There were three girls in my grade school who loved the Police. They wore lots of black and long coats and they all had older siblings to introduce them to the creative genius of the Police long before any of us were in the know. One of them had a Ghost in the Machine button on her jacket, another loved Stewart Copeland more than Sting and the third duped us a Synchronicity cassette for our slumber party. There was no denying that they were on to something cool.
The Police captivated us with their somewhat cryptic lyrics that were easy to sing along to. They painted pictures of spirits, love and rehumanizing ourselves alongside songs of prostitutes, being constantly watched and drinking tea in the Sahara. And then there was the music: the melodic, lead bass and unmistakable vocals of Sting, the ever-changing polyrhythmic drumming of Copeland and the multi-faceted guitar soundscapes of Andy Summers. At their finest, they were stripped down and spacious, yet all-consuming. They showed countless bands how a three-piece band could move out of the garage and into arenas; and then they were gone.
On a mission to revitalize the Police legacy is Stung; a Bay Area-based Police tribute band that pays deep, loving respect to the legendary band. With their note-for-note accuracy, complete song catalog and spot-on vocals, Stung brings the authentic, raw and brilliant sound of the classic-era Police to appreciative audiences around the west.
Never having seen the Police play live, the members of Stung (Chad Silva, drums; Brooks “Bee” Lundy, bass and vocals; Doug Ott, guitar) are all about recreating the band’s celebrated live shows for long-time fans and new converts alike. Combining all the hits with a sprinkling of B sides and rarities, Stung concerts tend to be all-in sing-alongs with a back-to-the-80s flair.
In 2003, Stung had the rare fortune of being able to perform for one of the Police as they were hired to play Stewart Copeland’s birthday party in Beverly Hills. More exciting still was when Copeland jumped behind the drums and joined the band on “Roxanne” and “Driven to Tears.” It was a monumental moment for Stung and apparently not a half-bad experience for Copeland either. “Every nuance, every guitar riff, all the drum parts… and the singer has Sting down to a tee,” said Copeland after the show. “Every now and then when everything seems normal, some little things happens to remind me that [the band] was really important to some people.”
Stung performs on May 13 at Britannia Arms in downtown San Jose.