“Get yourself into a state of calmness, and then ferocity will take care of itself.”
– Stewart Copeland
Stewart Copeland (@copelandmusic) is a Grammy Award-winning musician, considered by Rolling Stone Magazine to be one of the top ten drummers of all time. He’s a founding member of The Police, and an inductee into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
In this conversation, we delve into lessons for surviving the music industry, why entrepreneurs (and self-directed artists) never get a day off, how The Police developed their unique sound, the decision that changed everything, and much more.
This episode comes from my new television show Fear(less), where I interview world-class performers about how they’ve overcome doubt, conquered fear, and made their toughest decisions. You can watch the entire first episode with illusionist David Blaine for free at att.net/fearless. (To watch all episodes, please visit DIRECTV NOW).
We recorded three hours of material and only one hour was used for the TV show. This podcast episode is almost entirely new content that didn’t appear on TV.
- Listen to it on iTunes.
- Stream by clicking here.
- Download as an MP3 by right-clicking here and choosing “save as.”
Want to hear another podcast with an incredibly inspirational musician? — Listen to my conversation with Nicholas McCarthy. In this episode, we discuss how to overcome limitations, proving doubters wrong, how to manage ego, and much more. (Stream below or right-click here to download):
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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.
Scroll below for links and show notes…
Selected Links from the Episode
- Connect with Stewart Copeland:
- Strange Things Happen: A Life with The Police, Polo, and Pygmies by Stewart Copeland
- The Police
- The Special Operations Executive 1940 – 1946 by Nigel Morris, BBC History
- Kim Philby, Spies, and the Dangers of Paranoia by Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker
- Wild Thing (The Backstage, on the Road, in the Studio, Off the Charts Memoirs of Ian Copeland) by Ian Copeland
- Eberhard Schoener / The Police — Only the Wind [Rare Live, 1978]
- Andy Summers Curious about Lost Police Gum Ad, Daily Express
- Electric Ladyland by Jimi Hendrix
- Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles
- The White Album by The Beatles
- Stravinsky: Petroushka & The Rite of Spring
- Spinal Tap – “These Go to Eleven…”
- Gene Simmons “Proud to Be a Part of Charity Concert Event in Support of Wildwood School”
- Don’t Worry Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin
- Stewart Copeland live with Ben Hur conducted by Richard Kaufman
- As multifaceted as Stewart’s life has been, his mother’s life could easily be considered more fascinating. [07:28]
- On growing up as an American abroad. [08:58]
- What did Stewart aspire to be when he was a kid? [10:49]
- Stewart talks about leaving Beirut as a teenager when his CIA father’s cover was blown. [11:20]
- “I’m going to have to hang up now — they’re shooting at me personally!” [15:18]
- Stewart’s brother was a war hero. He decided to take a different route. [18:30]
- Stewart’s early entrepreneurial venture with his brother, and the summer vacation that led to the formation of The Police. [22:05]
- Important lessons learned from running his own business in college. [23:55]
- Why dub reggae appealed to London punks in the ’70s, and what “secret weapon” Stewart had in his arsenal from learning drums in Lebanon. [25:39]
- How bringing Andy Summers into The Police put Sting on his A game and helped the band transcend its “punk group” roots. [26:45]
- How did The Police make stylistic decisions? [31:06]
- On musical differences, synergy, co-dependence, and the changing dynamic of The Police during their recording career. [32:50]
- How scoring a film differs from playing drums in a band. [36:48]
- For people who don’t know drums, Stewart explains why he plays with traditional grip — and what that means. [45:00]
- Top three favorite albums. [47:26]
- Three favorite drummers. [48:28]
- What weaknesses does Stewart encounter in his own work, and how does he overcome them? [50:19]
- Is Stewart the Indiana Jones of rock and roll? [54:51]
- That time Stewart and Gene Simmons argued about Old Testament theology backstage at a charity event. [58:16]
- Are there any inspirational quotations that influence Stewart’s lifestyle? [59:54]
- Advice to a musician getting ready for their first “big” performance. [1:01:09]
- On the capacity of some to switch from “on” to “off” (and vice versa) before performing. [1:03:11]
- Francis Ford Coppola
- Oliver Stone
- Lorraine Copeland
- Miles Copeland, Jr.
- Kim Philby
- Fuad Chehab
- Ian Copeland
- Shukri al-Quwatli
- Husni al-Za’im
- Miles Copeland III
- Jordan Copeland
- Topper Headon
- Andy Summers
- Eberhard Schoener
- Felix Mendelssohn
- Johannes Brahms
- Buddy Rich
- Gene Krupa
- Jimi Hendrix
- Igor Stravinsky
- John Bonham
- Clyde Stubblefield
- Mitch Mitchell
- Jon Fishman
- Indiana Jones
- Stephen Stills
- Gene Simmons
- Bob Dylan
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
- Marcelo Garcia
- Michael Jordan
- Mike Tyson
- Wayne Gretzky
The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with over 400 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.