FOUNDER / MIKE KAPPUS
Mike Kappus began his career in his hometown of Eau Claire, WI. During college he promoted regional bands with friends and became a licensed booking agent in 1970 at age 19. Just over a year later he was invited to join an agency in Milwaukee. In his five years working full time as an agent there, he also bought talent for several local showcase clubs and a few festivals and universities. As a talent buyer and promoter he booked artists as diverse as Asleep At The Wheel, Jimmy Cliff, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley and Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee to jazz artists Grover Washington Jr., Weather Report, Rahsaan Roland Kirk and George Benson to the MC5 and Ted Nugent. He also established relationships with future Rosebud clients Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, John Lee Hooker, Mose Allison, John Hiatt and John Hammond who signed to Rosebud in 1977 and marked his 4000th booking with Rosebud in 2008.
In 1976, just months after moving to San Francisco to join a booking agency, that company went under so Kappus started the Rosebud Agency with the concept of offering greater service to an intentionally limited number of timeless rather than trendy artists. The agency currently books over 2000 shows a year worldwide for it's 32 artists. Kappus helped launch the careers of Los Lobos, The Robert Cray Band, Ben Harper, John Hiatt, The Neville Brothers and more while helping to raise the profile of veteran artists such as Captain Beefheart, Muddy Waters, The Staple Singers, The Blind Boys of Alabama, John Lee Hooker and others. As a manager, Kappus' clients have included Hooker, Hammond, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Robert Cray, John Hiatt, Duke Robillard, Loudon Wainwright III, Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars, and current management clients, JJ Cale, who has been with Rosebud since 1983, and co-management client, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue. As a producer / executive producer Kappus has collaborated on projects with Ry Cooder, Van Morrison, Carlos Santana, Bonnie Raitt and Eric Clapton to name a few. In addition to booking and management duties, Kappus has made CD deals in the past few years for Mavis Staples, Bettye LaVette and Charlie Watts. In addition to Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars, booking signings in recent years include Bettye LaVette, Bill Frisell, Allen Toussaint, Ruthie Foster, Trombone Shorty, Carrie Rodriguez, Meshell Ndegeocello, Jon Cleary and Elvin Bishop. Kappus was hired by Van Morrison to oversee promotion and marketing for his April 2008 CD, "Keep It Simple." The record's entry in the Billboard pop charts at number 10 marked the highest ever US chart position in Van Morrison's lengthy career.
As head of The Rosebud Agency, Kappus has also incorporated policies focused on environmental and social responsibility issues into the company's daily routine. The Rosebud office was converted to full solar power in 2000 (the largest such installation in San Francisco at the time) and was named in the first wave of green business certifications in San Francisco. Kappus' environmental concerns have also driven him to coordinate two compilations for environmental non-profit, Earthjustice, featuring artists from Tom Waits and Willie Nelson to Norah Jones, Bob Dylan, Ruben Blades, Michael Franti and many more. He is on the Advisory Board of non profit organizations, Music In Schools Today and The Blues Foundation, along with continuous participation in numerous other non profit organizations.