Greg Shaw was some kind of music fan. As a teenager in the mid-60s, he helped found the fanzine Mojo Navigator – one of the first publications to present serious writing about rock music, and a prime inspiration upon the birth of Rolling Stone. During this time, he secured the first published interview with The Doors. After Mojo Navigator folded he partnered with future wife Suzy to start up the highly influential magazine Who Put The Bomp! (later known as simply Bomp!), which Shaw then spun off into Bomp! Records, his Los Angeles record store and label of the same name.
Shaw was a true believer in the healing powers of rock & roll, and one of the early champions of the ‘garage bands’ of the 1960’s. In his world, The Standells were as big as The Beatles, and The Seeds were greater than The Stones. Incredibly, he predicted in print that the sound of his beloved garage bands would lead to a mid-70s music revival, accurately describing the punk movement three years before it happened.
Bomp! Records produced albums by many punk and post-punk luminaries, including Iggy Pop, Devo, and The Dead Boys. Shaw: “I know how to find good music that isn’t getting any exposure, and I can give it a little bit of exposure, and that gives me more pleasure and satisfaction than anything else I can think of doing.” He worked tirelessly doing just that until his death in 2004, along the way providing a guiding hand in the careers of modern day fuzzmeisters such as The Black Keys and The Black Lips.
Bomp! – Saving The World One Record At A Time serves as a scrapbook of – and tribute to – Greg Shaw’s work. Here Suzy Shaw and Bomp! contributor Mick Farren compile highlights of Shaw’s various publications, from his beginnings as a Tolkien/Hobbit geek all the way up to the lost mockup of the final, previously unpublished issue of Bomp!. It’s all presented in facsimile form, so it feels like you’re flipping through the original publications. This is a revealing look at the essence of a guy who believed that “fans should have absolute control over the direction of rock & roll” and lived his life as an example of how to make it happen.
[The double-disc collection Straight Outta Burbank: The Bomp! 25th Anniversary Collection is an excellent primer on the sounds that Greg Shaw loved and worked hard to champion.]
Read the New York Times’ obituary for Greg Shaw.