Andy Summers says he reconnected with rock and roll music when he teamed up with the Police for a reunion tour five years ago. Before that, the English guitarist had been making solo albums featuring jazz, world and classical music. Far from rock.
"I had this period in '07 and '08 with that giant Police reunion tour, and it just kind of put me back in the rock mode, the rock scene. And I just re-embraced it," Summers told CBS News.
Now fully entrenched in rock music again, Summers has unveiled a new project: Circa Zero, his new band with singer-songwriter/ multi-instrumentalist Rob Giles of the Rescues. Summers, 71, has been putting out solo albums ever since the Police parted ways in 1986 (12, to be exact), but this marks his first official band since the Police.
Summers said he knew immediately that Giles had something special. It was like the "big bang," said Summers, who first met Giles after a Rescues gig.
"We had such a good chemistry personally...and most importantly musically and I thought, 'This is rare. This doesn't happen very often. You're lucky to meet someone you really connect with," Summers said. "We work very well together and I think you can hear that on the album."
"Circus Hero," released in March on 429 Records, features (not surprisingly) stand-out guitar riffs from Summers. After all, it's the same guitarist who recorded the memorable riffs of such hits such as "Roxanne" and "Don't Stand So Close to Me." Recorded at Summers' Bowl of Cherries studio in Venice, Calif., "Circus Hero" features 13 tracks, including the single "Levitation," which showcases Giles' strong vocals.
"It's complete collaboration where you know that the other guy's going to have good ideas and knows his stuff -- and I'm talking about melodic line, harmony, snare drum, bass drum," said Summers.
They'll be on the road this year, performing material off their debut album. Summers says he may even slip in some material from the Police; he knows fans will be expecting it.
Meanwhile, he's glad this his documentary about the Police will finally see the light of day this fall. Called "Can't Stand Losing You: Surviving the Police," the film is based on Summers' 2006 memoir, "One Train Later." Directed by Andy Grieve, it traces Summers' musical journey from his early days in the London music scene to meeting drummer Stewart Copeland and bassist/singer Sting. It features rare archival footage from the band's early days, photographs shot by Summers (a noted photographer) and more recent clips shot during the reunion tour.
"It's quite intimate and obviously, from my point of view...You find out about the difficulties of marriage," said Summers referring to his relationships with Sting and Copeland.
When asked if he could ever see himself reuniting with the Police, Summers said, "Well, you never say never. We never really closed the door. I don't see it happening. Then again, I didn't see the last one happening."
"I'm not sitting around waiting for the phone to ring," he added.
Until it does (or doesn't), Summers will be enjoying his return to rock...with Circa Zero.