Stewart Copeland, the drummer of The Police, recently shared candid insights into his initial impressions of the band’s hit song “Roxanne” during a conversation on The Bob Lefsetz Podcast. Surprisingly, Copeland admitted that he didn’t hold the tune in high regard when he first heard it, dismissing it as a “throwaway song.”
Reflecting on the band’s challenging early days, Copeland revealed, “We were struggling and starving and going nowhere for about a year and a half, and [Sting] wrote it without any agenda.” He emphasized that, at that point, “Roxanne” did not fit the mold of what Copeland considered a Police song, as the band was still identifying with their punk roots.
In those formative years, a dichotomy emerged within the band regarding their musical direction. While Copeland was adamant about preserving their punk rock essence, Sting and Andy Summers were eager to explore a broader sonic palette. Copeland humorously recollected, “I was the one cracking the punk whip. No, we’ve got to be punk. We’ve got to be punk. And they’re saying, ‘Can’t we just play?’”
This revelation provides a fascinating glimpse into the internal dynamics of The Police during their early stages, shedding light on the creative tension that ultimately contributed to their distinctive sound and success.