Ian Copeland Remembered, Part I
My brother Ian has died. His last weeks were peaceful and serene, surrounded by his family. He met his fate with courage, grace and even a little humor. After Miles’ update to all of you, I was able to relay to him your flood of prayers and good wishes. He liked that. He was very weak but was able to say ‘Cheers and regards.’ I am devastated beyond words.
Ian Copeland was both my friend and my booking agent for most of my career. He lived his life with the easy going, relaxed philosophy of a man who’d been under fire and survived, as if the violence that he’d witnessed and taken part in during his service in Vietnam had given him a broader perspective on the important things of life. He was not driven by any grandiose ambitions, or the impossible demands of an overblown ego. He was self-possessed and confident enough to take genuine pleasure in the worldly success of those close to him without taking any of it too seriously. Very little seemed to faze him. His agreeable humor became a constant that could be relied on as a counter to the often hysterical absurdities of a music business in constant flux and turmoil. I would seek out the pleasure of his company, marvel at his dry wit, and listen raptly to his self-deprecating, humorous and often terrifying stories. He was a brave man to the end, a great father and mentor, an inspiration to all of those who worked with him. “Leroy” was the life and soul of any party. The world is a darker place now that he’s gone. We shall miss him terribly.
A very rare combination in these times: a great man, an honest agent and a true friend. When he quit being an agent I was very sad. Now Ian is no longer with us. I’m truly at a loss. Thank you for the memories Leroy, you were my hero. My thoughts are with Barbara and Chandra at this time – hang in there girls, you were the lights of his life. I’ll see you again, Leroy.
Billy Francis, Sting tour manager
Ian Copeland was the man responsible for bringing New Wave music to America. When Ian believed in something, he believed in it with passion. He believed in it so much that he made everyone else believe in it, too. And he was absolutely right.
Courteney Cox Arquette
Buddhists believe that you can help your friend at this time by sending him love and encouragementas he faces his new adventure. I have always found it to be more useful than grieving too much. So let’s send Ian our thanks, our love and our support. When he could have chosen any way to behave, he was wonderfully kind to me.
Dave Wakeling, musician
Ian Copeland gave me my wings to fly! He gave me the freedom to become the agent that he saw in me all along. Starting FBI with him in ’79 and the six years that followed was the greatest adventure of my life. He was a great agent who operated from the heart. He had the passion, the ears, and the gut instinct that helped drive a music revolution in the late ’70s and early ’80s. I’ll never forget Ian buying two used 15-passenger vans – pulling the seats out of one to haul gear and using the other to haul the artists. The bands would fly in from England, do a club tour and fly back with money in their pockets! A novel concept back then, like it would be again today.
John Huie – booking agent, CAA Nashville
Ian Copeland meant the world to me. I’m not a poet, a writer or a singer. I know six chords on the guitar and I’m crap at playing drums. However, Ian once said, “My instrument is the telephone.” And because of Ian, it turned out that was my instrument, too. He taught me how to be a booking agent. It wasn’t just watching him cut deals; it was all about watching him operate. He had endless wit, charm, warmth and intelligence – the likes I’d never seen before or since. I wanted to be Ian Copeland, not just work for him. He was that inspiring, and I know I’m not alone in saying so. And let’s not forget about the music. Ian Copeland was my idol, my mentor and, most importantly, my friend. His impact on my life is enormous and I will miss him more than you can ever imagine.
Steve Ferguson – booking agent / Little Big Man Booking
Ian and I were partners for 11 years. We worked together at Paragon in Macon starting in 1977 or 1978. He became my closest friend during our tenure together, which ended in 1992. We traveled the world having the greatest time two guys could have, and made money at it. His contribution to our business was much greater than just touring. His contribution was to the development of modern music. He was the driving force behind the New Wave movement. He was the go-to-guy for young, first release, New Wave bands in Europe. He developed a circuit in which young European acts could come over, work and go home not in debt. His dedication to the artists and their music is still unparalleled. No one loved music more than Ian. I will miss my brother as long as I live.
Buck Williams – booking agent / The Progressive Global Agency
Ian found a new generation of promoter for a new generation of artist. He established a touring circuit outside the mainstream that all took note of. He achieved amazing results for his clients. The touring industry changed with the times because Ian Copeland set the standard. Frontier Booking International was a productive and happy place to be. It was a family. Ian’s knowledge, direction, love of music and especially the hospitality that he extended to each of us made it so. We worked our asses off for Ian and it was always fun. No one in our field has ever touched so many lives both professionally and personally as did Ian Copeland. No one ever will.
Andy Somers – booking agent / The Agency Group