Altered States

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Stewart Copeland — Fear{less} with Tim Ferriss (#581)

“Two things that cause bad decisions are anger and sex.”

— Stewart Copeland

Welcome to another episode of The Tim Ferriss Show, where it is my job to deconstruct world-class performers to tease out the routines, habits, et cetera that you can apply to your own life.

You’ll get plenty of that in this special episode, which features my interview with Stewart Copeland from my 2017 TV Show Fear{less}. The “less” is in parentheses because the objective is to teach you to fear less, not to be fearless.

Fear{less} features in-depth, long-form conversations with top performers, focusing on how they’ve overcome fears and made hard decisions, embracing discomfort and thinking big.

It was produced by Wild West Productions, and I worked with them to make both the video and audio available to you for free, my dear listeners. You can find the video of this episode on, and eventually you’ll be able to see all episodes for free at

Spearheaded by actor/producer and past podcast guest Vince Vaughn, Wild West Productions has produced a string of hit movies including The Internship, Couples Retreat, Four Christmases, and The Break-Up.

In 2020, Wild West produced the comedy The Opening Act, starring Jimmy O. Yang and Cedric The Entertainer. In addition to Fear{less}, their television credits include Undeniable with Joe Buck, ESPN’s 30 for 30 episode about the ’85 Bears, and the Netflix animated show F is for Family.

Please enjoy!

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Podcast Addict, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, Amazon Musicor on your favorite podcast platform. You can watch the interview on YouTube here.

The transcript of this episode can be found here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

#581: Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Stewart Copeland — Fear{less} with Tim Ferriss

This episode is brought to you by 5-Bullet Friday, my very own email newsletter that every Friday features five bullet points highlighting cool things I’ve found that week, including apps, books, documentaries, gadgets, albums, articles, TV shows, new hacks or tricks, and—of course—all sorts of weird stuff I’ve dug up from around the world.

It’s free, it’s always going to be free, and you can subscribe now at

What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.


Want to hear another episode with an incredibly inspiring musician? Have a listen to my conversation with Nicholas McCarthy, in which we discuss how to overcome limitations and prove doubters wrong, how to manage ego, dealing with rejection and negativity, the benefits of aromatherapy, and much more.

#174: The One-Handed Concert Pianist, Nicholas McCarthy
  • Connect with Stewart Copeland:

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube


  • On Letterman and lions: Stewart details the only two drum solos he’s done in his life (and, for the sake of participation, I share mine). [05:28]
  • The great thing about taking risks with music? It’s not paragliding. How does Stewart introduce a new musician to having fun with music without worrying about the consequences of making mistakes? [10:30]
  • With a father who was both a jazz musician and a CIA agent, what was Stewart’s childhood like? [14:09]
  • What initially drew Stewart to music, and how did his first gig go? How did these early forays into music abroad affect his evolution as a musician? [16:25]
  • How Stewart became the drummer for a band he was managing and married the singer in what looks, on paper, like a series of Machiavellian, Game of Thrones-style power moves. [20:55]
  • How did The Police come together as a band? [23:04]
  • During the early days of The Police, what did Stewart and his bandmates imagine success might look like? What milestones inched them closer to realizing this success? [27:08]
  • How does Stewart prepare for a gig? [29:52]
  • Why being in The Police was often like wearing “a Prada suit made out of barbed wire.” [32:27]
  • Circumstances that might trigger the righteous anger by which Stewart finds himself invigorated. [36:41]
  • Examples of good things that have happened to Stewart simply by saying “Yes.” [39:37]
  • How did Stewart wind up scoring Rumble Fish for Francis Ford Coppola? [41:13]
  • How does Stewart define success? [43:27]
  • Stewart’s advice for anyone from a rock and roll musical background who wants to pursue film scoring. [44:33]
  • Stewart’s advice for a budding musician trying to get their foot in the door of today’s entertainment industry, and how the process differs from when Stewart was just getting started. [46:22]
  • What music does Stewart find particularly interesting from today’s roster of artists? [48:42]
  • On favorite failures as a concept. [51:47]
  • What Stewart’s billboard would say, and parting thoughts for the audience. [52:42]


“Some of the best things happen when you don’t know what you’re doing.”
— Stewart Copeland

“You may laugh salaciously, but it’s true that—particularly for teenagers and young adults—music is the key to sex. It is the key to body language that would be unacceptable without music playing.”
— Stewart Copeland

“So much good stuff derives from just saying ‘Yes.’”
— Stewart Copeland

“Having the best idea first—that’s a leader.”
— Stewart Copeland

“That’s the great thing about music. If you played it, it’s correct. The worst musical train wreck hurts absolutely no one. It’s all part of the show. In fact it’s how we get to the great stuff. There is no penalty for skating on the edge or throwing ourselves off the cliff. So we do.”
— Stewart Copeland

“At least my spy daddy wasn’t a double agent.”
— Stewart Copeland

“Why wait for attention when you can grab it?”
— Stewart Copeland

“Two things that cause bad decisions are anger and sex.”
— Stewart Copeland

“Don’t be fearful if your music doesn’t sound like everything else on the radio, and don’t be complacent if it does.”
— Stewart Copeland


The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 700 million downloads. It has been selected for “Best of Apple Podcasts” three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it’s been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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