Sunday, October 24, 2004


By Richard Cromelin, Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES - Greg Shaw, a music entrepreneur whose passion for raw, spirited rock made him a pioneer in the independent record label field and a prophet of the current ``garage rock'' resurgence, died Tuesday in Los Angeles of heart failure, his record company announced.

The San Francisco native was 55.

He was an extraordinarily important individual in the history of rock 'n' roll,'' Steven Van Zandt, lead guitarist in Bruce Springsteen's band and the host of the syndicated radio show ``Little Steven's Underground Garage,'' said Friday. ``He was literally responsible for the contemporary garage-rock movement, which he single-handedly started with the Bomp! label.

''As a journalist and record label head, Mr. Shaw always championed renegade artists regarded as too unruly for mainstream packaging. The Stooges, the Germs and Sky Saxon were among the acts he recorded.
Over the years his turf encompassed a wide stylistic range, from rockabilly to such 1960s-rooted sources as mod, girl group, garage rock, surf music, psychedelia and power pop.

He founded Bomp! Records in 1974 to release a single by the San Francisco band the Flamin' Groovies. Mr. Shaw's real passion at the time was a brand of '60s rock heavy on attitude and attack, the kind of music most famously compiled by writer-musician Lenny Kaye in the 1972 album ``Nuggets,'' two LPs full of cult classics by the 13th Floor Elevators, the Blues Magoos, et al.

Mr. Shaw called the music ``punk,'' but when that term was appropriated by a whole new genre, Mr. Shaw dubbed it ``garage rock,'' a reference to the classic location for teenage band practices.
Mr. Shaw's dissemination of the music helped turn it from ephemera into scripture, keeping it alive during years of mainstream indifference. In the last few years, young disciples such as the White Stripes, the Strokes and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs have become upstart bestsellers, finally bringing the marginalized sound to the top of the charts.

Mr. Shaw was born in San Francisco and started collecting records in the late 1950s, accumulating a trove of more than 1 million recordings.

He immersed himself in the city's fabled mid-'60s rock scene and started Mojo-Navigator Rock & Roll News, a magazine that predated Rolling Stone and featured estimable critics such as Lester Bangs, Greil Marcus and Dave Marsh.

BOMP! Records' Greg Shaw bio


Post a Comment

<< Home