Greg Shaw

Greg Shaw pioneered indie rock labels back when no one thought it could be done. He died this week at 55. The LA Times has a comprehensive obit.

“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.”

I knew Greg starting back in the early 70’s, when I had a fanzine called Street Life. His fanzine, Bomp, was the mothership that inspired the other fanzines. Bomp morphed into a label, also called Bomp, which was the first of the uncompromising indie labels. Early on, they signed the Germs, Flamin’ Groovies, Stooges, and many others. He had an major genius for finding and recognizing new talent in garage rock, punk, psychedelic, and more – and while it was music that might be – and usually was – raw and unpolished, it was also real music, and out there on the edges somewhere.

Bomp is still going strong thirty years later, as are the other labels in the Bomp family, Alive-Total Energy, and Disaster. (I do web promo work for them.) 

The label will carry on under the guidance of Suzy Shaw and Alive/Total Energy’s Patrick Boissel.

“However you choose to honor Greg’s memory — do it with anything but a moment of silence,” they said in a press release.

Many, even in the music business, may not have known who Greg was. But he was a huge pioneer and changed the shape of the music business and music world, yes he did.