Mark Brigden, a music industry staple well-known for his work as tour manager for the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan, died while digging a grave for his dog in the backyard of his home in California.
Brigden’s wife, Julia Dreyer Brigden, confirmed to The Press Democrat that the tragic accident occurred on Sunday outside their residence in Santa Rosa. He was immediately transported to a nearby hospital, where he later died. He was 73.
Over the course of his successful decades-long career, Brigden worked with high-profile artists such as Peter Frampton, Humble Pie, Van Morrison, Carlos Santana, Mountain and Joe Satriani, in addition to Dylan and the Stones. With famed concert promoter Bill Graham as a mentor, Bridgen was able to become one of the most sought after tour managers of his time, Julia Brigden said.
“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.”
Bridgen was born and raised in Southend On Sea, a resort town in south England, before he moved to Canada in 1966 at the age of 19. He worked as a graphic artist in Toronto but shifted into a career in music upon connecting with Mountain frontman Felix Pappalardi. Their meeting was enough to get him to move to New York full-time and work as manager for the rock musician, according to Brigden’s obituary, posted on his website.
He met both his wife and famed rock concert promoter Bill Graham at a concert at the Fillmore West venue in San Francisco in 1969. The pair worked together through Graham’s death in 1991, launching Wolfgang Records, which distributed six of Eddie Money’s studio albums, including his 1977 self-titled debut.
Following Graham’s death, Brigden and his management partner, Arnold Pustilnik, purchased 90% of the company along side 13 other “Bill Graham Presents” employees. He and Pustilnik sold the business in the early 2000s, and then opened MJJ Management with guitarist Joe Satriani as his sole client.
“It’s been a crazy and wonderful 33 years of rock ‘n’ roll,” Satriani said in a statement following Brigden’s death. “I’ve never worked so hard, played so hard, laughed and cried so hard, made so much music and had so many worldwide adventures, and all with Mick by my side.”
He continued: “He was the ultimate music business mentor. Honest, tough, nurturing, hardworking, respectful, tenacious, insightful, he was all of things and more. I learned so much about how to be a good person from Mick. “Throughout his illustrious career he worked the biggest and the best, but always knew it was important to be kind, be respectful, be cool and do things the right way.”
Brigden is survived by his wife Julia, son Jack, stepdaughter Jessica and grandson David Merz.
His family has requested that any donations in Brigden’s honor be made to The Humane Society of Sonoma County.