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In ‘95, I took my first staff job, moving from San Francisco to LA to work at Disney Interactive. Despite seeing Stewart perform live several times I had yet to meet him. I knew he lived in LA but was baffled by the credits on his solo records and soundtracks listing his studio as The Worried Rabbit, Nineveh Assyria. I knew he had spent his youth in Beirut and Cairo so I thought, maybe he spends part of the year over there? I finally looked it up to find that Nineveh was an ancient Mesopotamian city, long gone – in other words it was bullshit!
Digging further I found the name Kinetic Studios in Culver City. I mailed a color copy of my Stewart portrait from my Journal with a letter. A young guy my age, Ryan, called and invited me to Stewart’s studio! The next day I walked into Kinetic Studios, MTV Music Awards strewn on the floor. I don’t have much of a story for Stewart. He was at a computer working on a film score. Smiling and friendly he stopped to talk to me and sign the portrait. I gave him a framed painting which I imagine he stuck in a closet immediately (an attractive piece with nice colors but seeing as it collaged multiple figures of Stewart hanging from a noose <from the sleeve art of the “Can’t Stand Losing You” single> it was not the cheeriest image). Stupidly, I didn’t bring a camera!
From ’95 ‘til The Police Reunion in ’07 I saw every Stewart and/or Andy gig in LA I could possibly make. When Stewart and Andy were rumored to be appearing at the sold out The Police Rock en Español gig at the House of Blues Sunset, I went down there and scored a ticket. When they played with Incubus at the KROQ Acoustic Christmas, I was there (thanks to my good friend Mike McLaughlin for that one). George Martin presenting Beatles music at the Hollywood Bowl (Stewart on drums, and Andy a last minute addition on guitar), I was there. I had tickets to see Stewart play with The Doors (The Cult’s Ian Astbury on vocals) at the Universal Ampitheatre - was disappointed when Stewart had to cancel. Oysterhead at the Palladium. Andy at tiny jazz club The Baked Potato.
I was living in Glendale at the time, about 3 miles from the Cahuenga Blvd location that Andy played constantly. He seemed to play at least one night a week. I would have this conversation with myself, “but I just saw him last week, and the week before, and the week before..” before inevitably leaving my boring apartment to have a couple drinks and watch Andy rip it up, always with stellar musicians. Bassist Jerry Watts and drummer Bernie Dresel were the most regular rhythm section I can recall, though Gregg Bissonette was on drums at least a couple times. Latter day Who drummer Simon Phillips played one night, his kit hilariously crowding Andy and Jerry off the tiny stage. I went to most of Andy’s photo exhibitions as well. Through all these, I got to know Andy and his assistant Dennis a little bit. I’ve got to say Andy tended to be a bit grumpy when I showed up on my own, and to my amusement all smiles and charm when I would bring a woman! (Haha!) I showed him my artwork whenever I got the chance. He was particularly taken with my Puzzled 2 piece, saying to my delight “it would be a great album cover.”
The greatest of these little Hollywood gigs, was of course in'07, when as one of Stewart’s “Nutters” I got into the Whisky A Go Go for The Police Rehearsals / Press Conference. It was unreal - by that point I had long since given up on The Police reuniting! Redundant, but it’s worth saying, I fucking love that band!
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