Peter Shapiro Is Making Positive the Music By no means Stops

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Peter Shapiro has labored each on and off the stage with the most important names in music historical past and has overseen a few of the most beloved venues in the USA. However after greater than 25 years within the enterprise, he’s nonetheless a super-fan at coronary heart who loves nothing greater than rocking out with and speaking store concerning the artists who’ve formed his life.

Shapiro, 49, chronicles his outstanding profession in his new Hachette e-book, The Music By no means Stops: What Placing on 10,000 Reveals Has Taught Me About Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Magic, co-written with longtime collaborator Dean Budnick. Structured as 50 totally different chapters about particular reveals and experiences, the e-book particulars a Eureka second at a 1993 Grateful Lifeless live performance in Chicago (when he was a movie scholar at close by Northwestern College) that set his skilled life in movement, resulting in his 1996 buy of jam-band epicenter Wetlands Protect in decrease Manhattan, his eventual creation of the Brooklyn Bowl venue franchise and his buy of the jam-band-centric Relix journal and the enduring, Grateful Lifeless-frequented Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, N.Y.

All through The Music By no means Stops, Shapiro talks eloquently and actually about what he’s realized alongside the way in which, peppering the textual content with one wonderful anecdote after one other (amongst them: making further, pretend all-access laminates for one among his personal Jammys awards reveals when the native promoter reduce off his provide, watching Bono eat salad together with his naked arms throughout a enterprise assembly in Buenos Aires and observing NBA legend Invoice Walton give Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio a backstage pep discuss earlier than a high-stakes gig).

SPIN talked to Shapiro about reuniting the surviving members of The Lifeless in 2015 (spoiler alert: he’s holding Chicago’s Soldier Area in hopes of doing it once more in 2025), the way forward for the jam-band scene and the significance of all of the little particulars that make for a memorable night time out.


Shapiro with Mick Rock at The Finish Recreation Obama Fundraiser at The Hiro Ballroom on October 14, 2008 in New York Metropolis. (Credit score: Zach Hyman/Patrick McMullan by way of Getty Photos)

SPIN: To say you’re a busy man is sort of an understatement. When did you discover time to get all these tales down?
Peter Shapiro: Effectively, when you wait till you’re 70, 75, 80, how do you keep in mind all that shit? I did it partially as a result of Dean–who has been round for many of this–requested me, “Have you ever ever written something down?” I noticed I’ll by no means have one other probability to do it with somebody like Dean, who was at Wetlands on a regular basis and directed the film about it. He did the Jammys with me. He knew a lot about my story. We’d get on the telephone for hours throughout COVID, which was the one time in my life I wasn’t out each night time. The opposite factor is, it’s not a memoir. It’s the story of fifty reveals, and that received me over the hump. What I do, similar to what you do, it’s so fuckin’ exhausting. Although it’s slightly simpler as time goes by, all the small print matter. I’m nonetheless neurotic about these. In my workplace now, I’ve the e-book, and I look over it and it jogs my memory, okay, I can do that. It’s such as you memorize all the things for a take a look at and you then take the take a look at, and you may form of flush your reminiscence out. I do really feel slightly bit like I can have an additional swig now (laughs).

The story about Bob Weir passing out on the final night time of a nine-night run with Furthur is fascinating, as a result of that was the night time on the Capitol when Jerry’s daughter was there for the opening of the Garcia’s room contained in the venue. There was a lot Lifeless-related vitality within the place that it may need been an excessive amount of for Bob to deal with.
Isn’t that loopy? Somebody mentioned to me, that’s what occurs once you convey Garcia’s DNA and Weir collectively. He received fuckin’ knocked out! That and possibly he took an Ambien accidentally (laughs). That’s the ability of The Grateful Lifeless. While you’re coping with that magic powder, it goes in several instructions. And the music doesn’t all the time work, as a result of they take probabilities. However when it does, everybody feels it. It’s not the identical factor each night time like most modern artists. The world that I inhabit largely, the improv/jam/Lifeless factor, that’s what makes the magic — you don’t know what’s going to occur. I additionally really feel like once you’re in a venue the place unimaginable music moments have occurred, it’s simpler for them to occur once more.

You’ve been a key individual in spreading and sharing that Lifeless-related magic mud, after a degree when Jerry died in 1995 and no person knew what would occur with the scene subsequent. You’ve helped give 27 years of further life to this music and there’s no telling when it’ll cease, or if it ever will.
It gained’t! What’s wonderful to me, and it’s possible you’ll solely get it when you’re a Lifeless fan, is {that a} Deadhead can hearken to this music again and again and over, and it doesn’t fade. The followers will nonetheless come. What’s cool is that a few of the newer bands like Joe Russo’s Nearly Lifeless, they play it slightly quicker. Darkish Star Orchestra tries to create it extra note-for-note. Circles Round The Solar performs music impressed by The Lifeless. When Garcia handed away in ’95, that’s one purpose I took over Wetlands. I’d been on Lifeless excursions and I knew the followers weren’t simply going to go away. They had been nonetheless going to be hanging out in Portland, Maine, or Portland, Oregon, or Gainesville or Boulder, throwing a frisbee and wanting to listen to music.

I knew Wetlands might be useful for this complete younger jam-band scene. It already existed a bit with Blues Traveler, Phish and Dave Matthews Band, however Jerry’s demise led to the start and progress of that scene, as a result of The Lifeless had been the No. 1 touring band in America in the summertime of ’95. Some went bluegrass-y, like String Cheese Incident. Some went extra jazzy, like Medeski Martin & Wooden and DJ Logic. Some went electronica jam, like Disco Biscuits and Sound Tribe Sector 9. There was southern rock, like Gov’t Mule and Aquarium Rescue Unit. I may go on and on. Wetlands was within the coronary heart of that world. I used to be younger — I used to be 23 once I took over the membership. I didn’t have children, so I used to be there on the finish of each night time and the bands turned my associates. The brand new bands are nonetheless coming at the moment, like Goose and Billy Strings. It’s nonetheless going. It’s nonetheless robust, as a result of there’ll all the time be a bit of people that will need to really feel this type of music.

Shapiro and Chevy Chase throughout Earth Day 2009 on the Nationwide Mall on April 19, 2009 in Washington, DC. (Credit score: C. Taylor Crothers/FilmMagic)

Let’s discuss bands like Goose and Vulfpeck, who’ve fairly rapidly jumped from golf equipment to a lot larger venues. Traditional rock legends gained’t be round and touring perpetually, and there are youthful bands attempting to fill that void, even when they had been too younger to see The Lifeless pre-’95. They’ve taken that spirit and infused it into their very own music.
Proper! It’s alive, like a jam. It’s going to new locations. Vulfpeck is slightly funkier and Goose is a bit Vampire Weekend-ish. By the way in which, have a look at Vampire Weekend. Have a look at The Nationwide. Quite a lot of bands, after they play the Cap, they play a Lifeless tune. Wilco did it. Counting Crows did it. Now we’ve got venues in Vegas and Nashville, and I attempt to use the Bowl to start out reserving these sort of bands. In Vegas, these bands didn’t have a house. However Goose simply performed there. Relix is that indie jam factor too. Vampire Weekend, Jack White, The Lumineers and The Conflict On Medicine have all been on the quilt of Relix in recent times. Ten years in the past, none of these bands would have been on the quilt, as a result of they wouldn’t have wished to. That’s evocative of what you simply talked about. They’ve embraced this scene. That is an viewers that goes to stay reveals. I’m a fan too, so I’ve tried to construct venues that mirror it. All of the little issues matter. If one factor throws you off on the way in which in, it impacts your expertise.

You’ve all the time made positive that there’s a generational change of this music, like when Trey Anastasio not too long ago appeared on stage with Goose at Radio Metropolis Music Corridor.
Sure, one hundred pc. I used to be psyched that Trey talked about that in his quote concerning the e-book. He’s a North Star man for this scene. While you watch him on stage, you may see him interact with the viewers and so they then kick it again to him. It’s a round impact.

It’s a vital a part of this music residing on that these older guys play with the newer crop of musicians impressed by them. Your Capitol Theatre residencies with Phil Lesh and a rotating roster of backing musicians is likely to be the very best instance of that.
Oh, yeah. Probably the greatest and most lucky issues I’ve ever gotten to do is figure with Phil on the Cap. Phil is 82, however we’re doing 9 extra reveals in October. He has belief in me to place the Phil & Buddies lineups collectively, together with his approval after all. Rick from Goose goes to play three nights with Phil on this run. I’ve tried to convey folks like Billy Strings, Eric Krasno, Chris Robinson and Robert Randolph into this. I’m engaged on getting Marcus King on a Phil factor. Phil would slightly play with newer, youthful folks.

It’s additionally form of mind-blowing that The Lifeless debuted songs like “Bertha” and “Wharf Rat” on the Cap within the early ’70s, and now right here you might be because the proprietor of the place.
All of it begins for me with The Lifeless. If I don’t go to that March ’93 Rosemont Horizon present, I actually don’t assume I’m on the telephone with you proper now. That simply put me on a path I’d not been on earlier than that night time. I needed to know what was happening in that scene, and I went and made a movie about it. I had a formative second at a Lifeless present. It sounds so corny or trite, however it’s true. It truly is.

I used to be shocked to learn that you simply personally answered indignant emails to the generic Brooklyn Bowl e mail account within the earliest days of the membership.
I don’t anymore, however I did for some time (laughs). It was a distinct world again then with social media. I don’t assume we may launch the Bowl in the identical manner now. We’d be competing with a whole lot of podcasts and TV reveals. 13 years in the past, it wasn’t like that. No TikTok. No Snapchat. We hosted one of many first Twitter events, truly. We had been in a position to open and it hit exhausting, and we had been simply holding on for expensive life. Individuals would come and wait 4 or 5 hours to bowl and never get to. The subsequent morning, they’d be pissed. I’d be at my children’ soccer video games and get the emails. I’d ask them to choose a time to come back again and we’d ship them tequila pictures and comp tickets. We tried to take a destructive and switch it right into a optimistic, and a few of these folks turned our best-returning prospects.

Your story about Chevy Chase as soon as handing you cash as when you had been a valet is sort of too good to be true.
I felt like I used to be in Fletch. I’d simply executive-produced an Earth Day occasion on the Nationwide Mall and he was the host. I see him the following day, and he became the Fletch character. It’s a kind of moments I believe I’ll see once I die: Chevy being like, “Hey Peter. Right here’s $20. Are you able to go get my automotive?”

Was Walter Cronkite actually on the Inexperienced Apple competition in Central Park?
Yep! He received pleasant with Mickey Hart, so he got here, sat in and performed some drums.

You reveal within the e-book that you simply’re hoping to reunite the surviving members of The Lifeless another time in 2025, which might be the band’s sixtieth anniversary.
Yeah! We’ll see what occurs. Fingers crossed.


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