Police guitarist Andy Summers brings music, photography and short stories to Dallas

Andy Summers, wearing a black jacket, stands against a wall with a grid pattern on it

Andy Summers
Photo: Dennis Mukai

The way Andy Summers sees it, the gap between rock star, photographer and novelist is not so very great.

“No, I don’t think the processes are so different,” the 80-year-old multi-hyphenate said from his Santa Monica home during a recent conversation. “All sorts of creativity, I think, takes imagination, looking, focus, concentration, whether you’re writing a piece of music or working your way into getting a very good photograph. … In terms of the mental approach, the sensibilities, I don’t think they’re a million miles apart. They kind of intertwine very naturally — at least for me, they do.”

So it follows that more than four decades after catapulting to stardom as a member of paradigm-shifting post-punk trio The Police, Summers has built an equally acclaimed solo career filled with an array of pursuits, chief among them photography and writing.

Along with his guitar prowess, these media form the spine of “The Cracked Lens + A Missing String,” the performance he’ll bring to Oak Cliff’s Kessler Theater on Saturday.

Summers will play guitar, building a musical improvisation against the backdrop of his own photography (including his most recent photo tome “A Series of Glances”), and weaving in excerpts from “Fretted and Moaning,” his collection of short stories, as well as selections from his extensive solo catalog, the most recent of which is 2021’s Harmonics of the Night.

From the earliest days of the Police, Summers had his camera at the ready, documenting not only his dizzying ascent to rock stardom, but also the corners of the world far from the lighted stage. Asked whether having the ability to put a camera between himself and the crush of attention helped process such overwhelming moments, Summers admitted, “It’s a good question.”

“I started photographing [in the] early days of the Police,” he said. “I don’t think I consciously thought, ‘Oh my God, this is all so painful, it’s such a life experience; I’d better process it.’ It wasn’t really like that. I still have photography. … It wasn’t a five-minute interest. It stayed with me as a creative medium.

“I suppose later, you can think about it. I guess that did help me get through it in a way. You think about all the ultra-chaos that we went through; it was a way that you could be involved with it, mentally, physically, and all that stuff like a high-flying rock band might be going through. At the same time, I could be an independent observer, and try and record it in a way, too.”

Regardless of how he reaches an audience — whether visually or aurally; via the Police or through a book of his writing — Summers doesn’t hesitate when asked of the value of art, at a moment when art can often seem like a luxury or an afterthought.

“I think the world without art would be a really terrible place,” Summers said. “I think it helps us to express something about the lives we’re living … We have to have art. Life without art’s not worth living, as far as I’m concerned.”

Andy Summers at Kessler Theater, Dallas. 8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $38-$624.

Preston Jones is a North Texas freelance writer and regular contributor to KXT. Email him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter (@prestonjones). Our work is made possible by our generous, music-loving members. If you like how we lift up local music, consider becoming a KXT sustaining member right here.