Herbie Herbert, Original Journey Manager And Bill Graham Protege, Dies At 73

Herbie Herbert
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– Herbie Herbert
Steve Parrish, and Bill Thompson backstage at ‘Bill’s Birthday Bash’ a dedication to late rock empresario Bill Graham at The Fillmore on January 11, 2008 in San Francisco.

Walter “Herbie” Herbert who began his career as a roadie for Santana and moved on to manage Journey in its formative years through its breakthrough as a stadium headliner, died Oct. 25 at his home in Orinda, Calif., reportedly of natural causes. He was 73.

Herbert began working for the late Bill Graham and, as a roadie, met Santana members Neal Schon and Gregg Rolie. He later managed a local band, Frumious Bandersnatch, which included Ross Valory and George Tickner. Herbert would later bring the four players together to form Journey in 1973.

A protege of Bill Graham, Herbert died on the 30th anniversary of the passing of the legendary promoter and businessman, and is the third associate of Graham’s who has died in recent weeks. Dell Furano, founder of Winterland Productions, and Mick Brigden, the former Rolling Stones tour manager who headed up Bill Graham Presents’ management arm, each died in September.

In addition to Journey, Herbert managed at various times the Steve Miller Band, Mr. Big, Enuff Z’Nuff and co-managed Roxette and Europe. He was also a musician, releasing three albums under the name Sy Klopps — a band that also included Schon, Rolie, Valory and Prairie Prince.

Herbert remained with Journey through 1993, and is remembered for his entrepreneurial and stage savvy, being among the first to adapt video for use in stadium concerts and establishing Nightmare Productions, an inhouse company that made records, and Nocturne Productions, that developed state of the art sound and lighting systems for use in stadium shows.

Red Light Management’s Stuart Ross called Herbert “one of the greats,” adding “he essentially invented the stadium tour,” in a Facebook post. 

Journey guitarist Neal Schon wrote of Herbert:  “Shortly after we had completed the Caravanserai album, the band disbanded. Herbie had decided to start a management company. Approached me about managing myself and wrapping a band around my guitar playing and our long amazing Journey started when I said great let’s go. 

“I’ll cherish all the incredible times and trials and tribulations we experienced together. Herbie was an incredible hands on Manager and fought like a mother fucker for all of us every step of the way. I can easily say that without his vision there would have never been many of the innovative things that we shared.”