Shep Gordon Unplugged and Totally Uncut

It started with a punch from Janis Joplin. It was 1968 and Shep Gordon had quit the job that had brought him to L.A. after only one day. He had about a month’s worth of cash in his pocket when he checked into a Hollywood motel. The first night, he tried to “rescue” a girl he thought was in distress. That was Janis, who punched him in the mouth. With the kind of serendipity that would mark the next five decades in a remarkable career, Gordon’s life as a legendary manager, agent, and producer was launched. Famous among the famous, Gordon came to wider public attention through Mike Myers’s “shagadelic rock doc” Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon. Now, in THEY CALL ME SUPERMENSCH: A Backstage Pass to the Amazing Worlds of Film, Food, and Rock’n’Roll (An Anthony Bourdain Book/Ecco; on sale September 20, 2016; $25.99), this charismatic original tells his own version of his rollicking, good-spirited life story. Gordon’s chance encounter propelled the self-described “shy, no self-esteem, Jewish nebbisher kid with no ambition” into becoming one of the most influential behind-the-scenes figures in the industry. It began with managing an unknown band called Alice Cooper—as a cover for selling his rock friends drugs—and led to an extraordinary life working with, and befriending, the likes of Bette Davis, Jimmy Carter, Salvador Dali, Blondie, Jimi Hendrix, Raquel Welch, and the Dalai Lama (for whom he cooked dinner). Gordon is also credited with inventing the celebrity chef, and he has worked with Nobu Matsuhisa, Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck, and Roger Vergé, among others. Through it all, he has been embraced for his generous, giving spirit—a characteristic that sets him apart in the often ruthless, sometimes phony entertainment business. “As I wrote this book I looked for some common threads linking the events in my apparently accidental life,” Gordon writes. “One of the things people seem to respond most strongly to in the movie is the perception that I’ve managed to become successful in the cutthroat worlds of the music and movies businesses while staying a nice guy, and apparently a happy one. It’s not something we’re used to seeing. In business, and especially in the music and movie businesses, you’re supposed to get ahead by being the alpha dog who barks the loudest, bites the deepest, and doesn’t care who he screws over. I’m not that guy. I’ve always taken a very different approach. Writing this book got me thinking about what that is, some guiding principles I’ve lived and done business by.” Those principles are ever-present as Gordon shares riotous anecdotes and outrageous accounts of his freewheeling, almost fifty-year career at the heart of show business. THEY CALL ME SUPERMENSCH is like the man himself: honest, endearing, kind-hearted, and fun.

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