Stewart Copeland Biography

Songwriter, Drummer (1952–)
Stewart Copeland is best known as the drummer for The Police. Copeland is also an accomplished producer and composer of soundtracks for movies and television.


Stewart Copeland was born in Alexandria, Virginia, on July 16, 1952. Relocating to Great Britain after college, Copeland first joined the band Curved Air as a drummer. His next band, The Police, achieved worldwide fame and chart-topping albums through the mid-1980s. Copeland is also well known as a composer and producer of soundtracks for movies and television.

Early Life

Stewart Armstrong Copeland was born in Alexandria, Virginia, the youngest of four children born to C.I.A. officer Miles Copeland Jr., and archaeologist Lorraine Adie. A few months after Stewart's birth, the Copeland family moved to Cairo, Egypt, and remained in the Middle East for a number of years. In 1957, the family moved to Beirut, Lebanon, where Stewart attended the American Community School. He began drum lessons at age 12. Copeland attended Millfield, in England, from 1967 to 1969. He then attended college at the University of California at Berkeley.

Musical Career

Copeland returned to England and embarked on a career in the music industry. He first worked as road manager for Curved Air, assuming drumming duties for the band in 1975.

In 1977, Copeland founded The Police with Strontium 90 bandmate Sting and guitarist Henry Padovani (replaced early on by Andy Summers). The band became one of the best-selling acts of the 1980s. The band's early recordings were mostly Copeland's compositions, including their first single, "Fall Out." As Sting began producing more material, Copeland's contributions were reduced significantly. Around this time, Copeland also released a single and a 10-inch album under the name Klark Kent.

In addition to his recordings as a rock and pop musician, Copeland earned a reputation for his movie scores. In 1983, he won a Golden Globe for his score of the film Rumble Fish. When The Police stopped touring in 1984, Copeland began to compose soundtracks for movies, television and video games with greater frequency.

In 1985, Copeland released a solo album, The Rhythmatist. More recently, Copeland has collaborated with Les Claypool of Primus and Trey Anastasio of Phish in the band Oysterhead, composed chamber ensemble music and founded an avant-garde musical project called Gizmo.

In September 2009, Copeland published a memoir entitled Strange Things Happen: A Life with The Police, Polo, and Pygmies.

In 2007, Copeland reunited with Police bandmates Sting and Andy Summers to perform at the Grammy Awards. The Police then embarked on a reunion tour in celebration of their 30th anniversary.

Personal Life

Steward Copeland was married to Curved Air vocalist Sonja Kristina from 1982 to 1991. Copeland adopted Kristina's son, and the couple had more two sons together. Copeland also has a son with Marina Guinness, daughter of Irish author Desmond Guinness. Copeland currently lives in Los Angeles with wife Fiona Dent, with whom he has three daughters.

Copeland's eldest brother, Miles Copeland III, founded I.R.S. Records and served as the manager of The Police. Another brother, the late Ian Copeland, was a booking agent who represented the Police and many other popular groups. Copeland's father, Miles Copeland Jr., was a founding member of the Office of Strategic Services and the Central Intelligence Agency.

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