LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Police guitarist Andy Summers has always been a multifaceted artist - musician, songwriter, photographer and author. Now he can add filmmaker to his extensive resume.
“Can’t Stand Losing You: Surviving the Police,” Summers’ 90-minute documentary film that chronicles his musical career and life with supergroup, has its world premiere at the DOC NYC festival in New York on Friday.
Summers, who narrates the film, describes it as “a musical journey” that uses live footage from the 2007-2008 Police reunion world tour, along with lots of archival material from both the early Police days and the London punk scene.
“But it’s not done as a chronological story,” he told Reuters. “We establish the fact we’re doing the reunion tour early on, and then it dips in and out of live Police concert footage, and then starts going back to the earlier days.”
Based on his 2006 memoir “One Train Later,” the documentary also incorporates rare footage dating back to the 1960s, when Summers, now 69, was involved with the early British rock scene and seminal artists including British vocalist and keyboard player Zoot Money and Eric Burdon. The film also features many still photographs that the rock star took along the way.
“I was always interested in photography, so it was very natural for me to document everything, whether it was backstage at some grungy club or on early tours with the Police,” he said.
“So there’s a lot of intimate moments and interesting shots and archival stuff, especially in the first 25 minutes of the film, with the Sex Pistols appearing and so on.”
Following his book’s lead, the film also documents the serendipitous nature of the formation of the Police, one of the biggest bands in rock history, when Summers “just happened to bump into” drummer Stewart Copeland in a London Underground station one day in 1977.
The two decided to have coffee and discuss forming a new band with a then-unknown singer called Sting, whom they had just met.
“One train later, and it all might never have happened,” recalled Summers, “which is why I titled the book ‘One Train Later.'”
He would have preferred that title for the documentary. “It’s much hipper and doesn’t pander to the obvious Police connection,” he said, “so I‘m hoping at some point we’ll change it to that.”
Inevitably, the film also focuses on the breakup of the always-combustible and often acrimonious trio.
“It’s obviously a very painful and poignant moment, when we all realize, ‘Well, that’s it,'” Summers said of the 2008 footage documenting the band’s final dissolution.
“The camera lingers on all our faces, and you can see the raw emotion there. It’s very bittersweet.”
As for rumors that the Police may re-form yet again for another tour, Summers does not think that is likely, even though their 30th reunion tour grossed more than $350 million.
“But then I never thought we’d get back together to do the last tour, so I never shut the door on anything,” he said. “I personally think that my book was somewhat of a provoking agent in getting the Police reunited, so maybe this film will do the same thing again.”
Reporting by Iain Blair, Editing by Jill Serjeant, Patricia Reaney and Lisa Von Ahn