Recalling the night I sang three Police songs with Andy Summers in Havana

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It’s the greatest cocktail party story that Nestor Aparicio has in a lifetime journey that has exceeded all expectations. Back in March 1999 while in Havana, Cuba covering the Orioles historic baseball visit and Fidel Castro, he ran into Woody Harrelson and Andy Summers in La Bodeguita del Medio and convinced the legendary Hall of Fame guitarist from The Police to join a local band. Summers insisted that Nestor play the role of Sting in the band. Let the trio who were there tell you about it…

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

bar, play, andy summers, cuban, woody, jerry, pictures, scott, starts, andy, song, people, woody harrelson, ran, game, joan osborne, jimmy, great, stadium, good

SPEAKERS

JC, Scotty P, Nestor Aparicio

Nestor Aparicio  00:00

Oh, dinner is outstanding. We leave Oh kapitolyo and decide we’re going to come back and in order to get into the nightclubs, you got to have long pants on so we didn’t have long pants on. So we came back to sell to change our clothes, maybe have a cocktail, you know? And we said let’s go back to the Botha Gita and like start our evening there again, like we were before because we kind of liked the vibe of the bar there.

Scotty P  00:19

Wow, yeah, we’d like the Italian stewardesses. We’d like the Kuba Libras at this point we had switched to Cuba Libre is like in an

Nestor Aparicio  00:27

alley that a cruelty free way. Yeah, it is. And a Koopa Libre is basically a Pepsi with a little lemon juice, a little rum and, and a lime inside the drink. So that’s an as a very refreshing cocktail.

JC  00:40

And let’s talk about our driver here because he was a good guy. You were talking to him. We had him waiting for us the whole night.

Nestor Aparicio  00:46

I told Roberta, we’re going to take care of you at the end of the night and you just stick with us my friend and he did he didn’t

Scotty P  00:50

go anywhere in New York. That guy would have been out of there in a second. So to give me my wall outside the bars waiting for a cigarette just waiting for hours before they say so.

Nestor Aparicio  00:59

Here comes here comes we’re coming to the end of the good part. We’re getting into the crescendo with the story. This is this is the key part of story. We walk in and we had one Kuba libre. And then we had a second Kuba Libra. We were we really didn’t want to stay long. We had a plan and we were going to one of the state owned discos. So what happens is, Scott looks up and

Scotty P  01:23

your way we had, we were watching the baseball game and we were starting to feel good. We didn’t want to leave because the cupola rays were flying.

Nestor Aparicio  01:31

They were federal flying my back was to the door so I didn’t know what was going on. Okay, so Scott looks up and says, we have a woody sighting.

Scotty P  01:39

Let’s go Nestor. There’s Woody Harrelson.

Nestor Aparicio  01:41

There’s Woody Harrelson. What the hell’s he doing here? And

Scotty P  01:43

this bar is the size? No,

Nestor Aparicio  01:45

let’s really tell it. There’s about 10 people in the bar, this bar the front part of the bar, I want to say. I mean, I want to compare it to somebody attacking half

Scotty P  01:55

of John Stevenson’s John Stephens bar. I mean, it’s it’s sort of

Nestor Aparicio  02:00

like the front of lead betters would you say? But not even that not even that big. Not even that not even that big. I’m trying to compare to something if you’d like to Towson area, I mean, the bar at Michaels is twice as big as this. This is a is a bar to 30 people are in there would be elbow to elbow, complete elbow to elbow. I mean 15 to 20 comfortably. So Woody Harrelson walks in with a

Scotty P  02:22

couple high school teacher looking guys. Yeah, a couple of

Nestor Aparicio  02:26

middle aged white guys. We weren’t even paying attention. We weren’t paying attention, because it’s Woody. Right? And no one recognizes Woody. It’s all Spanish speaking people. Cuban people. Yeah. So nobody knows who he is.

02:36

Am I back to the door and the next thing I hear I’m looking at you we’re drinking our drink. A woody wanted to come on over and have a drink with us.

Nestor Aparicio  02:43

And he did and he did. And he was more hours. Yeah. So when he comes over, sits down with us. We can water him up a mojito with no sugar, because he’s got like, right, he was there. He was anti Sugar, sugar. So I look up and I see the other one of the other. He had three guys with him. I see one of the guys faces and I’m like, You’re Patti Maloney from the chieftains. He’s like, Oh, your thank you. You know, I can’t do an Irish accent or not. But he was he’s in

03:09

the irony was so happy someone recognized him in Cuba. He’s about four foot 11.

Nestor Aparicio  03:12

So we bought him a drink. And now we’re talking. And Scott is deep in a conversation with paddy Moloney

Scotty P  03:18

just haven’t heard that he was so comfortable near Baltimore. He plays Baltimore every year they play with the money. So I mean, he, we we just, we were talking we were we had grandkids

Nestor Aparicio  03:26

in mind. Now there are 12 people in this bar. There’s me Scott cherry, the four guys that have come in and maybe eight to 10 Cabano. So not

Scotty P  03:35

paying any attention who can’t speak a lick English. They

Nestor Aparicio  03:38

don’t know what’s going on what’s going on. So I go to the right and it’s one guy sitting all alone. He’s about five foot four.

03:45

Well, the introduction start, we got introduced, we introduced what he introduced us and Patti Maloney introduced us to the other people, right? And the guy says, Hi, I’m

Nestor Aparicio  03:52

Andy Summers. I hit Scott.

Scotty P  03:55

I didn’t hear this.

Nestor Aparicio  03:56

I heard it. I heard like, Scott, this is Andy Summers, you know, Andy Summers, you know, and you said,

8

Scotty P  04:04

Andy Summers of the police.

Nestor Aparicio  04:08

So, so we, you know, we were like, let me take a break and we’ll pick the story up on the way back in. Let’s you say that a lot of Mojito is in Oh, and Kuba

04:18

Lee and let’s just say a lot more people showed up at this bar by the time we

Scotty P  04:22

pay attention to that yet. We’re in our little circle of what eight of us or seven of us the drinks were flying and we were pretty oblivious to what was going on.

Nestor Aparicio  04:29

We’ll finish the story. We will pick up the story here with some police music right now. It is 543 with Stephen at taking a break. When we leave you we are at the voting booth Boogie Domenico Jerry Scott nasty. Patty Maloney of the chieftains Andy Summers of the police and Woody Harrelson

Scotty P  04:46

and somebody’s road manager. It was like Joan Osborne,

Nestor Aparicio  04:50

whatever Australian guy named Glenn Baker. Alright, back for more right after this. All right, so when we left you, we were in In voting FortiGate to Domenico, which is the Hemingway Hemingway bar that seats a maximum of 30 people. There are seven gringos of which myself Jerry Scott from me cheese. And Glen Baker was a road manager we think Joan Osborne and Andy Summers in the police paddy Moloney, the chieftains and Woody Harrelson. Finally, somebody behind the bar says the woody act door act door at door and he says, Yeah, I’m an actor, you know? And

Scotty P  05:32

so it was more like, Yeah, I’m an actor.

Nestor Aparicio  05:36

Okay, so what he gets back takes pictures and now they realize that what he’s a celebrity, right? They don’t know who the other guys are. They could care less. The whole thing is going on. Three musicians enter the bar, and I’m having a spirited debate with Andy Summers about we drink. Do you remember? We were so drunk, we toasted to Zenyatta? Medina. Remember that?

Scotty P  05:58

Banks were flying. I did not even know the bar was so small. It started getting so crowded. I did not even know there was a band over there. I’m over here with Coleman and Woody and Patti were talking I did not even know there was a band and they were playing like Cuban music. With no amps or anything. They were just playing playing

06:15

a lot. Cucaracha

Nestor Aparicio  06:16

Gracia, that’s absolutely what they were playing. They’re playing some tunes and having a good time. So finally, I shout out to them. I said, play some gringo music. You know, I said Allah, you know, because you’re playing all Spanish music.

Scotty P  06:29

It’s all they know. Right? And I have no idea this is going on. I’m over here talking to the guys. I have no idea. Nesta is even in communication with the bay. I don’t even know there’s guitars in this room.

Nestor Aparicio  06:38

So the guy starts ripping out some eagles. And this is like the best version. I’ve seen eagles. This was a better version of this

06:47

song. It was a great acoustic version. Right acoustic where I’m sitting

Scotty P  06:50

with my back for the band. I’m talking to Woody Harrelson Patti. I hear this start playing just like this right matches like this. And I hear Don Henley starts singing right. I look around I go. That’s Nestor singing. Nestor was singing Hotel California. And it sounded awesome. You weren’t drunk. You’re drunk. Now, Andy, I’m not kidding you. I was the man could not believe it. First of all, I couldn’t believe he was singing. Second of all, I couldn’t believe it was awesome, right? So what he turns around and goes, Man, this guy is good. And he starts clapping. And he runs up there. And they are just jamming. You had their admiration. Bar started screaming the choruses. I mean, it was it was a magical moment. It was it was nice. It really was,

Nestor Aparicio  07:39

like 25 or 30 people but it’s packed because that’s all basically it was awesome. So Woody and I we had the whole bar singing the song, what do you and I start to do the verses together right here. And when he took this right here stood in the doorway. It was good. It was awesome. It was really good. It’s awesome. So we’re rocking, rocking, places going crazy. And and now woody start and when the songs are well, I play a little bit. The song stands, right? So and we played like a long verse because Woody and I screwed the words up. We went back pick the song up again. We did like the standard version Hotel California. So what he’s like, Man, this is great. We gotta get we gotta get Andy to play. So what he starts egging Andy on about getting up and playing. And I start egging India, and then he’s like, Oh, come on. Very, very timid, very modest.

08:32

8

And laid back very low, Andy.

Nestor Aparicio  08:33

And he’s like, you know, they’re Cuban guys, and I don’t speak any Spanish. I mean, I would feel like I’m violating he felt like he was taking over their state, you know, he’s like, it’s their stage. And, and he was so enjoying the music. He was really, really, really enjoying. So he says, Finally, I’ll go off and play. But somebody’s got to tell them, you know, that, that I, you know, I want to do this out of respect to them. And I went up, I said, No problem, I’ll take care of it. So I go up, and I speak some Spanish to the guys. And I said, Look, this guy is, you know, Musa, they phimosis a, you know, the whole world. I said, this guy is a major star. And they start to understand and they, you know, they asked me who is he? And I said, I police, a police, police car. And they said, you know, respect Devo respect, we’re, you know, this bit evil thing got key. So Andy takes the guitar, and he looks at me and he’s had, he’s about 80 pounds soaking wet. And he said, guy, he said, somebody’s got to sing. He said, You got to sing if I’m going to play you bee sting. He said, You’ve got to sing if I’m going to play. And I said, and I said, Jerry, what are we doing here? And Jerry says,

09:42

What did I say? I said, Roxanne, you said Roxanne?

Nestor Aparicio  09:45

He said I don’t want to do that when and he said let me tune the guitar. So you start tuning the guitar. And then Jerry starts yelling out les message in a bottle. Hey, Jerry Shetland, everything. It’s a free bird.

09:56

So I was yelling police. So

Nestor Aparicio  09:57

Andy says to Annie summer says to me You Know What key do you want to sing this in? I said what a just play it whenever sting did out do you know so and he’s like gets gets real close to me and it starts rocking it out man to start firing it up magical

Scotty P  10:14

it was it was mystical was I believe it was a Rolling Stone random note.

Nestor Aparicio  10:18

So I’m the only one at a bar apparently knows all the words.

Scotty P  10:21

No, you’re the only one in the bar with the guts to get up there and sing what they Eddie summer. That’s a good point. It’s a good point. I mean, come on.

Nestor Aparicio  10:29

So Andy Summers and I want to do on a three song, little mini set. We did every breath you take. And the best part is the crowd started getting because they knew this when even the Cuban people and the Spanish people knew this song. So now the whole bar

Scotty P  10:43

when you see the pictures here you sing with Andy’s like the veins are bulging out of your neck. I mean, you were singing,

Nestor Aparicio  10:48

I was bringing it. I was bringing the magic is what I was. And

10:51

I must say you were under a lot of pressure because you had had a few in you. Right. And you had to come up with the right lyrics. You were standing right next to the guy that was part of the group. The song you didn’t want to insult them. You don’t realize how much pressure you want to hit home run. You hit a home run. Well, they might say

Nestor Aparicio  11:09

this was a this was a tough one to sing it just when it gets to the high part. You know, you know since you had gone out the last week out of the trade. I mean, that was tough. And you had woody back in you and what he was what he was behind me 125% And I really appreciate that so we did that. Then Jerry starts yelling out the doo doo da and he’s yelling in a bottle with every little bit of bottle he says next thing he does he goes into a little bit of this right here this was nice. And we didn’t go to worse to this at all.

Scotty P  11:38

But but it sounds

Nestor Aparicio  11:39

scary yells out just the castaway got started. And then the crowd starts going into that again. Oh, it was great. It was great. It was nice. And then finally we ended with this one right here. And he had he had the chords going it was nice. So I think I was the only one of the bar could sing this one because it’s very tough so I was doing this one you took it to a new level YEAH. OH Not all that all that thing one and a half.

Scotty P  12:06

He looked over and goes nights like this or what memories of made up everybody will remember that

Nestor Aparicio  12:13

we got photographic evidence is gonna be all over the way it was everyone’s

12:17

first trip to Cuba even Woody and you know and Andy Summers they had never been

Nestor Aparicio  12:21

all in a place.

Scotty P  12:22

as memorable as the night was to us it was equally as memorable to them. You remember the guy brought back the pictures they scarfed those pictures five bucks man they all wanted to pitch wouldn’t give it up. Otherwise had a great night. Yeah. So

Nestor Aparicio  12:34

we were there good two hours and they started playing more Spanish songs Guantanamo Mata and you know stuff that people will not buy. They play the bomba. Yeah, they wouldn’t play fully snobby dad. So we started at an air probably about 4am or thereabouts. And the head was pounding the next morning about 9am. And I ran into my good friend Julio from Tommy’s Mexican restaurant, San Francisco, and outside of disco later in the evening

Scotty P  13:01

that you just brushed right over that literally ran into him. Neither one of you knew you didn’t know you were in a country I had no you ran into him in Havana. This

Nestor Aparicio  13:09

guy is probably one of my top. Yeah, my 15 best friends in the world. I mean, this guy is like, if I get married tomorrow, he flies me. This guy is a great friend of mine that I’ve made in my travels owns the best Mexican restaurants San Francisco. I live at that place when I’m on the West Coast. And I’ve just ran into him outside of a club. I mean, just ran into. So he’s there. He’s a huge baseball fan. He meets me in the morning, we have breakfast, and we go to the game and you want to the search that we’ve already been through. Right. Let’s go to the game. It’s game day. They’re on the bus go into the gates hot as hell. I mean, and we’re but

13:42

let’s set the scene though. This was this was the mother of all days in Cuba. Oh, no. What is the day they had been looking for? For two for 40? This is 33 Super Bowls on one day. Absolutely. One day as the media bus is heading towards the stadium. The streets are packed. People are walking towards the stadium. They have their Cuban flags in their hands. I mean, they’re all going to the same place. Whether they’re getting in or not. Let’s face it, most of them were not getting in because it was invitation only. It was 55,000 mostly a Fidel’s friends that were getting in there. But people just wanted to be a part of the scene. And they had already most of it already gotten there around eight or nine in the morning.

Nestor Aparicio  14:20

And they were basically surrounding the stadium, people who couldn’t get in, just wanted to be part of the vibe and we’re hanging outside of stay until the game started. Then they all ran inside to watch it on TV. Yes.

14:30

I mean, I understand that you could walk through the streets of Havana that were basically empty. And all you could hear is the play by play the game. Yeah. Tell

Nestor Aparicio  14:37

the story about outside of a bodega on Saturday night when the baseball game we got to tell the baseball store Saturday night to

Scotty P  14:42

you know, we it was a brawl. This is great story. We were watching the game two of the World Series on TV and the bar. This is a pre Woody and there was a controversial play where it was it was a bun attempt the pitcher dough for it. It looked like it hit the pitchers glove because there’s one foul They called it a fair ball because it looks like the pitcher hit it when replay didn’t. But that manager came out and basically manhandled the up

Nestor Aparicio  15:08

just shoved him through him. I’m glad. I mean, they

15:11

handled it in the States. He won a game suspension.

Scotty P  15:16

It was outrageous. It was really out of the blue. The call ended up costing the team well, the home team ended up winning when the cause of the bad

Nestor Aparicio  15:23

call. I think it was 75 game lead off home run. There’s one out guide lays down a bunt pitcher doesn’t touch the ball. The ball should have rolled foul. They call it a single guy steal second base. Next guy singles ties the game next. Yeah, it just went to hell. From there. It was like the Maryland good the wheel fell off and hits a double off the wall. Next gates is single and they win. As they won. We literally were in a cab, grabbed our cab went around the corner, three guys run out of a bar and jumped.

Scotty P  15:54

waving their arms jumping up in three days.

16:01

It was a great compromise.

Nestor Aparicio  16:02

Oh man, it was insanity with the World Series. And now they had lost the first game. So and they were down seven, five in the ninth innings. And they made this comeback and these people in the streets

Scotty P  16:14

honk on the car. It was in Spanish.

Nestor Aparicio  16:17

And our cabinet is looked at as he said. Okay, so gametime on Sunday, that one o’clock. We’re in the stadium. And basically I’m looking to get a picture with Jimmy Buffett and because they’re the rockstars and we should go back because people are asking what the hell are Woody Harrelson and Andy Summers doing? We have explained that yet? No, there is a thing called the Music bridge that is a group that every year goes into a third world country somewhere and makes music with famous American British Austrian theory. First world, you know, Western civilization rockstars but there hadn’t been anything in Cuba

Scotty P  16:51

like this since 7069 59. You know, why No, Billy Joel was there in the 70s but this mutual exchange that said in USA Today 19 This

Nestor Aparicio  16:59

is a musical exchange and unbelievable I mean, Buffett, Bonnie Raitt, David Sanborn, Andy Summers and Stuart Copan. From the police. pantaloni Peter Buck from REM what they did is they

Scotty P  17:11

took 18 names, put them in a hat 18 Cuban names, put them in a hat, drew one of each. And then those two artists spent the week writing a song.

Nestor Aparicio  17:17

Montel Jordan was one of them. And they put names in the hat. It’s played, Mick Fleetwood was there. It was an incredible thing. But there were no girls, Indigo Girls were there. Joan Osborne, who gave the best performance? Yeah, I

Scotty P  17:29

mean, she was electrifying. I don’t know much about her but she was great. And

Nestor Aparicio  17:32

we want to go into that on send it I’m sure we’ll get to that in a couple of minutes. But there were a lot of rock stars at the stadium to Mick Fleetwood was there done was was there who’s the guy that hangs out with Jack Nicholson at the at the Lou Adler Lou Adler Adler was there fainted at the game in the first inning first and he Jimmy was that who went down? Lou Adler we came back we got it. We caught up on our sleep a little bit and we went the Music bridge concert. Now the way the concert work was all week long. They rehearse songs and they played them one time. One night one place you saw us will never be recorded anywhere. They will never be available on CD or any was video we videotape. I don’t know who by and professionally to I mean, we like to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that he comes on. It’ll be on the Cuban black market in probably a week. Yeah, probably. Well, it was at the Karl Marx theater. Yeah. Karl Marx theater where the K and the one of the RS burn out and out. So it’s the ARO Max in the pictures as the aural Max theater but we basically snuck our way in there was zero security and Scott and I basically watched the entire show from the stage

Scotty P  18:34

from the wing signals

18:35

right on signs out all the security was at the baseball game.

Nestor Aparicio  18:38

Jimmy Buffett and I are hanging out rapping Scott took the absolute to apologize publicly for what you did.

Scotty P  18:44

First of all, I took how many pictures 300 pics 300 pictures. How many pictures did not come out perfect one.

Nestor Aparicio  18:51

It’s not in the barber chair. It’s not one

Scotty P  18:58

picture out of 300 is not perfect. It is the one of you and Buffett Parrothead it’s not just

Nestor Aparicio  19:03

not perfect. It’s horrible. It’s disgrace. Is that the backlit one that you look like two shadows. Oh, no, no, it’s blurry

19:10

one.

Nestor Aparicio  19:11

It’s the blurry one. Oh, you know what it looks like? Let’s say you went to Ocean City and they had a cardboard cutout of Jimmy and I stood next to it is that it looks it Yeah,

Scotty P  19:21

it does not look Oh, that’s horrible. Well, we

19:24

should we should preface this by saying that Jimmy blew you off at the ballpark big time. All right. We were able to recover a couple of hours later. That was an amazing thing.

Nestor Aparicio  19:32

Jimmy and I were hung out and we’re okay and I get nothing negative

Scotty P  19:35

to say I love Jimmy Buffett but he is not a friendly fella.

Nestor Aparicio  19:38

I love Jimmy Jimmy shoveling bad you can cheer

Scotty P  19:45

me on he is no Jonah was born. Yeah.

Nestor Aparicio  19:50

Good point. Good point. Well, I basically we did that and we went back to the place we had dinner like before. That kind of wraps up so we had a 6am Wake up call On one and a half hours on the

Scotty P  20:01

air and you did not mention one thing about how beautiful Cuban women were. Let’s talk

Nestor Aparicio  20:05

about the Cuban women. Come on, let’s talk about the Cuban women, right? They were outstanding driving in, not just outstanding like in just a matter attractive but like nice haircuts, nice clothing. Just I mean, not just the women to the men were prideful and dressed well, and, you know, as much as I heard, they don’t have soap and that guy didn’t smell Bo in three days now. I mean, I

Scotty P  20:25

think the American press corps felt smelled much.

20:29

I was told one bar of soap a month for each family higher. Yeah, absolutely. But the Cuban women they would not let them come back to our hotel and

Nestor Aparicio  20:36

we’ve talked to the best part. What are the what are the worst parts about about

Scotty P  20:39

leaving the airport the next the last day getting to the airport, just

20:44

mass confusion. The Orioles even complained about they weren’t going to have to pay a $20 tax to leave like the other common folks. This was some kind of surprise. I read the Orioles were upset. They were faced with this $20 departure tax in most countries, most countries, they have a departure tax they charge $20 for it. It’s just there was only one person taking the 20

Scotty P  21:04

Wasn’t the money. It was just a nightmare. I mean, what you know, it’s but it’s funny seeing you know, Bonnie Raitt. And Dan, do can’t have to wait. Waiting in line behind. It didn’t matter who you were. That’s my VIPs.

Nestor Aparicio  21:16

Bonnie rates got her guitar over her shoulder. Yeah. Behind the back of flip flops.

21:22

We caught her Barney wait. I mean.

Nestor Aparicio  21:25

Well, we’ll sign it off here. And I’ll step out take a break. We’ll wrap things up here. But I want to thank you, gentlemen, for making my Cuban experience what it was. Let’s

21:35

do it again in 40 years.

Scotty P  21:37

Let’s do it again in June.

21:39

Let’s have to go to another country to get there. Man break the State Department’s not listening, encouraging

Nestor Aparicio  21:44

breaking international law. Thank you, Jerry. Always pleasure.

Scotty P  21:47

Well, Jerry did break 17 international laws this weekend. That’s

Nestor Aparicio  21:51

Jerry Jerry. And I’m not going to implicate Jerry, just to say that. He made this you made the trip worthwhile. I’m glad you were on it. It was fun.

Scotty P  21:59

I’m glad you’re I appreciate you letting me go on. And so it was an honor and a privilege and it was a once in a lifetime experience. And I will always treasure

Nestor Aparicio  22:05

in all of your production help around here on special events and all that good stuff. So hey, breakout, we’ll come back and wrap things up right after this meeting.

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