Music: Official Police Business

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Perhaps not quite. Sting has a hip, slightly frosty presence and a vulpine sexuality to which he does not like attention to be drawn ("It's a pejorative, demeaning. I got a brain, you know"). Nevertheless, it is getting him good movie-acting work. He starred in Brimstone and Treacle and will appear as the head heavy in the upcoming Dino De Laurentiis/David Lynch film of Frank Herbert's sci-fi behemoth Dune. Stage presence and movie appearances tend to reinforce each other, producing a charisma that may be inadvertent but is certainly undeniable. Copeland puts it simply, "His face is our face."

Certainly he is the dominant part of the face. But like one of those composite drawings on a wanted poster, the face of the Police seems made from disparate observations. The particulars on the poster might run like this:

Copeland: 31, born in Virginia, brought up in Beirut. Thought his father was a business consultant; learned later he was a high-ranking CIA employee. Brother Miles manages group, which was founded in 1977 and christened by Stewart. (The name Police is a wise-guy reference to dad's line of work.) Married, one baby, one stepson. Summers: 40, and gets ragged about it. Loves Django Reinhardt, reggae, ska and photography. Divorced; likes to talk about his sex life. Sting: 31, born Gordon Matthew Sumner. Grew up in Wallsend, England. Bass player. Various accounts origin of nickname: ceaseless buzzing energy; onetime habit of wearing black-and-yellow striped sweaters. Discovered by Copeland playing a gig with "a couple of old jazzers" in a school classroom. Getting divorced (see Every Breath You Take); likes to talk matters intellectual. Favorite music: Ralph Vaughan Williams' Symphony No. 6.

These fragments of a sometimes combative personality lead to a precarious seesaw act within the band. "I haven't much team spirit," Sting confesses. "Relationships in the band are difficult. We have large egos, large talents, large personalities." Laughs Copeland: "Sting can't dominate because he's outnumbered. With the Police, it's always two against one." Admits Summers: "We're too pussyfooted to hit each other. We haven't got down to physical blows yet. But it gets pretty tense sometimes."

The more direct, slightly raw sound of Synchronicity, with its emphasis on a tight trio playing and disaffection from synthesizer and sax, pleases Summers. The fact is that the Police, like the Who, draw their dynamism directly from intramural tension. It may only be, as Copeland describes it, like "kids at the dinner table arguing over who's got more Rice Krispies." But the snap, crackle and pop of the Police are the sounds of rock 'n' roll, summer 1983 and on into the next months. And very well on, too.

—By Jay Cocks.

Reported by Stephen Koepp/New York

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