Far from a young punk-rocker stepping directly into the limelight with his first band, Summers’ back story reveals an extremely dedicated musician who parlayed years of classical and jazz guitar studies infused with blues, rock, and soul into recordings and roadwork with major U.K. acts Zoot Money’s Big Band, the Animals, Kevin Coyne, and the Soft Machine, and accomplished all of this over a decade before joining Sting and Stewart Copeland to cement what would become perhaps the world’s most popular musical group since the Beatles.
The Police—Message in a Box: The Complete Recordings collects every recording issued by the band up until their implosion in 1986. By the time the Police would reunite in 2007, Summers had contributed to the scores of ten films (2010, Down & Out in Beverly Hills, Weekend at Bernie’s, and Mississippi Masala among them), released a whopping 15 solo albums that run the gamut from moody and esoteric world fusion to a collection of Thelonious Monk tunes (including XYZ , Mysterious Barricades , The Golden Wire , Synathestesia , The Last Dance of Mr. X , Green Chimneys , Earth & Sky , plus I Advance Masked  and Bewitched , both recorded with Robert Fripp before the Police officially broke up), guested on an additional ten projects, toured internationally, and dueted in 2005 with classical guitarist Ben Verdery (First You Build a Cloud). Post-Police and reunion releases include several best-of compilations, Live (1995), and 2008’s Certifiable: Live in Buenos Aires. Summers is also an avid photographer who exhibits his work around the world, as well as an accomplished author. His books include Throb (1983),
Summers’ career took off in 1977 when the guitarist was asked to join a somewhat eclectic punk trio featuring bassist Sting, drummer Stewart Copeland, and guitarist Henry Padovani. Almost immediately, Padovani left the band, and the Police in its most recent incarnation was born.
The Police blended punk, rock, reggae, and other styles of music into a highly accessible pop music package, and were quickly adopted by critics and fans worldwide. By 1983, the Police were considered to be the most popular band in the world. Unfortunately, constant friction between band members seemed insurmountable, so in 1984, after five albums, the Police broke up.
Life After The Police:
Andy Summers’ post-Police work has been decidedly less commercial. Summers tackled film scoring, creating music for films like “2010” and “Down and Out in Beverly Hills. The later 1980’s and early 1990’s found Summers recording music that explored pop, jazz, and new age sounds – always operating slightly outside of the “mainstream”. In the late 1990’s, Summers returned to his jazz roots, recording several tribute albums that explored the songbooks of Thelonious Monk and Charles Mingus.
Andy Summers on the Web:
There are some excellent Andy Summers resources on the web, the best of which have been highlighted here. If you’re looking for insight into the guitarist’s playing style, the Police tab and lyrics, free music downloads, or anything else Summers-related, check the links on the right.
This guitar was built by Fender® Custom Shop Senior Master Builder Todd Krause. Calling Krause the “Builder to the Stars” would be a vast understatement. He maintains and builds guitars for Fender® signature artists Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Stu Hamm and Roscoe Beck. Further, he has built custom instruments for Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Bob Dylan, Roger Waters and Gene Simmons, to name only a few.