“Pay if forward.” That’s what Paradigm’s Lynn Cingari asked us to do on Friday…for Chip. And now I’m asking you to do the same…for Chip Hooper.
I first met Chip through Dave Frey and the H.O.R.D.E. Festival in 1993. Chip was Blues Traveler and Phish’s agent, two of the acts that led the “jam band” scene of the 1990’s along with the Dave Matthews Band (also Chip’s client), Widespread Panic, moe. (Chip act), Medesky, Martin, and Wood, Big Head Todd, Hootie, Spin Doctors, etc.…and the festival’s agent as well. That meant that I started off on Chip’s team, which was always a good thing. It wasn’t fun being on the other side as Chip was a fierce competitor and always had to win.
So many friends, some of the “whose who” of the music business told similar stories about Chip. Everyone he met became his best friend, the late night calls that went on for hours, stories about his son Max’s basketball career, his “second career” as one of the top landscape photographers in the world, music, sports, wine, fancy hotels, anything Chicago, how every call ended with his trademark “you’ve got it”, anyone to be taken seriously was “the real deal”… I honestly cried for over 3-hours.
Friday was a heavy day, yet one filled with love and remembrance. After the moving speakers, and in the case of legendary New York concert promoter Ron Delsener, a hilarious and inappropriate stream of consciousness (Chip would have loved it), the first person I ran into at the reception was one of Chip’s famous clients who had obviously been deeply affected. “How badly do you want to hug your kids right now? How are we supposed to socialize after that? They should have little rooms with therapists for us”. He was right, and as the afternoon progressed, everyone acted as each other’s shrink.
We learned life lessons to pay forward Friday. We learned of the incredible sacrifices friends and family made to help Chip at the end of his journey; Jackie Nalpant (my hero), Dan Weiner, Fred Bolander, Lynn Cingari, Dr. Koontz (Chip’s Oncologist that made house calls when Chip was too weak to travel), Sam Gores and the whole Paradigm Agency (Sam was the one who arranged for Chip to travel from California to Michigan to surprise his son Max for his college basketball team’s senior day…watch here http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=14857467), and especially Chip’s daughter Val who took a semester off from Duke to take care of her Dad, THANK YOU! Not only have you helped a dear friend/family member through his toughest time, but taught us all how to be more human (crying hard again).
Friday’s reception’s theme followed another core Hooper value, sharing. Chip was giving of his time, money, loves, and passions that included food and wine. So the champagne for the toast, and wines served were from Chip’s personal cellar. The food (including Ben and Jerry’s) was some of his favorites. Chip’s incredible photographs (Lori and I have 3 hanging in our home, go to http://chiphooper.com/www/index.html) were displayed around the beautiful Sunset Center in Carmel, the perfect venue to hold a celebration of a great man’s life.
Uber lawyer Elliot Groffman started everything off by sharing a video that Chip watched all the time, sometimes on endless loop, and now I’m paying forward to you. Truly inspiring! https://www.ted.com/talks/louie_schwartzberg_nature_beauty_gratitude?language=en.
Please pay it forward. Call your friends and family, hug your kids and significant other…and please go to http://www.cfmco.org/about-us/fund-list/chip-hooper-foundation/ and give what you can.
P.s. Moving forward, the Aspen Live Conference will make a donation each December to The Chip Hooper Foundation as well as creating an annual award (the only one we will give each year) to honor those that follow Chip’s messages of passion, art, music, family and sharing.