His names is Darrell Shines, a spotlight-shy Williamsburg living backstage type who for 20 years plus has helped keep the light shining bright on just about everybody but himself. He’s hit the road with everyone from Randy Travis to Erykah Badu to the World Wrestling federation. Darrell’s done and forgotten more crazy stuff than most of us will ever experience.
Word has it these days that his 452 Comet skateboard is about to glide him through multitudes of star-crossed lights into a future Page 6 beacon of his own making. In addition to his work as Band Manager, Production Manager for Streb dance company and amateur photographer, Darrell is Creative Director and co-owner of Williamsburg’s soon to be opened Intersection studios,
You’ve described yourself, alternately, as a high end "jack of all trades" a "producer of anything," and a "Philippe Stark or Paul Robeson of Events." What have been some of your favorite projects?
I Stage Managed Nelson Mandela's Freedom Tour event at Yankee stadium in 1990. That had to be the most fulfilling event. That day I never asked my self what the fuck do I do this for.
Weirdest: When Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley broke it off, I cataloged all of his belongings from his hotel room and sent them to France for him and he has no idea who I am. Until now...
Coolest: I worked on the lighting design team for George Lucas's Christmas parties for several years, great parties.
Coolest II: Working at the old 9:30 club in D.C.
Production Managing Summer Stage was pretty cool but far too many politics for me. I think having first hand knowledge of historic events is just intensely funky. Maybe one day I will be that guy in shadow on some Unsolved Mystery show who had no idea what he really saw until someone tells me what was actually going on.
And why the Robeson and Stark qualifiers?
Paul Robeson for his strength of character. The fact that he stood toe to toe with anybody, the black establishment or Hollywood producers when the ran him away for being a communist.
I love strong brilliant black men like Robeson, Jack Johnson, Quincy Jones BTW: I wonder where hip-hop would be today if Puffy had really concentrated on his production skills and not relied so heavily on sampled hooks and branding. He would have a few million less in the bank but he would be taken seriously forever like Quincy Jones Mary j. Blige's "whats the 411" was the shiznit. and Jackie Robinson until he gave up or should I say gave in.
Philippe Stark for his fearless design.
You've been associated with a lot of very visible, well-known personalities. Either with respect to the space you're opening or your career in general, has this "access" smoothed your way at all?
I think the hardest thing for people to do is de-contextualize. People are so accustomed to seeing me as one thing and sometimes they do not really want me to do something else because it could mean they then work for me.
As such a dedicated behind the scenes kind of guy, do you ever yearn for the spotlight?
Only when I see suckers getting PAID for ideas that originated in my head and they will not even offer to buy me lunch. Creative energy harvesters, most of them.
You've been on the road with everyone from Erykah Badu to Randy Travis. Amongst the countless war stories we're sure you have to share, any in particular stand out in your mind?
Speaking of Ms. Badu, I was on the road with her and was sent home when her lighting director screwed up a bunch of cues. You see they tried to fire him until they realized he had also rented all of the band gear to the tour with his credit card. So he was moved into my position and I was given a ticket home and 2 weeks pay.
You also worked for the World Wrestling Federation? That must have been surreal. How did that come about? Tell us a bit about your experiences there.
I was on the road tour managing DJ Logic and Project Logic and got a call from my friend who used to manage the Roxy but now manages Club Deep. He told me that he had a friend who worked for the WWF and that they were looking for a Production Manager for their 40 million dollar Times Square facility. After 5 interviews , I was chosen. 6 months later 9-11-01... Six months later my boss is busted for embezzlement of overm $400,000.00.
I had the privilege of working with some of the best technicians in the event production industry. You really have to be on point to get down with these guys. The WWF really took care of me when my boss got busted, they just slid me out .
You're working on opening a performance space in Williamsburg called Intersection Studios. What's your vision for it?
Intersection Studios is a multi-functional 7800sf performance space in South Williamsburg. We plan on opening in June 2005 with an Afro beat kung-fu musical with Amayo1s (Lead singer for Antibalas) FU-ARKISTRA, dancers, video and all.
It is going to be hot and sexy.
Overheard: "I stare at stop signs" Stop signs? Interesting pastime...
When I was in Marrakech during Ramadan back in 1999 it was really hard to find food during the day so my friends and I began to smoke hash and play music all day and eat after sunset. Well one day, possibly under the influence, I saw a STOP sign in the distance and it was just like any other stop sign I had ever seen except I wanted to put purple fur on it and write the word TOUCH and see how the natives would respond to that.
What else are you up to these days?
We have one of our bands, Mangus in the studio recording there first album , shopping for a deal with FU-ARKISTRA. Gearing up for the Zanzibar International Film Festival July 1-10 on the island of Zanzibar , Tanzania where I will serve as the Production Manager.
You can go back in time to the age of 18 knowing everything you know now, but no one you have met knows you. Do you do it?
All past loves exist only in memory.
You've got $5.00 in your pocket, an unlimited metro card and a day to kill. What do you do?
Coney island on Sunday afternoon for the African Underground dance party on the pier
What advice would you give Bush as he embarks on his second term?
When some yells DUCK!!, disregard with the same vigor he does everything else.
Bloomberg, another 4 years?
Only if he comes out of the closet. No , really, other than education, he has not been awful. He was left with a considerable amount of crap and he is not a true Republican. It will be interesting to see what he does when he is not working so hard to appease the RNC
It's the year 2024, what do you think will be the hot topic of discussion at the water cooler?
Britney Spears and her 5 kids by 4 husbands, Michael Jackson's release after wrongful imprisonment, The Olsen twins boob job competition just keeps growing and growing.
If you could ask God one question, what would you ask?
Where do I apply for his job. I mean like how cool would it be to smite moutha fuckas?
Interview by Raphie Frank