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On this week’s Talkhouse Podcast we’ve got an episode for the drummers and those who like a great story: Jon Wurster and Stewart Copeland.
Copeland is of course the drummer for the legendary, gazillion-selling Rock and Roll Hall of Famers the Police, who were called “the biggest band in the world” during their mid-’80s heyday. Their hits have endured over the decades, too, and that’s in no small part due to the special chemistry the trio enjoyed—and that chemistry, as you’ll hear, often manifested itself in fights between Copeland and his old bandmate Sting. Copeland has made a fascinating career for himself since; he directed a documentary about his old band that made interesting use of their music, and he’s got a new album and tour called Police Deranged for Orchestra, which features those classic songs redone in wild new ways. As you’ll hear in this chat, Copeland also found a side career as a film composer, working on everything from Oliver Stone’s Wall Street to the classic Francis Ford Coppola movie Rumble Fish. Check out a little bit of “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic“ from Police Deranged for Orchestra right here.
Now the other half of this conversation is a drummer from a later era and, as you’ll hear, a huge fan of Copeland’s work. Jon Wurster is a renaissance man who’s played most regularly with Superchunk, the Mountain Goats, and Bob Mould, but whose list of credits goes way beyond those amazing acts. He’s also a comedy writer and half of the duo Scharpling and Wurster, which gave birth to some of the funniest characters in radio comedy ever. This summer, Wurster will tour with both Mountain Goats and Bob Mould, so chances are good that he’ll be in a city near you.
In this conversation, Wurster—as I had hoped he would—gets deep into specifics with Copeland, asking him right off the bat about a gig from the early 1980s. They also chat about how Copeland’s orchestral tours actually work and about his forays into the soundtrack world—I had never heard the term “shit chord” before. They get into the fights that Copeland had with Police frontman Sting, and about how band therapy helped sort that all out. Wurster also gets a chance to ask about the lyrics to a deep cut called “On Any Other Day.” Enjoy.
Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse Podcast, and thanks to Jon Wurster and Stewart Copeland for chatting. If you liked what you heard, please follow Talkhouse on your favorite podcasting platform, and check out all the great stuff at Talkhouse.com. This episode was produced by Myron Kaplan, and the Talkhouse theme is composed and performed by the Range. See you next time!
(Feature photos courtesy of the artists, edited by Keenan Kush.)