Sting in 2018. Credit: Raph PH/Wikimedia Commons

Torbay Hospital Radio: The local man behind The Police

Torbay Weekly

A couple of weeks ago I told you about Wishbone Ash, a band born in Torbay, with Martin and Glenn Turner local lads being original members.

But in the musical family was a younger brother Kim and his ambition appeared to be a drummer.

After he played in the short-lived band Cat Iron, he joined up with Andy Fraser (ex-Free), before becoming guitarist and pianist for Alternative TV.

But it is not any of these that he will be truly remembered for.

No, in the late 1970s he was asked by Miles Copeland, the well-known American music and entertainment executive, to join a little-known band as road manager and sound engineer, a choice that proved to be a good one.

The band was The Police, who you will know proved to be rather successful.

Before all the arena gigs the band could only afford one roadie and that was Kim, he was in short in charge of looking after them and on the early tours he was even driving the van they used, this was before they upgraded to a tour bus.

In 1978, The Police played a gig at Torbay Town Hall, Kim’s hometown.

The 1980s saw The Police top the charts with songs like Message in A Bottle and Can’t Stand Losing You and by this time Kim Turner was effectively working as their assistant manager and he stayed with Sting even after he had gone solo after the band split in 1984.

Kim was a fine musician and, in 1983, The Police were playing in Dortmund, Germany, when the support band, A Flock Of Seagulls, pulled out at the last minute and he proved this.

That night for one night only, a group of roadies including Kim on bass, played as the support act.

They were on for 15 minutes, sang four songs to an audience of 8,000 people.

In 1998, the collaboration with Sting ended, seemingly not on the best of terms and Kim returned to live in Torquay and pursued a number of business interests including a local skip hire company and farming, seemingly turning his back on the music industry.

Despite this, court proceedings had begun for loss of earnings from Sting although it seems unclear how this all played out.

Sadly, Kim Turner died in May 2003, following a fight against cancer.

If the rumours are to be believed shortly before he died aged 46, Sting visited him. We can only hope that whatever differences there were, were put behind them.

Kim was a clearly talented and driven individual and his involvement helped develop one of the most famous bands of the last century.

Written by Paul Harding, presenter at Torbay Hospital Radio

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