A recently discovered tape of The Police’ performance in the United States is being prepped for future release. Soon, fans will be given the chance to hear what those two late-night sets at New York’s CBGB sounded like.
The upcoming release is set to include all 16 tracks which the band played during their first U.S. show. Ahead of the tape’s release, The Police guitarist Andy Summers spoke with Ultimate Classic Rock to discuss what fans can expect.
“I don’t really know yet. We’re looking at it. This is brand new,” Summers said of the unearthed tape. “It’s just sort of hot off the press, it just turned up. Somebody found that. I’ve heard it, it’s very raw. It’s really in your face, not finessed at all. So, I’m not quite sure what’s going to happen with it yet. I would love to see it out, of course, because I think it’s historical and important. There we were.”
Further into the discussion, Summers laughs off the changes The Police went through since that opening night. The guitarist said, “It’s sort of interesting, because it’s early days,” remembering the band’s raw sound of unpolished musicians.
“It sounds enthusiastic! [Laughs]. We’re pounding away. I think later, we finessed some of the material. I mean, we got better at what we did. But it’s very interesting to hear these early takes when I didn’t even have the guitar pedals to really get the sounds that I sort of became known for later on. It was too early. I didn’t have much. It was pretty much into a Fender Twin amp and that kind of thing. But the band is playing great, with very fierce, strong playing. You know, it’s kind of raw and violent!”
The guitarist also reflects on the band’s performance on that night, believing it was “very important for us to play there”. For a new band, like The Police were at the time, playing in the CBGB was, for Summer, like they “were getting the official seal, the stamp of authenticity. Our punk credentials were dubious, but once you played at CBGB, it was, like, okay, you guys are the real thing. Not that any of that matters, really. It’s all rubbish. But in that political climate, that was an important gig.”
With The Police gearing up for the release of this piece of musical history, the band’s drummer – Stewart Copeland – is getting ready to release a memoir of the band’s early days. The upcoming memoir is set to be released in early ’22, and will include Copeland’s diary entries from the ‘70s.