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This San Francisco-based act centred on rock guitarist John Cipollina (b. 24 August 1943, Berkeley, California, USA, d. 29 May 1989), formerly of Quicksilver Messenger Service. Established on an informal basis in 1970, the new band achieved a degree of stability two years later upon securing a prestigious recording contract with Columbia / CBS Records. Gary Phillipet (ex-Freedom Highway; guitar, vocals/keyboards), Jim McPherson (ex-Stained Glass; guitar/keyboards), Hutch Hutchinson (bass) and David Weber (drums) joined Cipollina for Copperhead, which married the guitarist’s distinctive style with an urgent, driving rock. The quintet was a highly popular live attraction, but their fortunes stalled when Columbia Records managing director Clive Davis was fired within weeks of the album’s release. Copperhead was dropped from the label in the rancorous aftermath, and their brief tenure was effectively ended. Phillipet subsequently joined Earth Quake while the remaining ex-members participated in several of Cipollina’s later projects, notably Terry And The Pirates and Raven.

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