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“You’re Certainly No Groupie”

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[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.

Related: “The Night I Accepted Jeff Beck’s Award”

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!

Related: “Rusty Young of Poco asked, ‘Why are you crying?'”

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

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38 comments on ““You’re Certainly No Groupie”

  1. Avatar

    Another fascinating piece on the music biz!

  2. Avatar
    Lisa Shawn

    What a fun, dishy insider look at this culture that most of us only can guess about!

  3. Avatar
    AM Foley

    Cool story….hoping to see more….

  4. Avatar
    Tvincent

    Fun read! 😎

  5. Avatar

    Hey Gigi – good for you for standing your ground! You clearly averted a potential train wreck!

  6. Avatar
    Peter Singer

    Great slice in time view of the most prolific time in modern music.

  7. Avatar
    Richard TBear

    Wow so many great stories and memories thanks Gigi.

  8. Avatar
    Beth Feldman

    Loved reading this by Gigi Shapiro Kulick! What an amazing 15 year old you were making all the right choices! A wonderful glimpse into the NY music scene of the day! Nice you still see the great Ron Delsener & Harriett! ! Looking forward to more Gigi stories!

  9. Avatar
    Raymond G Paret

    Gigi – yet another great story about your start in the music biz – your description of Mick Jagger is classic and also very funny – the memories of the passes for the Central Park shows made me realize that it was probably you that I would talk to when I called up Delsener’s office (usually at the last minute) to go to a show – I had an apartment at 200 Central Park South and my decision to stay in the city in the summer instead of going to Connecticut was almost always based on who was playing in the Park! LOL! Thanks for taking such good care of me!

  10. Avatar
    Marc Levine

    Great story.. thank you for sharing it with us, I look forward to the next one .

  11. Avatar
    Ed Fussell

    I love this. Passing the “test!” Gigi rocks. Great stories.

  12. Avatar
    Lisa Harriman

    What a great way to be interviewed – and tested! No little blue suit with a string tie for you! Please, keep the stories coming😘❤️

  13. Avatar

    Love this story, Gigi, and am coming up blank on the teaser for the next one … so of course I’m staying tuned! Also, nice to know I’m not the only woman “of our age” who never found Mick Jagger the least bit attractive.

  14. Avatar

    Love reading about Gigi’s experiences in the music biz. Really well written and informative,

  15. Avatar
    Suzanne Eagle

    Gigi. Amazing story of an ambitious, music loving and absolutely charming girl in — no groupie or Penny Lane. You fulfilled your dreams with grace.

  16. Avatar

    Gigi has walked the walk and now she talks the talk. Her journeys through the minefields of music are fascinating.

  17. Avatar
    Clayton Breazeale

    I love reading the stories about Gigi’s life in the music industry. She has worked with and been associated with so many of my musical heroes. Fascinating stories!

  18. Avatar

    Gigi passed the “non-groupie” test and it led to a joy-filled career. Fascinating story.

  19. Avatar
    Catherine T

    Yet another great tale by Gigi about access she had as a teenager to behind the scenes in rock ‘n roll that others only dream about. Keep the stories coming Gigi!

  20. Avatar
    Bruce Kettelle

    It was harder for me to not be a groupie. But I started a little older. After awhile it became normal and it was even better. Was the shy rockstar in Fleetwood Mac?

  21. Avatar

    Another small glimpse into a fascinating time in your life. Looking forward to more!

  22. Avatar
    David Ess

    Another great first hand story into rock history , Gigi ! Hope to keep seeimg more.

  23. Avatar
    Betsy Broadman

    It’s so much fun to read these Gigi rock stories.. Because she was in the midst of the scene and knows so many people – It’s like being let in the back door with an all access pass!

    • Avatar
      Gigi Shapiro

      Thanks Bets.. you have experienced some incredible music journeys as well! Xx

  24. Avatar
    Geri Elkins-alexander

    What an interesting, personal glimpse into a place and time most of us never got to see up close.

  25. Avatar

    I can honestly say that Gigi’s no groupie, but she is one of the greatest people on the planet. MORE STORIES!!!!

    • Avatar
      Gigi Shapiro

      Awww – you have some amazing stories too.. from Jp’s To WBCN ! I love you! Xxg

  26. Avatar
    Andrew Kent

    Gigi, with the values your parents inculcated into you (and the ones I am sure you inculcated into your children…going down any classless road was never a choice for you..another insightful amazing story!! You go girl!!

  27. Avatar

    Gigi, you need to write a book! These stories are great!

  28. Avatar
    Gail Silberman

    .A&M Records moved me to New York in the late 70’s …there were not a lot of women in the music biz then… Ron …Harriette…Irving.. such great people and were always good to me. These stories bring back great memories…..keep these stories coming ..they make me smile!!

  29. Avatar
    Neilan Tyree

    What a WONDERFUL story. They all must have LOVED having you return every summer. And what a wonderful foundation for YOU. Thanks for sharing!

  30. Avatar
    bruce bernfeld

    Great story. Loved it.

  31. Avatar

    I think as wonderful as your stories are, you are just warming up, Gigi. I bet you have similar stories going forward after the Delsener days. And those would be from an even different perspective, as you’re then growing up into a young woman ! Between the curfews you spoke about and your dedication and responsibility of not deviating from those promises that you made just shows us all how you kept your focus despite all the glitz and glamour and never disappointed your Mom who understandably was your whole world. That example goes to your character, Gigi. And everybody that you knew then , and knows you now can appreciate what a caring, honest and wonderful woman you have become ! Keep those stories coming, Gigi !

  32. Avatar
    Shari Norton

    Love reading this – as a life long friend – I spent some time with you backstage and in the wings at Poco ( MSG). How things have changed for teens now. You are one in a million – please share some more well written memories. They speak volumes to anyone who loves music and the music business.

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