Sunday, October 24, 2004

JOURNOBIT: Sad news from LA, where Greg Shaw has died at the age of 55. Shaw was a force for good in the music industry, working tirelessly as a record label boss and journalist to promote music on the margins of pop: garage, girl-group, psych and punk.

In 1974, he founded Bomp Records - named after his Who Put The Bomp zine - as a means of giving the Flamin' Groovies a single release. The Groovies - who he managed - would end up signed to Sire. Shaw attempted to dub the Groovies' style "punk", but when that term was lost to the other punks, he settled on garage - a label which was the genre's own until the offspin of a different garage from house was again to cause confusion. The surge in interest in the "other" punk was partly his own doing; he'd become friends with Malcolm McClaren while in London with the Groovies, and had set up meeting between US labels and the Sex Pistols.

In a long writing career he worked for nearly all the big names in the US music press, including a stint as editor of the Phonograph Record Magazine (or PRM, as it attempted to stylise itself). During Sire's adventures in book publishing, he edited books on artists including Carole King, The Kinks and Paul Simon; he penned the Elton John one himself. He also found time to write a third of the first edition of the International Encyclopedia of Rock.

Bomp would also provide a home to the likes of the Spaceman 3, the Modern Lovers, The Sonics, Iggy and others. Recently, Shaw had been a championing the Brian Jonestown Massacre.

Shaw's death was unexpected; a rise in blood sugar saw him hospitalised early last week. On Tuesday, he suffered a fatal heart attack. He leaves a wife, Phoebe.

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