Veteran music promoter, filmmaker and venue owner Peter Shapiro is lifting the curtain on a career that spans 10,000 concerts. “The Music Never Stops: What Putting on 10,000 Shows Has Taught Me About Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Magic,” will be released by Hachette Books on August 2.
Described as “perhaps the most notable independent concert promoter since Bill Graham,” a sentiment shared by Steven Van Zandt and others in advanced praise for the book, Shapiro is known for his long-standing relationship with the Grateful Dead and its myriad offshoot projects.
His roots in the scene go back to when he acquired and ran jam band destination the Wetlands in downtown Manhattan — while still in his 20s — to opening Brooklyn Bowl and expanding the franchise to Las Vegas, Philadelphia and Nashville, to staging the Grateful Dead’s 50th anniversary “Fare Thee Well” tour, featuring the co-founders Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann with Phish’s Trey Anastasio. His portfolio also includes the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York.
“The Music Never Stops” was written with Relix editor Dean Budnick (author of 2012’s excellent “Ticket Masters: The Rise of the Concert Industry and How the Public Got Scalped”) and recounts Shapiro’s experiences through the lens of 50 chosen concerts. In telling his story, the book weaves through industry consolidation and disruptive changes and advances in venue operations, ticketing and touring. It also provides invaluable insight for those looking to enter into the live music and event business.
Among the artists covered are Bob Dylan, Robert Plant, Leonard Cohen, U2, the Roots, and luminaries like Anastasio, Lesh, Island Records founder Chris Blackwell, Questlove, NBA Hall of Famer Bill Walton, Blue Note Records president Don Was and “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon have contributed quotes for the book’s back cover.
Read a selection below:
“Peter Shapiro is a unicorn. He has a magical / mythical quality to him. We met back in the days of Wetlands, which you’ll read about in this book. You never knew who you were going to see there — some nights it could be Dave Matthews Band, the next night Toots and the Maytals, another night it’s Pearl Jam. I don’t know any venue that existed that could pull that off. I remember wondering who was behind this, who could make these nights happen — and that was Shapiro.” — Jimmy Fallon
“Pete is the rarest of personalities in the music industry. He explodes into the room, swinging for the fences, full of unbridled enthusiasm, and joy, with huge energy and huge ideas. For Pete, the dream is still alive — the power of live music — and I love him for that.” — Trey Anastasio
“Peter thinks like a musician. He understands the spirit of the music I’m trying to make because he wants to create situations for that music that enhance the experience on many levels.” ― Phil Lesh
“I’ve given Peter 11th-hour surprises, like, ‘How about a practice Usher show?’ or ‘Can we organize a quickie Elvis Costello performance?’ Anyone else would have riddled me with bullets for taking such a grand idea and tossing it to him with seconds left to spare. But, with him it’s always, ‘Oh man, I can’t wait to get to it.’ And it’s always magic.” — Questlove
“The Music Never Stops, like everything Peter Shapiro, inspires and ignites all of our senses— even those we didn’t know we had. Peter is a brilliant architect of communities, cultures, and dreams. This book is where you come to grow and for your deal to go down—and if you look at it right—you’ll find the next rainbow, at just the right time.” — Bill Walton
“Pete Shapiro has borne witness to the inner workings of the most important cultural events of the last quarter century. Impresario, Innovator and Beloved Instigator… the stories in his book will blow your mind!” — Don Was