Derek Shulman is a special guest of honor at the MoonJune Festival Toledo between September 28 and October 1, 2023.
Born in the Gorbals, Glasgow, Scotland, Shulman began his recording career as the singer of British pop band Simon Dupree and the Big Sound, with Pete O’Flaherty, Eric Hine, Tony Ransley, and his brothers Phil Shulman and Ray Shulman. Recording in the late 1960s for Parlophone Records, the band struggled with creative difficulties after experiencing some commercial success with several top 40 hits, including the top 10 hit “Kites”. The band finally dissolved in 1969. The three brothers went on to form progressive rock band Gentle Giant with guitarist Gary Green, keyboardist Kerry Minnear, and drummer Martin Smith (later replaced by Malcolm Mortimore, who was himself replaced by John Weathers). In Gentle Giant, Shulman became known as a dynamic frontman in the live environment and recorded twelve albums with the band over ten years. While the band secured a loyal following of fairly devout fans, they never experienced wide commercial success and, with their popularity waning slightly in the late 1970s, they disbanded after the release of the 1980 album Civilian. Like his band members, Shulman was quite adept on several instruments, including saxophone, recorder, bass, clavichordand their own Shulberry, an electric 3-stringed ukulele.
Following his recording career, Shulman became a prominent record executive. Starting as an A&R representative at PolyGram Records, where he rose to the ranks of senior vice president, he signed Bon Jovi, Dan Reed Network, Cinderella, Kingdom Come, and Enuff Z’nuff among many others. In 1988, he became president and CEO of Atco Records, where his first signing was blues rock band Tangier, followed by progressive metal band Dream Theater and Pantera. He also re-established the careers of AC/DCand Bad Company, both of whom sold multi-platinum albums under his watch. He then went on to become president of Roadrunner Records overseeing signings like Slipknot and Nickelback. He also ran the independent label DRT Entertainment from 2003 to 2009, along with Ron Urban and Theodore “Ted” Green. In March 2010, Shulman established a new venture with international music impresario Leonardo Pavkovic called 2PLUS Music & Entertainment.