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Legendary agent and manager Chip Hooper with Paradigm Talent Agency died Saturday after a long battle with cancer. The agent for Dave Matthews and Phish died one week after fulfilling a promise to his son, Max, to attend at least one of the Oakland University senior’s basketball games this season. Chip was 53. He leaves behind his son Max and his daughter Valerie, a student at Duke University.
“I got to live, work and learn from a giant of a man and he will be missed more than words can say,” fellow agent Marty Diamond told Amplify. The Little Big Man founder was one of many agents that eventually came to work with Hooper at Paradigm, where he now heads the music division at Paradigm’s New York office.
Dan Weiner with Paradigm said he saw Chip last week and despite his condition, many thought Chip was going to pull through.
“We all believed he could do anything and we didn’t believe there could be an end,” he told Amplify. “We have witnessed him beat everything, so we didn’t expect not to be able to beat this.”
His friend Susan Rosenbluth told Amplify that early in his treatments, he recalled how “he saw a small child, perhaps four years old, bald from chemo slowly walking down the hall with her mother, and that he thought to himself ‘I have had a good life, with lots of amazing experiences and opportunities and people who love me.  Compared to that child, I am rich. I can deal with whatever happens from here on.’”
Promoter Bill Silva told Amplify “I had kept hoping that we still had a couple more late night calls ahead. The calls about what really matters during our lives. About Max’s most recent game. About how much fun he was having with Paul and Marty and Tom and Alex. About how appreciative he was for Dan and Fred and Coran and his clients. What an amazing guy.”
Jim Koplik with Live Nation New York said when he thought of Chip, he thought back to his days at Clear Channel Entertainment under Irv Zuckeman.  “I suggested to him that we ask the bookers who were their three best relationships with an agent. Then we would assign to the agent the booker who had the best relationship with him or her. We compiled the results and over 85% of the bookers chose Chip. That was remarkable. No other agent got even half that much. I always teased him about that and he was always embarrassed. So I have absolute proof that Chip was loved by so many. I will miss him terribly. “
Those who knew him described his as humble and grounded; a fair agent who fought for his artists but always treated the venue and promoter partners fair. Chip was Paradigm Talent Agency’s head of music and a well-liked fixture in the music industry.  During Phish’s recent show at the Fox Theater in Oakland, an emotional Trey Anastasio dedicated the song “Show of Life” to Hooper after recounting stories about working with him over the years.
“Chip is the guy who has booked every single Phish show that any of you have ever been to,” Anastasio said, later adding “everyone on our crew loves him. He is a very important part of our family.”
Hooper started at Monterey Pennisula artists in 1988 and was already a major player in music when he joined Paradigm in 2005, right after the firm acquired Monterey Peninsula Artists from Fred Bohlander and Dan Weiner. Over time, Paradigm grew, first with the 2006 acquisition of Little Big Man and then the 2009 acquisition of Third Coast. In 2012 Paradigm signed a strategic partnership with EDM giant AM Only and last year he formed a partnership with Windish Agency, one of the most successful independent talent agencies in music. 
“No. 1, they’re good people, because if they weren’t, there’d be nothing to talk about,” Hooper told Billboard after the deal. “We all looked at each other and said, ‘this makes sense, for a lot of good reasons.’” He later added, “With any great relationship, there has to be something in it for both parties, so that’s what has been so great here.”
Weiner said the Hooper was meticulous when it came to finding the right people and companies to build the Paradigm empire.

“He was a perfectionist and many of us would say a deal was good, but unless it was perfect, he wouldn’t have any of it,” Weiner recalled. “And it worked. He formed a remarkable group of people who have so much in common as business people. There’s no business of this size that has the humanity and skills like this.”

Hooper was born in Miami in 1962 and raised in Chicago. At a young age he developed an interest in photography  and by age 12 had created a dark room in his basement. Hooper was an accomplished photographer who’s work is featured at several galleries including Carmel’s Weston Gallery where his photos of seascapes are on display. He’s even published a book of his photographs of New Zealand’s South Pacific and Tasman Sea.
“He used the old fashioned 8 by 10 large format camera which allows him to capture a lot of great detail,” explained Manuel Herrera, who runs the Weston gallery and worked with Chip for a short time at MPA. “It was his goal to photograph every ocean in the world.” In an interview with art journal The Line, Hooper explained that his photos captured “the transient moments when light, water, and sky coalesce in transcendent beauty.”“The process of creating photographs is a contemplative one,” he said. ” The best images always happen when what I am feeling becomes one with what I am seeing.”

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Billboard Box
Alex Hodges with Nederlander Concerts said “we will enjoy his incredible photography as long we live” and described Chip as a “wonderful soul and exceptional human being.” Charlene Codella at Goldenvoice called him “an honest, authentic, kind-hearted man whom I loved working with dearly” while AEG Live’s Brett Fendrizzi described him as “a class act. We all considered Chip a friend. His personality was infectious.” Larry Webman at Paradigm said Chip was “an amazing father and friend” and Michael Belkin with Live Nation said Chip was “the classic over-achiever — swimming, photography, artist representation, and battling cancer. He did nothing half way, he only knew how to give 100%.”
Larry Magid from Electric Factory called Chip “a true Renaissance man,” recalling how for many years, “we spoke daily and often more than once. Our conversations, often after hours, covered so many topics including art and photography, basketball and living a life well spent. Only when necessary did we allow business to filter through. People like Chip do not pass through our lives that often. Personally, I’m a better man from having Chip Hooper in my life for all these years.”
Agent Corrie Christopher Martin said “Chip was one of those people who mastered whatever he put his time and energy into. He had an unbeatable eye for details and true passion for life. He loved his family, his friends, Pinot Noir, fine imported teas, photography, basketball, good music and friendly competition. He was incredibly loyal and treated his agents like family. I’m so thankful for the time I got with him.”
Eric Bresler with AEG Facilities told Amplify “I had the privilege of getting to know Chip back in 2002 while discussing Phish doing an epic four show run in Miami at AmercicanAirlines Arena in December 2003. While we both were trying to figure out how to make it happen the conversations moved from Phish to Heat Basketball,  life, family and friends. The love and pride he had for Max and the interest he had in my relationship with my father who is also an agent is something I will always remember.”
Following his death, a number of Chip’s friends in the music industry honored him on Facebook with glowing tributes.
“Chip wasn’t just a good business man, not just caught up in the numbers, and the percentages,” wrote 35 Concerts President and Talent Buyer Marc Engel. “Chip was passionate about MUSIC, and it came through in everything he did. In an industry where it’s easy to forget why we’re here, Chip never forgot.”
Agent Jordan Burger wrote “in the years of my youth, my heroes were Mickey Mantle & Dave Winfield. For the last 20+, my #1 idol was Chip Hooper. Leader of agents who already rule by example. Inspiring Dad. A paradigm for kindness and social grace. The epitome of cool and a joy of a man. The world of music lost a legend today.”
The world first learned about Hooper’s death from Oakland University basketball coach Greg Kampe who tweeted out “Chip Hooper was as loving and down to earth father of any player I’ve ever had. He will be missed, I lost a friend, and Oakland lost a fan.”

Chip’s son Max Hooper is an outstanding basketball player and guard for Oakland University in Michigan — last week, Chip made a trip to Michigan to watch his son play on Senior Night.

“Chip made the trip from Monterey, Calif., to Detroit in order to be with his son on Senior Night. Chip, who has been struggling with health issues in recent years, suffered a stroke Oct. 22. But he promised Max he’d come to a game this season,” according to an article in Pollstar. “It was no small feat. Paradigm chairman Sam Gores’ brother, Tom, owns the Detroit Pistons and offered his private plane to fly Chip and some friends, including Paradigm’s Dan Weiner, out from Monterey, according to the Detroit Free Press.  They were met by an ambulance and paramedics and arrived at the arena in time for Max to see them during warm-ups.”

In a touching story for Campus Rush, writer Michael Rosenberg recalls Chip and Max’s nightime ritual:

Most of their conversations were about basketball. At night, Chip would tell Max, “I believe in you.” And Max would say, “I believe in myself.”

Chip would say: “I believe in your dreams.” And Max would say: “I believe in my dreams.”

And Chip would say, “You’re going to make them all come true.” And Max would say, “I’m going to make them all come true.”

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Chip with his son Max and his daughter Valerie.

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Dave Brooks
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Dave Brooks

Founder & Executive Editor at Amplify Media
Dave Brooks has over 15 years experience as a writer, including eight years as the Managing Editor of Venues Today. He started Amplify in 2014 to give the industry its own voice and turn up the volume on live entertainment.
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