Andy Summers on his Police documentary, photos and favorite modern bands

April 9, 2015
Photo: Andy Summer press
Andy Summers

Andy Summers is best known as the guitar player for British trio The Police, one of the best selling rock groups of all time. 

The documentary film “Cant Stand Losing You: Surviving The Police” is based on his 2006 memoir "One Train Later." It opens in Denver on April 10 with screenings at AMC Westminster and AMC Cherry Creek.

The movie tells the story of the rise and fall of The Police through Summers’ narration, beginning with the guitarist's early days as a musician playing with acts like Zoot Money's Big Roll Band and Eric Burdon & the Animals. 

It goes on to document how Summers, bassist/vocalist Sting and drummer Stewart Copeland formed The Police during the wave of U.K. punk rock in the late 1970s. Shortly thereafter, the band achieved tremendous worldwide success with their five studio albums, and the members were early MTV darlings.

However, after less than 10 years, turmoil within the band led to an acrimonious split at the peak of their fame in the 1980s. 

The film also highlights the 2007-08 Police reunion tour. Though this is framed as a triumphant moment for the band, the filmmakers also include some tense moments between Summers and his bandmates as they rehearse for the new shows.

Summers captures the highs and lows of his time in The Police through his photography, which he describes as a "private world" of expression during a time of personal struggle with his career and family. His photos are featured prominently throughout the documentary.

We caught up with Summers by phone from Los Angeles before the Denver opening of "Can't Stand Losing You: Surviving The Police." Stream the full interview above, and read some highlights below:

On showing tension between Police members in the film:

"It's important to show because it makes it more compelling. We're humans...you have to put these things in along the way to show what its really like to be in a band in the ilk of The Police. There are tensions in any great endeavor or rock band as you try to reach the creative point."

On the film's difference from other band documentaries: 

"It's not a 'talking heads' movie in the sense that some documentaries are, which I don't particularly like. I get a bit bored with listening to all these people's opinions. What makes it unique is that it's from a particular point of view: my point of view."

On the modern bands he enjoys:

"I like Grizzly Bear in New York at the moment. I was a fan of The Stokes. 

"I don't like a band just because they sound like The Police. In fact I'd probably like them less."

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