About Peter Shaw

One way to look at the fascinating and multi-faceted showbiz career of Peter Shaw is that both Shaw and the late Steve Jobs worked with the A-list Hollywood director Ridley Scott.Jobs hired Scott to direct Apple’s famous 1984-flavored Super Bowl ad that same year promoting the new MacIntosh. That apocalyptic, visionary video “became a sensation,” the Los Angeles Times wrote last year, “helping to put Apple on the cultural map and launching the modern Super Bowl ad.”Seventeen years later, Peter was on location in Richmond, Virginia, with Anthony Hopkins, Julianne Moore, and Gary Oldman, filming the Ridley Scott-directed Hannibal, a picture which grossed over $165 Million in the USA alone and was the sequel to the 1991 Hopkins starrer The Silence Of The Lambs.

Few would turn down the career path Shaw then had of a budding film and TV star, but he had something else in mind, something deeper.“I was torn, because acting’s a lot of sitting and waiting, downtime,  and it’s not exciting,  not as exciting as singing music in a live Arena in front of 38,000 people,” Shaw says in a conversation at his newly rented, sparsely furnished place in Nashville,.. another show business center he’s now using as one of several home bases for his songwriting, producing, and recording.

“I had the dream of singing in arenas, watching Roger Water’s perform his greatest hit’s at the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon.  I just watched this massive show and thought “I want to do that,” but I had no idea how it would happen.” Shaw says.

My Family

It happened with Trans-Siberian Orchestra, with whom Peter sang for four seasons. TSO is a Multiplatinum Grammy Nominated Christmas Rock Opera.   To date it’s one of the most successful holiday touring acts in the world, and has sold more than 7 Million albums.  Rolling Stone has TSO at the top of the charts from Nov. 1 thru jan 4th .. or as Shaw says “people want xmas everyday of the year with TSO, THATS HOW POPULAR THEY ARE, (he laughs with his huge booming voice teaming with excitement about his experiences with them)  “What a ride it was, is all I can say.. and if I told you more I’d have to shoot you” Shaw laughs.

Trans-Siberian MSG, ‘08

This is how Shaw got the job. Peter had a plan.  As he says “you have to have a plan” you can’t just do something, you have to formulate A PLAN !  He joined Reebox sports club in NYC to meet people.  And as it so happened he bumped into a casting director for TSO. She said “sing, sing like your playing Madison Square Garden, because the band will be playing ONLY ARENA’S from here on out.” Shaw’s eyes could believe his ears… no pressure… Shaw jumped up on the bench press and sang a big showstopper “Find Me Somebody To Love” made famous by David Bowie and Freddie Mercury, another of Shaw’s childhood idols.  Well,  the rest is history. After stopping the gym in their tracks…. Shaw finished the entire song accapella, as he had prepared himself for so many nights before alone in his apartment on 73st.

When TSO informed Shaw that the band’s tour that year was moving to huge arenas like Boston Garden and Madison Square Garden from the concert halls they had been working, he knew that one of his early dreams was fast coming true.

“It’s all about feeling for me, music is feeling,” he says. “That’s why I do it, because I like to give people feeling.”

He would play sold-out shows with TSO for four years, often sharing the stage with lifetime musical heroes/legends such as Joan Jett {her every first appearance at Madison Square Garden}, Roger Daltrey, and Mott the Hoople frontman Ian Hunter.

TSO is not an orchestra in a conventional sense, but a rock band conceived by New York native Paul O’Neill in the late 1990s along the lines of high-concept British artists O’Neill had grown up on, such as Pink Floyd, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and rock operas such as the Who’s Tommy and the Andrew Lloyd Weber-Tim Rice smash Jesus Christ Superstar.

O’Neill, teaming with musical collaborators Robert Kinkel, Jon Oliva, and Al Pitrelli and with major label support from Atlantic Records, further conceived of a pyrotechnic stage show that was “as over the top as we could make it,” Paul says on the band’s Web site.

Peter Shaw was hugely influenced by his TSO experience and the opportunity to work with these industry pioneers night after night, and fans all over the world thrilled to Shaw’s performances.

It had all begun for Peter in Houghton/Hancock, Michigan,  a city of a few hundred, except during college months, Michigan Tech. where Shaw’s father studied engineering for 4 years and graduated located in one of the northernmost parts of the United States, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

The family moved when Peter was very young to several tiny cities in Michigan.  before landing in Cheboygan, on a 17,536 acre lake. Mullet Lake.  Shaw spent his summers swimming and working for his father driving bulldozers and dump trucks for his construction company. His father wanted Peter to become an engineer like he was.  But that wasn’t to be. There was a much bigger calling for this small town boy.

Mt Everest 21,980 ft, ‘98

He was geographically closer to Canada than he was to the big cities of the USA, and Canadian singers and songwriters including Gordon Lightfoot, Neil Young, and more recently Bryan Adams became some of Peter’s countless musical influences, which also include artists as diverse as Marilyn Manson, Al Jarreau, the Eagles, and Seal.  Thats as diverse as an Artist like Shaw could throw into one sentence, as he laughs, ‘I’d have to see Marilyn Manson on stage with Al Jarreau’ he laughs.

In high school, Shaw played the challenging part of Judas in the school production of Jesus Christ Superstar, and knew then and there that rock music and theater would be huge parts of his life.  A game changer, that came out of the blue, when a teacher pulled Peter aside and said “you have a thing with music, you ever thought about following that, instead of agriculture like most of Cheboygan’s students.  Shaw took Dale Reiger’s advice.

He applied to the music departments of the University of Michigan, Indiana University, and Syracuse University, and chose Syracuse.

“I went to Syracuse, because the Bachelor of Fine Arts {BFA} program there was in Music and Theater, and that’s what I wanted, U of M and Indiana didn’t have a BFA program, besides Syracuse gave me a full ride scholarship, and money talks in this situation” he says.  On a side note, Peter, hesitates, takes a breath and says, ” was supposed to go to London” to study abroad with his 39 class mates from the S.U. Drama Dept.  It was at that moment Pan Am 103 sailed into oblivion without Peter.  He, at the time was auditioning for a Major Motion Picture called “The Front Runner” to star Paul Newman as the “coach” and Shaw to co-star as the “homosexual track star that is assassinated at the end of the Olympics as he crossed the finish line first, because of his characters life style.”  Newman and Shaw were put together and almost cast until the casting director called a younger guy into the room to play the “coach” … in walks Christopher Reeves.  One of Shaw’s acting hero’s.  He met the late Chris Reeve on the set of “SomeWhere in Time” many years earlier on Mackinaw Island, Michigan.  and also starring Jane Seymour.  Peter sits quiet for a moment,  and says “All I can say about this is that I’m lucky, I’ve always been Lucky, Luck has prevailed with me throughout my entire life, and it won’t stop ever”  {he takes a moment to reflect on… his friends he lost}

After Syracuse, Shaw moved to New York and a quick stop back out in Los Angeles. It doesn’t hurt that Peter somewhat resembles both Kevin Costner and Brad Pitt, so he was able to land modeling gigs between auditions for acting and singing roles. While in Los Angeles,  He was up for ‘River Runs Thru It” auditioned with Robert Redford… “had a bad audition” Shaw quips… ‘hey I can’t be on all the time, but most of the time I am.” Auditioned with Al Pacino for the lead role in “Scent of a Woman” Shaw says “the director followed him out the door and said ‘great read’ your to tall, Al doesn’t like to stand on “apple boxes”when he acts’,  So what did Peter do?  He walked across the room to a young, shorter, Chris O’donnel and said “it’s your part.”  Aaron Spelling almost cast Shaw in several TV series… big hits .. ‘i just didn’t fit the bill for the shows… but i hold no animosity towards Aaron and Duke E. Vincent. They know what they are doing.”

For more than a year, Shaw has also connected with an investor from New Jersey who works in the engineering business and has been extremely supportive of Peter’s various projects.

“They’ve been a sound part of my life,” Shaw says. “My team’s got a great over all branding and business sense about them in each of their own areas of expertise. Each one has mentored me to a degree”. In business that is.

Peter then looks ahead at his own musical vision.

“I’m trying to get something that’s kid-friendly, but not too kid-friendly,” he says. “I want my audience to be in the late teens and early 20s, where the kids go, `I love that song and I love that singer, and it just moves me every time I go to hear him sing.’

“If it’s one song I get out of my lifetime, one great hit,” I would be happy,” Shaw says.

The Michigan native sees his musical direction as starting in Pop and Rock, but like crossover artists such as Peter Gabriel, Darius Rucker, and Kid Rock, it will appeal to fans of countless radio genres.

“What I’m looking for is what I call `Universally Complex Music,’ ” he says.
“If there’s anything I can say in the future for me is that I want to do really positive, great things and leave a great mark on the world,” Peter says. “I want to leave an indelible mark so that everybody’s heard it goes, `every time I hear Peter Shaw’s voice, I get this feeling in me.’ ”

We’ve got a feeling that whole lot of folks will be feeling that way very soon.

Cruising the Rapids, ‘00

Leo in 73 st apt