Perry Leopold grew up in Philadelphia in the '50s and '60s, inspired and influenced by all types of music. From the classical side, he drew from Stravinsky, Debussy, Beethoven, and Bach, among others, yet he also took in (like most other young people of the period) the wild sounds of rock & roll, from the Ventures, the Beatles, early Pink Floyd, and Moody Blues, to Buffalo Springfield and local Philadelphia rock legends Mandrake Memorial. The early '60s, though, were also the time of the folk music boom. Folk music picked up the political bent that was missing from early rock, and Leopold, too, took it all in, from Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, and the Kingston Trio to the more progressive, experimental folk of John Fahey, Bert Jansch, John Renbourn, and Tim Buckley.
With those influences in tow, Leopold began writing his own music at 15 years of age, honing his guitar and songwriting skills in local rock bands, including one that opened a local show for the Byrds circa Fifth Dimension. At a time when the antiwar movement and the LSD-based drug culture were inseparable and indistinguishable from the counterculture, Leopold was entirely invested in the culture, living on the streets of Philadelphia, New York, and Boston, crashing in the apartments and barns of a wide-ranging net of friends, playing on street corners by day and small coffeehouses at night.
In June 1970, he recorded the Experiment in Metaphysics LP, which was printed in a single run of 300 copies. Drawing on all of his influences, the album was an accomplished and unique piece of progressive folk with political overtones. In countercultural fashion, most of the 300 albums pressed were given away on a Philadelphia street corner in one afternoon in August 1970, making it a very rare (and subsequently sought after) artifact. (Because of the album's scarcity, even poor-quality bootleg copies have sold for over $300, and copies later surfaced as far away as Hong Kong and Singapore.)
Leopold continued making more ambitious music. From 1971 to 1973, he played gigs throughout the Philadelphia-Boston region billed incorrectly as Christian Lucifer. In fact, it was his music that should have been called "Christian Lucifer," as Leopold began giving a persona other than his own to his music. This experiment culminated in the recording of the Christian Lucifer album in 1973. Record labels passed on the album, however, and unfortunately Leopold did not own the Christian Lucifer session masters. They were later lost, likely erased and used for another session; several reel-to-reel tapes of the songs do still exist, though, which led to the eventual re-release of Christian Lucifer.
From 1974 to the early '80s, Leopold toured relentlessly, performing as the opening act for many artists including Janis Ian, Hall & Oates, Tom Waits, Jerry Garcia, Firefall, and Supertramp, while also playing at coffeehouses and mini-concerts on college campuses coast to coast. Burned out from life on the road, he took a break in 1981, stayed home for the summer and started a small company, the PAN network (originally known as The Performing Artists Network of North America but shortened to just PAN a couple of years later). PAN was originally a self-help organization for musicians to help themselves in a business sense -- with tips for self-management, self-promotion, and self-booking -- but it soon grew to include all aspects of the music business, including record labels, publishers, booking agencies, and equipment manufacturers. Most notable about PAN is that it was the first online computer network for the music industry (1983), and was also one of the first online companies not connected with the Department of Defense to be granted admission to the Internet (1990) by the National Science Foundation. In 1999, the Gear Fab label reissued both of Leopold's albums, with stellar sound quality straight from the masters.