found an ally who would serve as a guiding voice through the early stages of his process. That said, the answers he received didn’t make a whole lot of sense, at least in the beginning. “I’d ask, ‘What do I do?’ My guy that I was working with back then, he would always respond with, ‘Just do the next right thing.’ Do the next right thing? I’d ask, ‘What does that mean?’ And again, he’d say, ‘Just do the next right thing.’ I’d say, ‘Okay, I have no idea what you’re talking about. What is the next right thing?’ And then he’d say, ‘More will be revealed.’ I’d get so angry!” “But the point is,” Byrd says, “more was revealed.” The longer he stayed in recovery, the more he learned. “It’s just like you have to learn how to roll a joint or make a good martini,” Byrd explains. “You learn how to be in recovery.” It’s an easy parallel to draw with the pandemic, and a lesson that has enabled Byrd to trust the process and appreciate the progress that is being made day by day. “Don’t expect everything to happen in one day,” he says. “Just keep doing the next right thing.” ******** SOURCE
  • RICKY BYRD'S new video "I COME BACK STRONGER" out NOW! Watch here...."
    Ricky Byrd recently released his new video “I Come Back Stronger”, which can be viewed below. Continuing Byrd’s journey as a recovery troubadour, “I Come Back Stronger” (co-written with Richie Supa) spreads a message of hope and resilience to those who struggle with addiction and substance abuse. “It’s about the lessons life puts in front of us at every turn,” he says. “Whether we are willing to learn from them is the big question. I believe we can learn way more from our failures than our successes. So in the words of Mr. Sinatra...pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again.”
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