Even though he spends five nights a week at shows, United Talent Agency’s Dave Shapiro doesn’t slow down on the weekends. The rock agent likes to spend his time off engaging in extreme sports that keeps the adrenaline going.
“It is kind of a big part of my life. Most clients and people in my life that know me well know that on the weekends I’m under a parachute or upside down in an airplane,” Shapiro told Amplify. “I got my pilot’s license about 12 and a half years ago. About two years in I started learning basic aerobatics.”
Shapiro eventually moved further into extreme sports based on his love for flying planes. He base jumped and did wing suit flying across the world for many years.
“When I got married, I kind of stopped jumping off buildings and cliffs,” Shapiro explained. “My wife was not really a big supporter of it. It is a pretty dangerous sport. Now I have been focusing more on aerobatic flying.”
The extreme sports seem fitting for an agent who spent his formative years in hardcore and metal clubs throughout New York.
“I grew up in Albany, New York when it happened to be a time in the history of hardcore music where upstate New York was pumping out a lot of really legendary hardcore. I grew up right in the middle of all of that,” Shapiro said.
He added “I became a fan because all those bands were hometown heroes. Living up there, being a part of it, and finding out about those bands before they left the hometown was cool.”
That passion for rock music transformed into the perfect job for Shapiro, who fell in love with the scene when he went to his very first concert in 1994.
“The whole environment, people everywhere going nuts, loud music, and the band was amazing. I just thought, ‘This is for me,'” Shapiro said. “Something has to keep you going when you’re stuck at work for that amount of time of your life. You’ve got to love it.”
Amplify caught up to find out about that very first show and four others that made an impact on Shapiro.
One King Down at Valentines in Albany, New York
Aug. 28, 2000
One King Down was one of the more popular upstate New York hardcore bands. They were a hometown favorite for many, myself included. I would say 90 percent of the people were coming from a 100-mile radius for the show. I saw them all the time. They were awesome. This show was epic though. I saw more stagediving, crowdsurfing and headwalking than I’ve ever seen before. The tiny 300-cap room with 300 of the sweatiest and most passionate fans in the world. Everyone singing every single word. The show was truly unforgettable.
Iron Maiden at Madison Square Garden in New York
Feb. 17, 2002
They are my favorite band of all time. I flew out to New York city with a buddy just for this show. As an adult, this is the only show I’ve ever traveled to that wasn’t for work. When I was a kid and didn’t work in music and go to shows five nights a week, I would travel whereever I had to for the bands I loved. Iron Maiden is the one band I will go all out for, do whatever I can to see them when they are on the road. The setlist was epic. It’s the most fire I’ve ever seen at an indoor show. The production was completely over the top in classic Iron Maiden style and they didn’t disappoint.
Dillinger Escape Plan at Hellfest in Syracuse, New York
July 12-14, 2002
This was a weekend-long metal and hardcore festival. That was the first time I ever saw a band called the Juliana Theory, who became a band I really loved growing up. The same thing happened with a band called Further Seems Forever. Lots of great bands played but the highlight was the last band of the fest. Dillinger Escape Plan closed the festival and the reason I’ll never forget that show is because they literally set the stage on fire. People were stoked. I am sure the promoter was a little concerned but I wasn’t on the business side of it yet so I wasn’t thinking about that. I was thinking ‘Holy shit. This is a crazy show.’ To watch a stage burning as you’re leaving a festival is an image you’ll never forget.
Smashing Pumpkins at State University of New York, Albany
April 18, 1994
This was the first show I ever went to. My friend’s dad worked at the college so he got us all tickets. It was me and a bunch of my best friends. I was 11 years-old and Smashing Pumpkins were just starting to gain real fame with their hit “Disarm.” The band played an amazing show and it was a really great intro into the concert world. From there I was hooked and wanted to go to as many shows as I could. This show put me down a path that lead me to where I am today in my career.
Matthew Good Band at Edgefest in Barrie, Ontario
July 1-2, 1999
Growing up in upstate New York we got radio from Canada and also Much Music on TV. As a result, my friends and I would always listen to Canadian rock and fell in love with a lot of Canadian rock bands. In 1999, we didn’t have our driver’s licenses yet so two of my best friends and I hopped on a bus to Canada to go to Edgefest in Barrie. I was fairly responsible for a 15-year-old kid I think. My parents didn’t really worry about me going off doing my thing. It was probably about 10 hours or something with all the stops. We saw lots of great Canadian bands like Treble Charger and Edwin, but my personal favorite that I couldn’t wait to see was Matthew Good Band.