One Beat To The Right

In my previous post I briefly wrote about inspiration and the creative process. I also mentioned that I'd try and find more examples to write about in future posts.  Here is one.

One of my favorite bands is The Police. They were/are the perfect group: a three-piece in which there are no passengers, who produced an amazing amount of iconic/hit songs in a short time, and then left the game at the peak of their success. As drummer Stewart Copeland once said, "Police was the perfect parabola for a group. Nobody died, nobody got arrested, we all got rich." 

As much as The Police are my favorite band, Stewart is also my favorite drummer. There are certainly more famous drummers and more technical drummers who have sat behind a kit, but my ears always gravitate toward Copeland's instinctual, free-wheeling style.

In interviews, he often comes across as less erudite than bandmates Sting and Andy Summers. That may only be because despite his travels, he has retained his twangy American accent while they have retained their upper-crust English ones. Never-the-less, he has shared some rather insightful musings on his playing. Several of which have found their way youtube.

In this first clip, he is interviewed by Jools Holland while recording The Police's penultimate album, GHOST IN THE MACHINE, on the Caribbean island of Montserrat. The topics include his feelings on drum machines, the recording process, and playing other instruments. For me the meat of this brief interview comes in the last half, when he discusses his influences, his approach to playing, and the impact of reggae on his playing.

This next clip, recorded some twenty-five years later during the Police's 2007-8 reunion/farewell tour, is more centered around his drums themselves. Why are they the sizes they are? Why are they the color they are? Why are they the brand they are? Interspersed among those points are little pearls of information.  Things like self-generated publicity, a simple path to fame & fortune, his "unique-a-tude," and, of course, the luck factor.

At this point you might well be asking yourself (or me), "What's the point of all this?" I mean, what does a rock drummer have to do with architecture or anything like that? The point is his approach to the creative process. Specifically in terms of drawing on one's influences. The principles that Stewart has employed across his career can be applied more or less directly to any other creative endeavor. This includes architecture. 

I know that some of you won't accept this - that it doesn't fit into your perception of architecture as a studious, respectable pursuit. I like to imagine you sitting in your easy chair, legs crossed, with a pipe & professorial attitude, shaking your head dismissively and then exclaiming, "Buffoonery!"

If that's the case, then you probably won't want to read future blog posts as there is certainly more to come...