Tuesday, April 21, 2015

It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's an Agent!

Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon (2014) is a funny kind of thing. It's hard to know what to think, but it's full of stories - like its subject, Shep Gordon.

Gordon is an agent. He's worked for a number of clients, especially Alice Cooper. He's also worked with Mike Meyers' agent, and Meyers made this documentary as his directorial review. He does a great job, too, with some great old clips and maybe re-creations. But it's really just plain about Shep.

The story of how he got started as a manager is a classic, involving drugs, the Hollywood Landmark Hotel, getting punched out by Janis Joplin, and taking Jimi Hendrix's advice that he should manage Alice Cooper. He has no idea what he's doing, but he sure has a lot of soul. When Alice Cooper was starting out, Shep would get him gigs in folk clubs, because his name sounded like a nice female folk singer. The next big act he manages is Anne Murray, the Canadian Snowbird, who actually is a nice female folk singer. Shep really preferred her stuff to Alice Cooper's noise - incidentally, I kind of like her too.

He is winds up as the guy who does more drugs, diddles more groupies, drinks more, and makes sure, when everybody is passed out, that the money is safe. He manages soul acts - He kind of made Teddy Pendergrass, which is a sad sweet story. Then the movie takes a weird turn when he takes up gourmet cooking, and invents the concept of a celebrity chef, just to make sure his cooking buddies are getting paid. Here, Meyers seems to veer into infomercial territory, which I can understand as a creative decision, but I don't think I would have gone in that direction.

He also cooks for the Dalai Lama.

Meyers shows a lot about his spiritual side - his Buddhism, his longing for a family, the orphaned grandchildren of an ex-lover he adopts. His crass side - the dope, the women, the "No Head, No Backstage Pass" t-shirt, those are taken for granted. But he always made sure his clients got paid and didn't screw anybody over (or at least nobody went on record in this movie).

Mostly, this is just a bunch of cool stories about a guy who was off to the side of some amazing happenings. He's interesting too, even if he isn't super-powered.

No comments: