The Joni Mitchell Rehearsal Request That Shocked Andy Summers
The former Police guitarist knows this because he once performed with Mitchell in 1989 on a television special supporting environmental action called Our Common Future. The five-hour show was globally broadcast from Avery Fisher Hall in New York City and also featured stars like Sting, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Diana Ross, R.E.M. and Kenny Loggins.
Mitchell was set to play "The Three Great Stimulants" from 1985's Dog Eat Dog. Performing with her would be Summers, Herbie Hancock, Larry Klein, Wayne Shorter and Omar Hakim. But first, they'd need to rehearse.
"I said, 'OK, well, what time do you want to practice?'" Summers remembered asking Mitchell. "She said, 'Oh, come over at one o'clock.' 'Oh, it's at lunchtime.' And then suddenly, the phone went silent. She said, 'No, 1 a.m.' I thought, 'Fuck.'"
This was, after all, the same person who once sang, "I'm up all night in the studio, and you're up early on your ranch." Mitchell has kept practically nocturnal hours for much of her career. "I'm a night owl," she told NPR in 2014, speaking to them close to midnight. "This is noon for me. Yeah, I'm like a Broadway baby."
Summers decided the best course of action was to get some rest before his call time: "I thought, 'How am I going to be able to play well at one o'clock in the morning? I'm going to have to go to sleep,'" Summers tells UCR in an exclusive interview. "I think I went to sleep for a couple of hours – or at least I tried to. That's my memory, between seven and nine, and then got up."
Even today, Mitchell's friend and collaborator Brandi Carlile says Mitchell is accustomed to staying up until the early hours of the morning hosting her Joni Jams. Mitchell is the last one to call it a night.