Friday, May 26, 2006

RIP: Ian Copeland

New Wave pioneer Ian Copeland passed away this week.

The Copeland family was crucial in the late 70's in formulating an American presence for New Wave: older brother Miles founded IRS Records, younger brother Stewart drummed for The Police. Ian was a promoter and manager, primarily. He was a Vietnam vet who claimed to have fought the Vietcong while on acid, and then returned to the States to join the anti-war movement.

Copeland began negotiating music industry minefields in the early 1970s when, as a booking agent in London, he was credited with elevating Average White Band, they of the funky instrumental "Pick up the Pieces," to hit-maker status.

Back in the States in the mid-1970s, Copeland dived into Southern rock, setting up tours for the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Charlie Daniels Band.

His signature moment came in the late 1970s when, in the Times' estimation, he "created the club circuit," finding gigs for acts such as Squeeze in venues where disco balls previously spun.

As the founder of Frontier Booking International (FBI), Copeland proved a reliable tipster for Miles Copeland's I.R.S. Among the Ian Copeland acts signed to new-wave friendly I.R.S.: R.E.M., the Go-Gos, the Bangles and the Police, which Miles also managed.

Owing to Stewart Copeland's Police, Miles Copeland's I.R.S. and Ian Copeland's FBI, the Hollywood Reporter dubbed the siblings the music world's "law enforcement clan."

In 1995, Ian Copeland said of his company's moniker to


I have to confess, I never really thought about the Police/FBI/IRS nexus. And yet their dad was CIA. Huh. Good thing Karl Rove didn't know.

His biography is here.

4 comments:

¡El Gato Negro! said...

Was there no a seester, una hermana, named Nadine Susan Anna Copeland?

¿eh?

olvlzl said...

I don't know if anyone remembers but the death of Desmond Dekker, of The Aces was last week. I believe he's the first ska musician to have a hit in the U.S. "Israelite".

JeffCO said...

Here's another I just saw, don't notice it below - Grant McClennan of the Go-Betweens on May 6. Here's a link to a notice. :(

Tlachtga said...

Oddly enough, Copeland's dad, Miles, wasn't just CIA, but was in deep with the Middle East during the 1950s--such as helping to destabilize Iraq in the pre-Hussein era.

All of which I find somewhat amusing (well, as a cosmic joke that's not always funny), given that the living he provided his kids with eventually brought us bands like R.E.M.