[Gigi Shapiro has spent her professional life in the music industry, working alongside the biggest producers, promoters, and artists in the business. She has some awesome stories, which we share here in an ongoing series.]
Soon after meeting him, I called up promoter Ron Delsener again to ask for a summer job. He told me that one of his assistants, Maureen, was leaving to marry Miami Steve Van Zandt. I would need to be interviewed – in two parts. The first part would be at a Rolling Stones concert. Keep in mind, I’m 15 years old, so I had to convince my mom that Delsener was a well-respected businessman. And thank goodness that his daughter also went to my all-girls private school in New York City. All of that helped convince my mother to agree to me going to a night-time, concert interview.
Backstage at the show, Delsener asked me if I wanted to meet Mick Jagger. I really didn’t. He looked kind of gross, wearing these weird, diaper-type of shorts. I didn’t think he was attractive at all. Plus, I knew a girl he’d recently had a fling with. So….pass.
That was the first hurdle. I soon told Ron that I needed to leave the show since it was “Cinderella Time” (right before my curfew). He said we needed to do another interview and to call him in a few days. Which I did. The following Monday, he asked me to join him at the Eagles concert at Madison Square Garden.
After the show, Ron tells me that we’re going to New York’s legendary restaurant, “Maxwell’s Plum,” for dinner. They were keeping it open for the band. Of course they were.
So here I am, the only girl at the table (and a teenager, to boot). I was sitting next to Glenn Frey and Joe Walsh, and across from their manager Irving Azoff. There were $700 bottles of Lafite Rothschild on the table, and the wine was flowing like Diet Coke. It was all pretty overwhelming, being that close to some of my music idols. Still, at 11:45, I told Ron that I had to go home because I had a curfew. He looked at me and said, “You don’t want to stay, maybe go back and hang with the guys at the hotel?”
“No, thanks – but I had an amazing night!” At that point, Ron turned to me with a slightly perplexed look. “Gigi, you got the summer job. You’re certainly no groupie.” He’d been testing me to see if I could handle working for him, being around the biggest musical acts and their managers – and I had passed!
I started that May, sitting in his office on 67th street at a desk behind his sister Harriette. She handled all of the VIP tickets. I answered phones for the office and the Schaefer Music Festival hotline where people would call to see if the show was still on if it was raining. Ron told me to be quick and just say “ The show is on” and hang up. I hand-stamped every backstage pass with the right date. I also added special colored dots to indicate whether the pass was “all-access” or “limited access.”
Some days (and nights), I’d have to hand-deliver extra passes to the backstage truck in Central Park; there were always celebrities or music business people who’d request them at the last minute.
I worked for Ron for four summers – even after I went to college. That was “my” summer gig, and we’ve remained friends to this day. He’s met my daughter and husband. We continually run into each other at various shows and have had plenty of dinners together. Recently, I was honored to sit with him and his sister, Harriette at a WBGO radio station event honoring his commitment to jazz. Playing at that benefit? Donald Fagen. And Jeff Beck.
Just some of the perks of my lifelong passion for the music industry![PS – This rock star was so shy, that I had to be the one to introduce him to Chevy Chase of “SNL.” Who is it? Stay tuned!]
-The CS Team