Ted Gardner, the longtime music manager who co-founded Lollapalooza with Jane’s Addiction frontman Perry Farrell, passed away on December 28th following a long illness.
News of Gardner’s death was shared by Anton Newcombe of The Brian Jonestown Massacre, who had been managed by Gardner since 2004. “I’m sad to report Ted Gardner, Our manager passed away today surrounded by his loving family,” Newcombe wrote in a Tweet. “We will miss a great manager, mentor & friend. Our condolences to all his family & friends.”
A native of Australia, Gardner initially worked on the management team of Men at Work and accompanied them on their first US tour opening for Fleetwood Mac. He eventually relocated to America in the early 1980s and served as a tour or production manager for acts like Frank Zappa, Echo & The Bunnymen, New Order, Tangerine Dream, and Crowded House
Starting in 1989, Gardner became the full-time manager of Jane’s Addiction. Two years later, he teamed up with Jane’s Addiction frontman Perry Farrell to launch Lollapalooza. In a Tweet remembering Gardner’s involvement in Lollapalooza, Anton Newcombe relayed, “The funniest story he told me was of a meeting when @lollapalooza went mega, and he walks in and @perryfarrell goes ‘ted, we got Metallica to headline’ he goes ‘fuck, you just wrecked this festival.’ Perry goes ‘ted, they are on speakerphone now’ Telephone ‘hi ted’ Face with tears of joy.”
In 1992, Gardner and his wife, Nikki Brown, formed their own management company. Over the years, the couple worked with Tool, The Verve, Queens of the Stone Age, The Cramps, and The Brian Jonestown Massacre.
In a 2011 interview with Australia’s The Music Network, Gardner described his management style as such: “You’re a manager therefore you’re a mother, you’re a father, you’re a marriage guidance counsellor, you’re a priest, you’re there as a shoulder to cry on when the girlfriend leaves. You’re a drug counsellor, you’re someone that can bring someone back to life when they’ve OD’d in another room. All of these aspects you go through. If you’re going to be involved with an artist, you have to take every facet of their life. You can’t go, ‘I’m dealing with just the business and I take my X percent.’ End of story.”