Back in my younger days—say, the fall of 2015—Paul McGowan came to me and spoke six fateful words:
“I want to do a magazine.”
I don’t recall my exact response, but I’m pretty sure it included an “f” and the word “insane”.
Luckily, Paul was and is used to my outbursts. He smiled, and laid out his plan: build an audio community unlike any other. He envisioned a different kind of audio magazine, one without reviews, without any product features. A place where knowledgeable musicologists and techies could and would write about what they knew. This wasn’t to be about PS Audio, at all, but about the great variety of audio technologies and music that fascinate so many of us.
As it became apparent that the responsibility for this then-unnamed magazine would be mine, I felt the combination of elation and severe nausea that most of us have experienced when approaching an exciting project, and have absolutely no idea how to do it. Sure, I’d written, ghost-written, rewritten, and edited as part of my work-life for decades—but this was a bigger deal.
Soon enough, things began to fall into place for our regular columns: given my cranky nature and my experience with vintage audio, The Audio Cynic and Vintage Whine were naturals.
Professor Larry Schenbeck was already writing for the PS monthly newsletter; he would write about Classical and serious modern music for the new mag.
“What’re you gonna write about, Larry?” I asked.
“Oh, that’s not a problem—there’s lots to write about. Anything but Tchaikovsky. There’s Too Much Tchaikovsky.” And so Larry’s column was named.
Richard Murison is one of the brightest guys in any field, expert in both technology and music, and stands out even amongst the many bright folk in audio. Richard is far more civil than most of those bright people —helpful for an insecure new Editor— and given his ability to state a case, then tear it apart and argue the exact opposite, coupled with his experience in digital audio—the punnish Quibbles and Bits seemed fitting.
Dan Schwartz is not just an insanely-accomplished musician, not just an excellent writer, but an experienced audio writer, as well. Dan tends to, shall we say, agonize over things—–so Music, Audio, and Other Illnesses seemed appropriate.
Our friend and mentor Seth Godin suggested that the new mag needed an open-ended, metaphorical title, not one that was boringly nailed-down. “Copper” brought electronics and power to mind—so Copper it was, and is. Aside from mining-industry folk thinking we’re a trade magazine, it’s been a good name, one I’m proud of. Seth also joined us for the first eight issues; I never quite grasped what the name of his column, Hobgoblin, was intended to evoke—but there it was.
And when our first issue came out on March 7, 2016, that was the group at the beginning.
Larry, Richard, and Dan are still with us faithfully; Richard hasn’t missed a single issue, God bless him, and Larry’s not far behind. Others have joined the party: the inimitable Woody Woodward, hater of commas and master of profanity, joined early on in issue #2; our resident rock star and obsessive audiophile Jay Jay French came on in issue #29; musicologist and jill of all trades Anne E. Johnson joined us in issue #30 and hasn’t missed one since; world-traveler teller of tales and stirrer of shite Roy Hall joined us in issue #37, after two years of cajoling on my part; and our most recent regular, Christian James Hand, the world’s oldest teenager, joined us in issue #61 and brings the perspective of a musician and producer to the analysis of popular music.
Through it all, the Sterling Drive Irregulars have been an important part, with numerous contributions from Jim Smith and John Seetoo in the forefront; other faithful friends have included Scott McGowan, Darren Myers, Dan McCauley, Duncan Taylor, B. Jan Montana, Tom Methans, Andy Benjamin, Chloe Olewitz, Ken Kantor, Ethan Winer, Jason Victor Serinus, Fred Schwartz, Galen Gareis, Gautam Raja, Ken Kessler, Haden Boardman, Vade Forrester, and a whole bunch more. My thanks to each and every one of you, including the many one-time contributors I haven’t mentioned. Respect is due to the still-timely work of Charles Rodrigues.
Special thanks to Paul McGowan for getting the whole thing started, and for allowing me to work with a fascinating group of writers and artists. The recent arrival of Maggie McFalls as Assistant Editor has simplified my life immensely, and has allowed me to focus more on the big picture, and look for even more talented contributors.
We’re not done, not by a long shot. In the reasonably-near future (fingers crossed), Copper will undergo a major rework to make it more like a “real” magazine, and we hope to have all our content indexed and cross-linked to allow binge-reading of your favorite writers.
Finally, a Tip of the Leebens Lid to Cartoon Bob D’Amico, who has brought us the misadventures of Nipper and Louie on every single issue, starting with #1, and helped develop Copper into a welcoming destination for our readers.
At the beginning, three issues seemed like an unattainable goal. Here we are, three years on. It’s hard to believe.
Thanks to all our readers for your support. Be assured that the best is yet to come.