Monday, April 14, 2014
Henry Padovani and the Ghost Machines in concert, Udine 14/11/2013
The Police’s first guitarist and founder of The Police brings a handful of fans down memory lane
Henri Padovani was born in 1952 in Bastia, Corsica. He’s commonly known as Henry Padovani. Perhaps his biggest claim to fame is that he had been a founding member of a great band, The Police. He had been the band’s first guitarist, from January 1977 to August 1977. Padovani was eventually replaced by Andy Summers, who had initially been added to the group as a second guitarist.
Padovani was joined on stage in Udine by “The Ghost Machines”, an outstanding Police cover band made up of the Italian trio Fabio Trentin on bass, Giorgio Ranciaro on drums and William Dotto on guitar. The band played a wide array of Police songs.
While studying Economics at Aix-en-Provence, Padovani began listening to Jimi Hendrix. He moved to London in December 1976 where he met drummer Stewart Copeland, who showed him some songs he'd been writing and introduced him to the rising punk scene. After a show at the Roxy Club he decided he wanted to join a punk band and shaved off his waist-length hair and beard. He then auditioned for the band and was offered the job.
When he told Stewart Copeland of his success, Copeland asked him to join his own band, The Police. Copeland was already under the impression that he had convinced Sting to join, but despite heavy use of word-of-mouth and advertisements in musical publications, Padovani was the only guitarist he could find who was interested in punk and had actual playing ability.
With Padovani on guitar, The Police recorded their first single, "Fall Out”" b/w "Nothing Achieving" in 1977. However Sting was dissatisfied with Padovani's technical abilities, paving the way for Andy Summers. For a brief period between July and August 1977, The Police performed as a four piece-band with Padovani and Summers sharing guitar duties. Having insisted from the start that he wanted to be the sole guitarist for the band, Summers was unhappy with the situation. Padovani himself felt that the disparity in technical ability between the two of them made this an awkward lineup. The night after an aborted studio session with producer John Cale, Stewart Copeland called Padovani and asked him to leave the band.
Being cast out of the Police did not slow Padovani's musical career. He later returned to London and was immediately handed the rhythm guitar spot with “Wayne County & the Electric Chairs”, who at the time were far better known than the Police. The band's first album with Padovani, “Storm the Gates of Heaven”, was also his debut as a songwriter.
By 1988, Miles Copeland III, the Police's manager and elder brother of Stewart Copeland, appointed Padovani as Vice President of IRS Records, a role he performed until 1994. He also managed the Italian musician Zucchero for five years and produced seven albums for R.E.M.
In 2006 he published his biography “Secret Police Man”, recounting episodes of his lifestyle in the late 1970s and the early days of The Police.
During the 2007 “The Police Reunion Tour”, Padovani joined the band on stage for the final encore of their show in Paris on 29 September. As Padovani himself said in an interview in Udine: “Sting and Stewart hadn’t been talking to each other. For the 2008 album, “Welcome Home”, I called the two, but separately. They weren’t aware that they’d eventually meet again. Nevertheless, things went magnificently well”!
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