Supermensch Film Review

Film Review by Jarred Tito
Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon

The Premise
In his directorial debut, Mike Myers documents the astounding career of Hollywood insider, the loveable Shep Gordon, who fell into music management by chance after moving to LA straight out of college, and befriending Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix. Shep managed rock stars such as Pink Floyd, Luther Vandross, Teddy Pendergrass and Alice Cooper, and later went on to manage chefs such as Emeril Lagasse, ushering in the era of celebrity chefs on television. Stuffed with fantastic archive footage the film traces Shep's transformation from the 1970's hedonist to today's practicing Buddhist yearning for a family of his own

The Review
When considering music celebrity and Rock and Roll legend, we often get the distinct impression that it was self-sacrificial rehearsing, hard gigging on the circuits, shameless self-exploitation and a whole bunch of raw talent that got them to the top of their industry. Sure we appreciate that there are the ‘behind the scenes’ people who played their part. The production machines, the minor players and the major labels. But how often do we stop to think that there, among the many publicists, labels, promoters and managers, are those who are recognised and attributed, the success of some of the most celebrated artists. You may even go so far as to say those classic bands and performers that we regard with almost ‘deity’ status would still be among the many ‘great unknowns’ had they not have had their ‘encounter’ with the managerial celebrity. The manager who pried open the proverbial door to fame and fortune, held it open long enough to allow the lucky few in. Supermench is a rare film that is able to take us deep into the personal life and role of one such celebrity and Legend. Shep Gordon, Band manager extraordinaire.

Shep Gordon recalls his extraordinary career with a certain amount of ‘matter of fact’ coupled with a lot of luck and ‘right place right time’ karma. Picture this, you’re a young guy from nowhere special, na├»ve, gullible but ready to earn a dollar if the opportunity presents itself.  You’re invited to a party somewhere in Los Angeles and are told to sell this green weed looking stuff concealed in a briefcase to the guests because they’re looking for a good time. You show up at the place with the case but can’t see anyone clearly for the smoke. Then as the smoke slowly subsides you begin to make out some of the faces of the people you’ve just been talking to. Some of the guests stand out in Shep’s memory… Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix and Alice Cooper. He gets talking to Jimi who learns that Shep is a Jew so assumes that he would make a good band manager. After seeing the contents of Shep’s brief case all in the room agree with Jimi and Shep’s career as a band manager begins.

If you didn’t already know, Shep Gordon is Alice Cooper’s life time manager and publicist who is largely responsible for the rise and legendary status of Cooper. But what you may not know is that Shep Gordon is also responsible for multiple rock legends and major actor’s successful careers too and also has a long list of films and TV shows under his belt. After watching this film I now realise how closely knit the music industry of the 60s, 70s and 80s must have been.

The Verdict
I thoroughly enjoyed this film for two reasons….it’s a well-made documentary and secondly as totally engaging biography of the man. I loved looking back into some of the iconic and historic lives of the many music catalysts. The point of difference this film offers is that we get to see these rock icons through the eyes of a very unassuming, modest and wickedly talented star managing genius.  I would certainly recommend this movie to anyone who considers themselves to be a follower of anything rock n’ roll cool and I would also prescribe a viewing to anyone who enjoys a good yarn. Some amazing stories in there.

The Trailer

The Info
Releases: 26th February 2015
Rating: M
Duration: 85 minutes 
Genre:  Documentary
Starring: Shep Gordon
Director: Beth Aala, Mike Myers (Films)

The Extras
Mike Myers has been trying to persuade Shep Gordon to let him tell his story for over 20 years, having first encountered him on the set of Wayne's World (1992).

Although quite a colorful, larger-than-life character, Shep Gordon had real reservations about his life being chronicled on film and took a long time to be persuaded that such a move would be a good idea. His affection for Mike Myers won him over.