Manager Shep Gordon counts some of the most famous people in the world, like Michael Douglas and Sammy Hagar, among his best of friends. However, his name is mostly unknown to people outside of the entertainment business. That is, until now. Actor Mike Myers, another close pal of Shep’s, took a two-year hiatus from being in front of the camera to work on the documentary Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon, a poignant and entertaining tribute to the prolific manager. (You can read our review of it here.)
Shep has mostly retired from managing, although he still works with Alice Cooper, who was his first client close to 45 years ago and remains his dearest friend. Over the years, Shep had high-profile clients such as Luther Vandross, Frankie Valli, Blondie, Raquel Welch, and celebrity chefs like Emeril Lagasse and Wolfgang Puck. The stories he shares in Supermensch, as well as the various tale his A-list buddies tell, must be heard to be believed.
We recently got the opportunity to speak briefly with the legendary Shep Gordon about why he decided to do the film, what his parents thought of his success, and the one celebrity who turned his management down.
Check it out below, and enjoy!
WGTC: When did Mike Myers approach you to make a film about your life?
Shep Gordon: About seven or eight years ago, he came and asked me if I would do it. I always said no. I sort of had a change of heart. I ended up in the hospital and had surgery. Sort of feeling sorry for myself and a little medicated, I said yes.
WGTC: The stories you tell in this documentary, they sound unbelievable, but they aren’t. You befriended some of the biggest names in entertainment. Were you ever interested in telling these stories in some form, like a memoir or autobiography?
Shep Gordon: For me, I was always happy to tell the stories. I was just always worried about fame. I never wanted to have to deal with all the issues that fame brings. So I always thought that someday maybe I’d write a memoir or do something, but [the documentary] certainly accelerated the pace. And, it was such a great time telling this history of our culture.Next
WGTC: In the documentary, you reveal a bit about how you keep seeing how fame and fortune damaged the dignity and reputation of many people you worked with and the people you managed. Did you ever think of getting out of the business and working more for yourself, like you’re doing now?
Shep Gordon: I never really planned too much of anything. I just woke up, got up to go do what I did, and went to sleep. I never really thought of getting into management and I never really thought of getting out of it. 10, 12 years ago, I decided I had enough, but it was a very spur-of-the-moment decision.
WGTC: In the film, you talk about how your brother was the star of the household and you were the “black sheep” in the family. When you ended up as a successful manager, what did your parents think?
Shep Gordon: Well, my dad was always the same. My dad died early in my career and saw only a little bit of fame. I got to bring Raquel Welch home once, that made his life. My mother, when I became very successful and wealthy, I became like the golden child to her. Strangely enough, I was talking to my brother a while back. I said that I was the “black sheep” of the family. He said, “Oh, no. I was the black sheep.” I guess it’s not uncommon for people to think that.
WGTC: Would you ever be interested in helping to manage any notable young musicians today?
Shep Gordon: No, I don’t really have the desire. I don’t really know the media well enough anymore to work with them. It’s not really a driving business at this point. I’m happy to work with Alice [Cooper] and that’s about it.
WGTC: Has anyone ever turned you down?
Shep Gordon: I was turned down by one Jamie Oliver. He was the only one who ever turned me down. But, he did well without me.
WGTC: You are a true believer in karma. Your career has really thrived due to your skill but there was also a lot of luck involved, being at the right place at the right time and meeting with the right people. Was this the result of good karma early in life, or did good karma result from your kindness during your career?
Shep Gordon: I don’t know. I’d like to think that it’s a complete circle, so one feeds the other. Karma’s the kind of thing you never really know. You just believe. I can’t say that one has any effect on the other, but I would like to believe it does.
WGTC: What are you currently doing now?
Shep Gordon: I manage Alice [Cooper] still and I started working with a chef named Roy Choi, who did the taco trucks. And I have a restaurant in Maui called Migrant, which keeps me very busy. The chef is Sheldon Simeon, who was on Top Chef, and who won Food & Wine Magazine’s Best New Chef for the Pacific and Northwest this year.
That concludes our interview, but we’d like to thank Shep very much for taking the time to talk to us!Previous