Sunday, February 21, 2016

Andy Summers

And it seems that Andy Summers is in agreement with the conclusion that I've come to this morning that Regatta De Blanc is a pretty great pop record although I came to it in a rather round about way by listening to and trying to review Outlandos D'Amour and deciding that their debut wasn't. Here's an extract about the recording of that second record from his autobiography One Train Later. He's quite right about just how good Message in a Bottle is. And you can see all three of them know it in the video posted below. It's interesting to watch all this time later in terms of what it's saying with all of the hip, young kids queuing up to see the gig at the start of the promo. The Police aren't jazz, prog or hippie types, they're some new point of cutting edge, and it worked in that respect. The single became the band's first Number One hit in the UK in  late 1979.

'Recording this time around feels different, for we are flooded with a new wine, the dark energy of CBGB's, the visceral energy of the stage, the tense improvisations, and the needle-stabbing surge of the crowd. Filled with this brew, we reenter the studio as if we already own it. We still have to make the record, but it comes faster this time because we are now in possession of an identity, a signature sound and style that is the sound of The Police. Sting has established himself as the main songwriter and brings in new songs, a couple of which 'Message in a Bottle' and 'Bring on the Night' are gems. We have a process of getting to know the song and then rearranging it to give it the Police sound, which means moving it into a place where the sound is tight, lean and spare, the meat close to the bone. 'Message in a Bottle', 'The Bed's Too Big Without You', 'Walking on the Moon' and 'Bring on the Night' are all great songs and we argue and fight our way into tracks that remain the tight compromise between our ideas.


As we record this time, we are fueled by the wave of excitement and expectation . We have gelled as a band, and driven by the rush of playing together, we are determined to push our nascent success further. Our engineer Nigel referees and nudges us along in the right general direction but lets us try out our ideas, so the atmosphere is creative, daring, in flux. In the spirit of opening up the sound of a three-piece band, I experiment with a variety of different effect pedals. Under my foot now I have a flanger, a phaser, a compressor, a fuzz box, all of which I send through the Echoplex. I rarely try any other guitar other than the Telecaster because it seems to work on just about everything. We take our extended jam from 'Can't Stand Losing You' into the instrumental title song - 'Regatta de Blanc' - of the album. With guitar harmonics and ricocheting snare drum hits from Stewart, this piece sounds like no-one else. 'Deathwish' a new song of Sting's, is treated with a Bo diddley rhythm and given a modern edge by using the Echoplex. For the intro to 'Walking on the Moon' I play a big shining d minor eleventh chord that acts like fanfare to the subsequent get-under-your-skin melody. 'Bring on the Night' has a beautiful classical guitar arpeggio and a pungent stabbing bass line accompanying the vocal line. 'Message in a Bottle' is a masterpiece of pop song writing by Sting and will always remain a favorite of mine. Somewhere in this moment we are able to take the energy of punk and combine it with a more melodic and harmonic approach so that the result has the required edge and hipness, doesn't have the complacency or the bloated quality of earlier seventies rock. It's an unquantifiable moment, when the right three people come together under the right circumstances at the right time. There is no formula for this - and we simply make it up as we go along, but always with the intention of arriving at something that has inner tension. We fight about the music but are a tight unit. Later many musicians approach us with a somewhat wry expression and mention that they wished they had thought of it. But it would never have been so, the music of the Police could only have been made by the three of us. Recording Regatta de Blanc is a moment that remains one of the best in our history.'

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