Rosebud Founder Mike Kappus To Be Inducted Into Blues Hall of Fame

Mike Kappus, founder of The Rosebud Agency, will be inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame on May 7, 2014 in Memphis. Kappus is the only individual to have won The Blues Foundation's agent / manager of the year award more than once, having won 4 times over the years. With a goal from day one of focusing on an intentionally small roster of timeless rather than trendy artists, the Blues Music Foundation named Kappus as "one of the most respected men in the business." Some of the legendary and timeless blues artists Kappus has represented for booking over the years include John Lee Hooker, Michael Bloomfield (signed on Rosebud's first day in business), Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Robert Cray, Marcia Ball, James Cotton, Ruth Brown, John Mayall, Luther Allison, Elvin Bishop, Charlie Musselwhite, Albert Collins, Ruthie Foster, Mose Allison, Duke Robillard, Charles Brown, Ry Cooder, Bettye LaVette, Irma Thomas, Dr. John, The Nighthawks, Coco Montoya and Tommy Castro in addition to many other Roots and Roots-influenced artists from Captain Beefheart to Mavis Staples and JJ Cale to Charlie Watts and many more. In addition to booking, Kappus also managed blues artists John Hammond (a Rosebud artist since 1977), Duke Robillard, John Lee Hooker, and Robert Cray.

Robert Cray's first record after signing with Kappus for management was the 1990 double platinum hit, Strong Persuader. Kappus also convinced John Lee Hooker to return to recording, coordinating and executive producing the most successful album of Hooker's 50+ year recording career, 1991's Grammy winning, certified Gold comeback CD, The Healer. Kappus acted as Executive Producer on each of Hooker's following CDs and co-produced (along with Van Morrison) Hooker's double Grammy winning Don't Look Back CD. In 1992, Kappus secured a deal for Pops Staples and executive-produced his Grammy nominated comeback CD, Peace To The Neighborhood. And in more recent years, Kappus secured comeback record deals for Mavis Staples and Bettye Lavette.

On the booking side, Kappus has overseen roughly 50,000 bookings all over the world during the Rosebud years, packaging Rosebud artists with The Grateful Dead, The Who, The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, U2, Dave Matthews Band and countless others. One yet to be matched feat in particular was Kappus' booking of George Thorogood's 50/50 tour in 1981. The tour was coordinated so as to play 51 shows in all 50 states PLUS Washington, DC on 50 consecutive nights and routed so that the band was able to drive to every date in Thorogood's own Checker cab (with the exception of Hawaii, Alaska and a special one off with The Rolling Stones at the Superdome).

During Rosebud's 37 year run, as intentionally small as the roster was, its prestigious group of artists brought in over 125 Grammy nominations and 25 Grammy wins. In Rosebud's last few weeks as an active agency, its artists scored 8+ Grammy nominations, 11 Blues Music Award nominations, 11 Offbeat Best of The Beat nominations and 2 of the top 10 most played CDs on Americana radio of 2013.

In 2000, Kappus also initiated the HART (Handy Artists Relief Trust) Fund for The Blues Foundation, supplementing his own personal startup funds with proceeds from special W.C. Handy All Stars tours he organized to help fund the campaign. The W.C. Handy All Stars were made up of a revolving cast of the best in blues - all winners of W.C. Handy Awards (now known as Blues Music Awards). The concept was to bring to the blues world the same type of artist support that the R&B Foundation had established at the time for that genre, providing financial assistance for everything from paying medical bills to burial costs for artists in need. The HART Fund has gone on to thrive and attract supporters from around the world, helping artists every year while building funds for future rainy days. Kappus continues to support this and numerous other non-profit organizations in various ways.

Kappus also produced / coordinated two compilation CDs for Earthjustice including contributions from Bob Dylan, Ry Cooder, Bonnie Raitt, Etta James, Norah Jones, Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson, Rubén Blades, The Neville Brothers, Tina Turner, Tom Waits, Sweet Honey In The Rock, Mose Allison, Maria Muldaur, Michael Franti, Dan Zanes, Keb Mo, Ratdog, Ani Difranco, Branford Marsalis, Loudon Wainwright III and many more. Kappus' environmental concerns also lead to his converting The Rosebud Agency to solar power in 2000. At the time it was the largest solar installation in San Francisco and still produces more electricity than the company uses (the surplus power goes back into the grid for public use) 14 years later.

The Blues Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place one day before the 2014 Blues Music Awards for which former Rosebud artists Charlie Musselwhite, James Cotton and Marcia Ball are nominated for an impressive eleven total awards. Musselwhite and Cotton also notably tied with Lurrie Bell for the most nominations earned by any artist this year. For more information on the Blues Music Awards and Blues Hall of Fame see blues.org. Although Kappus has wound down The Rosebud Agency's role as an active booking agency as of December 31, 2013, he will continue to work on special projects in addition to select artist management as he has for the past forty-two years.

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