Bonzai Beat with Stewart Copeland

Mr. Bonzai

In the latest edition of the Bonzai Beat, Mr. Bonzai speaks with Stewart Copeland, famed percussionist, and co-founder of The Police. In this interview, Copeland is fresh off his performances at Wembley and SoFi stadiums as part of the Taylor Hawkins Tribute, discusses his work scoring film, television, and video games, prolific drummers of the past, his time with The Police, and more.

Bonzai Beat with Stewart Copeland

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Stewart Copeland is the son of Scottish archeologist Lorraine Copeland and U.S. Foreign Service officer Miles Copeland. Born in Alexandria, Virginia, Copeland moved to Cairo, Egypt as a young child and again to Beirut, Lebanon, where he spent some of his formative years listening to Lebanese music, rock ‘n roll, and jazz. After completing high school in England, Copeland enrolled at The University of California at Berkley.

In 1975 Copeland joined the band Curved Air as the drummer. Previously, he had worked as the band’s road manager. By the end of 1976, Curved Air parted ways, and Copeland formed The Police alongside Sting and Henry Padovani. The Police went on to sell over 75 million albums and receive six GRAMMY® Awards. In 1983, Copeland scored the Francis Coppola film Rumble Fish, which kicked off an extensive list of projects scoring for film, television, and video games. Copeland’s latest score is for the 2021 documentary Under the Volcano.

This year, Copeland took home the GRAMMY for “Best New Age Album” for his Diving Tides with Ricky Kej, a record that features musicians from around the world. Between his numerous and diverse projects, Copeland still finds time to jam at his home studio, The Sacred Grove, and records these sessions to post on his YouTube channel at

Mr. Bonzai is an award-winning photographer, author, and interviewer. He has written more than 1,000 articles for outlets in the United States, Europe, and Asia. He has published numerous books, including Studio Life (Mix, 1984), Hal Blaine and The Wrecking Crew (Mix, 1992), The Sound of Money (Focal, 2000), Faces of Music (Cengage, 2006), Music Smarts (Berklee Press, 2009), and John Lennon’s Tooth (BookBaby, 2012). His photos and articles have appeared in Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Billboard, Mix, EQ, Keyboard, Daily Variety, Hollywood Reporter, Los Angeles Magazine, Disney Channel Magazine, Sound & Recording, and Relix, among others.