OUR PRIVILEGE AND PLEASURE TO WELCOME THE LOUISIANA MUSIC HALL OF FAME TO 318CENTRAL.COM DIGITAL MAGAZINE by Orkke Clifton, Editor
We are extremely thrilled to invite you to the definitive location for everything you always wanted to know about Louisiana Music! Each month, in this section, we will bring you stories, videos, and lots of info you may not know from the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. And, believe me, it’s a plethora of knowledge!
This month, we begin an exciting trip through years of entertainers hailing from every corner of Louisiana. You will be amazed by their accomplishments and in awe of the vast number of people you will meet along this journey!
And what better way to get it going than with the one and only Mike Shepherd, the President, Executive Director, Founder, and here, Inducted Member! He’s the author of the best book you’ll ever find on musicians and music and entertainers who visited here and it’s available on the website at lmhof.org … so, without further ado …
MEET MIKE SHEPHERD … A MAN FOR ALL MUSICAL SEASONS …
Born in Shreveport, Louisiana of parents from Oakdale and Chacahoula, Louisiana, and raised in Baton Rouge, Mike Shepherd, 73, is truly a Louisianian. With a sense of history of the state, Mike has worked in the music business for over fifty years with a passion and love for Louisiana’s music.
A trained musician, Mike learned to play the family piano at age four, was trained on clarinet and saxophone as a child and played in his junior high marching band before turning to sports.
Having worked and gathered experience in a myriad of areas included in the music business plus public relations/marketing, tech/engineering, photography and graphics development, Mike carries a tool set few can equal.
A part of Louisiana’s music business from performing to management and technical work over 50 years, Mike is currently the President of The Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame Inc., Executive Director, and Manager of LMHOF L3C, and is the founder and inducted member of The Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame.
Preferring to spend his working hours in development of music and the LMHOF instead of performing, Mike has brought life to the now thirty-five year old Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame project. What started life as a pure honors organization has, under Mike’s direction and focus, become a move to create an actual industry for Louisiana’s music to carry on for the future, starting with educating all to the heritage, history, importance and magnitude of the music of Louisiana.
Beginning as a working musician in the early mid-Sixties, moving to band booking and management, besides being the guy who had to put the PA together and fix the mic cords, then to producing, as it were, the gigs and performances, Mike learned early on about the jobs and complexities in the music business and embraced it.
In the mid-Sixties, he was given a great opportunity to work with a team of acknowledged concert promoter/producers in a major show that was to be the beginning of ten years of major artist concert promotions that encompassed artists from the Who (first American tour) and Herman’s Hermits, through Stevie Wonder, the Temptations, the Animals, Paul Revere and the Raiders all the way through Jimi Hendrix (first Louisiana concerts), Creedence Clearwater Revival, Alice Cooper, Donovan, Steppenwolf, Little Richard and many, many others. Working with fairs and outdoor events, Mike worked with, for him, different acts including Roy Clark, Jerry Reed, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bobby Goldsboro, Kenny Rogers, Bob Hope, Steve Martin and more.
As a club promoter, he worked with many soon-to-become major artists when they were mid-level acts including the Amboy Dukes (Ted Nugent), McCoys (Rick Derringer), Ides Of March (Jim Peterik – Survivor), Detroit (Mitch Ryder), Bob Seger, the Triumphs (B. J. Thomas) and more.
His own band, Eternity’s Children, scored a top sixty hit on Capitol/Tower Records (Mrs. Bluebird -1968) and as a management partner got them personally on American Bandstand in July of 1968. As that band progressed, Mike was part of their recording and release of two albums plus single releases on Capitol/Tower, A&M Records, Liberty/Bell Records and local labels Crocked Foxx and Appolo into the early seventies. During that process, Mike was involved in engineering, producing and mixing in studios including American (Memphis), Cosimo’s (New Orleans), Montel/Deep South Baton Rouge, Jay Miller’s (Crowley, LA), Robin Hood’s (Tyler, TX), Capitol (Dallas), A&M (Los Angeles) and more.
As the seventies moved forward and major companies began the “corporate” days of concert productions, Mike took his engineering skills and designed sound reinforcement systems for concert productions as well as his stage management skills forward, touring with a massive sound system that he conceived, designed and built with bands like Fleetwood Mac, Billy Preston, George Harrison, Ike & Tina Turner, Neil Diamond and many others.
After touring with his sound system in the seventies, Mike expanded more into television and technical areas, satellite broadcast and radio programming, evolving, in the late seventies/1980 into television production and series marketing, culminating in the creation of Mobile 1, a mobile television and music production facility in 1980 that developed several local cable series and created music videos for future LMHOF bands LeRoux and Lillian Axe.
Mike later delved into corporate design and engineering work with Exxon, Shaw Group, Dow Chemical and municipalities including East Baton Rouge Parish (Metro 21), Ascension Parish (APTV) and the State of Louisiana. In 1977, Mike was called on to consult on operations and stage management at the new Centroplex facility of the City of Baton Rouge.
In the early nineties, Mike began to return to music, producing several blues albums with local blues artists including the late Clarence Edwards, Rudy Richard, Michael Ward and others.
In 1999/2000, Mike created a TV/music project titled First Row Ticket airing on Fox. The concept series was live music acts filmed with multiple cameras and “board sound” from a separate mix and was critically acclaimed in Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
That concept led to a rebirth of the LMHF, now called the LMHOF, concept with Mike and Del beginning to collaborate again. In 2006, Mike took on production of Baton Rouge’s Spanish Town Mardi Gras Ball, which expanded with that show from 1,000+ attendance to a larger facility and 4,000 attendance and became Mike’s first 21st Century concert production with Mike’s concept of a non-stop show featuring an “all star” backing band and numerous cameo guest performers (vocalists).
Now, The Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame Inc was back with a new Corporation after a 15 year or so hiatus.
With the first induction class in April, 2007 and the first inductee, previewed at the 2006 ST Ball, being Mike’s recently passed former roommate, John Fred, at last, the LMHOF was “real.”
As Mike continued despite several obstacles similar to those that Moon had experienced, the LMHOF added more members beginning in October, 2007 and continuing through today to where it has now reached over 200 inducted members and a website having been visited over over 2.7 million times. Since returning to promotions and productions, Mike has produced, for the LMHOF, over 100 events across the state, and a few outside the borders, presenting and highlighting Louisiana’s artists. and has also integrated the once-failing “Louisiana Songwriters Association Inc.” and the recently developed “Louisiana Musicians Association” into The Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame structure.
In 2008, Governor Bobby Jindal picked Mike to produce his Inaugural weekend events and Inauguration using all Louisiana artists and many LMHOF members.
Mike was chosen to head the music committee of the Louisiana Bicentennial Commission in 2011 and produced over a dozen multiple artist music events across the state, culminating in a seven-hour event for the actual Bicentennial Born in Baton Rouge and produced a special Bicentennial 20 track CD, “Louisiana Artists For The Bicentennial.” That CD received critical acclaim and came up one vote short of a Grammy Nomination in the 2012 Grammys competition in the “Historic Compilation” category.
Since returning to promotions and productions, Mike has produced over 100 events across the state, and a few outside the borders, presenting and highlighting Louisiana’s artists. and has also integrated the once-failing “Louisiana Songwriters Association Inc.” and the recently developing “Louisiana Musicians Association” into The Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame structure.
Mike was inducted into The Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame in a surprise presentation at his 65th birthday party at a local venue in Baton Rouge and was presented by his old business associates S.J. and Mickey Montalbano (Montel Records and Productions), LMHOF Board members and LMHOF member and friends Vince Vance and Al “Carnival Time” Johnson.
Mike is also a voting member of NARAS (the Grammy Academy), a cast member and music consultant on History Channel’s “Cajun Pawn Stars” series and has sat on numerous Boards including the Municipal Auditorium of Shreveport, home of the Louisiana Hayride, in his birth city.
Visit the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame Website: https://louisianamusichalloffame.org/