Thursday, May 29, 2014


Spoilt for choice here, so I simply went through my singles collection, gathering dust up on the shelf. And there, resplendent in greeen vinyl was, and indeed is, this gem . I loved this and bought it ahead of buying any of his then other day job material. Klark Kent was the alter ego of Police drummer, Stewart Copeland, and always seemed a much more fascinating character than his somewhat severe and serious bassist. (Mind you, the guitar player was pretty interesting too.)

Like his bandmates, Copeland had already had quite a career ahead of the Police, much of which seems at odds with the desired youthful and, initially at least,  punky received wisdom thereof. For a start, in year zero of punk in the UK, which could be anything from 75 to 77 depending on your stance, he was already older than many of the bands around him, with a 1952 birthday. Of hybrid US/scottish stock, the son of a CIA officer, he spent a peripatetic youth in the middle east, before receiving his secondary education in the UK, at "progressive" and somewhat experimental school Millfield before returning to the US for college. Later, back in the UK he started his musical career as road manager for reformed prog-rockers Curved Air, top right in the picture, longer of locks than later, even if his clattering drum style is already in evidence in this live clip, having swiftly become their sticksman. Later he was to marry their frontwoman, Sonja Kristina, object of many a teenaged brits lust in their halcyon days. The Police he formed in 1977, but this isn't about them.

Klark Kent was born in 1978, issuing a flurry of singles and EPs in that year, and a later LP in 1980. "Don't Care", the song in the first clip from above was the most successful, rising to the heights of 48 in the british pop charts, via an appearance on my much loved Top of the Pops. Clearly realising that Sting was perhaps going to claim the stakes to the majority of the songwriting in their joint band, I think KK was as much to show that he could sing and play a bit too, and more than just drums: he plays everything on these recordings. There are one or two KK sounding songs on the first couple of Police LPs, graced by his twangy western drawl, but this grace seemed to peter out as they became huger and huger, making my green vinyl all the more to relish.

Subsequently, between spatty Police reunions, Copeland has amassed a steady volume of other projects, notably his soundtrack work, including for Rumblefish . This was followed by further soundtracks, as well as music for ballets and even operas. I have never got round to these, I confess.

Things I didn't know department: in 2007 he was appointed a Chevalier of France's Ordre des Arts et Lettres, along with Summers and Sting. Well I never!

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