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Police Opener Keeps It All In The Family

Of the Oakland Press

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Spending months on the road with your dad may not seem like an attractive situation for a 30-year-old. But it’s working out for Joe Sumner.

As the oldest son of Gordon Sumner — a.k.a. Police frontman Sting — the younger musician and his group, Fiction Plane, have the plum opening spot on his father’s band’s high profile reunion tour. And he couldn’t think of a better way to shine a light on Fiction Plane’s second album, “Left Side of the Brain.”

“We just always wanted to play big places for a lot of people for an extended period of time,” Sumner explains. “That’s always been our main ambition, and (the Police tour) has kind of taken the legwork out of it for us.

“We’ve just kind of hunkered down and done the work every night and been rewarded. The audiences have been initially cold and angry — here’s a band they didn’t pay to see — but by the end of the set they’re standing up, screaming at us, buying the CD. It’s been fantastic.”

Sumner says that going on the road with the Police also has been “quite liberating” for him after years of ambivalent feelings about his famous family ties.

“I just didn’t want to have anything to do with it for a long time,” he acknowledges, noting that he was inspired to play music by Nirvana more than by his father. “I wanted the music to speak for itself on every level ... without the mystery of whether it succeeded because we’ve got kind of a celebrity backer.

“But one of the things I’ve learned is that the music industry isn’t fair. Everyone takes any advantage they can get. So now I’m much less concerned with how we get the music out there; I’m just concerned that we get it out there.”

Sumner, who was just 8 years old when the Police stopped working, says he’s enjoying the backstage hang, too, not just with his father but with fellow Police men Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland.

“Everyone has been really pleasant,” he says, and he expects Fiction Plane to stay out with the Police — as well as play its own gigs on off-nights — for “as long as they’ll tolerate having us.”

“Hopefully, they enjoy having us around, bothering them and stuff, stealing their groupies,” he notes. “We’re going to carry on with them until we have to stop or until we get to a point where we think, ‘Wow, we can make the next album now.’ ”

Fiction Plane opens for the Police at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday (July 17th) at The Palace, Lapeer Road at I-75, Auburn Hills. Some tickets are still available at the $52.50 level. Call (248) 377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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