Mick Brigden, who for decades managed and toured for rock bands such as Humble Pie, Mountain and Peter Frampton, died in an accident on September 5 at his hilltop home to the north of Santa Rosa.
During his long career in music management, Brigden has led tours for the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan and is best known for managing the career of Grammy-nominated solo guitarist Joe Satriani for the past three decades.
Brigden was on his property helping dig a grave for the family’s pet dog when the accident happened, said Julia Dreyer Brigden, his wife of 34 years. He was taken to a hospital in Santa Rosa, where he died. He was 73 years old.
His wife often joined Brigden on concert tours he led and she marveled at his efficiency.
“He was so organized. That’s why he was so good at his job, ”she said. “When you got to the hotel, the cars were waiting and the place was set up.”
Brigden’s management relationship with Satriani began in 1988, when the guitarist was hired to perform on Mick Jagger’s two solo tours that year, first to Japan and later to Australia, New Zealand and in Indonesia. Until then, Brigden and Satriani had only met in brief chance encounters.
“I was on the East Coast doing a club tour and Mick Jagger was having trouble finding a guitarist,” Satriani recalls. “They had gone through something like 60 guitarists. After the hearing Mick Brigden said, “Hello again. Let’s talk business.
“Mick Brigden was a force to be reckoned with. He was so original, ”added Satriani. “I hesitate to say he was an old school rock ‘n’ roll manager because that doesn’t do him justice. He put the emphasis on doing things right and doing it right by people.
Born on November 4, 1947 in Southend On Sea, England, Brigden left for Canada at the age of 19. He moved to Toronto and worked as a graphic designer. He moved to New York after meeting Felix Pappalardi of the Mountain group in the late 1960s and became their road manager.
Mick and Julia met in 1969 at a concert at the Fillmore West in San Francisco and lived in San Francisco and Fairfax before moving to Sonoma County in 2001. Brigden met rock concert promoter Bill Graham at the same show and quickly went to work for him.
In 1976, after working for Graham for seven years, Brigden took over the management division from Bill Graham Presents, co-managing it with Arnie Pustilnik.
At Bill Graham Presents, Brigden and Pustilnik started the Wolfgang Records label, distributed by Columbia, in the late 1970s. The label’s first customer was Eddie Money, and he released his first double platinum record in 1977, followed by of four other albums. In the 1980s the label declined, but in 1995 it rebounded with the release of Money’s “Love and Money”, among other albums.
After Graham’s death in 1991, Brigden and Pustilnik joined 13 other Bill Graham Presents employees to buy 90% of the company, with the remaining 10% held by Graham’s two sons.
In the early 2000s, when Pustilnik’s health began to deteriorate, he and Brigden sold the management business and Brigden opened MJJ, with Satriani as his only client. Pustilnik died of cancer last month, August 20.
Brigden then teamed up with longtime Sammy Hagar manager John Carter to run Chickenfoot, a rock band Hagar formed with Satriani, Michael Anthony and Chad Smith.
About five years ago, Brigden hired Bill Graham Presents alumnus Morty Wiggins as a partner to handle the day-to-day running of Satriani. Wiggins is also CEO of Second Octave Entertainment, which promotes concerts and events at SOMO Village in Rohnert Park.
“Mick had a unique skill set,” Wiggins said. “Most people in the music industry have experience on the touring side, on the business side, or on the creative side. His skills covered all three categories and he was able to communicate with musicians artistically.
Brigden was a manager who could design a poster, book flights and design sets, Satriani said. His interests weren’t limited to the music business. During his early years in Sonoma County, he grew grapes in his vineyard which were used to make an Owl Ridge cabernet. He was also an avid hiker and cyclist.
“Mick really loved Sonoma County,” Wiggins said. “He rode his bike all over the county. “
Along with his widow, Brigden is survived by his son Jack Brigden of Santa Rosa, daughter-in-law Jessica Merz and grandson David Merz of Novato.
Memorial plans are pending. The family is asking for donations in Brigden’s name to be sent to the Humane Society of Sonoma County.
You can reach Editor-in-Chief Dan Taylor at [email protected] or 707-521-5243. On Twitter @danarts.