Ian Copeland, the influential booking agent and music impresario for punk and new wave acts, died of melanoma in Los Angeles on Tuesday. He was 57.
Copeland’s younger brother, Stewart, was a founder of and drummer for the Police and went on to become a film and television composer. His brother Miles was the founder of Intl. Records Syndicate.
Ian Copeland founded Frontier Booking Intl., the New York talent agency that represented the Police, R.E.M., XTC, the B-52s and the Go-Gos.
Born in Damascus, Syria, Copeland was the son of the late Miles Copeland Jr., a former jazz trumpeter-turned-U.S. intelligence officer.
He joined the U.S. Army at the height of the Vietnam War, receiving several medals of honor and earning the enduring nickname Leroy Coolbreeze.
Moving to London, he worked as a booking agent for acts including the Average White Band. In the mid-’70s, Copeland moved to Macon, Ga. At the Paragon Agency there, he booked tours for Southern rockers including Charlie Daniels, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers Band.
He began booking tours for new bands such as Squeeze, the Police and a local Georgia band, the B-52s.
When Paragon suddenly folded during the height of the Police’s popularity with “Roxanne,” Copeland started his own booking outfit, F.B.I., specializing in promoting new musical acts on the burgeoning U.S. club circuit.
F.B.I. became an influential talent agency, repping acts including Adam Ant, the Bangles, the Go-Gos, the Smiths, the Thompson Twins, the Fixx, UB40, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Oingo Boingo, the Dead Kennedys and the Cure. Copeland also signed R.E.M., co-founded by his longtime Macon friend and Paragon co-worker Bill Berry.
The three brothers were named humanitarians of the year in 1985 by the AMC Cancer Research Center.
Autobiography “Wild Thing: The Backstage, On the Road, In the Studio, Off the Charts Memoirs of Ian Copeland” was published in 1995.
In recent years, Copeland opened the Backstage Cafe in Beverly Hills.
He is survived by two daughters; his mother; brothers Miles III and Stewart; and sister Lennie, a writer and producer.