My short bio: Andy Summers rose to fame in the early 1980’s as the guitarist with the multi-million record selling rock band The Police. The Police were the number one band of the time and dominated the music scene and the media in the eighties with several number albums and singles including Every Breath You Take, Roxanne, Don’t Stand So Close to Me, Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic, Invisible Sun, and Message in a Bottle. The band was the recipient of several Grammys and awards too numerous to mention. Andy Summers innovative guitar playing created a new paradigm for guitarists in this period and has been widely imitated ever since. Prior to the Police Andy Summers played with various bands in the London scene including the Soft Machine, Kevin Coyne and also Kevin Ayers. Post Police Andy has made thirteen solo records, collaborated with many other musicians and toured the world as a solo artist. In addition he has composed film scores, and along with many photo gallery exhibitions published books of his photography. In 2006 his autobiography One Train Later was released to great success and was voted the number one music book of the year in the UK. The film Can’t Stand Losing You, based on the book, saw it’s theatrical release in the US by Cinema Libre in March 2015. The DVD of the film was released on July 14th 2015, along with Andy’s latest CD – Metal Dog. Recent projects include the record Circus Hero from his new band Circa Zero released in April 2014, touring in Brazil with Rodrigo Santos and scoring music for the Turkish film And the Circus Leaves Town. Andy is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Guitar Player Hall of Fame, and has the keys to New York City! He has been awarded the Chevalier De L’Ordre Des Arts et Des Lettres by the Ministry of Culture in France.

My Proof:

EDIT: Thank you all for participating, it was great to see all these questions and comments! If you'd like to learn more about my music or the documentary Cant Stand Losing You - please visit or to keep up with us!

Comments: 365 • Responses: 33  • Date: 

GuitarAntiStar183 karma

Hello, Andy. I just want to say thanks for decades of awesome guitar playing and creative sounds. You're a huge inspiration to me.


The Edge of U2

All kidding aside, I would like to ask what dictates your approach toward utilizing effects? Do you incorporate them in your compositional process, letting them help determine what you're going to play? Or do you add them in later to color the tone after settling on a part?

(And truly, thanks for all the awesome music.)

andysummersmusic165 karma

Hey Edge, great to hear from you again man and thanks for knocking off our sound all these years :)

If you listen to my new album Metal Dog, all the tracks started from building a sound with effects - the sounds are a statement in themselves, thereby eschewing traditional structures.

your're awesome too

mawil31125 karma

As a kid growing up in the 80's and loving the Synchronicity album, "Mother" was quite the interesting track. What did your mother think of that song?

andysummersmusic159 karma

good question. when I wrote that song I was very worried what my mum would think...when she heard it she thought it was a hoot, and laughed her head off. She was a Cockney..they learn to laugh at things.

copperowl105 karma

Hi, Andy! Thanks for doing an AMA

Two things, hope that’s okay:

  1. What’s the Police’s most underappreciated song, and why is it Omegaman, and

  2. What’s something about the band that even serious fans might still find surprising to learn?

andysummersmusic169 karma

Copperowl, you answered that one for yourself. But you're right.

  1. I'm younger and taller than both Sting and Stewart--it just looks the other way on video cause they are standing on boxes.

natronmooretron84 karma

Hello, Mr.Summers! What was it like playing with Robert Fripp? The work you guys did together is awesome.

andysummersmusic92 karma

Robert and I are from the same town in England. We grew up in close proximity to each other. Later in life it was very interesting to come together and create music because we are very different kinds of players and the creative act was learning how to build something interesting out of our disparate styles.

hpholly73 karma

Hi Andy!

Which is your favourite song to perform live?

andysummersmusic181 karma

message in a bottle

KnightofSand70 karma

Hi Andy, who is one person you want to collaborate with today?

andysummersmusic148 karma

katy perry

CraigBetts69 karma

Hi Andy, it's Craig. Hope all is well. Any plans to release the excellent 1983 video, Police Around The World on DVD? There was a planned DVD release during the Reunion Tour but it never materialized. PS Your Moog Taurus Pedals are safe and well. CB

andysummersmusic70 karma

thanks for reminding me. It's a very good idea and I'm going to work on that

dimplejuice62 karma

The Police are often on lists of best trios. What are your favorite musical trios?

andysummersmusic116 karma

Circling back on this..our last answer for the hour.

Blue Cheer Jimi Hendrix Experience ..and Cream

Thanks for being here and supporting the film and our new album.

Cheers, Andy

andysummersmusic49 karma

Hello everyone ! Andy Summer here....thanks for being here. We appreciate your interest in our work. Here we go... we like a good trio...particularly a menage-a-trois. We're thinking on this and we'll come back...

celebratedmrk55 karma


I'm a big, BIG fan of The Police and of your guitar-playing. But I also want to thank you for writing your autobiography. It was a terrific read.

What do you remember of your time playing in Bombay in 1980? How strange/weird was that experience?

andysummersmusic47 karma

We loved playing Bombay - it was exotic and fun to play there. None of us had been to India before and the concert was wildly successful

Farkingbrain46 karma

What was the most difficult song to write that ultimately went on to be successful? I've been reading a number of biographies of musicians and inevitably there are some songs that they really talk about struggling to get to work.

andysummersmusic109 karma

it's a hard question to answer but strangely enough one of the hardest tracks to lay down that became such a big hit was "Every Breath You Take." Not because of me, but because of one of the bass players and one of the drummers!

p2pbshmn40 karma

Did sting make you guys call him sting to his face?

andysummersmusic98 karma

only on Tuesdays

mydickandballs37 karma

Love all the music over the years. Thanks for that. My question is , who got the most pussy between yourself , Sting and Stewart?

andysummersmusic95 karma

it's usually a race to the finish but Sting is usually snoring before me

lukeatlook28 karma

Hello, Andy. I grew up listening to your songs, as my Dad is a huge fan of yours.

Having shaped what is now "old school" to young people, how do you look at contemporary music? Is there anyone out there who you consider your "successor"?

When Gotye stormed the radio and the Internet with his one-hit wonder Somebody That I Used To Know, everyone immediately compared that song to The Police. How do you feel about that?

andysummersmusic40 karma

Gotye did a great track and I'm sorry that he didn't do more. Of course I'm aware that people compare him to the Police...and that's flattering

Bigassbird27 karma

Hi Andy

Were you responsible for the sleeve of Can't Stand Losing you that got banned? It was a great image!

andysummersmusic50 karma

That was kind of a controversial moment. On the sleeve photo Stewart was standing on a block of ice with an electric heater melting the ice with a rope around his neck. A&M surprisingly put it out... It's always a good idea to get banned.

andysummersmusic25 karma

Thank you all for participating, it was great to see all these questions and comments!

If you'd like to learn more about my music or the documentary Cant Stand Losing You - please visit or to keep up with us!

tits-n-giggles19 karma

Any interesting memories of the great Kevin Coyne?

andysummersmusic39 karma

I loved my time with Kevin, he was kind of a genius...and then the Police came along. Kevin even came to see us and I think his last words to me were, "I think you cracked it Andy."

nkleszcz18 karma

Hey Andy!

I actually was practicing guitar for the last couple of days, and in one book your photo came up, and another was a riff that you crafted. So it's cool to see you with this AMA.

I'm a pretty good rhythm guitarist. I've mastered almost everything with that, including alternate tunings, partial capos, and mastering going up the neck. Where I lack is those fingering exercises, mastering scales, mastering riffs inbetween chords.

What guitar exercise regimen do you recommend for someone wishing to expand their skillsets in this area? Or is there a website or book you recommend for this?

Thanks again!

andysummersmusic72 karma

Play every day. You need to try all the classic exercises, all the scales, connecting all the chords, and the geography of the guitar neck so you can dream it and it becomes part of your consciousness...

tomkvideo18 karma

What is your favorite guitar track you've ever laid down, and why would it be anything besides Driven To Tears?

andysummersmusic28 karma

I do happen to like Driven to Tears but I've done thousands of tracks in my career. We came up with that guitar solo in one take.

But, my head and heart is always with my most current work..that's why I do it. On Metal Dog, there's a track called "Ishango Bone"--this song was inspired by the idea of evolution based on the discovery of a 2 million or old old bone in AFrica at the Ishango river. So the track is kind of ghostly...haunting with a nice middle section that goes into happiness and joy.

IanBiondi13 karma

Hi Andy!!, My Name Is Ian, I'm From Argentina, When are you coming?

andysummersmusic19 karma

Hell Ian, I love Argentina and I may be down there in September.

I have great memories from the Police reunion at the Rio Platte stadium.

I'll never forget my adventure in the 80s when I kicked the cops while on stage and I was lucky to avoid being put in prison.

ronjones202012 karma

Hi Andy. Given you were always on the cutting edge of using effects have you tried to use new high end digital technology like the Fractal Axe Fx 2 or the Kemper to replace using your amps? I strongly believe digital has finally evolved enough where not only is it equal to physical tubes but its even better. U2, Metallica, and many more huge bands are on board. I would love for you to join that world mainly so I can buy your live patches. LOL. Love you bro!

andysummersmusic17 karma

I don;t know about the Fractal Axe Fx 2 but will look into it. I am into cutting edge guitar pedals--we seem to be in the golden age of effects. As soon as put a patch out I'll come back for an AMA

dlodavis11 karma

Hello Andy. Thanks for taking the time to do this AMA.

As a musician and songwriter myself, I've realized that Art is found in the middle of self doubt and complete narcissism. I often find myself more in the self doubt category than being narcissistic (thank god). So, my question is:

Were there ever times in writing Police songs or writing solo songs that you found yourself in complete self doubt in what you were writing? And if so, how did you gain confidence in the material?

andysummersmusic19 karma

Yes, complete self doubt remains with any artist. Don't worry about's part of the game. Read my book if you want to learn what narcissism means to me!!

johnnybeane10 karma

Hey Andy!

What guitars did you use on your new album "Metal Dog"? Love it!!!

andysummersmusic19 karma

Hi Johnny - we used a red one... I do use my stratocaster a lot. There's a Les Paul, a Gibson 335, a banjo, a martin Terz. I also used a variety of weird, ethnic instruments such as the paloma and a esaltry as well as a huge variety of guitar effects pedals. And an Eventied harmonizer.

burningyen9 karma

Will you ever use guitar synths again? You were a master painter with the Roland stuff. Have you seen the new Boss SY-300, which tracks polyphonically without a Roland pickup?

andysummersmusic9 karma

i'm more into pedals these days

CrustyM9 karma

Hi Andy,

My colleague, and huge fan, has asked that I post a question on her behalf as she is unfamiliar with Reddit. Her questions are simply, are there any plans to release the new cd & dvd in Canada and do you have any plans to come back to Toronto to perform as a solo artist?

P.S. My colleague is claiming she provided you with a copy of the Thelonious Monk Reader at the Luminato festival some years back and wondered if you could finally share the story behind the nun doll photography.

andysummersmusic15 karma

Metal Dog is available on all digital platforms--I'll have my people check on Canada and post to Thanks for asking.

When you spend most of your time in hotel rooms you start coming up with weird stuff...hence the nun doll

chadc1209 karma

How has your musicianship influenced your photography (or vice versa)?

andysummersmusic9 karma

Good question Chad. My information for any creative endeavor comes from music and I think it infiltrates anything else outside of music and the two inform one another

Steve605138 karma

Hi Andy. Regarding the last Police Tour, I have been curious if the untimely deaths of Ian Copeland and Kim Turner were a factor in the decision to finally reunite and hit the road after all those years? Are you still in touch with Miles Copeland, who was often mentioned as the '4th member' of The Police?

andysummersmusic13 karma

they weren't a factor in the decision but I think they would have been proud. their spirit was with us.

bossanovascotia7 karma

Hello Andy! Huge fan of your work, both during and after your time with The Police. I was wondering how you picked up guitar in your early days. Was it self taught or did you have some training in a certain style? I ask because the range of styles you employ throughout your career is pretty wide, covering everything from punk power chords to jazz voicings to flamenco fingerstyle (Bring on the Night).

andysummersmusic15 karma

i started like anyone... very simply. Ahe first thing to influence me was American Jazz, and my musical curiosity as taken me to various styles

I do talk about it quite a lot in my book One Train Later if you want to look a bit deeper ...

andrewjoseph907 karma

Hey Andy, thanks for all the music! Having watched your doc, Can't Stand Losing You, I'm curious if it was easy for you to get everyone on board for filming during the reunion tour?


andysummersmusic8 karma

well is was a bit grumpy but not that bad...

Digmuzak6 karma

I loved the Circa Zero release. While not a commercial success, Do you view it as artistic success & would u consider working with Rob again in the future?

andysummersmusic4 karma

we had a great time doing that and we're still good friends. we'll see what happens...

burningyen6 karma

Why is Every Breath You Take not at concert pitch (A=440Hz)? What's happening with Circa Zero?

andysummersmusic12 karma

the song was recorded in A flat but it's possible that I tuned the guitar down a semi-tone so that I could play as if playing in A Concert thereby giving me more possibilities

seantflanagan7094 karma

I just found this track from one of your last albums - thanks for sharing your work over the years with all the fans!

What’s up next for you?

andysummersmusic10 karma

I'm going to Brazil on Tuesday for a three week tour and photo shoes--you can find the dates on our facebook page. Come on down. I'm playing with some guys from Red Baron ...

Frajer-4 karma

How did you feel about Sting being the forefront of the band?

andysummersmusic18 karma

I don't, because he's not.