FotoFlexer_StewartAs you can tell from this photo, Stewart Copeland, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame drummer of the seminal post-punk band, The Police and I are aging gracefully. Copeland was in town to debut his work “The Tyrant’s Crush,” a concerto for drum set and percussion with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. While the piece was compulsive and mesmerizing, I couldn’t help but recall seeing the Police in 1982. It was the first concert her Mims and I attended together, and, yes, every little thing she did drove me crazy. In the best way possible.

I borrowed a department store credit card from my grandmother to buy the tickets because, I suppose, I wanted to start paying Ticket Bastard charges before they even existed. The show was phenomenal. We walked to the front of the stage and no security personnel who thought they were patrolling Baghdad stopped us. Sting was the showman, but the man behind the drum kit was the madman who kept things rocking. This was the “Ghost in the Machine” tour, and you can hear Copeland trying to crush his way away from the reggae Sting always tried to sneak in. Good times. Mims and I have seen the PoPo thrice, and each time was memorable.

I didn’t get too much time to interview Stew, but I did get to drop the big question.

Me: Stewart, big fan. Loved the piece.
Stew: Thanks.
Me: Quick question. Blur…
Stew (seemingly excited): Yeah!
Me: Or the Stones?
Stew: What?!! Are you nuts? The Stones started all of this.
Me: Actually, I think it was Ike Turner. Anyway, thank you.

FotoFlexer_VuTranNow back to shamelessly plugging books and music. If you’re a fan of literary crime fiction in the vein of James Ellroy and Richard Price, then you’ll enjoy first-time novelist Vu Tran’s “Dragonfish.” Tran, born in Vietnam, escaped with his family via rickety boat, and was raised in Oklahoma. Set in a Las Vegas most of us never experience, we meet Vietnamese crime lords, smugglers and a bad luck dame. Well written with colorful characters, you’ll Pho for it. Sorry. Here’s my brief interview with Vu:

Me: So your parents were big Velvet Underground fans.
Vu: Huh?
Me: Have you read James Crumley?
Vu: No, I haven’t. Crumley?
Me: That’s right.

And, finally, we end our show with a shout out to Mourning Stone, a band we discovered via Twitter. Fans looking for a heavy sound reminiscent of Sunny Day Real Estate/ Fire Thief will love the track “Save Me” from their EP “Five Ways to Broken.” Songs are available to stream on the band’s website, or you can, you know, buy it. And while you’re buying music, don’t forget that Dressy Bessie has a new record coming out. Start saving. I look forward to seeing them on tour and interviewing Tammy. Someone has to answer Blur!, don’t they?