Thursday, May 25, 2006


The death has been announced of Ian Copeland, music promoter.

Son of CIA man Miles Copeland and brother of The Police's Stuart, Ian's break came when his brother, another Miles (founder of IRS records), got him a job in London. Ian worked as a booking agent, helping discover the Average White Band.

The Copeland boys had had a childhood in the Middle East - Ian was born in Damascus and it was a run in with police in The Lebanon which prompted his Dad to send him travelling. While George W Bush was using his Dad's influence to avoid the Vietnam war, Copeland had no such strings pulled for him and saw action in Asia as part of a three-year stint in the army.

Following his relocation to the US in the 70s, Ian introduced Squeeze to American audiences and then played an instrumental role in REM's early career. Bill Berry was working as a delivery boy at Paragon, a booking agency, which gave him an early introduction to Ian and Miles. (Mike Mills was working at Sears this time, the contacts which he would have made there wouldn't have given them the same chance to develop a global following of loyal fans, but would have meant they could have got ten percent off a new vaccuum cleaner.)

In the 1980s, Ian went it alone, setting up a booking agency (Frontier Booking International - geddit?) and offering a step up to many British new wave acts (as any British band that wasn't the Sex Pistols or the Beatles were contractually obliged to be called up until 1997).

More recently, Ian ran the Backstage Cafe, a relaxed venue in LA. The message boards for the cafe have taken on the form of an online memorial, attracting sympathy messages from characters as diverse as The Member's Nick Tesco and The Go-Gos.

Ian died of melanoma. He was 57.

Ian Copeland's autobiography, Wild Thing, was published by Simon & Schuster in 1999.