Saturday, October 1, 2016

The Original Guerrilla Marketer

They Call Me Supermensch: A Backstage Pass to the Amazing Worlds of Film, Food, and Rock ‘n’ Roll – Shep Gordon – (Anthony Bourdain/Ecco)

What do Alice Cooper, Groucho Marx, Michael Douglas, Pink Floyd, Emeril Lagasse, and Wolfgang Puck all have in common? At one point or another in their wildly diverse careers they were managed by Shep Gordon. Many other celebrities, too numerous to detail in list form have crossed paths, shared food or been friends with Gordon.

For a guy who basically got his start dealing pot and acid, he built an amazing career for himself, all the while building the careers and fame of others. Now the spotlight has been turned back in Gordon’s direction; first in the Mike Myers film Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon (2013) and now in his autobiography, They Call Me Supermensch: A Backstage Pass to the Amazing Worlds of Film, Food, and Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Gordon’s story is truly amazing; he didn’t really set out to be a talent manager, he kind of stumbled into it while hanging around a bunch of rock stars that he was selling drugs to! His initial foray into handling talent came in the form of a band of misfits from Arizona, that would soon become Alice Cooper. Vince Furnier was the band’s flamboyant frontman and on Gordon’s advice he became its namesake, in the process creating the Alice Cooper persona that would become a legendary figure in rock ‘n’ roll.

What he lacked in experience as a manager, Gordon more than made up for in testicular fortitude. This guy had brass balls when it came to making stuff happen for the artists and talent he represented. He truly was the original guerrilla marketer and relates many stories of the creative and borderline illegal chances he took to put his talent on the proverbial map. While this book offers great inside stories from the entertainment world, it could easily become a business book to inspire creative risk taking in a day and age larded down with folks who think Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are cutting edge, creative, promotional tools.

Gordon would later focus is efforts on Hollywood and was part and parcel of the advent of the celebrity chef, well before the days of 24 hour cable food networks. They Call Me Supermensch, is truly one of the more entertaining entertainment biographies of the year.

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