Stewart Copeland

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Stewart Copeland
1982 StewartCopeland AdrianButtigieg.jpg
Stewart Copeland at Hamilton Arts Gallery in London in 1982 - copyright by Adrian Buttigieg
Stewart copeland by babak.jpg
Stewart Copeland portrait - copyright Babak
Basic information
Birth name: Stewart Armstrong Copeland
Birth date: 1952-07-16
Origin: Alexandria, Virginia, United States
Occupation(s): Musician, composer
Associated acts: The Police, Oysterhead, Curved Air, Gizmo, Animal Logic
Official website:
Social media: Twitter


Stewart Copeland is the drummer for and founding member of The Police. Besides his work in The Police, he has performed with numerous other bands including Oysterhead and Animal Logic, composed operatic, orchestral, and many soundtrack scores.

Background and early musical career

Stewart Copeland was born on 1952-07-16 in Alexandria, Virginia, the youngest son of Miles Copeland Jr., a CIA Officer, and Lorraine Adie, a Scottish archaeologist. Stewart's older siblings were Miles, Ian and Lennie. The family moved from Virginia to the Middle East when Stewart was only a few months old, settling in Beirut, Lebanon where he would spend most of his early years.

An interest in drumming came about when Stewart was barely in his teens, and Ian had scored a gig as a drummer in a local Beirut band. Stewart showed more natural talent for the instrument than his older brother, however, and soon his father had Stewart receiving lessons in the instrument from local jazz drummers. By the age of 12 or 13, he was performing in local bands himself. The family then relocated to England and Stewart would attend Millfield School from 1967 to 1969.

Stewart would then return to the country of his birth for college, attending United States International University and UC Berkeley. Returning then to England, he did some work as a roadie and ended up as the road manager for the progressive rock band Curved Air in 1974 reunion tour. This would later lead to him becoming drummer for the band in 1975 - 1976, recording two albums with them, "Midnight Wire" and "Airborne".

The Police

See main article: The Police

Other band projects

In 1987, a collaboration between Copeland and bassist Stanley Clarke led to the formation of Animal Logic (originally called Rush Hour) with vocalist Deborah Holland. Originally Andy Summers was part of the line-up, for the band's first performances, but he left before the band recorded its first self-titled album in 1989. A second album followed in 1991 before the band dissolved.

Copeland would not perform in another band-type situation again until Oysterhead, which began as a one-off appearance in May of 2000 with Les Claypool and Trey Anastasio. This "supergroup" would reconvene in 2001 to record an album and then support it with a brief tour in the fall of 2001. The band has since played only one further gig at the 2006 Bonnaroo Music And Arts Festival.

In 2002, Copeland was hired by Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger of The Doors to play on a new album and tour (under the name The Doors of the 21st Century), but after Copeland suffered an injury that sidelined his playing, the arrangement ended in mutual lawsuits.

In 2005 and 2006, Copeland toured Italy with his Gizmo ensemble.


Copeland's drumming is notable to many for its energetic style, which includes the very sharp, high-pitched sound of his snare drum and complex flourishes on the high-hat. Copeland often sites his early life in Lebanon and the rhythms of Middle Eastern music for influencing his playing style. He plays traditional grip, instead of the matched grip used more frequently in rock drumming.

Copeland has a number of signature instruments manufactured and made in his name, including the Paiste Stewart Copeland Signature Blue Bell Ride Cymbal, Tama Stewart Copeland Signature Snare Drum, Tama Stewart Copeland Signature Starclassic Maple Kit and the Vater Stewart Copeland Standard Sticks.

See Musical gear (Stewart Copeland) for more information.

Composing and film scoring

Copeland's first film scoring project would come with the Francis Ford Coppola film "Rumble Fish", which was released in 1983. His soundtrack for the movie would earn him a Golden Globe nomination for Best Score in 1984. In 1985 he would score his first television project, The Ewoks and The Droids, and then went on to score The Equalizer for several seasons. His film and television credits would become extensive over the next two decades, including projects for Oliver Stone such as Wall Street and Talk Radio, and the series Dead Like Me.

Besides film and television, Copeland has also done scoring work for video games. In 1998 he provided the score for the popular PlayStation game Spyro the Dragon. Later, he would also provide the score for the sequels Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage!, Spyro: Year Of The Dragon, and Spyro: Enter The Dragonfly.

See Filmography (Stewart Copeland) for more information.

Other works and projects

As composer

A brief chronological list of Copeland's credits as composer, outside of soundtrack and rock/band-related work, includes:

On 2007-03-03 Copeland received a Maverick Spirit Award at the Cinequest Film Festival. [1]

As filmmaker

In 1984, Copeland directed his first movie, a 35-minute short on the punk scene in England in 1977 - 1982 entitled So What.

In January 2006, Copeland premiered his film comprised of his "home movies" from The Police years entitled Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out at the Sundance Film Festival. The film included a soundtrack he had put together of Police Derangements, that is mash-ups and remixes of original Police recordings as well as live concert recordings. The film would be shown at a number of different film festivals worldwide and was released on DVD in September 2006.

As television personality

In February and March of 2006, Copeland appeared as one of the celebrity judges on the BBC television show Just The Two Of Us. He reprised his role as a judge for a second series of the program in January 2007.

As author

In September 2009, Copeland released his memoir, entitled Strange Things Happen: A Life With The Police, Polo, And Pygmies. The book extensively covered his years before and after The Police, through the band's 2007-2008 Reunion Tour.

Personal life

Copeland was married to Curved Air vocalist Sonja Kristina from 1982 to 1991. He currently lives in Los Angeles with his second wife, Fiona Dent.

He is the father to seven children: four sons (Sven, Patrick, Jordan and Scott) and three daughters (Eve, Grace and Celeste). He has two grandchildren (Kaya and Devon).


Main article: Discography (Stewart Copeland)

Awards, nominations and other notable achievements

See also

External links