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Michael Shamberg Biography

In 1980 I was making the short film Tribeca with A Certain Ratio, shooting their concert at Hurrah’s, a club on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. New Order played as well. They were a three-piece band then. I didn’t speak to New Order, but I did meet their manager, Rob Gretton, and gave him a cassette recording I had made of the show.

I stayed in touch with Rob, and the following year, when New Order were returning to New York, I suggested that we do our own show. I found the Ukranian National Home in the East Village and then engaged my friend Barry Rebo, who had a video production company, to record the show. The band brought in a 24-track recording truck, and suddenly I was a promoter and producer.

We made what became the home video release TARAS SHEVCHENKO.

What is a producer? In my case, in relation to New Order, my job was to make the video. That would involve coming up with an idea, or finding a director, or both. Then I would be involved in the entire process, often running the production and overseeing post, up to delivering the final product to the band. What was unique about working with New Order was that I was left to do as I pleased. Unlike a record company commissioner, I never solicited “treatments” from directors. I chose on director and never had to pass on a written document for approval. Often the directors I chose were artists and filmmakers who were not involved in making music videos. Several did not know the band’s music, and even the most successful video, TRUE FAITH, was directed by Philippe Decouflé, a choreographer in Paris who did not even like the song!

The making of each video was unique. Admittedly, some are more successful than others, but most of the videos remain quite special to me. I was also able to work with many of my heroes – not just artists and directors but camerapeople such as Lachman, Henri Alekan, Roger Deakins, and John Mathieson; actors Jane Horrocks and Bill Paxton; the editor Tony Lawson; and the list goes on.

Michael H. Shamberg
Paris, June 2005

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