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Rock star manager Mick Brigden of Santa Rosa dies at 73

Mick Brigden, who for decades managed and directed tours for rock acts including Humble Pie, Mountain and Peter Frampton, died after an accident Sept. 5 at his hilltop home north of Santa Rosa.

During his long career in music management, Brigden directed tours for The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan and is best known for managing the career of Grammy-nominated solo guitarist Joe Satriani over the past three decades.

Brigden was on his property helping to dig a grave for the family’s pet dog when the accident occurred, said Julia Dreyer Brigden, his wife of 34 years. He was taken to a Santa Rosa hospital, where he died. He was 73.

His wife often joined Brigden on concert tours he managed and she marveled at his efficiency.

“He was so organized. That’s why he was so good at his job,” she said. “When you arrived at the hotel, the cars were waiting and the venues were set up.”

Brigden’s management relationship with Satriani began in 1988, when the guitarist was hired to play on Mick Jagger’s two solo tours that year, first in Japan and later in Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia. Until then, Brigden and Satriani had only met during brief chance encounters.

“I was on the East Coast doing a club tour, and Mick Jagger was struggling to find a guitar player,” Satriani recalled. “They’d gone through something like 60 guitarists. After the audition, Mick Brigden said, ‘Hello again. Let’s talk business.’

“Mick Brigden was a force to reckon with. He was just such an original,” Satriani added. “I hesitate to say he was an old school rock ‘n’ roll manager because it doesn’t do him justice. He put an emphasis on doing things right and doing right by people.”

Born Nov. 4, 1947, in Southend On Sea, England, Brigden left for Canada at age 19. He settled in Toronto and worked as a graphic artist. He moved to New York after meeting Felix Pappalardi from the band Mountain in the late ’60s and becoming 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 settling in Sonoma County in 2001. Brigden met rock concert promoter Bill Graham at the same show and soon went to work for him.

In 1976, after working for Graham for seven years, Brigden took over the management division at Bill Graham Presents, co-leading it with Arnie Pustilnik.

At Bill Graham Presents, Brigden and Pustilnik launched the Columbia-distributed label Wolfgang Records in the late 1970s. The label’s first client was Eddie Money, and it released his double-platinum debut in 1977, followed by four more albums. In the ’80s the label waned, but in 1995 it rebounded when it released Money’s “Love and Money,” among other albums.

After Graham’s death in 1991, Brigden and Pustilnik joined 13 other employees of Bill Graham Presents 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 sole client. Pustilnik died of cancer on Aug. 20.

Brigden later teamed up with longtime Sammy Hagar manager John Carter to manage Chickenfoot, a rock group Hagar had formed with Satriani, Michael Anthony and Chad Smith.

About five years ago, Brigden brought on Bill Graham Presents alumni Morty Wiggins as a partner to handle day-to-day management for Satriani. Wiggins also serves as CEO of the Second Octave Entertainment company, which promotes concerts and events at the SOMO Village in Rohnert Park.

“Mick had a unique skill set,” Wiggins said. “Most people in the music industry are experienced either on the touring side, the business side or the creative side. His skills covered all three categories, and he was able to communicate with musicians on an artistic level.”

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 that were used to make an Owl Ridge cabernet. He also was an avid hiker and cyclist.

“Mick really loved Sonoma County,” Wiggins said. “He would cycle all over the county.”

In addition to his widow, Brigden is survived by son Jack Brigden of Santa Rosa, stepdaughter Jessica Merz and grandson David Merz of Novato.

Memorial plans are pending. The family asks donations in Brigden’s name be sent to the Humane Society of Sonoma County.

You can reach Staff Writer Dan Taylor at dan.taylor@pressdemocrat.com or 707-521-5243. On Twitter @danarts.

Dan Taylor

Arts & Entertainment, The Press Democrat

Do you take fun seriously? I know I do. Tell me what you want to know about arts and entertainment in the North Bay to make the best use of your leisure time and money. As a longtime local arts journalist, I have learned where to look and who to ask.

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