Opening Salvo

96 Tears

Welcome to Copper #96!

One thousand, three hundred and twenty-three days ago, the first issue of Copper came out. What you’re now reading is, as stated, the ninety-sixth issue. That means that a new issue of Copper has appeared every 13.78 days, since the beginning.

Astonishingly enough, that is precisely on schedule. Regulars know that Copper appears (as if by magic!!) every other Monday. Depending on which confusing and contradictory definition you choose, that makes the mag biweekly. Or bimonthly. Maybe both.

Here’s the reason for this drawn-out pedantry: I cannot think of another single thing in my life where I’ve managed to stick to a schedule, and deliver according to expectations, day after day, month after month…and year after year. For that reason alone, Copper is, to me, a miracle.

Way back in the early spring of 2016, Paul McGowan came to me wearing the mischievous grin that I know means trouble. What he said, guaranteed trouble:

“I want to do a magazine.”

After a few deep breaths, I began a panicked-but-reasoned analysis of why an actual old-school paper magazine was a fool’s errand. He quickly clarified that it was to be an online mag, and I breathed a little easier.

Until he told me it needed to be a weekly.

As the structure came together, the weekly thing fell by the wayside; it was clear that every two weeks would be challenging enough, both for the staff, and for the readers. That was a relief, but the challenges remained.

Our friend Seth Godin named the mag and wrote a column. We created a wish-list of potential writers, and not only did many join us, I’m grateful beyond words that several are still with us, after all this time.

Three of our regular columnists have been with the mag since the first issue. In the order in which they appear in the mag: Larry Schenbeck, Dan Schwartz, and Richard Murison have each contributed thousands of words and shared their expertise and their own peculiar perspectives–and I use “peculiar” in the sense of unusual, or special. I’ve learned a great deal from them in terms of musical and technical knowledge, and I’ve also learned from their unfailing professionalism and grace. I’m not sure how I can ever express my gratitude for their hard work and their gracious support. Thank you, guys.

Woody Woodward has been with us almost as long, starting with #2. We may disagree about stylistic issues, but never about music—he’s shown that he has impeccable taste in tunes, and has his own unique take on them. Thanks so much, Woody.

We’ve had several writers come and go: a column every two weeks can be pretty demanding. Duncan Taylor was with us in the first issue, and his tales of live recordings appeared through #51. Other notable frequent flyers were Jim Smith, Ken Kessler, wine guy Tom Methans, and PS Audio’s own Dan McCauley. The inimitable Christian James Hand was with us for twenty issues, and is still out there on the LA radio, and doing live presentations.

Anne E. Johnson has shared her musical knowledge with us since issue #30, often twice an issue, and I don’t know anyone with her depth of knowledge across all areas of music. I dogged Roy Hall for years to tell his tales, and for years he said he didn’t have enough stories to share. Sixty issues on, he’s still telling his tales. Jay Jay French has been with us since #43, and I expect him to return soon.

J.I. Agnew and Tom Gibbs are our most-recent arrivals, starting in issues 90 and 91, respectively—and I hope they’ll be lending their insights to Copper for years to come. Many others deserve to be mentioned—especially Gautam Raja, B. Jan Montana, and Rudy Radelic. Thanks to them, and to all who contributed through the years.

Given all that— it saddens me to tell you that this will be my last issue.

It’s hard to write that, and even more difficult for me to grasp. Copper has been both my focus and my motivation for years now— and it’s tough to leave. The magazine will continue in the very capable hands of Maggie McFalls, who has worked with me as Associate Editor for over a year now. She has an unerring eye for awkward phrases or run-on sentences (especially mine), and everyone in the Copper crew has worked with her.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, Leebens’ Law of Life #1 is: Things Change. And so they do.

Back to the present issue: Professor Larry Schenbeck looks at the life and work of Maurice Durufle’; Dan Schwartz remembers how a jam and an obscure poem sold eleven million records (and counting); Richard Murison surveys recordings of the Shostakovich 4th Symphony; Roy Hall writes about his son, Ilan, a now-famous chef; Anne E. Johnson’s Off the Charts looks at the incredible Isley Brothers; J.I. Agnew looks at format wars; Bob Wood moves on to another station; Woody Woodward continues his look at the career and music of Jeff Beck; Anne’s Something Old/Something New looks at recent recordings of Bach Cello Suites; Tom Gibbs reviews two brand-new records, one old re-heard record, and one old never-heard record; and I say goodbye to The Audio Cynic, and wrap up Vintage Whine with a look at some truly oddball turntables.

The Copper Interview has John Seetoo chatting with producer Tony Visconti.

Copper #96 wraps up with Charles Rodrigues on Husband Acceptance Factorand a maybe-melancholy Parting Sot from…me.

Ordinarily, I’d close by saying “until next time”, or something similar. Well—this is it. Thanks for reading, and for writing us. Copper will still be here, so keep reading and writing.

As for me—so long, and thanks for all the fish.

Leebs.