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Stewart copeland's police diaries, andy summers - a series of glances, satan is back april 23, 2022 @ pepperdine (pre-sale starts monday, august 30th).

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Call The Police - Tour 2023🎸

call the police tour

March 2nd, 2023 - Curitiba (Teatro Guaíra)

call the police tour

March 3rd, 2023 - São Paulo (Teatro Bradesco)

call the police tour

March 4th, 2023 - Rio de Janeiro (Qualistage)

March 9th, 2023 - Guayaquil (Teatro centro de arte)

call the police tour

March 12th, 2023 - Valencia (WCT Convention Center - Hotel Hesperia)

call the police tour

March 14th, 2023 - Ciudad Panama (Ateneo Ciudad del Saber)

March 16th, 2023 - Ciudad México (Teatro de la Ciudad Esperanza Íris)

call the police tour

March 17th, 2023 - Guadalajara ( Conjunto Santander - Sala Placido Domingo)

March 18th, 2023 - Monterrey (Show Center Complex)

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About Andy Summers

2019 Call The Police Tour

Between 2019-08-29 and 2019-09-07 , Call The Police took part in the 2019 Call The Police Tour .

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Andy Summers on The Police: "We could have gone on and played for years"

The unfeasibly young-looking 80-year-old Andy Summers talks about conquering the world in The Police, the reunion, his long-time passion for photography, and much more

Andy Summers press photo

By his own judgement, Andy Summers does not like to be idle. Isn’t suited to a life of leisure. The late-March morning when we talk is a case in point. Only just returned to his home in Los Angeles from playing a run of shows in Brazil with his Police tribute band Call The Police, he was up early editing the file of photographs he took on the trip. Photography is Summers’s other great passion, seriously so. His black-and-white portraits are handsome and enigmatic. Rumpled hotel rooms and nocturnal ephemera are a speciality, the locations the exotic preserve of the globe-trotting rock superstar. 

Now a spry 80-year-old, Summers has been famous for six decades as one third of The Police alongside Sting and Stewart Copeland. The band have sold 80 million records and counting, their run of hits beginning with Roxanne in April 1979. They’ve broken up twice, in 1985 and then again in 2008, rancorously on both occasions. Ten years older than both of his erstwhile bandmates, Summers was well-established as a guitarist before The Police and has continued to plough his own furrow apart from the band. 

Born in the Lancashire market town of Poulton-le-Fylde on New Year’s Eve, 1942, he grew up in Bournemouth, and took piano lessons before picking up the guitar. At 19 he relocated to London with his friend Zoot Money. Operating as Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band, they gained a foothold on the capital’s then blossoming R&B club scene. 

By London’s Summer of Love in 1967, he and Money were garbed in white robes and kaftans and playing psychedelic rock with the short-lived Dantalian’s Chariot. Afterwards, Summers passed through the line-ups of Soft Machine and Eric Burdon And The Animals, before moving to LA for five years, where he studied classical guitar and composition at California State University. 

Returning to London in 1972, he soon established himself as a regular on the session circuit. On October 26, 1975, he filled in for Mike Oldfield to perform Tubular Bells with the Northern Concert Orchestra at Newcastle City Hall. Opening the show that night was local band Last Exit, whose singer and bassist was Sting. Eighteen months later, Summers joined ex-Gong bassist Mike Howlett’s Strontium 90, which also included Sting and Curved Air’s American former drummer Stewart Copeland. 

Sting and Copeland, along with Corsican guitarist Henry Padovani, were already operating as The Police, and invited Summers to join. After a very brief spell as a four-piece, Summers supplanted the barely competent Padovani in The Police and within six years they were the biggest band in the world. 

Tomorrow Summers flies to London, where he will open his latest photography show, Harmonics Of The Night/A Series Of Glances , at the Leica Gallery in Mayfair. Previously he has exhibited in the US, Japan, Australia, Canada, France and Spain. He has a tie-in book being published, too, also titled A Series Of Glances . He answers the phone sounding interrupted, somewhat grumpy, but he warms up talking about his photography. 

“‘Passion’ is actually the wrong word for it,” he says. “And it’s not a mere hobby, but a whole other part of my life.”

When did you start taking photographs seriously?  

In 1979, when I was relentlessly on tour with The Police. We were surrounded by photographers all the time. Pretty much all of them women. I started to get interested in their cameras and gear. It was all very groovy and hip. They’d all turn up dressed in black, shouting instructions. I started when we arrived in New York. It gave me something to do. Even at that point, I told myself: “I’m going to get good at this.” 

I had no idea I’d any talent for it, but I became quite fanatical. It’s like playing music, you get better at it if you do it a lot and if you study. I was very lucky, I was in New York a great deal and I became friends with probably the world’s greatest photographer, Ralph Gibson. He mentored me, and because of my friendship with him I got very deep into the inner circle of photography at the time. 

In many of your photographs there’s a sense of melancholy and loneliness, particularly in those of hotel rooms. Is that the lot of the touring musician?

Well, yes. Also, I don’t want to take funny photographs. It must be something that either catches me in a formal, photographic way, or in an emotional way. You can get shitty pictures of hotel rooms, or you can make them a bit more artful. The subject matter in a way is secondary to one’s visual sense. You can make the seemingly more ordinary appear interesting. I suppose you could say I have an eye for it. 

Tell me about an arresting photograph of yours titled Man Horse . The two subjects of the title are almost up to their necks in the ocean, together but facing in opposite directions. As if posed in the surf. What was going on there? 

That’s a favourite of mine. It was a great moment. One’s mind was prepared. Me, Stewart and Sting were fudging around the edge of the island of Montserrat. We had gone out on a little picnic. The only way you could get around to the spot we’d chosen was by boat. As we arrived at the beach, I spotted that guy leading his horse into the ocean. I immediately saw there was something extraordinary there, a picture. I leapt over the side of the boat, up to my chin in water too, and took a few shots of the guy and his horse. There must be some sort of hook for a photograph to come off, like a song.

What images from your childhood come to you most vividly?  

I grew up in the English countryside. So they would be typical of the time: playing in the woods and wearing cowboy outfits, hiding in trees and all that kind of normal stuff. England was somewhat more rural and wilder then. I grew up by a beautiful river and a mill house. Ispent my childhood out in nature. A real nature boy. 

Can you recall the first piece of music that struck you, and why?  

It would be something like Wonderful Copenhagen. I saw the film it was taken from with Danny Kaye [ Hans Christian Andersen , 1952]. It’s a very melodic, lovely, upbeat piece. I learnt to play it on the piano. I played a lot of music as a kid. Piano and then guitar. I had piano lessons at the insistence of my mother. I guess I was a natural musician. It’s a gift. You’re born with it. You can learn art forms, but there’s an inherent aspect you must have. 

I tried being a painter for a few years. I finally stopped after five or six years because I realised it wasn’t natural to me. I could sort of create a good painting with oils, but I hadn’t got the ‘thing’ born into my hands. Same with music. You can learn and get pretty good at it, but you’re never going to be better than the person who has it naturally. 

When was the first time you played music in front of an audience? 

I was eleven or twelve, singing and playing on guitar an old folk song called Tom Dooley in front of the whole school. That was when the bug bit, as a boy, and it’s never left me. If you were a kid with a guitar and you got up on stage, you were an attraction. The string of girls grew hugely at that point. I quickly grasped that part of it as well. 

As a teenager, you started to play around Bournemouth with Zoot Money, and then the two of you went off together to London. What did you think of London in 1962? 

It was an incredibly scary place. Zoot and me had a thing and it was me who prompted the move. Isaid to him: “We have to go to London.” We didn’t know how we were going to survive. We didn’t know anything. Somehow we got ourselves a basement flat in West Kensington. Then we got our drummer up from Bournemouth, and were put in touch with a second guy, Paul Williams. Paul didn’t play an instrument, but we needed a bass player and he offered. He’d never even picked a bass up, but he was another natural musician. It was very risky stuff, because we didn’t have a gig at all. 

We managed to land an audition at a place called the Flamingo Club in Soho for a guy named Rick Gunnell. He offered us a gig as the new house band. We were good. Zoot was a great singer. From there we started playing all over the country. We still weren’t even out of our teens. The Flamingo Club was very dodgy. It was a late-night place, the audience mostly criminals. Prostitutes, drug dealers, the Kray twins. Boy, talk about being chucked into Dante’s Inferno. We played six sets a night. An incredible training ground to a drunk, stoned, out-oforder crowd, packed to the brim. Eric Clapton also played there. John Mayall , Peter Green and Albert Lee, too. It was the nest we all came from.

From there you leapt into the head trip of Dantalian’s Chariot.  

The ridiculously named Dantalian’s Chariot. It was the glorious sixties, and you wanted to be a part of all that. What can I tell you, there were a lot of drugs around in the scene. So we abandoned our great rhythm and blues band. I mean, it’s a bit tragic when you think back on it, but that’s life. Being young and making terrible mistakes. We started to play at places like Middle Earth, The Roundhouse. The acid era. There was so much stuff opening to us in the moment. There were a lot of influences going on. 

We began to embrace world music. Ravi Shankar. The Beatles discovering Indian music. Miles Davis was playing a more modal sort of music. John Coltrane and Bill Evans were around. That was what was musically in the air. We moved away from Ray Charles and James Brown and into this droning kind of music. I got to play these long, psychedelic guitar solos. Not the twelve-bar blues, but something else altogether. It was the whole ethos of the period, and it suited me very much.” 

Going off to formally study music can’t have been typical of the time?

I’d just had enough of the band thing. I’d done it for five years. I came to the US with Soft Machine, and then after I left them I was in The Animals. From being in West Kensington, I was suddenly living in Laurel Canyon with Eric Burdon . It was a totally different scene, very trippy. A head-turning experience. The thing with Eric came to an end and I came back to England. But I didn’t like it. I went straight back out to California. Everything changed for me. I was in LA. I had an LA girlfriend. I was a very serious musician and I just wanted to get deeper into musical theory. I did that and I really enjoyed going to college. 

This quest for self-improvement seems to have been a constant theme . 

All the time. It’s a lifetime of improvement. At college I played classical guitar, studied harmony. It was being submerged in the thing itself, not just trying to get your face out on stage. I’d had all of that already. All the ridiculous scenarios you go through, the sex, drugs and rock’n’roll. I studied and played guitar relentlessly, until the whole thing wore out and I had to come back to London once more. It was a fertile period. Like the cliché where you go out into the desert for forty days and come back renewed. I got given a Telecaster, too, and that turned the whole thing around for me again.

Back in London, you did sessions for a range of artists including Joan Armatrading, Jon Lord, David Essex and easy-listening star Neil Sedaka. What did those jobs mean to you at the time?  

Nothing much besides survival. I was able to play pretty much anything with anybody by then, so that’s what I did. Playing with Neil Sedaka was great fun, and it came to me exactly when I was in desperate need of money. It was a great offer. We did the Royal Festival Hall. Neil adored me and we got on very well. He’s a great songwriter and an extremely good musician. He can play the shit out of the piano.

Summers joining The Police was a halting affair. He heard an early version of Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic at Mike Howlett’s house. Howlett played it to him on a tape recorder in his bedroom. 

“I thought it was rubbish,” Summers proclaims. “Henry Padovani could hardly play. By coincidence, I’d also met Stewart once before, up in Newcastle. I was doing a gig with Kevin Ayers , and he was there playing with Curved Air. We all ended up in the same hotel. Lying on the floor of one room, smoking and drinking beer and looking up at the ceiling. I remember thinking: ‘Boy, that guy can talk.’” 

Despite his first impressions, Summers kept in touch with Sting after Strontium 90 dissolved. Eventually, Sting coerced him into The Police, initially as the band’s second guitarist. They played only a couple of gigs as a four-piece, touting themselves as a punk band. 

“Stewart was very intent upon being punk,” Summers says. “Henry seemed to fit that much more than I did. I was too educated for punk rock, too good for it. On another planet. Poor Henry got the boot, and I went into it full-time.” 

Copeland’s elder brother, Miles, who soon progressed to being their manager, put up the £1,500 it cost them to make their debut album, Outlandos d’Amour . They recorded intermittently over a six-month period from January 1978, holed up at a poky studio in Leatherhead, Surrey, above a dairy. 

A&M Records signed them on the strength of the song Roxanne , but initially at least, The Police were a slow burn. The album scarcely made a ripple upon its release in November 1978. It took six more months, and reissues of Roxanne and Can’t Stand Losing You , for them to achieve lift-off.

How accurate did your first impressions of The Police prove to be?  

I felt there was something there. Sting and Stewart were both pretty rough players. They were supposed to be a punk band, but they weren’t really. They were playing with the attitude of punk, though, so it was very fast and a bit out of time. Not really all that good. But I kept going with it. The first time I thought “Hang on a minute…” was when Sting told me he’d got this new song he wanted to show me, which was Visions Of The Night . There was an edge to it, and I found it exciting. Not tired at all, full of energy. 

Apparently Miles Copeland was afraid that your joining would damage The Police’s punk cred . 

He was dead wrong. Miles is full of it. There’s a difference between attitude, and trying to be what’s current, and real music. I saved the band’s life. Basically, Sting came to life when I joined. All the songs started to come out. The natural ability he had could be released through me. It never would have happened with Henry. 

At one early point, weren’t you lined up to record with John Cale?  

John was supposed to be the record producer. But he turned up and he was drunk out of his mind. Hopeless. It just didn’t work out. I think he pissed off after about half an hour. Nothing came of it. Later I found myself on a TV show with John in Spain. On that occasion he rolled around on the floor and tried to stick an American Express card up his nose, because it had cocaine on it. Talented guy, but it all went a bit south for him.

In 1979 The Police undertook their breakthrough US tour cooped in a Ford transit van. What did you learn from being in such proximity to each other?  

That I was working with two total arseholes. I struggled on. It’s usually humour that saves the day. When you spend as much time as we did together, 24/7, and you’re travelling hundreds of miles a day in a van, you develop a collective mind. It’s very dark, and funny usually. Very ironic and deprecating. You kind of bond through the travel. We weren’t fighting for five hundred miles. It would mostly be irony, shit food and trying to sleep. That’s the life in the initial stages, at least. It’s not the life any more, believe you me. 

Sting was the band’s songwriter. The actual songs, though, were the work of the three of you in the band, weren’t they?  

Absolutely. Let’s call them tracks. The Police’s tracks were made because of the chemistry that existed between the three of us. There’s no way you can duplicate that. Of course, it’s been said five million times over: “We could have done that.” Well, you couldn’t, and you didn’t. The Police was a one-off. If one guy had disappeared from the three, it wouldn’t have happened. Take Every Breath You Take . God, it wasn’t even going to go on the Synchronicity record until I put that guitar part on it.

You did win a Grammy for Behind My Camel , the instrumental track you contributed to the third Police album, 1980’s Zenyatta Mondatta . 

I did. And I was very pleased. But I could have won a Grammy for anything at that point. I could have farted and it would have got a Grammy.

Following on from 1979’s Regatta de Blanc ( Message In A Bottle, Walking On The Moon ), Zenyatta Mondatta ( Don’t Stand So Close To Me, De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da ) was the second of four consecutive UK No.1 albums for The Police. Their fifth and final studio album, 1983’s Synchronicity , also topped the Billboard chart in the US. 

They supported Synchronicity with a stadium tour of the US, including a 70,000 sell-out at Shea Stadium in NYC. But by then the three of them were already breaking up. Relations between them had become so strained that they had made Synchronicity from three separate rooms at AIR Studios in Monserrat. They reconvened in London in July 1986, meaning to make a new record. But the sessions soon collapsed, and soon after The Police disbanded.

From 1978 to 1983 you kept up a relentless recording and touring schedule with The Police . 

It was a whirlwind. We were so incredibly popular, not just in England but everywhere in the world. Japan, even fucking India. All over. Basically we were always on tour. We never stopped. We were making a lot of money, so the manager never wanted us to rest. It was exhilarating and wonderful, and exhausting. An amazing experience. 

To be that popular and that recognised everywhere you went. It got so you couldn’t leave the house in the end. Or a hotel room. It was this sort of clichéd, fantasy world and we inhabited it for a very long time. It’s gone now, all changed with the internet. I think we had the height of the golden period, the glory years. 

The flip-side to working to such a degree is the personal toll. You went through a divorce in 1981. How can you ever weigh that cost?  

It’s a very hard thing to balance. There’s the shadow side to it. I was married, we had a baby. My very smart and successful wife, Kate, after we got to a point, she told me: “That’s it. I’ve had enough. Not any more for me.” You can imagine the life I was leading. If you’re a woman, married to a bloke, and he’s got hundreds of other women coming after him every day… I don’t have to be explicit here. You see where I’m going. Trying to balance that with a wife and a kid. And I’d had to go into tax exile. 

So yes, we got divorced. Same with Sting and Stewart. They both got divorced too. Proper partnerships and marriages don’t go with a band at the fantastical point we were at. The happy part for me is Kate and I got back together four years later, once the insanity was all over. 

How seriously did the three of you try to make a follow-up to Synchronicity?  

That was a complete fuck-up. Everyone was desperate for us to get together again. Sting was off on his own. He’d made his solo record [1985’s The Dream Of The Blue Turtles ]. We were going to have a trial run at a studio in North London. Stewart went out on a horse the day before we started. Stewart was playing polo in those days. He fell off the horse, broke his collar bone and couldn’t play the drums. That was the end of it. And Sting didn’t want to write new songs. So all we did was a wanky new version of Don’t Stand So Close To Me . It was a pretty limp affair. If Stewart hadn’t come off his bloody horse it could have been a different story.

What’s the immediate sense you have when you’ve been through such an intense experience and then, at a stroke, it’s vanished from your life? 

A huge sense of loss. I found it incredible. After all the noise and adulation for years on end, suddenly it’s not there any more. You are now famous. What are you going to do? Start all over again, go back to the music. And I did. I made XYZ [his first solo album of 1987]. 

Then I moved back out to California and started to make instrumental records. So my recovery was all through the music. In my case, I did get back with my wife, and Kate got pregnant with twins. I got a studio. It was sort of a rebuilding of a life. The difference being, now you’ve got some money and you’re well-known, and so everyone’s interested still. It wasn’t as if you were starting from ground zero. You just had to be very good with whatever you put out.

Altogether, Summers has made 13 solo albums, most of them instrumental, the latest being 2021’s Harmonics Of The Night . He had already put down a marker when still a member of The Police, recording a brace of instrumental albums in collaboration with Robert Fripp : 1982’s I Advanced Masked and 1984’s Bewitched . 

In 2013 he formed another trio, Circa Zero, and with them recorded 2014’s one-off album Circus Hero . He also has six film scores to his name, and has written two books: his 2006 memoir One Train Later , and a 2021’s Fretted And Moaning , a collection of short stories. 

Inevitably, he has never got close to eclipsing The Police. In 2003 the band were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. Four years later, on the evening of February 11, Summers, Sting and Copeland were reunited on stage as The Police, opening the 2007 Grammy Awards ceremony at the Staples Centre in LA. 

That May, they launched The Police Reunion Tour with two shows in Vancouver, Canada. The tourran for more than a year and ended up being the third-highest-grossing of all time. On stage they sounded rejuvenated. The intangible alchemy going on between the three of them just as potent. 

Yet by the time of the final show, at New York’s Madison Square Garden, they were also as far apart as ever. They haven’t played together since. In the intervening period from then to now, silence, except for the current re-release of The Police’s Greatest Hits on double vinyl. Better than anything, it’s this compilation that sums The Police up. Sixteen songs, the most recent 40 years old, but unforgettable and indelible still.

Pointedly, Miles Copeland wasn’t invited to return as The Police’s manager. How else had things changed between the 1980s and the reunion tour?  

It was all kind of technical. Going back to the early days, I’d just turn up with my guitar and amp, and that was it. We were now in a whole different ball game. Stewart had a gigantic set-up. I had a complicated set-up, a very advanced pedal board and operated remotely off stage. Very slick. Sting had his thing going on. So each one of us had his guy, or guys, to oversee his own technical side. You could call it three different universes. But they all came together to create one thing. You couldn’t have done it any other way. It wasn’t the way we started, but it’s the way we ended up. 

The reunion shows also emphasised how powerful the three of you are as a band. How difficult was it to once again let go of something that good?  

If it was up to me I wouldn’t have let it go. It’s an interesting subject, and to do with fragility, frailty, ego and all that. I thought we could have gone on and played for years. We could have made some great new records. I don’t want to say too much more, because it’ll get too personal. It’s sad. We could have done more, but it wasn’t to be. One of the greatest bands of all-time got short shrift, I’m afraid to say. 

All those songs aren’t about to be forgotten, though, are they?  

That’s why it’s one of the greatest bands in history. The songs won’t go away. Every Breath You Take has passed one and a half billion plays on Spotify. It’s amazing when you consider the circumstances it was made in. I’ve just finished a fourth tour of Brazil with Call The Police (with whom he’s joined by two Brazilian musicians: bassist/singer Rodrigo Santos and Joao Barone on drums). We do all the Police hits and we’re really very good together. We were killing it every night of the tour. Mob scenes. You go: “Wow, how can this be?” It’s a very enjoyable thing to do once a year.

To come full circle and go back to your photographs. When you look at them, what do they tell you about yourself?  

That at least I’ve got something to do when I’m out on the road. I’m not the sort of person who sits in his room and watches TV. As well as purely enjoying playing guitar, and being in a band, I have this other sub-set going on in my mind. I’ve a certain sort of energy I get from that. It shows me I’m alive. It keeps me alive. The act of creativity is all important to me. I feel as if I must be making something all the time. Not that I’m a nutter, or work-obsessed. Guitar, writing and photography. Those are the three things I do. That’s enough. 

So what’s next?  

I’m planning on making another record. I’ve never gone so long without doing one. Covid got in the way. I’m working on a TV series, too, about guitar riffs. I can’t say too much more about it at this point, but it’s going to happen in the next three or four months, I expect. I don’t want to stop. Having said that, I’m probably going to go off now and end up watching the fucking telly.

The Police’s Greatest Hits is out now via UPC. Summers’ exhibition Harmonics Of The Night/A Series Of Glances is the Leica Gallery, Munich, until July 15. Tickets for Andy Summers' summer tour of The US go on sale this week. For dates and details, visit his website . 

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call the police tour

Andy Summers

Archive | Tours

Andy Summers music tours.

call the police tour

The Cracked Lens + A Missing String | An evening with Andy Summers US and Canada Tour Dates

  📆 NEW DATES 🎸 A fantastic evening with a brilliant practitioner of the guitar camera and written word. Andy Summers will be performing a series of solo concerts in the United States and Canada. This is a continuation of Andy’s solo project, where he projects sequences of photography with music. Dive  into a captivating […]

call the police tour

Andy Summers July, 2023 US Tour Dates- The Cracked Lens + A Missing String

A fantastic evening with a brilliant practitioner of the guitar camera and written word. In July, 2023 Andy Summers will be performing a series of solo concerts in the USA. 🇺🇸 This is a continuation of Andy’s solo project, where he projects sequences of photography with music 🎸 🎟️ BUY TICKETS NOW WITH THE LINKS […]

call the police tour

Andy Summers Harmonics of the Night Solo Music and Photography Show in Brussels, Belgium

ANDY SUMMERS – HARMONICS OF THE NIGHT | AN EVENING WITH A ROCK LEGEND Andy Summers, guitarist of The Police, composer, photographer and author presents a multi-media solo evening with music from his solo albums and The Police accompanying a photographic journey through time and space. Through the lens of his beloved Leica, we experience […]

call the police tour

SPECIAL LIVE EVENT: A Conversation & Book Reading with Andy Summers in Los Angeles August 18, 2021

On the eve of the publication of his new book of short stories, Fretted & Moaning, the GRAMMY Museum is thrilled to welcome Andy Summers for a special conversation about publishing his first work of fiction, followed by a reading from the collection. The conversation will be moderated by music journalist Lyndsey Parker. Musician, composer, […]

call the police tour

Call the Police Tour with Andy this August and September in Brazil, Uruguay, Peru and Chile

Andy is pleased to announce his third tour with “Call The Police” his own Police tribute band! Andy is playing with two incredible and legendary Brazilian musicians: Rodrigo Santos on bass and vocals (Red Baron /Barão Vermelho) and Joao Barone on drums (Os Paralamas do Sucesso). Please see the dates below for the upcoming tour. […]

call the police tour

Andy Summers Montpellier Free Concert!

On the occasion of his visit to Montpellier, the photographer and guitarist Andy Summers will offer an unprecedented free musical performance, Thursday, February 7th at 8pm at the beautiful 600-seat Salle Pasteur. This exceptional musical performance will complement the Pavillon Populaire exhibition “A Certain Strangeness” which opens February 6, 2019. Enter to win two tickets […]

call the police tour

Andy Summers Solo Music and Photography Dates in July

Andy Summers is touring the US with his one man show in celebration of the release of his new solo album ‘Triboluminescence’. He will perform new music and songs from his illustrious career against the backdrop of a multi media show featuring exotic and surreal photographic sequences from his 2018 book ‘The Bones of Chuang […]

Andy Summers with Call the Police

Call the Police Tour with Andy in June with Dates in Argentina, Brazil and Chile

Andy is pleased to announce the second tour of “Call The Police ” his very own Police tribute band! He is playing with two incredible and legendary Brazilian musicians, Rodrigo Santos on bass and vocals (Red Baron /Barão Vermelho) and Joao Barone on drums (Os Paralamas do Sucesso). Please see the dates below for the […]

call the police tour


ANDY SUMMERS OF THE POLICE HEADLINES APRIL 20 BENEFIT CONCERT FOR MUSICIANS AFFECTED BY THE NORCAL FIRES! Summers and a bevy of guitar stars that includes Jennifer Batten, Andy Timmons, Mimi Fox, and Tracii Guns to rock charity event at the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa, California As the rebuilding continues […]

call the police tour

Harmonics of the Night, Solo Show in Phoenix, AZ

Andy will be performing his solo show, Harmonics of the Night, at the Music Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Arizona. Tuesday, March 27, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are available now at MIM.ORG Andy Summers rose to fame in the early 1980s as the guitarist with the multimillion record-selling rock band, the Police. The Police were […]

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Singer Tessa Niles on Backing Bowie at Live Aid, Joining Clapton at ‘Unplugged’

By Andy Greene

Andy Greene

unknown legends

On July 23rd, 1983, 22-year-old backup vocalist Tessa Niles walked onstage with the Police for the first time when they kicked off their Synchronicity tour at Chicago’s Comiskey Park. Niles had never played to more than 100 people at tiny clubs around her native England, and here she was facing 50,000 screaming Police fans.

“It was absolutely the maddest thing,” Niles says. “It was like baptism by fire. Literally just one week earlier, I was playing in a pub. I cannot over-exaggerate how mad it was to hear that many people screaming for a band, who at that point were at their absolute zenith. They could not get any bigger at that point. It was crazy.”

It was the beginning of an amazing career in which Niles had the chance to share the stage with David Bowie at Live Aid, Eric Clapton at his MTV Unplugged special, and George Harrison during his 1991 tour of Japan. She also sang in the studio on timeless hits like Tina Turner ‘s “What’s Love Got to Do With It” and Duran Duran ‘s “Come Undone,” along with tunes by the Rolling Stones, Pet Shop Boys, ABC, Gary Numan, Seal, Tom Jones, and many, many others.

We phoned up Tessa at her home in Tunbridge Wells, England, to hear how it all happened and what she’s doing now.

How is your quarantine going? Oh, God. I’m so bored! I’m even considering doing a history-of-art course online. That’s how bored I am.

Wow. I know! To be honest with you, things could be way, way worse. One has to be grateful not to be on the front line of these things. I’m still working and doing stuff online, but friends of mine are really, really struggling. They just haven’t had work for too long and not too much in the future. I feel for them, terribly.

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I want to go back here and talk about your life. Tell me the music you loved as a child. Who were your favorite artists? That’s very easy. I was hugely influenced by my older brother and older sister’s music collection. I think anyone with older siblings, via osmosis, develops a love for their siblings’ music. And so Stevie Wonder was a huge, huge influence. And the Carpenters. Perhaps it was a bit of a precursor to what I would become because I was fascinated by their background vocals and harmonies. I always had a fascination with layered vocals and how they were made up.

Then I was into bands like Chicago and the Jackson 5. My sister loved R&B, so I had an R&B influence and lots of Tamla. It was all very eclectic.

How old were you when you realized you could really sing and impress people with your voice? I think I must have been about 11 or 12. I won a radio talent contest. It just kind of clicked. “Perhaps this might be something …” It was the only thing I really loved. I was not academic at all. Thank goodness I went a different route because I failed miserably at school. I just felt that was a little bit of a turning point for me, winning this competition.

My brother’s friend good friend used to work for a recording studio, very small-type situation. I used to go down after school in my school uniform and sing harmonies for the local artists. I’d be paid a few shillings. That blew me away, the fact that I could actually make money doing something that I loved. Those were the two things that really made me think, “I’m alright at this.”

In your teenage years, did it start seeming like a viable career? Yeah. I started doing more of these small-time sessions at studios. When I finished school at 16, my parents were, looking back at it, extraordinarily supportive. Higher education sort of wasn’t a thing much in the late Seventies. There wasn’t an expectation that I’d go to University. They didn’t really have any knowledge of the music industry, but they were hugely supportive. That’s the story throughout my life that, as luck would have it: I’ve always been surrounded by very, very supportive people.

What was the big break that allowed you to make this a career for yourself? That would have to be getting a call to go work for the Police on their Synchronicity tour. Up until that point, I had been working as a pub singer, really. I was part of a jazz-funk band, and we were doing gigs to 100 people a couple of times a week. I thought that was pretty fabulous since I was doing what I wanted to do. I was singing and getting paid for it. It was just amazing.

And then I got a call asking if I could come down to a rehearsal studio the next day. They wouldn’t tell me who it was for. “You’ll be auditioning for a band that’s going on tour.” That’s all I was told until I actually pulled open the steel doors of the studio and saw Sting, Andy Summers, and Stewart Copeland standing there and realized it was the Police.

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How did they hear about you? It’s actually a weird story. I was married at that point to a producer-arranger named Richard Niles. He was good friends with a woman named Marsha Hunt. She was the face of the Sixties, in some ways. She was used on the cover of Hair to advertise the musical with a great, big Afro. Then she went on to become a successful actor and performer. She then had a child with Mick Jagger as well.

She and my husband knew each other very well and she had been chatting to Sting at a social event they were at together. She said, “Let me call this person I know who might work for you.” That was my luck.

When you walk in and see the Police, are you in a state of absolute shock? Yeah. I was terrified, number one. And also, catatonic. I was like, “Oh, my God, I’m going to have to go and introduce myself.” There was nobody there to introduce me. I literally walked into this rehearsal room with just the three of them in there and had to find the courage to, in the closing bars of “Roxanne,” or whatever they were playing, introduce myself.

I was very clumsy and I felt very embarrassed, but the upshot of it was Sting said, “Listen, come to my house tomorrow and we’ll have a bit of a sing.” That was exactly what happened. That was my audition.

They had never had anyone on the stage with them before. Did he explain why he decided to bring in background singers? Yeah. It was explained to me that Sting had problems with his vocals in the past on long tours. He sings at great volume and he doesn’t use a lot of vibrato. It was all full-on, massive, out-front singing. I think we were a bit of an insurance policy so he wouldn’t feel the need to sing every chorus. He’d have three backup singers there to carry the chorus for him if he didn’t want to sing it. As it was, that never happened. He sang everything fantastically and at full tilt. But that was the original thinking, that he’d lean on us.

Tell me about rehearsals. It must have taken a lot of work to weave three new people into the mix. Yeah. It must have been really weird for them. As you said, up until that point, they never, ever had anyone else onstage with them, not even a brass section. Nothing. It must have been very odd for them.

But we were given very little instruction. We were told, “Go away. Listen to the entire catalog.” We had two days to do that and then we had five days’ rehearsal. Then the tour started. It was insane. To look back on that now, it was bonkers. Completely insane. But we did it.

The thing that background vocalists get used to is doing things and carrying out things with very little instruction. It’s one of the fortes we have is being able to do that. It was definitely like that on that gig.

Did you have to learn how to sing while the audience is screaming and there’s so much noise on the stage? It must have been hard at first to find your way through that madness. It was. It really was something that nobody could teach. It was something we had to find out. To my detriment, during the tour, I found it really hard to sing like that every night. The gigs weren’t every night, but we were having to sing like Sting. We weren’t able to sing with vibrato either. We had to do that intense, piercing tone and kind of mimic him somewhat. That’s tough on the voice because vibrato really helps cushion, in some ways, your voice. By the end of the tour, my voice was shot. I think Sting’s was fine, though. It really was a steep learning curve for me.

Did you grow close to your fellow background singers, Michelle Cobbs and Dolette McDonald, on the tour? Yeah. Very, very close. They were a phenomenon to me because they came in a little later. The initial two singers I was with were fantastic singers; they were brilliant, but they weren’t backing singers. They had rather unique voices and the blend wasn’t great. It just wasn’t their gig, to be fair to them. It just wasn’t. And then Michelle and Dolette came in and they were just seasoned pros. Dolette had done Talking Heads and Michelle had done Chic and so much work. I was really fortunate that I got to be around them and learn from them.

Entering a world of private jets and four-star hotels and everything must have been a real trip. So insane. It was quintessentially what you would imagine a rock & roll tour to be. As you say, it was private jets. And at that point, they had three separate limos picking them up and taking them places because there was tension and they weren’t getting on great. They clearly wanted to keep the traveling to a minimum en masse. I had never dealt with anything like that before. I must have looked like a deer caught in headlights so much of the time.

As the tour was winding down, did you get the sense that it might be the last Police tour? I felt that ahead of that time. I actually left before the end of the tour. Looking back now I’m like, “What the hell were you doing leaving one of the biggest tours of all time?” But I’ve kind of always done that. I’ve often bailed out before the end of something, perhaps because I sensed that the end was coming. I’m not quite sure. It wasn’t any real negative experience that I had, but I decided to move on. I don’t know how I had that presence of mind.

How did you transition from the tour to working in the studio with big-name artists? I did an album [ The Lexicon of Love ] with a band called ABC. They were produced by Trevor Horn. That was the first time I met him and he became hugely influential in my career. I worked for him for decades.

That album was a huge success. I think it did well in the States, but it was huge here [in England]. Everyone wanted the girl that was on the ABC album. That’s very much how it used to work. People used to look at credits and that was your calling card, so that was my huge launch.

Tell me about working on Tina Turner’s Private Dancer. That’s such a landmark, amazing record. It is a landmark. Just phenomenal. I just had a call to go down to Mayfair Studios. I knew the writer and the producer, so I knew it was going to be fabulous. But I didn’t know it was Tina Turner when I showed up. I remember so well sitting in the control room and the fader is being pushed up and this hypnotic track came out [“What’s Love Got to Do With It”]. It just felt unbelievable. This was minus Tina’s vocals and it just felt so sexy. It was such a groove. And then Tina’s vocals came up and I went out of my mind. I could not believe how good it was.

Myself and the writer Terry Britten recorded just the most simple vocals. It was almost in unison to Tina, nothing fancy. It was just that little bit of flavor, just the little bit of color. I don’t know if the track needed it, but it certainly sounded great when it was all mixed. And then who knew? Who knew that was going to be the smash hit of the decade? It planted her firmly back on the map as well since she was making a comeback. And that became a calling card for me ever since, in a way.

I worked on four albums with Tina. There was “Simply the Best,” which was the anthem that everyone plays; whether it’s a sporting event or corporate event, they roll out “Simply the Best” because it’s just one of the tracks. I was so fortunate to have recorded on that.

What’s it like when you hear these songs that are all over the radio like “What’s Love Got to Do With It” and you hear your voice, but few people really know you’re on it? That must be a weird thing. Yeah, but it became so normal for me and so wonderful. People say to me, “You were successful as a session singer. Why didn’t you pursue a solo career?” I think I figured out pretty early on that I was a team player. I was really happy playing that supporting role. I didn’t have any real desire to be pushing myself. I don’t think I’m made of that stuff. Does that make sense?

Yeah. I think some people’s ego demands the spotlight. They need to be center stage. Then there’s people that simply don’t feel that urge. A hundred percent. I was carving a route for myself and being successful. I didn’t crave anything else. This was my gig. I remember Lisa Fischer — who is a fantastic session singer — she said she questions anybody that says it’s not a worthy career. I’ve met so many people in my life that are under this misunderstanding that it’s a lesser job. “Oh, what a shame. You didn’t get to be a solo artist.” That couldn’t be further from the truth.

You’re every bit as important as the drummer or the guitarist. It’s all part of creating the overall song. I appreciate that. I think perceptions of backup singers are a bit skewed for some reason. I think they don’t quite understand what we do. I always say, “Try and imagine Aretha Franklin’s ‘Respect’ without the backing vocals, without that call-and-response thing. You’d really miss them.” People kind of get it then. Because there’s a glamour element, particularly in the live setup … people say to me, “Are you there for the glamour or are you there as a musician?” Some people don’t get it.

Tell me about the Bowie/Jagger duet “Dancing in the Street.” That was mad. That was a mad time. That whole Live Aid situation came about so quickly. It was one of those things like, “We have five days to rehearse and then we’re doing one of the biggest gigs of all time.” But we didn’t know it would be one of the biggest gigs of all time. We just thought it was a “charity” gig. We were all up for doing it, and working with Bowie was just a ridiculous pleasure. We were all so thrilled to be doing it.

Then they said, “We’re going to record ‘Dancing in the Street.’ Would you pop down to the studio?” This was a day or two before Live Aid. Mad. The timing of it was all very exciting and a bit bonkers.

I went down the studio. It was myself and Helena Springs, who was the other singer on the track, and recorded “Dancing in the Street.”

I’ve always heard they did the whole song in a single day and shot the video that night. Yes. We went down to the shoot because they weren’t quite sure if they were going to use us in the video. As it turned out, it was like, “Please, we have two absolute dames.” They didn’t need anyone else [ laughs ].

Were they in the studio when you laid down the vocals? They weren’t. I guess they were off doing press for Live Aid or goodness knows. They had already done their vocals. And that happened so much in my career. I’d be possibly one of the last things to go on a track. Basically, most of the track would be recorded and very often the background vocals come in at a later date. A friend of mine used to say it was like sprinkling fairy dust over the tracks when the background vocalist came on since it gave them a very different color and flavor. But it very often happened without the artist being there.

Tell me about rehearsing for Live Aid. David hadn’t played live for two years and this was a brand-new band. I don’t think any of us had worked together before. Maybe Thomas Dolby, who was the musical director, had worked with the bass player [Matthew Seligman] and the drummer [Neil Conti]. I’m not quite sure. But most of us didn’t know each other quite well, so we had to learn a lot of songs because we didn’t know what songs Bowie was going to want to do.

When he came into rehearsals, the room light up. The only other experience I’ve had of someone with that extraordinary charisma that is tangible was working with Tina Turner. And she also had that energy where they walk in and it’s like 1,000 lightbulbs going on.

So he walks in and he’s so iconically cool and relaxed that it hurts. He turns to me and says, “So, what songs do you think I should do?” He turns to me! It was another one of those, “Pinch me, I’m dreaming” moments. I remember saying, “My favorite song at school was ‘Rebel, Rebel,’ so you ought to do that somewhere.” He was like, “Yeah, yeah. OK.” It was like, “Oh, my God!”

He got a general consensus from the band about what songs they’d like to do, but I always like to think we did “Rebel Rebel” because of me. I’ll take that credit.

On the day of the show, did you get a chance to watch Queen play? Where were you? Well, we were backstage. We were getting ready because we went on right after Queen. We were actually in a kind of makeup truck getting ourselves ready. I remember hearing when “Radio Ga Ga” was playing and hearing this crowd participation. I just thought, “Wow, this is so special.”

I can’t imagine walking onstage to not just a full Wembley Stadium of about 90,000 people, but the whole world watching on TV. Oh, my God! Literally. Even at that point, I don’t think anyone of us realized just how big it was. It was really brought home to me when I watched the Queen biopic [ Bohemian Rhapsody ] because it opens up with Queen walking through those red velvet curtains backstage and walking onto the stage. That was exactly my viewpoint as well. We did the same walk. I remember being so surprised that the sound was brilliant as well. How could it have been that good? Nobody had time to soundcheck.

So he does the band introductions and he calls you Theresa. Yes. There was that. In front of a third of humanity.

What was going through your mind? In the video, I can see you laugh. What could I do? I did think it was kind of funny. He managed to get everybody, but when he got to me and Helena, he got us muddled up. He called me “Theresa Springs” which is half her name and not quite mine. There was nothing much I could do, but he did apologize profusely. He said, “I’m so sorry. Please forgive me.” Needless to say, I forgave him. But that was a moment.

Tell me how you wound up working with Duran Duran on Notorious. That’s another band I had to pleasure to do four or five albums with. They were just quintessentially cool, the ultimate party band. Way too much fun to be with. I got a call saying, “Come down to AIR studios [in London]; Nile [Rodgers] is producing us.”

I seem to remember I sang on a couple of tracks, but “Notorious” was the one that did incredibly well as a single. Again, I wasn’t shouting or screaming on it. There wasn’t that many vocals, but there’s a little bit at the beginning in the intro where there’s a very sharp intake of breath and I’m proud to say that it’s mine.

It’s that sprinkle of fairy dust that can make a song. Yeah! You’re so right! Sometimes it is not what people imagine. A lot of times, you are boosting and reenforcing the chorus to really hit that hook home. But sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it’s just a tiny little sprinkling of fairy dust. Sometimes it’s mixed way back. Sometimes it’s way at the forefront. It can be really different things. It’s not always the real power vocals.

What were your other big jobs after the Police tour? I did lots of time in the studio and lots of jingles. I used to do a lot of voiceover work as well at that time, which I loved. I love that mad thing of quickly going in and learning something and having to adjust. I think being a session singer is like being an actress, but you’re using your singing voice more than your spoken voice. I absolutely love that. And I was also on the road a lot with Clapton.

How did that start? That came about by a recommendation by someone that became my singing partner throughout the Eighties. That’s a lady called Katie Kissoon. She and I had worked on a session together and she got the call from Eric saying, “Come down and do vocals on the album [ August ]. Do you know anyone you can bring along?”

Thankfully, she recommended me. We went down and Phil Collins was producing along with Tom Dowd. That was the beginning of the beautiful friendship. That went on for 12 years, working with Eric.

How did the album lead to the tour? The album lead to some TV work. Then I got the call to join this insane, ridiculous bunch of musicians who … talk about a privilege to work with people like Nathan East, Steve Ferrone, and Greg Phillinganes. Honestly, they are the holy trinity.

Clapton can basically handpick any musician on the planet for his tours. Yeah. You’re so right. They were halcyon days. It really was an incredible time. Eric was at his zenith. He made this phenomenal comeback. I think a lot of his pure blues fans didn’t really always like the stuff that he was doing in the Eighties. But it was the Eighties and we were making great pop and rock. They had to suck it up.

Tell me about Eric as a bandleader. How did you work with him to figure out your vocal parts? That’s a really good question, since it speaks to me having to work and do things without any instruction sometimes. The thing about Eric is that he probably expected you just to know. I guess he felt, “Don’t hire a dog and bark yourself.”

He would just lead you to it. He trusted that you were at the top of your game and you were going to do your best possible. Of course, he would comment on things if they weren’t right or he wanted changes, but he largely left it up to you. That’s a great feeling, since there’s a huge sense in valuing people and we did feel very valued.

On a song like “Wonderful Tonight,” there’s a lot of space for you to do your thing. Exactly. That was a fabulous one. He loves backing vocals and he loves the visual element it brought to him. He’s not a showman like other artists. He’s very much about the guitar and that’s very cool. But he loves the fact that Nathan, Greg, and Katie would dance about and loom about the stage. He loved that.

Tell me your other favorite Clapton songs to play with him. We loved the track “Pretending,” which he very often opened with, actually. I loved doing that. Then when we got to the Unplugged stuff, that was a whole other gorgeous moment.

What’s your first memory of hearing “Tears in Heaven.” We were rehearsing for MTV Unplugged. We hadn’t seen Eric for a while. He was basically still grieving. We all came back together and sat in a small circle on the rehearsal stage with almost nobody there. He said, “Listen, I’d like to do these broken-down versions of a lot of my well-known stuff. But I’ve written a few new tunes as well and I want to play them for you.”

He started to play “Tears in Heaven” and another song called “The Circus Left Town.” I just lost it. I think everybody did actually. We were all so emotional. Clapton’s emotions were so raw and so on the surface still. This was clearly a form of grieving for him. It was so emotional. I think we all collectively felt, “How will we be able to perform these songs?” They were so raw and so tender. Then, of course, if Eric could do them, we could too. But I just remember it was sheer emotion. We were not prepared for what we heard. It was deeply, deeply, profoundly personal songs.

How about working out the new arrangement of “Layla”? A lot of those arrangements were worked out with Andy Fairweather Low, who was his support guitar player. I think Andy had done a lot of work on the arrangements. When we came in to rehearse, the guys sort of knew what they were doing. But it still required a huge amount of sensitivity to be able to change what was so well-known and turn them into something else, something uniquely different.

But it was a very organic experience. I think we knew each other all so well. We knew when to step forward and sing and perform and when not to. Very often, the taste that experienced musicians have is not playing at certain points. Spaces are as important as fills, if you like.

That Clapton Unplugged special became a sensation, and you were on camera a lot. Did you start to get recognized in public? Not really. It was still very much like, “I do what I do” and I go home and I have a private life. I was very grateful for that since people in the public eye can’t do that. It’s not simple. I always thought I had the best of both worlds.

How did the George Harrison chapter start? That came about because of Eric’s friendship with George. George wanted to do some live gigs, but he was really nervous about performing. The last time he’d done something it was the Dark Horse tour [in 1974] and that was a heck of a long time before. He really had some bad memories about it, not least of which was he lost his voice during the tour.

Eric said, “Listen, why don’t you use my band?” It just made perfect sense because George had been to see him so many times and he knew the guys in the band. I think it was very comfortable and familiar for him. And so we started rehearsals, and from Day One it was utterly fantastic, just brilliant.

Also, it became apparent quite early on that Clapton was not entirely happy about the situation. George came in and he wanted to move the musicians around a little bit. He didn’t want Ferrone straight behind him. He basically wanted to move things about for his needs and I think it irked Eric a bit that this was being done. And possibly, I don’t know, but I think maybe Eric was having second thoughts about it and having to be the sideman a little bit.

How was George different as a bandleader than Eric? Oh, gosh. Eric is very cool and very, very laid back. He’s just comfortable with himself and so experienced. It’s like falling off a log for him, touring and working with a band. It was just easy and comfortable. It was no shock or thrill. It was a well-oiled machine.

With George, it was a lot more almost experimental in a way. They are very different characters. George would come in and he was the quintessential Peter Pan type of character. He was very funny. It was that wonderful, dry, Liverpudlian-type of humor that he had. He was generous in a different way. He’d give little gifts to people and he made a giant cake of the stage set with all the players on it. He was just quirky and funny. Maybe that’s because this was a different thing for him and he hadn’t done it for so many years. You kind of got the sense that he was very nervous for it, but excited as well.

Do you think he enjoyed the tour? I think he really did. I think he felt safe. I think he felt supported and comfortable. Also, we were in Japan, which was done for a reason. Sadly, the tour didn’t go anywhere else, which was an absolute crime since it would have been so well-received. But I think he wanted to go to Japan and do it just because he wasn’t sure entirely how well it would work out and he wanted to test the waters. But oh, my God, in Japan he’s a demigod.

You got to sing with him on “Something” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” These are some of the greatest songs of all time. We were all having to pinch ourself and trying to look cool, but we got to sing with a Beatle every day. It was just magnificent working out those harmonies. And George would sit down with us and tell us the parts that John and Paul used to sing. We were like, “What? This is insane!” It was lovely and lots of fun.

Going back a few years, can you tell me about singing on the Stones album Steel Wheels ? That was fabulous. I was thrown in the studio. I remember that Mick was very preoccupied with what was happening in his love life at the time and someone was telling me he was dating some Italian supermodel [Carla Bruni], which turned out, I think, to be Eric’s ex-girlfriend. That was a little bit fraught.

But the energy in the studio was unbelievable. Jagger is like a kid. He’s dancing around and having fun in-between vocals.

Tell me about “Come Undone” by Duran Duran. You’re mentioning such great stuff! That came around when [guitarist] Warren Cuccurullo was in the band. I’m a huge fan of Warren’s. I think he really elevated their sound enormously. They were a great band, but Warren had serious chops. He was a serious musician. I think he really changed, for better, the Duran sound. Doing that track was fantastic. I remember it was recorded in Warren’s house, in his studio. He kind of brought the entire studio into his little house in South London.

I remember that Nick [Rhodes] and he were basically producing the session and asking me to jump through various vocal hoops and try different things on the chorus and try it in different ways. My initial idea for the female vocal was quite soft and breathy and sexy. I think at one point, Nick said, “Listen, unleash the diva. Just go for it. Bring her out and let’s see what you got.”

I tried all sorts of different things and didn’t quite realize it was a solo piece in a way. It turns out to be such a fabulous thing for me since so many people remember the track and like it and like the vocals.

You’re doing more than background vocals. It’s basically a duet with you and Simon. At times, yeah.

How did it feel to hear that song everywhere when your voice was so prominent? It was a real thrill. Perhaps that was a point where I thought, “Damn, it would have been nice to have had a credit.” I’m sure it probably said “backing vocals T. Niles,” but I felt it was more than your average kind of vocal part. It might have been nice. You know what? It is what it is. When you’re a voice for hire, you’re a voice for hire.

You could easily make an argument that it should have been “Duran Duran featuring Tessa Niles.” I think so. I think nowadays there wouldn’t be a question about it. In those days, maybe the “featuring” thing wasn’t done as much. It would be much different now. But you know what? Honestly, it’s water off a duck’s back. I was working so much and had so many wonderful opportunities that I didn’t give it much thought.

You never went on a long tour with them, right? I never did an extensive tour with them, but probably a few weeks at a time. I did TV with them and did Letterman. We opened the first Hard Rock Hotel and that was so much fun.

I think the first time I saw you live was the Clapton Crossroads concert at MSG in 1999. Tell me about playing with Bob Dylan that night. It’s just another “pinch me” moment in a lifetime made up of them. It wasn’t until I wrote a book that I realized quite what I’d done. When you’re on your path and you’re moving forward, you’re not really overwhelmed by what you’re doing. It’s just what you do. It’s “another day, another artist, another gig.” It was only when I stood back from it and decided to write about all these things that I thought, “Damn. This is something.” It just felt extraordinary. I remember working with Mary J. Blige that night. I was a huge fan of hers and I remember being so intimidated by her. She’s intimidating.

Did you meet Dylan? I didn’t really interact with him, no. That’s a shame. I think I have the kind of personality where sometimes I’m so busy doing things and maybe in my head a little bit, I forget to understand the importance of something. I remember specifically working with Billy Preston [on tour with Clapton] and I’m kicking myself now that I didn’t hang with him or spend more time with him. He’s someone I just think would be extraordinary to be around, learn from, listen to. Sometimes I was just busy being the side person and not pushing myself forward to experience these things in a certain way.

Tell me about the Prince’s Trust charity concert in 2004 where you did “Video Killed the Radio Star” with the Buggles. That was a heavenly show. Working with Trevor Horn is such a joy in my life. I’ve done so many things with him that I’m proud of vocally. Trevor was the kind of producer that was desperately unimpressed by my bag of tricks. Trevor always wanted me to push the envelope, to do more, to do something crazy, to think out of the box. That’s a fantastically creative way to work. There were so many producers I worked with that knew exactly what they wanted, where they wanted it, how they wanted it. That’s always totally cool. I like to work like that. But with Trevor, it was always an adventure. You never knew where it was going to end up.

Why did things start slowing down for you in the 2000s? The industry was changing and I had become a mother. I had twin daughters in 1998 and, to be honest, the very last thing I wanted to be doing was leave them behind. And I’d waited a good few years. I was 36. The idea of not being a full-time mother was not in the plan. I felt I had those best years and the industry was really changing so much around me. I decided perhaps it was time to back off a bit.

Then we made the decision as a family to move to South Africa so that I could support my husband’s business, continuing on in a supporting role as mum and wife. But I was really ready for it because I had those wonderful years and I did the things I wanted to do. There was no place I wanted to be other than bringing up the kids.

Doing the book must have been fun. Huge fun. Piecing it together and doing timelines and figuring out when things happened and forensically going through it was quite the experience. Literally, my life was flashing before my eyes, at times, the good and the bad and some of the ugly. It was the most fantastic thing I’ve ever done. The discipline that was required to sit down and write it was very new for me, but I think I grew having done it. It was the most wonderful experience.

Tell me about your work now. I wrote a show with a girlfriend called Gina Foster, who is also a session singer. We wanted to kind of, if you like, set the record straight. We wrote a show called Unsung Singers: The Brits Behind The Hits . It’s a revue-type show where we sing a lot of the hits that we’ve been involved with. We talk about the backstory, talk about what the recording sessions were like and I talk about Live Aid and the Police and jingles. There are four singers and we all tell our stories.

We’re also documenting the history of British backing singers. That’s a story that hasn’t really been told. It was told in 20 Feet From Stardom , which was really interesting and it was a bit of a lightbulb moment for me. When I saw that documentary, I was like, “This is amazing! Finally, background singers are being celebrated.” But I thought, “Where are the Brits? There are loads of us that have been doing it.”

Also, the main difference in what we do in the show and 20 Feet From Stardom is there was a little bit of “Oh, poor me. I could have been a star” element to that movie. That’s probably true. They should have been extraordinary stars, people like Merry Clayton. But ours was much more of a celebration. We are like, “We had the best gig in the world.”

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Kidz Bop Live announces US tour this summer

Kidz Bop Live has announced a summer tour for the U.S. in 2024.

(TMX) -- Kidz Bop and Live Nation on Friday announced a three-year tour deal, with Kidz Bop Live 2024 set to kick off in June.

Kidz Bop, which features kids singing kid-friendly versions of pop hits, has sold more than 24 million albums, generated billions of streams, and has its own channel on SiriusXM radio.

The new tour follows a successful tour last year, which featured more than 60 dates. The 2024 tour will be sponsored by the Spin Master’s new fantasy-adventure children’s series, “Unicorn Academy,” which is streaming on Netflix.

The “Unicorn Academy” partnership will include on-screen content to occupy young fans before concerts, along with photo ops and other activities. Ten cities will feature a pop-up “Unicorn Academy” experience.

Citi cardholders will have access to presale tickets from Monday, Jan. 22 until Thursday, Jan. 25 through the Citi Entertainment program, with additional presale events, including a Spotify Fans First presale, throughout the week. Multiple VIP packages will be available on , featuring premium tickets, exclusive merchandise, a pre-show dance party, a post-show Meet and Greet with the Kidz Bop Kids, and a group party experience.

In April, Kidz Bop is kicking off its first U.K. tour with stops in 11 cities, including London, Manchester and Birmingham.

The U.S. tour is scheduled to kick off on June 27 at the Palace Theater in Stamford, Conn., and it will wrap on Oct. 6 at the Ameris Bank Amphitheater in Alpharetta, Ga.

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Politics latest: Senior Tory calls on Sunak to resign to 'give party a fighting chance'

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has been told to stand down by former cabinet minister Sir Simon Clarke, saying the Conservatives face "clear electoral consequences" if he stays for the general election later this year.

Tuesday 23 January 2024 23:22, UK

Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak looks on as he meets with Belgium's Prime Minister Alexander De Croo at Downing Street, London, Britain, January 23, 2024. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/Pool

  • Senior Tory calls on Sunak to step down as PM
  • Government warned more councils at risk of going bust
  • Labour MP mocked over question about Post Office ownership
  • PM says strikes on Houthis were response to 'persistent' threat
  • Minister warns 'things may get more tricky' in Red Sea
  • Not acting against Houthis 'could see prices go up in UK'
  • Dominic Waghorn:  UK and US have flown right into a trap
  • Sky News Daily:  Houthi strikes - does Britain have an endgame?
  • Pledge tracker: Is Sunak keeping his promises?
  • Live reporting by Ben Bloch and (earlier)  Faith Ridler

Thanks for joining us for another busy day in Westminster.

Here's what happened:

  • Rishi Sunak made a statement in the House of Commons after a second round of airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen;
  • He said the strikes were in self-defence due to an "ongoing and imminent threat" from Houthis to "UK commercial vessels and to our partners in the Red Sea";
  • But there was a row over when Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle were informed - and Downing Street eventually admitted they were told as the strikes were under way, not before, as last time;
  • There will be a debate - but not a vote - on the matter in the Commons tomorrow;
  • Meanwhile, Tory MP Sir Simon Clarke called for Mr Sunak to quit as PM, saying the party is facing electoral "extinction";
  • But he was sharply criticised by grandees across the party, calling for Tory MPs to unite;
  • Labour shadow minister Lisa Nandy joined a steelworkers' protest as thousands of jobs at Tata Steel in Port Talbot are set to be cut;
  • Ministers are set to extend the deadline to resurrect Stormont powersharing deadline again as the DUP continues its boycott;
  • Labour failed to commit to giving councils more funding despite warnings that many are facing bankruptcy.

Join us again from 6am tomorrow for the very latest political news - including PMQs at noon.

The British government has shared further details on last night's strikes on targets in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen.

The strikes - carried out by the US and UK - were supported by the governments of Albania, Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Guinea-Bissau, Hungary, Italy, Kenya, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Poland, Republic of Korea, and Romania.

In a joint statement, the countries said the strikes were in response to "continued illegal and reckless Houthi attacks" on ships in the Red Sea. 

"These strikes were designed to disrupt and degrade the capability of the Houthis to continue their attacks on global trade and innocent mariners from around the world, while avoiding escalation," the statement said. 

The Houthis claim the attacks are aimed at ending the air and ground offensive on the Gaza Strip following the 7 October attacks by Hamas.

Several ships have been attacked with drones, rockets and in some cases helicopters have been used to drop militants on to commercial vessels.

The new year is upon us, and the political party leaders are working hard to convince the public to back them in the upcoming general election.

But while the latest opinion polls will likely be a source of new year cheer for Labour, Conservative MPs will be feeling a distinct lack of goodwill.

The Sky News live poll tracker - collated and updated by our Data and Forensics team - aggregates various surveys to indicate how voters feel about different political parties.

Labour is sitting on an average of 44.4%, with the Tories on 24.7% - a roughly 20-point lead.

In third are the Lib Dems on 10%, followed by Reform on around 9.7% and the Greens on 5.9% - with the SNP on 3.2%.

See the latest update below - and you can read more about the methodology behind the tracker  here .

We've had some initial reaction from the Labour Party to senior Tory MP Sir Simon Clarke's call for Rishi Sunak to quit as PM (see post at 21.04).

Pat McFadden, Labour's national campaign coordinator, said in a statement: "Labour will focus on serving the British people whilst the Tories form another circular firing squad.

"There are many good reasons for getting rid of this clapped out Conservative government and liberating the British people from endless bouts of Tory infighting is certainly one of them.

"Whilst the Conservatives fight among themselves, Labour will fight for a better future for the country, where economic growth is felt in every part of Britain, where we generate the wealth we need for the NHS, good schools and safety on our streets and where we renew the country after 14 years of Tory failure."

We've just had a statement from the Liberal Democrats to senior Tory MP Sir Simon Clarke's call for Rishi Sunak to quit as PM (see post at 21.04).

The party's deputy leader Daisy Cooper MP said: "It is utterly ludicrous that the Conservative Party is even discussing installing a fourth prime minister without giving voters a say.

"The Conservatives are once again fighting like rats in a sack while families face soaring bills and an NHS crisis.

"People are sick and tired of this never-ending Conservative Party soap opera. It's time for Rishi Sunak to give voters the chance to put an end to this farce and call a general election."

Tory MPs are lining up tonight to oppose former cabinet minister Sir Simon Clarke's call for Rishi Sunak to quit as PM (see post at 21.04).

Former home secretary Dame Priti Patel said in a statement: "At this critical time for our country, with challenges at home and abroad, our party must focus on the people we serve and deliver for the country.

"Uniting and serving the county must be our priority. Engaging in facile and divisive self indulgence only serves our opponents, its time to unite and get on with the job."

We've already had some reaction from two senior Conservative MPs to former housing minister Sir Simon Clarke's call for Rishi Sunak to quit as PM (see previous post).

In a tweet before Sir Simon's op-ed was published, former cabinet minister David Davis wrote on X: "This is getting silly.

"The party and the country are sick and tired of MPs putting their own leadership ambitions ahead of the UK's best interests.

"It is really about time that these people realise they have a duty to the country that is greater than their personal leadership ambitions."

Echoing that message is Sir Liam Fox, former defence secretary, who wrote: "This is not the time for self indulgence and tribalism in the party.

"Those who have an agenda to destabilise the government in an election year should understand the consequences.

"Having been on the front bench for all 13 years in opposition, it is a miserable place. Be warned."

Former cabinet minister Sir Simon Clarke is calling on Rishi Sunak to resign as prime minister.

The Tory MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, who served as housing secretary under Liz Truss, wrote in an article for The Telegraph: "We have a clear choice. Stick with Rishi Sunak, take the inevitable electoral consequences, and give the Left a blank cheque to change Britain as they see fit.

"Or we can change leader, and give our country and party a fighting chance."

Sir Simon, a staunch ally of Mr Sunak's short-lived predecessor, was one of 11 Conservative MPs to vote against the prime minister's Rwanda bill last week after what was mooted to be a sizeable rebellion fizzled out after attempts to toughen up the scheme failed.

Citing last week's controversial Telegraph poll showing the Tories would win just 169 seats at the next election, he wrote: "The unvarnished truth is that Rishi Sunak is leading the Conservatives into an election where we will be massacred."

He also says Tory "extinction is a very real possibility" if Nigel Farage enters the political arena once again.

He goes on: "And it is now beyond doubt that whilst the prime minister is far from solely responsible for our present predicament, his uninspiring leadership is the main obstacle to our recovery.

"Rishi Sunak has sadly gone from asset to anchor."

And despite praising the PM's strengths, he adds in a damning indictment: "He does not get what Britain needs. And he is not listening to what the British people want."

He calls for a chance of leader to someone "who shares the instincts of the majority and is willing to lead the country in the right direction", or "we will recover strongly in 2024".

His intervention comes amid myriad struggles for the prime minister, including falling approval ratings and unhappiness from across the political divide with the Rwanda deportation plan.

Sir Simon has also been critical of government policy on housing and wind power.

By Tomos Evans , Wales reporter

Wales's first minister Mark Drakeford has said he was "genuinely baffled" Rishi Sunak did not call him to discuss plans to support people affected by job losses in Port Talbot.

Last week, Tata Steel said it would cut up to 2,800 jobs in the UK.

The majority of those will be in the UK's largest steelworks in the South Wales town as the company replaces its blast furnaces with electric arc furnaces.

During first minister's questions on Tuesday, Mr Drakeford told the Senedd he contacted the prime minister's office last Thursday, when it became clear Tata would announce the closure of both blast furnaces in the town.

Read more below:

By Tim Baker , political reporter

The government is to push back the deadline to restore power-sharing in Northern Ireland after almost two years without a devolved administration.

Power-sharing, the mechanism by which a Stormont executive is formed under the Good Friday Agreement, was collapsed by the DUP's refusal to allow a speaker to be nominated.

A new law, which will be debated and voted on in its entirety on Wednesday 24 January, will set a new deadline for the formation of an executive at 8 February.

Read more here:

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Call the police concert setlists & tour dates, call the police at conjunto santander, zapopan, mexico.

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Call the Police at Teatro de la Ciudad, Mexico City, Mexico

  • Driven to Tears
  • Synchronicity II
  • Walking on the Moon
  • Spirits in the Material World
  • De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da
  • Invisible Sun
  • Tea in the Sahara
  • Can't Stand Losing You
  • Every Breath You Take
  • Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic

Call the Police at Auditorio La Isla, Mérida, Mexico

Call the police at teatro anayansi, panama city, panama, call the police at concha acústica de las delicias, maracay, venezuela, call the police at hotel eurobuilding, caracas, venezuela.

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Call the Police at Teatro Centro de Arte, Guayaquil, Ecuador

Call the police at unknown venue, macaé, brazil, call the police at qualistage, rio de janeiro, brazil, call the police at teatro bradesco, são paulo, brazil.

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Woman scared of weather calls in fake burglary, police say

39-year-old Kelley Carole Giniebra (pictured) was arrested and charged with one count of...

DOTHAN, Ala. ( WTVY /Gray News) - An Alabama woman called in a fake burglary because she was scared of the weather and wanted police to come to her home, according to police.

Authorities say Kelley Carole Giniebra, 39, called 911 on Jan. 9, and reported a burglary in the home.

When officers arrived, they confirmed that there was no burglary happening at the home.

After talking with Giniebra, officers determined that she falsely reported the crime to police so that officers would arrive quickly at her address.

Authorities say Giniebra did that because she was scared of the bad weather happening that day.

Giniebra was arrested and charged with one count of making a false report to law enforcement.

Copyright 2024 WTVY via Gray Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Woman arrested for stealing 65 Stanley tumblers worth $2,500, police say

A woman in California was arrested for stealing 65 Stanley tumblers valued at nearly $2,500,...

ROSEVILLE, Calif. (Gray News) – A woman in California was arrested for stealing 65 Stanley tumblers valued at nearly $2,500, police said.

According to the Roseville Police Department , officers responded to a call for a theft at a store on Wednesday afternoon.

Store employees told police they saw a woman walk out of the store with “a shopping cart full of Stanley water bottles” without paying for them.

Employees said the woman refused to stop for staff, put the stolen cups in her car, and drove...

Employees said the woman refused to stop for staff, put the stolen cups in her car, and drove off.

The employees were able to give officers a description of the suspect’s vehicle, and an officer spotted it nearby and pulled the vehicle over.

Inside the vehicle, the officer found 65 Stanley products valued at nearly $2,500.

Inside the vehicle, the officer found 65 Stanley products valued at nearly $2,500.

Police arrested the driver on charges of grand theft. She was identified as a 23-year-old from Sacramento.

“While Stanley Quenchers are all the rage, we strongly advise against turning to crime to fulfill your hydration habits,” the Roseville Police Department wrote in a Facebook post.

Copyright 2024 Gray Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Amateur Nick Dunlap WDs from PGA Tour event to mull pro future

Nick Dunlap , the University of Alabama sophomore who on Sunday became the first amateur to win on the PGA Tour in more than three decades, has withdrawn from the field for this week's Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, California.

"After a life changing last 24 hours, I've decided to withdraw from the Farmers Insurance Open," Dunlap said Monday in a statement. "I plan to return home to Alabama to be with family, friends and teammates. Thank you to Farmers Insurance and American Express for giving me these opportunities."

With his victory at the American Express in La Quinta, California, Dunlap became the first amateur to win on tour since Phil Mickelson at the 1991 Northern Telecom Championship. The 20-year-old is only the fifth amateur to win on tour since 1950 and the second-youngest champion in the past 90 years. Jordan Spieth won the 2013 John Deere Classic when he was 19.

As an amateur, Dunlap forfeited the $1.5 million winner's purse and the 500 FedEx Cup points that came with it.

Now, he must decide whether to return to Alabama for the remainder of his second collegiate season or join the PGA Tour as a full-time member.

"I don't know," Dunlap said after his par putt on the 72nd hole gave him a 1-shot victory over South Africa's Christiaan Bezuidenhout . "I have to take a second to let what just happened sink in a little bit. That's a decision that's not just about me. It affects a lot of people, and obviously I'm going to try to enjoy this. It's a conversation I need to have with a lot of people before I make that decision."

Discussions about Dunlap's future started Sunday night. By capturing the American Express, he earned full-time PGA Tour membership through the 2026 season. He can accept that membership until 30 days after this season ends. He earned full exemptions of a professional winner, including spots in the lucrative signature-series events such as next month's AT & T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and the Players Championship, which have purses of at least $20 million.

"If this is what he decides to do, we support him because we've done our job," Alabama coach Jay Seawell told ESPN on Monday. "We've helped him, and he is a valuable part of our team and will be for the rest of his life. And if so, then we'll move forward and we'll support him in that. I'm going to let him make that decision with his family and all that. They've asked me to at least sit in on it, but in the end it will be their decision."

Dunlap is a lifelong Alabama fan and enjoys competing with his teammates, Seawell said. Dunlap had goals of leading the Crimson Tide to an SEC title and national championship. He could still play in the Masters, U.S. Open and The Open as an amateur if he returns to school.

"He has a huge sense of team, and you saw the reaction of our players," Seawell said. "They're a very close group, and leaving in the middle of a season I know would tear on him a little bit. He did have dreams when he came."

Alabama senior Canon Claycomb said he wouldn't fault Dunlap for turning pro. Dunlap's teammates have been calling him one of the top 50 players in the world for the past several months, according to Claycomb, after he became only the second player -- Tiger Woods is the other -- to win both the U.S. Junior Amateur and U.S. Amateur.

"I don't think anybody on the team would blame him," Claycomb said. "We want Nick to do what the best thing for Nick is, and if that's him turning pro, then that's him turning pro. I know he loves the team, and I know he loves all of us, but it's not about us in this moment. It's about him and what he needs to do to be the best version of himself and to have the best opportunity to play on the PGA Tour for a long time."

Alabama's season resumes at the Watersound Invitational on Feb. 19. The team was returning to campus Sunday from a practice session in Orange Beach, Alabama, when it pulled over to watch Dunlap make the 6-footer to win .

"We were on a back road," Claycomb said. "We pulled off in the middle-of-nowhere, Alabama. We barely had Wi-Fi, barely could watch, but we pulled off to the side of the road and watched that final hole. It was awesome."

Regardless of what Dunlap decides, Seawell believes his star player is more than ready for a full-time career on the PGA Tour. Dunlap is the only player to win the U.S. Junior Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and a PGA Tour event as an amateur. He carded an 11-under 59 and won a local tournament by 13 shots when he was 12. In 2021, he posted a 62 in a Monday qualifier to make the field in a Korn Ferry Tour event.

"This wasn't some kid who caught lightning in a bottle," Seawell said. "I think he's going to be a historic figure in the game. I do. He's already done things that most haven't done, and I just think that's who he is.

"If he stays healthy and all the things that happen in athletics, I think he could be ... I don't want to say Jack [Nicklaus] or Tiger, but he's the first person I've ever seen that could be. I don't want to put that kind of pressure on him, but I do think he's a guy who I think has the ability and the mindset and the physicality to be historic in this game."

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‘Bulldog-type’ dog shot dead by police after it attacked two men

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Loudonhill Avenue Hamilton, South Lanarkshire

A man has suffered life threatening injuries and another was also injured by a dangerously out of control dog.

Armed police were called to Hamilton in South Lanarkshire, Scotland at around 5pm this evening after a dog was reported as being dangerously out of control.

The dog first attacked a man on Loudonhill Avenue, where he suffered minor injuries, before going on to attack the second man in Tinto View.

The second man has been rushed to Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow with ‘life-threatening injuries’.

Police shot and killed the dog when it tried to attack an officer. The force says they will now attempt to establish its exact breed as currently it is only described as a ‘large bulldog-type dog’.

Superintendent Steven Espie said: ‘This was a distressing incident for those involved. I would like to reassure the local community that this was a contained incident and there is no further risk to the public.

‘There will be a continued police presence in the area while our inquiries continue. Inquiries are also ongoing to establish the breed of the dog.’

The attack comes just weeks after the XL Bully breed was added to the list of dangerous dogs in England and Wales.

On December 31 it became illegal to breed, sell, advertise, rehome, abandon, or allow an XL Bully dog to stray. All XL Bullies must be muzzled and on a lead in public.

Last year, prime minister Rishi Sunak called the breed a ‘danger to communities’ after  Ian Price was killed by two of the dogs while protecting his elderly mum .

Two people were arrested after  a woman was attacked in North Tyneside  in October, and in Merseyside two boys were left struggling to sleep after  they were both attacked while they played outside their home .

An  11-year-old girl was among three people attacked  by an ‘out of control’ XL Bully in September, and last October  a toddler was mauled outside a hotel in London .

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected] .

For more stories like this, check our news page .

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