Shep Gordon’s resume is textbook legendary: manager for acts including Alice Cooper, Anne Murray, Teddy Pendergrass, The Gipsy Kings, Rick James, Luther Vandross, Raquel Welch, and Blondie; personal cook for His Holiness the Dalai Lama; early pioneer of the concept of the celebrity chef; film producer and Cannes darling.
Actor and comedian Mike Myers attempted to encapsulate the man/myth that is Gordon in his 2013 documentary Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon. But a career like Gordon’s is clearly too big for one medium, which brings us to his new memoir They Call Me Supermensch: A Backstage Pass to the Amazing Worlds of Film, Food, and Rock'n'Roll—a memoir he was as iffy about as doing the documentary.
"I’m very happy now I did it but at the time I was reluctant. After the movie came out I got this amazing outpouring of people who were deeply affected, people searching for something in their life and directing a lot of that energy to me thinking I had those answers," Gordon says. "I’m like every other human, I have self-worth issues. I look a mirror and say, ‘what are you a schmuck?’ So in a way it seemed curious to me. I was really flattered by it but it was really hard to respond because I didn’t think that I lived my life by a set a rules. My life seems very random to me."
Hence the reason why when everyone’s favorite curmudgeonly bon vivant Anthony Bourdain reached out to Gordon about doing a memoir for his imprint, Gordon initially said no. He only changed his mind after realizing doing the memoir would in some way fulfill his rubric of conducting compassionate business.
"I thought maybe there is something in my life that can help other people or even help myself to understand why I make the choices that I make," Gordon says.
In They Call Me Supermensch, Gordon distills five main guiding principals that have led him to becoming a Renaissance man of the ages:
- Always say "thank you" to yourself and others
- Do something nice for someone today
- Create win-win situations
- Don't get mad—use that energy to accomplish your goal
- Create history—don't wait for it to happen