Michael Butler’s HAiR TRiBES Story

Sherwin Ross and Michael created HAIRTribes.com in 2006.

This page is a work in progress. I never expected to be writing these memories so soon.

Michael passed on to a better place on November 7th 2022.  

I drove Michael to Dr. Lala his cardiologist, primary care physician on June 26th 2022. Michael was good health. He had macular degeneration and his right arm was paralyzed from a Polo accident when he was a child. Michael was unable to walk on his own for the past 3 years. He was unable to use the wheel chair. 

Dr. Lala wrote Michael a percription for physical therapy 3 times a day 7 days a week.  

Michael never complained. He was busy doing what he loved. Michael was producing two shows. His mind was sharp as a tack. Michael was working with Ben Vereen on a play called Pope Joan and a new production of HAiR in Los Angeles.

I spent a lot of time with Michael in the past 6 months. We took his last ride to see the ocean, he reminisced the JFK days and HAiR days. Michael was doing great. He was receiving phys ed with a nurse twice a day 5 days a week and loved the food. He was always in a great mood and happy. We thought he was going to see 100 years old. November 26th is Michaels birthday he would be 96. Never the less, well, Michael had told me three years ago that he had enough. He said it was too long. 

How I met Michael Butler and became his business partner. 

In 1980, I met Michael through his niece, wild life and still life photographer, Reute Butler. Reute was best friends with Stan Shaffer's, the fashion photographer. 


I had just moved back from France with my girlfriend, fashion model and actress/singer Louise Robey. “Robey” had a recording contract with CBS records. CBS put her together with a band in England.

I was signed as a solo artist on Barclay records.

CBS sent Louise and I to England to record at the marquee studios with Phill-Harding, Dave Dale, and Mc Hanson collectively known as The Creeps. 

Louise and I went to NYC, we were staying at my parents house on Long Island. I was driving Louise around to her go-sees. She was with Zoli Models. On one spectacular photo shoot I was invited and I met Stan. One thing led to another Stan loved the bands demo and Louise. We decided to start a management company called, Butler, Shaffer & Ross management. Reute brought in Ken Meyers, ( Ben Vereen’s business manager) and Reute’s girl friend Muffy, was dating a billionaire angel investor. We had the backing, we went to England and recorded 4 songs at Pete Townsends recording studio “Eel Pie”.

Life happens for you, not to you. We all were in the flow of life. 

Fast forward to New York City, The Apthorp on 78th & Broadway. Stan Shaffer’s Studio and apartment.

We had a record launch party to introduce the band to NYC. 

I was talking to Janice Dickinson and Michael Butler in Stan Shaffer's kitchen.  Pete Townsend, Jimmy Pullis, Nat Wiess, and two hundred other of New York City’s fashion and music scene were there. It was a scene. 

Michael introduced us to Chris Blackwell (Island Records).Reutie, Stan, Michael, Louise and I were invited to Chris Blackwell's apartment in the Essex House on Central Park South. He loved the band however he had told us, “I just signed a band from Ireland called U-2. He passed on Louise and The Creeps.

HAiR changed my life!

Fast forward to 1998, I was cast as Berger in HAiR the Musical. This was the 20th Anniversary tour. We were staged and trained by original cast members Robert Camuto, (Woof) Sally Eaton, (Jeannie) and Choreographer Julie Arenal. Peppy Castro invited me to his home where he gifted me the attitude of Berger as he read through the script, Peppy acted out each part. I honestly do not believe I would have gotten the role down if is was not for Peppy Castro’s direction and Julie Arenals' choreography. 

After a performance in New Haven, Connecticut, I met Gerome Ragni and James Rado backstage. Gerome told the producer Barry Singer, “Sherwin is one of the best Bergers ever to hit the boards".

                            This is the show where I met Gerry and Jim.

 After HAiR, through a dream in which I rented a cigarette stand with a roll up gate and designed bell bottom leggins, and proximity with a fashion designer / actress (Krysi Mulvehill) I rented a cigarette stand with a roll up gate and opened a legging stand in NYC outside Top Tomato on Broadway. (The Gap is there now). Then I opened a second location three doors down from Canal Jeans. I was  manufacturing Hip Hugger Cotton Lycra bell bottoms leggings. My brand was called “She’s Got Legs”. We found our way into Joyce Leslie stores and Macy’s.  

The apparell business was my side hustle. I signed with William Morris. We had a band called Tuff Talk and played the NY club circuit. The Limelight and Drums were our steady gigs. We had a development deal with Chrysalis Records. Nothing became of all the efforts.

Fast forward to 1996 in Los Angeles California. I became the six million dollar man.

In 1996, I became successful with a husband and wife Korean clothing manufacturing team. I was traveling around the world setting up trade shows and distribution for Pandora Casuals whos name I changed after a Tony Robbins seminar to ONE Clothing. That's where I was renamed "Ace". Chang ho OK who became the president of Forever 21 could pronounce Sherwin. At this same time I was co star in Cell Block Sisters as a bike gang President. The film was on heavy rotation on HBO and Cinemax.  in 2001 I left the Koreans and opened my own design studio down town LA. I created Ace Ross Studios. I hired designer, Melodie Wilson. Melodie was from Guess? Jeans. She was a known denim designer who I met through my French friends. Melodie was best friends with Michael Butler. One thing always leads to another and Michael came down to my store for a HAiR reunion. It was great to see him again all these years later. We spoke about designing the costumes for a production of HAiR The Musical. One thing led to another. Michael and I created his own T-shirt line using the hair logo of and we digitally produced his trademark-poster. The double headed logo from the 1968 production company at the Biltmore theater HAiR the American Tribal Love Rock Musical . 


Designed by Ace Ross Studio

Designed by Ace Ross Studio

Designed by Ace Ross Studio

Michael and I hung out together. We had dinner parties at my house in Los Angeles off Melrose. I was invited to be-ins at his apartment on Doheny Ave. in Beverly Hills . We worked with my Philippine partner "Foundasco USA"  Precy and designed a HAiR Collection. Michael invited me to the HAiR reunions between 2006 and 2018. We traveled together to NYC. I met the original cast members, Tom O’Horgan, Natalie Mosco, Shelly Plimpton, Debbie Andrews, Uta Hedgewig, Mike Blaxwell, Jim Rado, Joanne came wonderful friends with Sharmaigne Leland’s St. John.


Natalie Mosco, Ula Hedwig, Mike Blaxill, Kathy Nixon, Ingraham, DelRosso, Mudra, Joanne Harris, James Rado, Debbie Andrews
WARREN "VIBES" CHIASSON The Biltmore Theater percusionist for HAiR 1968 till 1972 The original sountrack recording.
The Biltmore Theater percussionist for HAiR 1968 till 1972
The original soundtrack recording.


James Rado "Where do I Go"
Peppy Castro
Peppy Castro & Sherwin
Michael and I opened HAiR Licensing together in 2005

Womans Wear Daily editorial on The New HAiR Collection 
The HAiR Apparel Collection was never meant to be. We donated all of the production to the earthquake victims in Honduras.

Sherwin and Michael 2016

Sherwin and Michael 

Fast forward to Los Angeles Woodland Hills, his sons house 2016; 

Michael moved into his son’s house, which was 5 miles away from where I lived, and we again spent time together. That’s where I made the video for Broadway Sings for Pride because he couldn’t fly at this time. He was weak he couldn’t walk he confided in me that he had had enough. ‘It was too long already’. Those were his words.  

Through everything Michael was always producing a show. He was working on Pope John with Ben Vereen, and a production of HAiR, one that should be on the boards in Los Angeles for the new year. 

In one visit in June, I told the nurse, Michael and I are going to go take a ride to the beach. No one contested, I wheeled Michael down the elevator out to my car.  We drove down to Malibu. The conversation was great. It was about his friend, John F, Kennedy, and productions of HAiR and the we just had a great time. 

A couple of days later, I took him to his primary care physician, Dr. Lala. Michael was prepared for the worst and he was preparing me. He had a pain in his intestine he was worried.

Michael invited me in the room with Dr. Lala. Dr. Lala reviewed Michael’s MRI and his blood tests. He looked at Michael he smiled. He said Michael there’s nothing wrong with you.

I took Michael back to Hospice and went to his sons house too get his favorite photos to brighten up his room. 

Michael would go outside in the courtyard to meet his friends. This is with Toni Appel in August 2022.

Photograph of John F. Kennedy by Michael Butler

Ben Vereen wrote this the day Michael passed away. 

"Funny there is a full moon tonight, yet my heart breaks for my friend. I know the reason why. You see, I know he is better now because the body has an expiration date.

He was the age of 95.

We give praise and thanksgiving for a long life.

Yet there are tears in the moon 🌚 tonight as I look closer.

The tears are for he who wanted love to live forever, here on this struggling planet called earth 🌍. He wore colors of peace ☮️ and love for all God's creation. His song to humanity was “LET THE SUNSHINE IN!”

He allowed the words of Shakespeare to be heard earlier “WHAT A PIECE OF WORK IS A MAN “ in the show he was so proud to produce, HAIR. It’s sad he closed his eyes never to see the world of love he wanted.

Now it’s our job. We have a big job ahead. What is that job you ask? …..TO GIVE PEACE A CHANCE ….TO CLIMB TO THE MOUNTAINTOP…As Martin Luther King dreamt and preached, Michael Butler my friend tried to awaken a generation to this calling. He waved the banner of LOVE and PEACE. I think we must take to the streets again till victory is won." Ben Vereen

I love you my friend. Rest now in the peace of the Consciousness you brought to display here . Thank you ☮️🕉💟🙏🏾

So, here we are, we celebrate Michael's passing memories of everything he accomplished to change the lives for so many. He loved actors he loved producing.

The HAiR Tribes are Michaels chosen family.

What we can all take away from this is to love harder, love more than you’ve ever loved before because you don’t know what can happen. We all thought Michael was going to make it to 100 at least I did. He was so filled with life. So we move on in his honor. 

Michael Butler changed the lives of millions. Those who cried at a live performance of HAiR and the thousands of actors who’s lives were changed from being in the Tribe. 

Thank you Michael. Rest in Peace.