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Watch > Episode > Shep Gordon - Supermensch

Shep Gordon - Supermensch

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Shep Gordon is an American talent manager, Hollywood film agent, and producer. He has managed the rock star Alice Cooper for nearly 50 years, as well as artists including Blondie, The Gypsy Kings, Pink Floyd, fostering the career of Jimi Hendrix, Luther Vandross and even Groucho Marx. He is also responsible for creating the “celebrity chef” culture and business of today. Shep has featured in the documentary film “Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon” directed by Mike Myers, and last year published his own memoir which debuted on the New York Times Bestseller List. His mantra is “Create history, don’t wait for it to happen”, providing a positive action basis for everything he does.

In this landmark interview, Shep joins Brian Rose in the studio to talk about why safe doesn’t work in marketing, the importance of being a showman and how his overwhelming self-worth issues have impacted his luminary career.

Shep Gordon, born on October 18, 1945, is an entertainment industry icon renowned for his innovative approach to artist management. Often referred to as the “Supermensch,” Gordon has left an indelible mark on the world of music, film, and celebrity management. His unconventional strategies, unwavering dedication, and unique blend of business acumen and compassion have set him apart as a maverick in the entertainment business.

Shep Gordon’s journey into the entertainment industry began unexpectedly. In 1968, while on vacation in Los Angeles, he found himself managing the rock band Alice Cooper. Gordon’s innate ability to navigate the complexities of the music industry became evident as he propelled Alice Cooper to international fame with a series of successful albums and theatrical stage shows.

Gordon’s approach to artist management was characterised by innovation and a genuine commitment to the well-being of his clients. He introduced groundbreaking strategies, such as the concept of packaging concert tours with diverse artists and creating theatrical experiences that transcended traditional music performances. His visionary tactics not only contributed to the success of his clients but also reshaped the landscape of live entertainment.

Shep Gordon’s influence extends beyond the music realm. In the 1980s, he ventured into the world of film production, co-founding Alive Films. The company focused on producing documentaries that addressed pressing social issues, reflecting Gordon’s commitment to using entertainment as a tool for positive change.

In addition to his impact in film, Gordon found success in the culinary world. A chance encounter with a young chef named Roger Verge led to the creation of the celebrity chef phenomenon. Gordon went on to represent culinary legends such as Emeril Lagasse and Wolfgang Puck, playing a pivotal role in shaping the culinary landscape in the United States.

The term “Supermensch” not only serves as a moniker for Shep Gordon but also encapsulates his unique philosophy of management. A portmanteau of “superman” and the German word for human, “mensch,” the term embodies Gordon’s approach to balancing business success with genuine care for the well-being of his clients. His ability to navigate the cutthroat entertainment industry while maintaining deep, authentic connections with his clients has earned him a reputation as a true “Supermensch.”

Shep Gordon’s influence goes beyond business success; his compassionate approach to management has endeared him to those he works with. Known for his generosity and commitment to philanthropy, Gordon has dedicated his time and resources to various charitable causes, including supporting the Tibet Fund and working with the Maui Food Bank.

Recently, Shep Gordon shared his remarkable life story in the autobiography “They Call Me Supermensch: A Backstage Pass to the Amazing Worlds of Film, Food, and Rock ‘n’ Roll.” The book provides an intimate look into Gordon’s journey, offering insights into the entertainment industry and the relationships he cultivated along the way.

Gordon’s life and career were also the subject of the documentary film “Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon” (2013), which explores Gordon’s influence on the entertainment industry and his enduring impact on the lives of the artists he managed.

Shep Gordon’s contributions to the entertainment industry go far beyond traditional management roles. As a visionary, philanthropist, and compassionate advocate for artists, Gordon has redefined the concept of celebrity management. His ability to blend business acumen with genuine care for his clients has left an enduring legacy, making him a true “Supermensch” whose influence continues to resonate in the worlds of music, film, and culinary arts.

Chapters

00:00 | Trailer
02:44 Brian’s thoughts on the episode
05:32 Brian’s introduction
06:10 Shep brought Alice Cooper to London to get banned by involving the media in shock tactics
17:05 Alice Cooper’s first gig at Wembley Stadium in early 1970s
18:57 Shep explains why he has never signed a contract with any of the artists he has represented
21:55 Safe doesn’t work in marketing, you need to be a showman, hence some mad ideas
36:36 How he conceived the idea of the Teddy Prendercast women-only shows
39:19 Selling drugs to Jimmy Hendrix and the Chambers Brothers got Shep into the music business
43:59 Drugs, alcohol and free love were all fun and games with no appreciation of the consequences
48:16 Ambition which drives young artists to become famous could ultimately kill them
55:29 How Shep deals with his overwhelming self-worth issues
1:06:58 At Roy Choi book signing Shep meets Anthony Bourdain which leads to his own book
1:08:50 Doing the book was revelatory, looking at his childhood and relationship with women
1:16:20 Shep’s regard for Mr Roger for showing him the path to being happy
1:29:31 Creating the celebrity chefs
1:36:47 The chef business was like the Chitlin’ Circuit
1:42:19 When Shep served Yak tea to the Dalai Lama
1:52:03 Shep’s life now, in Maui, serving others and sharing his life
1:54:59 His take on the recent Weinstein phenomena in the entertainment industry
2:summing up.

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