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"Quite a natural step": Andy Summers brings 'The Cracked Lens + A Missing String' to NZ

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Thu, 13 Jun 2024, 8:28am
Photo / Getty
Photo / Getty

"Quite a natural step": Andy Summers brings 'The Cracked Lens + A Missing String' to NZ

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Thu, 13 Jun 2024, 8:28am

With over 75 million records sold, six Grammy’s, and inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Police are one of the most iconic bands in the world. 

Although they’re no longer making music as a group, each member is still immersed in their creative pursuits, and guitarist Andy Summers is following his all the way to New Zealand. 

In an exclusive first announcement, Summers will be bringing Kiwi audiences ‘The Cracked Lens + A Missing String’, an intimate, multimedia performance full of musical performances, stories, and his celebrated photography. 

He told Newstalk ZB’s Mike Hosking that tickets for the shows are hard to come by and he’s getting a standing ovation every night. 

“So, I think it’s going well.” 

Summers began his foray into photography while touring with the Police in 1979. He said he had plenty of time on his hands and photographers were abundant. 

“I finally sort of crossed over and got a good camera and said, ‘well, I’m gonna do this,’” he told Hosking. 

“It turned into, you know, a passion that I stayed with ever since.” 

When it comes to his photography, Summers favours abstraction, focusing on composition, values, balance, and colour as opposed to interesting faces or scenes. 

“I think of it in formal properties,” he explained. 

“Not like, ohhh, that’s an exciting moment, you know, that man’s doing something to that man, whatever.” 

This different way of thinking carries through to his music as well, Summers citing a quote from critic Walter Pater: ‘all art constantly aspires to the condition of music’. 

“I find the information that I had from music is sort of... you can take it across to photography. And again, you know, like in music you would be thinking of line shape, one thing contrasting against another, a structure.” 

“All these things can be applied to photography.” 

Summers blends his creative pursuits further, creating scores that go alongside his photographs. His newest EP ‘Vertiginous Canyons’, releasing later this month, is a companion for his 2023 photography book ‘A Series of Glances’. 

He revealed to Hosking that the score is entirely improvised, as he played around until he got sounds that inspired him and built each track off that. 

“I made those tracks in one afternoon, which I think is very healthy,” Summers laughed. 

There’s often an idea that quality directly correlates with the time something takes, but Summers doesn’t believe that matters, saying that some of the greatest things are done in minutes. 

“I was trying to tell somebody this morning,” he said to Hosking. 

“You know, you sit there and slog away trying to write something, and then you give up, and the last minute you give up, it suddenly arrives in your head.” 

While some of it can be attributed to years of training and familiarity with his craft, there is another sort of mysterious element to it: a spark of inspiration. 

Summers has been playing guitar since he was young, transitioning through styles and genres throughout his life. He grew up playing jazz and classical, learning from people like Kenny Burrell and Jimmy Rainey, and began his professional career in a rhythm and blues band before joining the Police. 

After their disbandment in 1984, Summers began his solo career influenced by all sorts of music, taking inspiration from the likes of Thelonious Monk and Miles David.  

“All this was something that I wish to take elements from and kind of build my own style.” 

"What’s more creatively fulfilling, post-Police or the Police?” Hosking asked, which Summers said was a “bit of a cruel question”. 

“I can’t really answer that,” he said. 

The two are different things Summers told him, with the Police being “the magic band”, something that doesn’t come along often, and his solo work being incredibly enjoyable as well. 

“I’ve made 15 solo albums and I really dug into it,” Summers said. 

He’s renewed his studio equipment, confirming his plans to create more music in the coming future. 

“I think we went through a weird time with Covid and everything seemed to have stopped, and now it feels like life is coming back again.” 

“I’m on the road and I renewed the studio, so yeah, looking forward to it. Feeling good about it.” 

Tour Dates: 

19th September, Opera House, Wellington. 

20th September, James Hay Theatre, Christchurch. 

3rd October, Town Hall, Auckland. 


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