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Last Updated: Monday, 28 May 2007, 07:35 GMT 08:35 UK
Police fan bands go on patrol
By Stephen Robb
Entertainment reporter, BBC News

David Rasner of The Police Experience
The Police were the first band David Rasner saw perform live
The reunion of The Police after more than 20 years has delighted their millions of fans - none more so than the small but international subsection who perform in tribute acts.

The abundance of these groups cannot be solely explained by the pun potential of the name.

But a selected roll-call certainly makes entertaining reading: The Police Squad, The Police State, The Police Academy, The Counterfeit Police, Stung.

Appropriately for a group who were once among the biggest on the planet, The Police tribute acts are patrolling stages around the world.

As well as numerous UK and US groups, acts have sprung up in Argentina, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and Ireland.

But with the original trio back on the road - albeit not driving themselves in a rented van as they famously did in the US in the 1970s - who will want to see impersonators of The Police?

The answer seems to be more people than ever.

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England-based band The Secret Police are one of the foremost tribute acts, having played all over Europe, in the Middle East, and to audiences of up to 12,000 in their 11 years together.

Drummer Cameron Findlay says that a video of his band performing The Police's first major hit, Roxanne, attracts about 150 hits a day on the clip-sharing website YouTube.

On the day Sting, Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland shared a stage to perform the same song at this year's Grammy Awards, there were some 8,500 viewings of the video.

"With the recent news, the enquiries and our profile have gone through the roof," says Findlay.

Cameron Findlay of The Secret Police
The Secret Police have released an album entitled Regatta Copycatta
The Secret Police are playing several festivals this summer and are set to feature in a Canadian television documentary about tribute bands.

The film will also feature Los Angeles-based The Police Experience, who call themselves the "official Police tribute band".

In their previous incarnation, Fallout, they performed at the 2003 birthday party of Stewart Copeland, and they are managed by Copeland's brother Miles.

On The Police Experience website, Stewart Copeland is quoted as saying they recreate "every nuance, all the drum parts, and the singer has Sting down to a tee".

We can stop dying our hair now, because they are all grey
Cameron Findlay
The Secret Police
"We have the blessing of the original band in a sense," says singer David Rasner.

"These guys are not going to play every nook and cranny of the world - they are doing a limited run and they are playing gigantic places.

"Basically it's going to be nothing but good for us - the buzz and the excitement is going to mean more work."


Rasner also suggests his own band's shows may be closer to The Police in their heyday than Sting and co will deliver on their tour.

It launches in Vancouver, Canada, on Monday.

"We are kind of doing The Police as you remember them," says 40-year-old Rasner.

"We were really maniacal about doing it as they did it live. We wanted to reproduce their shows."

The Police in 1980 and 2007
The Police have sold more than 50 million albums worldwide
He goes on: "Some of that's going to remain, but they are not going to have the same kind of energy and be jumping around everywhere."

Findlay welcomes the image of a more "senior" Police replacing the one that has remained in fans' minds since the band separated in the early Eighties.

"We can stop dying our hair now, because they are all grey, which is what we are hiding under various bottles of peroxide," he says.

"We might just go grey now gracefully - The Police have led the way for it."

But Findlay is hopeful that something more may come out of the reunion - new songs.

"We have probably played Roxanne more times than they have," he says.

"It would be nice if we could have some new material, please."

Bert Boven of Synchronicity
Synchronicity are not look-alikes but sound like The Police, says Boven

But he admits the band have already provided them with an abundance of material.

"There are some tribute bands that really struggle to put an hour and a bit of back-to-back hits together - we have never had that problem thanks to the great songs that they wrote."

Bert Boven, who fronts the Dutch tribute act Synchronicity, says it is the longer shows that identify The Police's hardcore fans.

"Another hour, then you can see who the real fans are - they sing along with the unknown songs," says the 36-year-old.

"I always look for them after the gig - I like to know their opinion about us.

"They always react enthusiastically."

All the tribute bands plan to see The Police during their tour.

"The Police's music will never die," insists Boven. "In another 30 years there will still be songs played on the radio by them."

Reunited Police start world tour
29 May 07 |  Entertainment
Tribute bands rock at Glastonbudget
28 May 07 |  Entertainment
The Police announce European gigs
05 Mar 07 |  Entertainment
Police settle differences for reunion
13 Feb 07 |  Entertainment
Police announce world tour plans
13 Feb 07 |  Entertainment
The arresting case of The Police
30 Jan 07 |  Entertainment

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