"I guess I'd most like Bomp to be remembered as a label utterly dedicated to the people who care most about music: the fans and collectors."
Very sad news, Greg Shaw, fanzine publisher, magazine editor, band manager, author, indie label owner (Bomp), and rock historian, died on Tuesday, October 19 from heart failure at the age of 55. There are fewer and fewer true believers around: those who dedicate their lives to getting the word out about the music they love - in Greg's case, a particularly appealing blend of garage rock, retro-pop, psychedelia, and punk.
The label's Shaw bio is here:
- Rumors about him range from the fabulous to the incriminating. He is believed by some to live in a large house filled with swinging go-go girls where he hosts an endless LSD party. Others think of him as something like "the Anti-Dick Clark", a shadowy, behind-the-scenes character who has manipulative fingers in everything. To those who know mainly his background in punk (a Berlin newspaper in 1989 referred to Greg Shaw as "The Pope of Punk") he may have a certain image, very different from that of '60s cultists who have mainly felt his efforts to inspire a revival of garage-punk music. Other people, in other cults, hold still other views.
The fact is that he's been involved in a hell of a lot of stuff, all growing out of his love for classic (but obscure) rock & roll, and his extraordinary level of activity in rock fandom over three decades.
Greg was born in San Francisco in 1949. He grew up with rock & roll, hearing it on the radio from early childhood. As soon as he could afford to, he began buying and collecting 45s by Elvis, Fats Domino, Little Richard, et al. By the time he was in high school he had hundreds of them, but that wasn't the end of his penchant for collecting stuff. He had a room full of science fiction pulp magazines going back to the '20s. As an active member of SF fandom he went to conventions, was friends with a lot of authors including Philip K. Dick and Robert Silverberg, and found a social life among fans many years his senior that he didn't have with kids his own age. The mindset of "fandom" took hold, giving him a lifelong preference for dedicated amateurism (not to mention an ironic sense of humor combined with a chronic shyness that's commonly misunderstood, or mistaken for aloofness). And as a fan, of course he bought himself a mimeograph machine (for younger readers, that's a hand-cranked drum full of ink that you cover with a stencil, basically a sheet of wax that must be cut on a typewriter, to print up your own writings. In the days before xerox, this is how fanzines were made, right up to sometime in the early '70s) and started cranking out zines.