Stewart Copeland says he and former Police bandmate Sting "get on famously" - when they are not in a band together.
The 'Every Breath You Take' hitmakers - which also featured guitarist Andy Summers - split in 1984 after releasing five albums, and the group's former drummer has admitted the "conflict" cost them their friendship, until they later realised that it was their differences over music that was causing their rift.
The 67-year-old sticksman told the latest issue of Radio Times magazine: “For Sting, music was a painkiller, an anaesthetic, a way to escape from the evil, harsh, grim world, to a place of utter, unassailable, unblemished beauty.
“For me, it’s a celebration: let’s light up this room and let’s have fun.
“This can overlap – we made five albums as the Police.
"But the conflict grew and grew, out of that diversity of purpose. "And now we understand that, and Sting and I get along famously … as long as we’re not playing music!”
Within a year of forming in 1977, the three members started squabbling over Sting's control of the band.
In his 2006 tome, 'One Train Later', Andy recalled a fight during a recording session for their 1981 album, 'Ghost in the Machine'.
He wrote: "Sting goes berserk on me.
"Calling me every name under the sun with considerable vehemence, leaving everyone in the room white-faced and in shock."
Sting later admitted: "We were different generations, in Andy's case, welded together by a flag of convenience ... Part of the frustration was that Stewart and Andy were driven to write.
"It's difficult to tell somebody it's not a good song, and it was usually me."
The chart-topping band reunited for a worldwide tour in 2007, which ended in 2008.
Sting said in 2010 he didn't want to rejoin the group because he found the music they were making was uninspiring.
At the time, he said: "It wasn't easy. There was nothing new in it - no new songs, no new energy, no desire to take that as a platform and move somewhere else."
The 'Roxanne' hitmaker also compared a reunion to a divorced couple reuniting and said nothing could tempt him to do it again.
He explained: "People reacted to The Police coming back as if mum and dad had got together, you could see that emotion in the audience. But who really wants to go and live with the wife you divorced? I won't do it again. But I don't need to I've done it now."
Despite his negative feelings, Sting didn't regret the reunion in 2007.
He said: "I had an instinct that it was the right time to realise that asset, and I was right. It was purely an exercise in nostalgia."
Stewart Copeland’s Adventures in Music is a 3-part series starting on Friday 17 January, 9.30pm on BBC Four.