AEG Presents’ Brian Murphy, Legendary Southern California Promoter, Dies At 70

Brian Murphy
– Brian Murphy

Brian Murphy, west coast executive vice president for AEG Presents and a towering figure in the concert industry, died March 6 after a battle with respiratory disease, Pollstar confirms. He was 70.

Murphy’s career spanned Creative Management Associates, (now ICM) and Pacific Presentations. He is best known for his work with Avalon Attractions, a concert promotion powerhouse that was acquired in 1998 by SFX, the precursor to Live Nation.

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Murphy worked with countless superstar artists, including U2, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, Metallica, Depeche Mode, Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Muse and many others.

Murphy made the move to AEG Presents in 2011.


Murphy joined Pacific Presentations and then founded Avalon Attractions, Southern California concert promotion powerhouses in the 1970s and ‘80s, before joining what eventually became Live Nation. 

At the time, former AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips said of Murphy: “It is very rare for an entertainment company like AEG Live to have the opportunity and good fortune to hire an executive with Brian Murphy’s reputation, relationships, experience and entrepreneurial ability. The combination of Brian and Paul Tollett, CEO of Goldenvoice and producer of the Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals, will further solidify AEG Live’s standing and reputation as the industry leader on the west coast and an even better partner for our artists and their representatives.”

Rick Mueller, AEG Presents president, North America, notified friends and colleagues of Murphy’s passing late March 6.

“Brian’s life as legendary; iconic Los Angeles concert promoter, mentor to many of us, and most importantly loving father and husband,” Mueller wrote. “He loved all his relationships in the business, the good ones and bad ones. I think sometimes Brian enjoyed the bad ones more as he was always up for some gamesmanship.

Brian Murphy
– Brian Murphy

“He was methodical and a tacticition, always wanting time with you to strategize on the next move, the next deal, the next project. He was always hustlin’. Murphy really did live the rock n roll dream as LA’s biggest concert promoter the the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s but it was the rare treat when he would ever share a story from the ‘glory days’ because never wanted to be seen as the old guy telling stories …

“I feel so fortunate that he took me under his wing; he was my mentor and my friend. I love him and already miss him dearly. … The box office is closed, the show is settled, and the band is off stage. It was one hell of a show. Well done Murph, well done indeed.”

Condolences from industry peers and colleagues include Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman, who said Murphy was “the legend,” as well as AEG Presents’ Jazmyn Lopez, and UTA’s Lennora Jules, who posted on Facebook: “I am so sad to hear this. He was truly legendary. He started my career and the career of so many other people in the music industry. Brian you will really be missed. RIP Brian Murphy.”

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Just heard the news of the passing of Brian Murphy, when I was starting in this business we were the upstarts &amp; he was the legend.  He was always nice to us kids at Goldenvoice &amp; gave us a chance when no one else would. <a href=”;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#RIPBrianMurphy</a></p>&mdash; KevinLyman (@KevinLyman) <a href=””>March 7, 2018</a></blockquote>

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<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>I’m so sad to hear about the passing of Brian Murphy. I’m lucky enough to have worked with him on the Katy Perry tour, he will be missed <a href=””></a></p>&mdash; Jazmyn (@JazmynJLopez) <a href=””>March 7, 2018</a></blockquote>

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Goldenvoice’s Shaynee Lee-gordy posted: “The music business is dimming the marquee lights today. LA has lost one of its most legendary promoters.

“The first big show I ever attended was Depeche Mode’s music for the masses in 1998 at the Rose Bowl for my high graduation. Not knowing then it was an avalon attractions show. I worked at Avalon attractions in 1997 for a year right when they were selling to SFX. It was a crazy time then with their transition but I am thankful for the opportunity there for it has led me to where I am now. Godspeed Brian. Thank you for all the good times. “

Ken Deans, who is festival production logistics director for Desert Trip, Coachella and Stagecoach Festivals with his KD Productions, said Murphy was a very close friend.

“I first met him when I was drummer in the opening band on The Knack tour in 1979,” Deans told Pollstar. “He took us out to dinner. Ever since then we’ve been friends. Always, whether it was a month a week or two years since we saw each other, he’d always smile, say, ‘Hi Ken how are you, how’s the family?’ And he was completely genuine. 

“It was really rough to get that call this morning,” said Deans, who with Seattle ties was part of the management group shepherding Mother Love Bone, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and others.

Memorial services will be announced at a later date.