Andy Summers is bringing his “The Cracked Lens + A Missing String” tour to The Patchogue Theatre October 14th, 2023. When we spoke to Andy via Zoom, he had just returned home from some of the tour’s shows. We dove right in by discussing where the tour got it’s name. Andy said he felt a perfect lens and a perfect set of new strings was boring.
When asked if it took more out of him to go out and do a solo show on the road as opposed to touring with a band, he commented that “There are a couple of responses to that which are quite vulgar.” I mentioned to Andy he was welcome to get vulgar. He responded to that saying, “I don’t have to deal with other assholes, just me.” From there Andy got more into what the tour is like. He spoke about he prepares in his own studio in advance. He spoke about how some songs are done with tracks and some without. Andy included how at the same time the music is being performed there is also a photography show. He commented that he didn’t think anybody was doing anything like this.
Andy said some of the song selections are familiar but there are also unfamiliar choices. At the same time the photos are from locations around the world like Japan, China, Morocco and Tibet. Andy said it is all put together intelligently and sequenced, that it’s all “Very worked out and moving, it’s a true audio-visual show.”
Andy had completed a half dozen shows by the time we spoke. Rehearsal for the tour was done in the studio but obviously, without the audience. But Andy said once he got in front of an audience “Everything changed.” He talked about being prepared but also “Open and vulnerable to be able to receive information about the sequencing of the songs and the audience reaction.”
Andy discussed many photo exhibitions he has done worldwide. He said he’s been a practicing photographer almost since the start of The Police and has always been a guitarist. He never thought about bringing them together until recently. He seemed surprised at himself that he hadn’t thought of this earlier.
We also spoke a little about how on this tour he is playing a Fender Strat and a Gibson 335. Andy is sometimes known for playing a Fender Telecaster, which hasn’t made an appearance on this tour yet. Andy said he thought about taking it out and that he still might. He discussed how different guitars get the different sounds he wanted for this tour.
Part of this tour revolves around travel. In the course of our conversation Chinese Folk music and Brazilian music came up. I asked Andy if there was other music that struck him during his travels that he thought was beautiful that he’d wished that more of the world knew about it. Hungarian Violin music seemed to be his first thought, although I wouldn’t say that was his answer to the question. But that was when Andy spoke about being eclectic in his musical pursuits.
The last time Andy and I spoke was in 2012 when he had done his film “Can’t Stand Losing You: Surviving the Police.” That made me ask, since the tour is so visual, were there any plans to film the shows for a possible film in the future. He responded, “This is sort of a vague plan to do that.” Along with that, future plans also involve a new book “The Trouble With Guitars.” He even broke down the concept of the book for us.
Watch our conversation above and make sure to catch Andy at Patchogue Theatre October 14th, 2023.
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