Stewart Copeland is the jazz-hating, opera-loving son of a CIA officer who, in 1977, formed one of the seminal bands of the 1970s alongside Sting and Andy Summers. The Police didn’t stick around for long, with tensions between Sting and Copeland eventually leading them to go their separate ways less than 10 years after the release of their debut album. But while their career was brief, it was glorious, racking up over 75 million records sales worldwide and turning the band into one of the most commercially successful groups of all time. Since then, they’ve all achieved huge things in their own right. Find out more with these 10 things you didn’t know about Stewart Copeland.
1. He hates jazz
Copeland has dabbled in various genres over the years, from rock and reggae to classical. But if there’s one genre he’s not a big fan of, it’s jazz, a style of music he’s described, somewhat unkindly, as the ‘refuge of the talentless.’ “I am allergic to jazz. I was raised to be a jazz musician, my father was a jazz musician and I was steeped in jazz from the moment my ears blinked open, which is why I am immune to jazz,” he’s said to jambase.com. “If you don’t have the gift and you don’t have any soul and you don’t have any talent, jazz is what you should do. Any fool can do it; all you gotta do is practice.”
2. He landed his first hit as Klark Kent
Copeland formed the Police in early 1977. At the same time as he was working on the band’s debut album, he was recording several songs under the pseudonym Klark Kent. Klark Kent actually beat the Police to the charts, scoring Copeland his first Top 50 hit with “Don’t Care” in August 1978, which predated the Police’s first single, “Can’t Stand Losing You,” by two months.
3. He was a manager before he was a musician
Before Copeland started making his name as a drummer, he was a road manager for the progressive rock band Curved Air. Eventually, the band realized they needed a drummer more than than they needed a roadie, so asked Copeland to fill the gap. At the time, he was still a novice, and it took a while before he hit his stride. As soon as he did, the band took off, winning fans and earning rave reviews from the press. It didn’t last: when band frontman Darren Way departed, the band quite literally lost its way, and by 1976, Curved Air were over.
4. He discovered Sting
Both Copeland and Andy Summers have both had prolific and hugely successful solo careers since the Police disbanded, but ultimately, there’s no beating Sting. The Police were not, however, Sting’s band. It was Copeland who found Sting gigging at a local club, Copeland who persuaded him to quit his job, and Copeland who convinced him to join Police. It was Copeland who wrote the band’s first single, Fall Out, and Copeland who founded his own label, Illegal, to release it. It was Copeland’s older brother Mike who served as the band’s first manager and Copeland’s middle brother Ian who served as their booking agent. Basically, the Police was Copeland’s baby – without him, Sting would still be Gordon Summer, high school teacher.
5. He’s a bad actor
Copeland has acted in several TV shows over the years, appearing as a guest star in “The Young Ones,” “The Equalizer,” “Dead Like Me,” and “Babylon 5.” He’d be the first to admit, however, that he’s not the world’s greatest actor. Asked by Smashing Interviews Magazine whether he’d ever thought about pursuing acting as a serious career, he answered; “Very briefly. I learned very quickly that the Lord did not grant me that favor. I do not have that gift. I got all kinds of good stuff, but not that one. I had a couple of opportunities, but it just doesn’t work.”
6. His dad was in the CIA
Copeland was born in Alexandra, Virginia, as the youngest of four children to Miles Copeland, Jr. and Lorraine Adie. His mother was a Scottish archaeologist. His father (although he didn’t know it at the time) was a CIA officer. Despite spending his childhood moving from one luxurious mansion to the next in the Middle East while meeting all kinds of foreign diplomats and notable characters, it wasn’t until Copeland, Jr. published an autobiography when Copeland was in college that he discovered the truth.
7. He’s written dozen of soundtracks
After the Police disbanded, Copeland didn’t waste any time in moving on to the next stage in his career. While Sting was busy experimenting with world music, Copeland was building up a steady reputation as a composer. Just a small sample of some of the movie and TV soundtracks he’s composed include those for “Airborne,” “Wall Street,” “Surviving the Game, See No Evil, Hear No Evil,” “Highlander II: The Quickening,” “The First Power,” “Taking Care of Business,” “West Beirut,” “Riding the Bus with My Sister, Good Burger”, “The Equalizer,” “Star Wars: Droids,” and “The Life and Times of Juniper Lee.”
8. He married (and divorced) his bandmate
When Curved Air disbanded, Copeland didn’t leave empty-handed. By that time, he was already dating the band’s vocalist Sonja Kristina. The couple married in 1982, but less than a decade later, they called time on the relationship. He now lives in LA with his second wife, Fiona Dent, with whom he shares three children, Eve, Dylan, and Celeste. He also has a son, Parick, from a relationship with Marina Guinness, and two sons, Jordan and Scott, from his first marriage.
9. He’s super-rich
He may have spent years playing second fiddle to Sting, but Copeland hasn’t exactly done badly for himself in the wealth stakes. According to Celebrity Net Worth, the drummer is currently worth the mammoth sum of $80 million.
10. He composed the scores for Spyro the Dragon
In 1998, Copeland was commissioned to compose the score for the hugely popular PlayStation game Spyro the Dragon. He liked the game and the makers liked him, inviting him back for the remaining insomniac sequels “Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage,” “Spyro: Year of the Dragon,” and “Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly.” Outside of the Spyro franchise, he’s also composed the soundtrack for the video game “Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare.”