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Andy Summers: From The Police to Hendrix

We take down the particulars of the Police guitarist, with evidence of jamming with Hendrix, fooling punks and nearly joining the Stones...

Although he rose to fame in the late 70s as one third of pop supergroup The Police, guitarist Andy Summers was a face in the London rock scene back in the 1960s. His career began mid-decade as a member of British R&B group Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band, which evolved into acid rock practitioners Dantalian’s Chariot. After three months working with The Soft Machine, Summers joined The Animals – known as Eric Burdon And The Animals at the time – recording one album, 1968’s Love Is. We caught up with the guitarist during a round of promo interviews for his new self-released album Metal Dog, an all-instrumental work described as being dark and cinematic.

You kicked off your career in the 1960s. Was that a better time for music?
It was a much healthier scene. There was an incredible vitality, everybody was playing, and it was a much more innocent and naive time. Everybody was just very enthusiastic to be very good. The electric guitar was really being born in the 60s with all the different guys. We were all doing it. Everybody got into it, and distortion came, and at the same time jazz was existing in London, great jazz clubs, R&B – it was all happening in a very healthy way.

So people weren’t concerned with the notion of genres?
That sort of thinking all came much later, I think. In the 60s, it felt much more raw, and it was all beginning. You sound old when you say this kind of shit, but it did seem like a much better time, to be honest.

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