MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine has commented on the passing of the band's former co-manager Bud Prager (pictured below). The president of E.S.P. Management, Inc., Prager co-managed MEGADETH from 1995 to 2001, helping the group to its first major commercial radio success and co-writing a number of songs. He lost his year-plus long battle with esophageal cancer at his home in Montauk, New York on December 22.
Stated Mustaine: "I will always remember where I was when I was told that Bud had passed away. I was in my house getting ready to go to the studio to record my new record. And as recently as this last month, I replayed something Bud had said about me and my songwriting style. Bud also was one of the first, and more accurately, one of the very few persons in the music business that showed any respect to my wife Pam, who Bud was very close to, and to me as a person, by way of mentoring and really taking a legitimate interest in me. One incident I remember was getting 'talked to' by Bud about my sniffly nose, and what it makes people 'think.' I just had this exact talk with my own son.
"I will always remember our times together while Bud managed MEGADETH as some of our most successful ever — certainly the most successful period at radio or MTV.
"I extend my condolences to his lovely wife Gloria, and son Evan. The world has just lost one of the heroes of the music industry."
Born in New York City on January 16, 1929, Bud Prager was a graduate of Stuyvesant High School, where he was the recipient of the school music award. He attended Hartwick College and New York University. On his return from active duty in the U.S. Army in Korea, he began attending law school at night while working full time, receiving his LL.B. from New York Law School.
He started his music industry career working for SESAC, one of three performing-rights organizations in the U.S., attaining the position of General Manager. During this period, he was also one of the founding members of the Country Music Association in Nashville.
From there, he went to Warner Bros. Records as an independent producer, then to Warner Bros. Music as an independent publishing affiliate, setting up their original gospel music division.
In the 1960s, Bud formed an independent label, Windfall Records, distributed by CBS Records (now Sony). Windfall was a partnership with Felix Pappalardi, the producer of CREAM ("Disraeli Gears", "Wheels of Fire", the first double album to be certified platinum, and "Goodbye"). The record company grew into Windfall Music Enterprises, which included, at various times, artist management, publishing, production and recording divisions. Pappalardi and Prager helped bring together and managed MOUNTAIN who would go on to write "Mississippi Queen" and perform at Woodstock. After MOUNTAIN disbanded, guitarist Leslie West and CREAM bassist Jack Bruce were brought together by Prager and became WEST, BRUCE & LAING. Later, Prager founded Phantom Records, distributed by RCA Records, and eventually, ESP Management Inc
In 1976 he helped form and began a 17-year management affiliation with the group FOREIGNER. After repeatedly being turned by all the major record labels, Prager was able to secure a deal with Atlantic Records. The "group that couldn't find a label" went on to sell in excess of 50 million albums, and tours successfully to this day.
Along with a co-manager, in 1986 Prager helped "resurrect" BAD COMPANY (Atco/EastWest Records). With a new lineup, they went on to have enormous radio success, sell millions of albums, and tour the world.
The group DAMN YANKEES featuring Ted Nugent, Tommy Shaw (STYX) and Jack Blades (NIGHT RANGER) (Warner Bros. Records), which burst onto the hard rock scene in 1989, was another hugely successful band co-managed by Prager.
Between his record label, publishing and management interests, Bud was variously involved with Dann Huff, Frank Filipetti, Gary Kurfirst, Mike Renault, WHITESNAKE, Corky Laing, the YOUNGBLOODS, the CHAMBERS BROTHERS, FREE, Mylon, Mitch Ryder and others. He was mentor throughout his career to many dozens of artists, songwriters, producers, managers and entertainment industry professionals.
At his death, he was advisor to, and on the Board of Directors of MRD, a Toronto-based royalty recovery service.
In addition to his career, he was an avid golfer, bridge player, and sports fan.
He leaves behind his wife of 42 years, the former Gloria Mahaney, son Evan S. (ESP II), daughter-in-law DJ, two grandsons, Ethan S. (ESP III) and Liam, and brother Harold of Arkansas.
A memorial service will be planned for early '09. If you would like details, please email [email protected]