The Police

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Contents

The Police in 1977
The Police in 2007, backstage at the Grammy awards

Introduction

Police fandom has been going strong since the late 1970s and continues to this day on various websites, particularly messageboards both official and un-official. The band has enjoyed worldwide popularity with active fandom communities everywhere from Australia to Peru. The bandfic community for this fandom is very small, however, primarily represented on LiveJournal and RockFic.

The Band

The Police were formed in 1977 by drummer Stewart Copeland. The initial line-up included Copeland, singer/bassist Sting, and guitarist Henry Padovani. Padovani was eventually replaced by Andy Summers, after which point the band began to slowly develop a following through aggressive touring and marketing. The Police were largely a "family affair" for Stewart, whose brother Miles was their manager and other brother Ian was their booking agent. They recorded five studio albums between 1978 and 1983, and were inactive as a group from 1986 through 2006 save a one-off appearance at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003, although they never officially announced that the group was splitting. In February of 2007 they announced a reunion world tour to continue through the summer of 2008. As of yet there has been no official statement on the possibility of recording of a new album.

Terminology

  • AUIer: A member of the Ask Uncle Ian messageboard community.
  • CHA!: A meme popular among members of thepolice.com community, referring to the vocal cry used frequently by Sting in early Police concerts but missing entirely from the 2007 reunion tour.
  • Leroy Coolbreeze: Nickname of Ian Copeland used frequently on messageboards and also appearing on one of Stewart's tour shirts in 2007. Also the name of a cocktail prepared by Ian, made according to the following recipe: "In a large shaker with ice, combine 1 part everything on the bottom shelf, half part everything on the middle shelf, and a splash of everything on the top shelf. Shake and strain into shot glasses. If the fancy takes you, top each with a drop or two of champagne."[1]
  • sc.net: abbreviation used for the Stewart Copeland Official Site.
  • sc.nutters or nutters: Stewart fans who are active on the sc.net forum. Used by Stewart to refer to the fans after they began using it themselves.[2]
  • Snarks: A term used primarily in the late 1980s and 1990s to refer to Stewart Copeland fans (or Klark Kent Phans, as they sometimes referred to themselves). (sockii)
  • TPT or tpt.com: abbreviations used for referring to the ThePolice.com, the official Police website.

Timeline

Below is a partial timeline of events that took place in this fandom community. See The Police bandfic article for timeline information related to the bandfic community.

1970s

  • The Police began rehearsing in London, England in January of 1977.
  • In May of 1977, The Police released their first single, "Fall Out/Nothing Achieving".[3]
  • On October 20, 1978, The Police play at CBGB's in New York, their first appearance in the United States.[4]
  • Outlandos d'Amour, their fist studio album, was released November 2, 1978.[5]
  • In April[6] of 1979, the official Police fanclub, Outlandos, was launched in London, England. Annual membership dues were 2.50 pounds. It was originally run by Dee with assistance from Paul Carter. The fanclub's first newsletters were simple, photocopied sheets of A4 paper with news, information and clippings. Eventually it settled into a regular A5 newsletter format, published quarterly plus a Christmas Card.[7]
  • Reggatta de Blanc, The Police's second studio album, was released October 5, 1979.[8]

1980s

Fan art, published in The Police Official File #16
  • The first issue of The Police Official File was published in May of 1980. This professionally printed fanzine included photographs, news, and merchandise listings for the band, as well as letters from fans, a penpal section, fan concert reviews, and the occaisional contests for fan-submitted poetry and artwork. Selling for 50p (and later 70p), the fanzine ran for 20 issues, the last published in December of 1981.
  • Zenyatta Mondatta, the third Police studio album, was released October 3, 1980.[9]
  • Ghost in the Machine, the fourth Police studio album, was released October 2, 1981.[10]
  • Synchronicity, the fifth Police studio album, was released June 1, 1983.[11]
  • In the summer of 1983, the BBC held a contest for the best music fanclub, and Outlandos won the competition.[12] Tina became involved in running the club at this time as it grew considerably in size after the publicity.
  • On August 18, 1983, The Police performed at Shea Stadium in New York to an audience of 70,000. They were the first rockband to perform there since The Beatles.[13]
  • On June 15, 1986, the band performed together for the last time in the 1980s at the Amnesty International Concert in East Rutherford, New Jersey.[14]
  • While retaining the Outlandos name and continuing to provide some coverage of Stewart and Andy's solo activities, the fanclub became more focused on Sting's solo career from the late 1980s onward.[15]
  • In 1988, the Italian fanzine Illegal Tales was launched, the first issue going out on April 20, 1988.[16][17] It is now a website run by Giovanni Pollastri and Lydia Dicorato.

1990s

  • The Police xmission mailing list was created on February 20, 1991 by Pete Ashdown.[18] It is the longest-standing discussion group on-line devoted to The Police and the band members' solo work and is still active in 2007.[19]
  • In 1996, Sting fans Dave and Wendy, members of Outlandos opened the Stingchronicity fansite. This site was used by Tina as a way to communicate on-line with Outlandos members and was a semi official, "unofficial" Sting site.[20]
  • On July 1, 1997, Andy Summers registered the webdomain www.andysummers.com.[21] The website contained news, photographs, and other information related to Andy's project, but has never contained a messageboard or other community for fan discussion. As a result, Andy's fanbase has never been as organized on-line around a particular forum. (sockii)
  • On November 5, 1997, the webdomain www.backstagecafe.com was created for the restaurant/bar run by Ian Copeland in Beverly Hills, California.[22] The Ask Uncle Ian forum would be the most popular part of the site, as Ian was a regular poster there for many years, answering questions and talking about The Police and other bands, as well as more general day-to-day events.
  • On July 16, 1999, the website Stingoo! opened. It would host one of the most extensive link lists of all Police and Sting-related websites on the internet. The site would be regularly updated until January 1 of 2006.[23]
  • In 1999, an official Sting website was opened in conjunction with the release of his album "Brand New Day".[24]

2000

  • On May 29, the yahoogroup Mad About Sting was created. By December of 2007, the group had 194 members, but its highest level of activity was between 2001-2002.[25]

2001

  • In 2001, the fansite LiSting was first launched by a Police fan in France.[26]
  • On July 4, 2001, Karel Van Isacker, a Police fan in Amsterdam, registered the domain www.stingus.net and opened what would become the popular website StingUs.[27] It had originally been a smaller website created as part of the StingUs Dutch fanclub and fanzine. The forum on the StingUs site became a popular place for discussion among particularly Sting fans. There have occasionally been kerfluffles between Sting fans and Stewart fans on the messageboard.(sockii)
  • On July 25, 2001, the yahoogroup the_police_brasil was created for fans of the band in Brasil.[28]
  • In the summer of 2001, Dave and Wendy were invited to incorporate their Stingchronicity website into the new official site, sting.com[29]
  • In 2001, Italian fan Giovanni Pollastri first met Stewart Copeland and discussef the fan site he had created for him. Giovanni's fan site would soon become the Stewart Copeland Official Site, originally located at www.stewartcopeland.it.[30]

2002

2003

The Police on stage in New York City, March 10, 2003.
  • On January 13, 2003, sockii opened an unofficial Stewart Copeland fansite, later to become known as Too Kool To Kalypso. It contained a fair amount of Police related content as well as Stewart-specific content.[32]
  • On March 10, 2003, The Police performed in public together for the first time since 1986, at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.
  • In 2003, sting.com went through another overhaul with the release of "Sacred Love". It was then decided that sting.com would replace the old Outlandos offline fanclub with a new, entirely on-line fanclub.[33] The site would host exclusive content including video and photos available only to subscribers, along with contests and other bonuses. It was an still is run by Dave, Tina and Wendy.

2004

  • On March 1, 2004, the livejournal community the_police (livejournal) was created.[34]
  • On May 16, 2004, The Police last.fm group was created.[35]
  • On December 7, 2004, the launch of a new Stewart Copeland fansite, www.stewartcopeland.co.uk, was announced on Ask Uncle Ian. The site was run by Wombat and Echidna, two rather mysterious new figures to the fandom who were surmised to be regular posters at AUI.[36][37] The site, which was very professionally put together, was well received by fans for its video, image, and informational detail. The site was so well done that some wondered if it should not become the official Stewart site, or if Wombat should be recruited instead to create an official Police site.[38] Of some confusion to fans, however, was the section of the site entitled Echidna's World, which featured satirical articles, fake interviews, and mock news reports, some of which was so well written people believed they were real. One such article was an exclusive on "The Copeland Chronicles."[39] Extracts from this supposed-to-be-published diary were posted to the site, such as this one posted on August 17, 2005:
Diary Entry - May 1st 1983. Dear Diary well today is the day that we once again leave the house and climb into the juggernaut parked in the drive known as the the Police album. I have a very busy week ahead with a crazy hectic schedule where I must pay lip service to the worlds Press and pretend to look like I actually still like Sting. I'm still emotionally drained after last weeks crisis meeting with the band and record company executives where I tried to persuade them that "Mother" would be a far better choice of a single instead of Every Breath You Take. Those who know me will testify as to what a fair person I am and I showed that by telling Sting that EBYT would make the perfect B side. Alas it was not to be and my efforts were in vain - EBYT will be the first single, however I am confident I can get "Miss Gradenko released as the second single. Its going to very tough spending this week talking about EBYT when my heart is really in "Mother" and I know that although he doesn't show it Andy is secretly very upset. I remember back in 1978 when I spent a whole month pleading with Miles not to present "Roxanne" to A&M but instead play them "Be My Girl Sally" which I felt, and still do is the perfect four minute pop song. I mean can you seriously imagine that in twenty years time anyone will still be listening to or even wanting to listen to "Roxanne"???

2005

  • On February 7, 2005, the messageboard forum was opened at the Stewart Copeland Official Site.[41] This messageboard would become the primary on-line community for Stewart fans on-line, particularly after Stewart himself registered on the board on March 11 of that year and occasionally participated in the discussion. (sockii)

2006

The Police, photographed together at the Sundance Film Festival in 2006
Stewart Copeland Inside Out - Kollected Works [47]

2007

screencap of the police.com front page.
  • In early 2007, StingUs was one of the first websites to begin leaking rumors and news about a potential reunion tour for the band, along with the recording of some new material for a 30th anniversary release. (sockii)
  • On January 30, 2007, the rumours that the Police would reunite on stage at the Grammy Awards were confirmed in the press.[48]
  • On February 8, 2007, the webdomain www.thepolicerehearsals.com was created and registered by Ultrastar Entertainment.[49] It was announced that the band would appear February 12, 2007, the morning after their upcoming Grammy Awards performance, at the Whisky A Go Go, and their appearance would be broadcast worldwide on this website as well as through various television networks.
  • On February 12, 2007, The Police announced their plans for a reunion world tour to extend into 2008. On that same day, a new official website, thepolicetour.com, was opened and began selling memberships at $100 US a piece.[50]
  • On March 4, 2007, the webdomain www.thepolicechat.com was created and registered by a Police fan in Spain.[51] This fansite provided an image gallery with fanart, chatroom, and other features that visitors could contribute to.[52]
  • On May 3, 2007, an official MySpace page for The Police was launched.[53]
  • On May 19, 2007, the webdomain ThePolice.com was purchased by Ultrastar Entertainment.[54] All calls to the original thepolicetour.com website were now redirected to this url.
A Stewart fan at Dolphins Stadium, photographed by the Miami Times, July 10, 2007
  • On June 16, 2007, The Police performed at the Bonnaroo Music Festival. Stewart saw and acknowledged the sc.net Flag for the first time at this event.[55]
  • In August of 2007, at the end of the North American summer tour leg, Too Kool To Kalypso reached peak traffic to date with 167,827 requests for pages.[56]
  • On October 21, 2007, the Canadian E! Network aired the premiere episode of "Tribute Bands", a 4-part documentary series. The first episode was "The Next Best Sting", and focused on Miles Copeland's efforts to put together the ultimate Police tribute act.[57]
CHA! ball on stage at the Halloween concert, MSG. Photo by sockii.
  • On October 31, 2007, the CHA! movement perhaps reached its peak at the band's Halloween (or CHAlloween) concert at Madison Square Garden. A large quantity of orange inflatable basketballs printed with the "Ghost in the Machine" logo on one side and CHA! on the other were distributed in the crowd and many launched at the stage. Despite repeatedly stepping around them, Sting still did not give eager ThePolice.com members a single CHA! in response.(sockii)
  • On November 15, 2007, Jo Publik received a cease and desist notice from Universal Music regarding the Police mashups (which Jo called "ReINVESTIGATIONS") hosted on his myspace music page.[58][59]
  • In November 2007, ThePolice.com anounced a competition for fans to submit holiday video greetings to the band via youtube.[60]
  • On December 20, 2007, ThePolice.com website posted a video greeting from the band for the holidays.[61] Links to some, but not all, of the fan-submitted videos were included in the greeting. When asked why some could not be included, the response from the site administrators was that they could not include videos that had contained any copyrighted material including cartoons, audio, or video.
  • On December 26, 2007, antiMusic voted Stewart Copeland's "Disaster Gig" blog on the sc.net forum about The Police the "Top Story of 07".[62]

2008

  • On January 18, 2008, sockii launched policefans.org, a fansite featuring a new messageboard forum.[63] This forum was conceived after complaints and uncertainties from fans regarding the official Police website. Many members were uncertain about paying membership dues again in 2008 or if the official site would even continue past that summer or fall, hence an unofficial site which could provide the same messageboard-style community was created.
  • On February 13, 2008, a day over a year since the Reunion Tour was first announced, Fox News and Billboard both ran stories that The Police would do a final swing of dates through the United States and Canada this spring and summer. The dates would be in smaller venues and it would "officially" be the last run for the band and no new material would be produced.[65], [66] The news was met with a flurry of reactions among fans: some were simply excited about the announcement of new shows and ready to make plans to attend the last show, tentatively figured to be August 4, 2008 at Jones Beach in Long Island, New York.[67] Others were less excited and many were upset, angry, or depressed that the tour was over and no album or new material would be produced.[68],[69], [70],[71] There was also the issue of fanclub memberships which were due for renewal shortly, and amidst great protests over the renewal amount, many felt even less inclined to renew when there seemed to be little future for the band past August, unless they wanted to try for presale tickets for one of the U.S. dates.[72],[73],[74],[75] (See also ThePolice.com)
  • On February 22, 2008, The Sun ran an interview with Sting where he stated definitively that The Police tour would finish in August of that year, and that would be the end of the band, no new material to follow afterwards.[76] This news was met with mixed reactions from fans, some of whom would be glad to see the tour over, many others who were upset and put the blame on Sting for breaking up the band again.[77],[78],[79] In reaction to this news, on February 27, 2008, a petition was created entitled The Police Don't Stop![80] to collect signatures from fans who wanted to appeal to the band to continue working together after the tour.
  • On March 4, 2008, a second Jones Beach performance date was announced for August 5, 2008, making this now the last scheduled date for the tour.[81] Many fans were very upset about this announcement, as they felt they had been tricked into buying tickets for August 4 on the expectation that it was the last show. Fanclub members had used their presale codes for the show on August 4, others had made travel arrangements already from other countries to be at the finale, and now felt that the band and/or the tour management had spoiled the end of the tour for them through their "greed".[82],[83],[84]
  • On March 26, 2008, a large group of Stewart Copeland fans (the nutters) convened in Savannah, Georgia for "An Evening With Stewart Copeland", which consisted of a performance, Q&A session, and screening of Copeland's film "Everyone Stares". Copeland spent much of the evening acknowledging his fans who were there and who had largely bought up tickets in the first few rows of the theater. He mentioned the Flag and other things related to his messageboard.[85] On April 1, 2008, Jim Reed published a review of the event in the Savannah Connect which was perceived by some nutters as being critical of their behavior as well as Stewart's focus upon them during the event.[86],[87] After being bombarded with comments and criticisms from those who had been in attendance at the event, Reed altered some content within the review and also posted a long response defending his article and accusing the fans who replied to him of having their "panties in a wad" and of being "overzealous champions".
  • On April 1, 2008, PoliceWiki went live to the public. This fan-run wiki, part of policefans.org, was launched to serve as a new database for factual and fannish-related content related to The Police.

The final concerts and surrounding controversies

  • In an interview published in the Sun Sentinel on April 30, 2008, Stewart Copeland acknowledged the controversy surrounding the announcement of the Jones Beach show on August 5, 2008. According to Copeland, "Inside the bubble we thought this was a great idea...We would never have guessed (the controversy) or intuited that without the Web."[88]
  • On May 6, 2008, The Police held a press conference in Times Square in New York City with Mayor Michael Bloomberg. They announced that they would be performing their last concert ever, in the city of New York (date/location to be revealed), and that it would be a benefit concert for local public broadcasting networks as well as the MillionTreesNYC project. The band would donate $1 million to these projects.[89] Fan reaction to the news was mixed, with many again expressing discontent that they had, for the second time, been lead to believe an earlier date would be the end of the tour. Concerns were expressed about the ability to resell tickets to the earlier "finale" shows now that a new finale was planned, as well as the difficulty of obtaining tickets to this new show or making extended/new travel plans.[90],[91],[92]
  • On June 5, 2008, the details were finally announced on the final concert: it would take place on August 7, 2008 at Madison Square Garden. Tickets would be sold through a PBS pledge drive with prices beginning at $150/pair and going up to $5,000 a pair for VIP access.[93] It was later announced that ThePolice.com, Citicard (the corporate sponsor of this leg of the tour), and PBS would all be having presales for their members. Many fans worked hard through the various presales to get tickets close to and behind the stage (an area known to Stewart Copeland fans as "Stew Heaven" and a particular favorite for drummer aficionados.) There was general disappointment among many members of ThePolice.com who found their presale seats inferior to the PBS presale ones, and no better (and sometimes worse) than the Citicard ones.[94],[95],[96]
  • On June 20, 2008, fans reported checking their ticket orders and seeing that their ticket assignments had been changed without their knowledge to much inferior seats within the same price bracket. All behind-the-stage seats were relocated to the upper 300 level, and some on the upper 300 levels were changed to the even higher 400 levels. Fans were completely outraged by this change, which meant that many of the biggest fans of the band who had worked hardest to get good seats were now stuck with some of the worst. Appeals were quickly made to Police HQ, Ticketmaster, and Stewart Copeland himself as he is generally perceived as the most fan-responsive member of the band.[97],[98], [99],[100],[101] In the end, the best outcome reached was that those who had been re-assigned were allowed to either get their tickets refunded, or buy an "upgraded" ticket (at a higher price).
  • On July 13, 2008, it was announced on Stewart Copeland's website that he would be giving away a "strictly limited" number of tickets to the final concert to members who could answer a trivia question.[102],[103] ThePolice.com and Sting.com announced a similar contest as well.
  • On July 15, 2008, yet another seating change was revealed for the final concert: there would be a "Snake Pit" at the front of the stage, in front of what had been billed until then as the Front Row, for "approximately 200 people." [104] An ebay auction for 4 of these tickets was announced, once again causing outrage among fans, many who had already spent a great deal of money to be at what they had thought was the front of the stage now to find themselves sitting further back.[105]
  • Winners of Copeland's ticket giveaway were revealed on July 24, 2008[106] and many were shocked and delighted when the list of winners revealing themselves reached close to 100. On July 26, 2008, actual seat locations were revealed[107], with about 20 individuals out of that 100 receiving Snake Pit tickets, the rest 100-level seats. A few ThePolice.com and Sting.com contest winners received tickets on the 100 level and in the Snake Pit; others were located on the 200 level and only about 20-30 revealed themselves to have won on the messageboards, leaving some to wonder how many had actually been given out. Some fans were upset by the allocation of tickets from Stewart, noting that it did not seem "random" who won pit tickets and who didn't, leading to some resentment and hard feelings.[108],[109]
Stewart's Flag on stage at the Police's finale concert, August 8, 2008.
  • On August 5, 2008, the second concert at Jones Beach and the last one before the Madison Square Garden finale, fans finally received a long-awaited "CHA!" from Sting, after a CHA! ball made direct contact with his microphone during the extended jam in "Cant' Stand Losing You".
  • At the final concert on August 8, 2008, many fans wore homemade t-shirts made specifically for the last show, a frequent motto on them reading "I guess this is our last goodbye", a line from the song "Can't Stand Losing You." Members of Stewart Copeland's website who had won free tickets circulated small green signs, one side of which showed the Flag/Stewart Copeland logo, the other which read "THANK YOU". These signs can be clearly seen flashing from the front of the pit at several points during the Best Buy live broadcast of the encore set.[110],[111], [112] Before the encores, while the video screen showed Sting backstage having his much-reviled beard shaved[113], Stewart Copeland appeared on stage with the Flag at last in his possession, having been passed to a crew member before the encores from the front of the pit. The Flag was placed upon a special rig to fly on stage for the end of the concert[114]. Photos later posted revealed the Flag finally "in retirement" at Copeland's home studio.[115]
  • On November 18, 2008, The Police Fan Club DVD was released. This dvd was only made available to those members of the fanclub who had "Legacy" status, meaning they had renewed their membership for $100 in 2008. It contained video footage, some of which was new, some of which had previously been available for viewing on the website, as well as a small photo gallery.
  • On December 3, 2008, members of ThePolice.com began to post wondering what would happen to the fanclub in 2009, when memberships began to expire again in February. With little expectation of further activity from the band in the future, it was questioned whether the website and club would continue in any capacity.[118]

2009

  • On January 23, 2009, policehq at ThePolice.com announced: "At present the future of the site is still being discussed. However we have had confirmation that no-one's credit card will be charged a renewal fee."[119]
  • Two months later, on March 20, 2009, policehq followed up by announcing: "We know that many of you have been wondering what will happen to ThePolice.com now that the band has completed their hugely successful reunion tour. We are pleased to tell you that ThePolice.com will remain online as the band's official free-to-access web presence. We have decided to leave the Community area online and we will be making this whole area free for anyone who wishes to join and post, including the virtual ticket material. There will be no further membership charges to access the site and no termination date imposed to existing memberships."[120]

Kerfluffles

See main article The Police kerfluffles

Influential fan works

See also The Police tribute bands

Art

This section needs more information.

Fic

sidewinder is the most prolific author of The Police bandfic currently, and the author of the first pieces published on RockFic.

For more information, please see The Police bandfic.

Vids

Music

Fandom Members

  • Pete Ashdown - mailing list moderator
  • Eugenio Brambilla - official site webmaster
  • Dietmar - collector, band historian
  • Karel Van Isacker - unofficial site webmaster
  • Giovanni Pollastri - official and unofficial site webmaster
  • sockii - collector, unofficial site webmaster
  • Rogier van der Gugten - unofficial site webmaster, collector, band historian
  • Wombat - unofficial site webmaster

Fandom Size

As of December 22, 2007, there were 16 fans listed on FanPop[122], 2122 registered users at www.stewartcopeland.net[123], and 399 livejournal users interested in The Police.[124]

See also:

External Links

Official sites as well as fan sites of particular note include:

Reviews

See also

Sources

Below is a partial list of articles and academic sources to help you continue to learn about this community.

  • Copeland, Stewart. (2006). The Police - Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out. Hip-O Records.
  • Summers, Andy. (2006). One Train Later. New York: St. Martin's Press.
  • Tobler, John and Myles, Jane. (1984). The Police: A Visual Documentary. Cherry Lane Music.

Learn more about the music fandoms and the BandFic community by reading the information above. Add more to it by clicking the edit tab and writing more. Use the form to the left to start a new page and share your knowledge of music fandom history with others.
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