Shep Gordon has been Alice's manager almost since day one. He, along with his original partner Joe Greenberg, first encountered the band when they entered a clothing boutique in Los Angeles where Cindy Smith worked, claiming to be rock'n'roll managers. Cindy knew a band seriously in need of professional management, and so a legend was born.
Of course neither Shep or Joe were really managers, or even knew anything about the music business, but they weren't about to let that stop them taking 'Alice Cooper' to the top, breaking and creating new rules all the way.
Shep was also co-chairman of Alive Films and President of Alive Enterprises, an independent music/film/television and management organization. With offices in Hawaii, New York and Los Angeles, Shep and Alive have guided the careers not only of Aice Cooper but other musical artists such as Blondie and Deborah Harry, Teddy Pendergrass, Kenny Loggins, The Gypsy Kings, Burton Cummings and Luther Vandross, as well as such performers as Raquel Welch and Ben Vereen. Serving as executive producer on all of his clients recordings, Gordon is responsible for record sales in excess of one hundred million worldwide.
Shep was involved in the production and/or distribution of such innovative films as 'Choose Me', 'Koyaanisqatsi', Oscar winner 'Kiss Of The Spider Woman', 'The Moderns', 'Far North' and the Oscar nominated 'Betty Blue' and 'Marlane'.
Ezra Music is Shep's publishing company. It has nothing to do with Bob Ezrin despite the similarities in spelling. Ezra is Shep's middle name.
In 2013 Mike Myers of 'Wayne's World' fame directed an excellent feature length documentary about Shep entitled 'Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon". While it's sometimes a little free and easy with the facts it's an excellent insight into the Alice Cooper story and essential viewing.
The film was premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September 2013 and won the 'Audience Award for Best Documentary' at the 2014 Sarasota Film Festival. It was also screened at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival along with 'Super Duper Alice Cooper' and recieved a limited theatrical release on June 6th, 2014.
Shep Gordon's autobiography entitled "They Call Me Supermensch: A Backstage Pass to the Amazing Worlds of Film, Food, and Rock'n'Roll" was released on September 20th 2016 by Anthony Bourdain/Ecco. Here's the pre-release description:
An eye-popping peek into entertainment industry from the magnetic force who has worked with an impeccable roster of stars throughout his storied career.
In the course of his legendary career as a manager, agent, and producer, Shep Gordon has worked with, and befriended, some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry, from Alice Cooper to Bette Davis, Raquel Welch to Groucho Marx, Blondie to Jimi Hendrix, Sylvester Stallone to Salvador Dali, Luther Vandross to Teddy Pendergrass. He is also credited with inventing the "celebrity chef," and has worked with Nobu Matsuhisa, Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck, Roger Vergé, and many others, including his holiness the Dalai Lama.
In this wonderfully engaging memoir, the charismatic entertainment legend recalls his life, from his humble beginnings as a "shy, no self-esteem, Jewish nebbisher kid with no ambition" in Oceanside, Long Island, to his unexpected rise as one of the most influential and respected personalities in show business, revered for his kindness, charisma, and fondness for a good time.
Gordon shares riotous anecdotes and outrageous accounts of his free-wheeling, globe-trotting experiences with some of the biggest celebrities of the past five decades, including his first meeting with Janice Joplin in 1968, when the raspy singer punched him in the face. Told with incomparable humor and heart, 'They Call Me Supermensch' is a sincere, hilarious behind-the-scenes look at the worlds of music and entertainment from the consummate Hollywood insider."
A Biography from the University Of Buffalo Alumni Magazine
Don't even try to top Shep Gordon's "how I got my start" story. Quitting — after one day — his job as a probation officer in L.A., Gordon, BA '68, checked into a Hollywood motel where Janis Joplin punched him out and Jimi Hendrix tipped him off that Alice Cooper needed a manager.
Gordon jumped on the opportunity — flukey though it was — to manage Alice, evolving the gig into an enviable career as talent manager, film producer and agent for celebrity chefs.
Once he started working with Alice (for whom he has been manager for [over] 42 years now), Gordon's client roster increased quickly. His work with artists such as Ann Murray, Blondie, the late Luther Vandross and other music and film stars ultimately led him to film production. Prompted by his success producing movies such as 'The Duellists' and 'Kiss of the Spider Woman', Gordon created the U.S.'s first independent film production company, Alive Films, which oversaw movies by directors such as Wes Craven and John Carpenter.
The most recent phase of Gordon's career began when he met 'the godfather of nouvelle cuisine, Roger Vergé, during the 1977 Cannes Film Festival. Already a restaurateur, Gordon became Vergé's "grasshopper", gaining a "true appreciation of the culinary arts." In return, Vergé asked Gordon to make his profession respectable. Thus was born Gordon's Alive Culinary Resources, an agency that represented renowned chefs like Emeril Lagasse and Alice Waters (and from which Gordon is now semiretired).
Gordon's culinary avocation also brought about his most recent visit to the University Of Buffalo, when he accompanied His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama to his September 2006 university speaking engagement, an event Gordon helped arrange. He had developed a friendship with the esteemed leader of Tibetan Buddhism after hearing him speak in L.A. and offering his services as a chef. Over the past 10 years, Gordon has served on the board of the Tibet Fund and traveled with the Dalai Lama to various engagements.
Story by Grace A. Lazzara (University Of Buffalo Archives)