Lotta talk about The Eighties lately, probably because we can't talk about The Nineties without getting into a spitting cat fight over who's to blame for the ridiculous situation we find ourselves in today. But we're a pretty shallow crowd here at Acid Logic and what usually comes to mind when we think of The Eighties is New Wave Pop Music - The Police, Blondie, The Cars, Elvis Costello, The Boomtown Rats . . . Hell, yeah, I'd put The Boomtown Rats in the same category as those bands! I thought The Boomtown Rats were so great I had my very own Boomtown Rats cover band called She Finally Finds Billy In The Italian Cafe When He's Drunk It's Hard To Understand What Billy Says But Then He Mumbles In His Cup And Then He Suddenly Bawls "It's A Rat Trap, Judy - And We've Been Caught!" which never caught on for some stupid reason - I was too damn hip for New Orleans.
The Police were the most successful of all these bands and "Synchronicity", their fifth and final album, is an undeniable classic. Actually all of The Police's albums are really great. There's the first one with "Roxanne", the second one with "Message In A Bottle", the third one with "Please Don't Stand So Close To Me", the fourth one with "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic", the fifth one with "Every Breath You Take", the sixth one with "Blow Me, Andy And Stewart" - They were terrific!
Now, the first question that must be addressed in any legitimate discussion on The Police: Is Sting an asshole? Well, that doesn't seem as urgent today as it did back in The Eighties when we were still Young, Stupid, And Wasted enough to believe in the existence of The Cool British Rock Star. Now that it's 2004 and The Cool British Rock Star seems to have gone the way of The Lovable Old Fat Man Who Comes Down The Chimney And Leaves Toys Beneath The Christmas Tree. Gee, do you think that was Mom and Dad jammin' on "Won't Get Fooled Again" and "Kashmir"? Sure, Sting seemed to be kind of a pompous jackass back in '82 when we were all getting ourselves brought into the Hospital Emergency Room every Saturday night trying to be just like Keith Richards, Pete Townsend, and David Bowie, but have you seen those guys lately? Oh, by the way, Mister Townsend - When is that book you were doing so much research on kiddie pornography for coming out? I dunno, folks, seems to me that when some guy gets busted with a hard drive full of kiddie porn and the judge lets him off cause he says he is doing research for a book there had better be one hell of a substantial book coming out pretty goddam quick or he's gotta go to prison. Jesus, what do you think we'll find on Keith Richards' hard drive? You won't find it - He cut it up and snorted it after free-basing his printer. And David Bowie . . . I saw David Bowie singing on a TV set with the sound turned off and I thought it was Conan O'Brien doing his opening monologue. Turned the sound up and I thought Conan was doing a Dean Martin impression. Found out it was Bowie and I said "I don't have time for this, I gotta work on an article about Sting! Why? Cause he's the only old British rock star I can think of without getting so disgusted by the whole terrible mess that I go to Wal Mart and buy a Toby Keith CD!". Sting is a nice guy! One time I saw Sting host "Saturday Night Live" - He was in every sketch, he was really funny, and at the end of the show he sang "Roxanne" and everybody went nuts! Steve Martin could have never done that! The part about being really funny, I mean. I'm pretty sure Steve Martin could have sung "Roxanne". Maybe that would have been funny. Nah, probably not.
My favorite member of The Police is Andy Summers, the guitarist. Andy Summers is GREAT! (That's one of those things you never hear music fans say, like "Whatever happened to Ace Of Bass?" or "Play that Steve Van Zandt solo album again".) A lot of people (A lot of the people who sit around talking about Andy Summers, I mean) say Andy was the prototype for Peter Buck, The Edge, Johnny Marr, and all those other eighties guitar player guys who just stood around providing "atmosphere" while the bass player, the drummer, and the sound man did all the work - Balderdash, I say! (Gosh, John, I'd never put the blame on Andy for Peter Buck - ed.) I almost said "Fiddlesticks", but that only applies to country music. Andy is too good to take the blame for those little girls and their backyard tea parties - Andy is a genuine original, you won't find another guitar player like Andy any more than I'll ever find another girl like you, Renee! Please come back to me! Since you left I don't have anything to do but sit around listening to scratchy old Police albums! Aw, hell.
Funny Boy Andy provides a zany "Goon Show" vibe to "Synchronicity" with his "Mother" which is followed by Stewart Copeland's "Miss Gradenko" which, to be honest, isn't all that great. But what do you want - The guy's a DRUMMER! And not just a drummer, an AMERICAN drummer. A WHITE American drummer. A white American drummer WHO WROTE SOUNDTRACKS FOR MATT DILLON MOVIES. A white American drummer who wrote soundtracks for Matt Dillon movies named STEWART! No, the Matt Dillon movie he wrote a soundtrack for was "Rumblefish" but even Rumblefish is a better name for a white American drummer than Stewart. Stewart is only an acceptable rock and roll name if it is your last name. Unless your first name is Al, then you're such a homo I'll give Rumblefish Copeland a break and rag on your "the buth and the tourithtth are gone!" ass for a few minutes. No, I'll continue to make fun of Rumblefish because he is a JAZZ drummer which means that when he starts playing it sounds like somebody's put a pair of tennis shoes in the clothes dryer - Sounds to me like he's just sitting there knocking out the very first thing that comes to mind. That's not drumming - That's BLOGGING! Someone get Ringo on the phone to that guy!
The credits on "Synchronicity" say "Produced By The Police And Hugh Padgham" which suggests that The Police were responsible for all the cool, creative stuff and Hugh Padgham was responsible for setting up the microphones, loading the tape onto the recorders, and walking around in front of all the girls in the world saying stuff like "So then STING told me 'Wow, HUGH! You're the BEST producer we've ever worked with!" in a loud irritating voice while Jack Douglas and Eddie Kramer sat at the bar muttering "That darn, Sting! How are we ever going to meet nice girls working with creeps like Steven Tyler and Gene Simmons?" "I am sooo tired of dating fifteen year old coke whores!" "I bet Hugh Padgham never had to bring a fifteen year old coke whore home to his Mom!" "Lucky bastard!" One year Padgham won the Grammy for the production of some goofy Phil Collins record. Let's hope he was married by then. Not long after that Padgham produced a Melissa Etheridge record. Let's hope he kept his wife away from the studio. Padgham has also produced records by XTC. Let's hope . . . uh . . . Let's hope . . . I'm sorry, I'm just not that hip.
"Synchronicity" was recorded in Montserrat at George Martin's Air Studio which has since been destroyed by either a hurricane, a volcano, or an Elton John tantrum. (That little bastard has such a temper it's just a matter of time until his road crew hijacks a couple of airliners to crash into Madonna's house - Give that guy some Xanax before he totally flips out and starts writing his own lyrics!) What was I talking about? Oh, Air Studios - Boy, that musta been one ritzy ass place! George Martin, The Fifth Member Of The Beatles, builds his very own state of the art studio on an exotic tropical island on the sparkling blue sea with cocoanut trees and native girls and no danger of running into Joe Walsh and The Eagles or any other of those stupid LA assholes like Jackson Browne or Linda Ronstadt. My God, it must have been a paradise! Hey! Did Cheap Trick record that album George Martin produced for em at Air? I dunno, Cheap Trick don't exactly strike me as "Barefoot In The Sand With A Fruity Rum Drink With A Little Umbrella In It" kinda dudes - No wonder that album doesn't make it. I bet Bun E. Carlos passed out in the sun and got so burnt up all his skin peeled off and he made new drums out of it. Robin Zander fell asleep on his beach blanket and the fiddler crabs carried his little pixie body all the way down to the water before Rick Neilson zoomed up on a funny electric scooter yelling "CRUSTACEAN ALERT! CRUSTACEAN ALERT!" No wonder Forbis won't let me write a Cheap Trick article. (I'm beginning to think that what's this is. The Police, John. Focus! - ed.) What's that you say? Dire Straits recorded their hit records at Air Studio? Dire Straits? Never heard of 'em.
You don't need me to tell you about all the songs on "Synchronicity" - "King Of Pain", "Wrapped Around Your Finger", "Tea In The Sahara", "Murder By Numbers" - Great stuff! My favorite is "Synchronicity 2". "Synchronicity 1" is this pseudo African thing which opens the album. Twenty years ago they thought African music was gonna be huge in twenty years. And then, from outta nowhere - Garth Brooks! And they say Captain Beefheart came from outta left field! If it wasn't for that Rwanda thing I woulda forgot about Africa the same way I forgot about Pet Rocks and Earth Shoes. But "Synchronicity 2" is one of those really great rock and roll records that when you hear 'em on the radio while you're driving to work you go completely out of your mind and push the accelerator right into the floor and crash right into the nearest house and kill all the men and rape all the women and sell the children into white slavery. Unless they're black, then you just sell 'em into slavery. See? Twenty years ago you never could have done that joke on the internet!
And then . . . "Every Breath You Take"!!! Everybody loves "Every Breath You Take". Don't tell me you don't love "Every Breath You Take"! Oh, come off it! Get outta here! You ain't foolin' nobody. I'll play it right now and we'll see what a great big softie you really are when you bust out cryin' like a little bitch when Sting gets to the "Baby, Baby, Pleeeeeeeeeeeeease!!!" bit and then the piano part and he goes "Oh, can't you seeeeee, you belong to meeeee . . . " Man, if that doesn't get you, just stand right there while I break your arm with this baseball bat.
What is Synchronicity, anyway? It's the name of a theory by the great psychiatric pioneer Carl Jung which holds that there can be an unconscious connection between two separate events. For example, right now I am kicking the leg of my table and Al Franken is getting an increasingly painful ache right in the center of his ass. It's kind of a silly idea but Doctor Jung's theories have become more accepted than Doctor Freud's because his writing is easier to read. So I guess twenty years from now Doctor Seuss's theories will be all the rage! Ha ha ha! Sophisticated satire for all you High School graduates out there! For real thrills and chills, all you sensation seekin' Freudians might want to compare and contrast the lyrics to "Mother" to the lyrics to "Every Breath You Take" . . . "Well, the telephone is ringing-Is that my Mother on the phone? The telephone is screaming-Won't she leave me alone?" " "Every move you make-Every step you take-I'll be watching you" "Well, every girl I go out with becomes my Mother in the end-Every girl I go out with becomes my Mother in the end" "O can't you see-You belong to me?" "O Women, please have mercy-Let this poor boy be-O Mother dear listen-And don't devour me" "Every single day-Every word you say-I'll be watching you" "MOTHER!!!" Have you caught on yet that I used to listen to "Synchronicity" a lot back when I was smoking pot all the time?
But enough of these zany antics, I've got to haul a pair of tennis shoes and the clothes dryer down to the rehearsal space for my new Police cover band It's No Use He Sees Her He Starts To Shake And Cough Just Like The Old Man In The Book By Nabokov. See? Even an old fool like me can learn from his mistakes - Kids today only like bands with short, catchy names!
John Saleeby wrote for The National Lampoon while he was in high school, was a stand up comic in New York, and has contributed to the net humor zines Schmuck.com, Campaign Central, and the legendary American Jerk. He's on medication now so he's probably a little nicer now than he was when you met him earlier. Email - email@example.com