July 30, 2005

Arthur Collins, manager of musicians, dies at 52

Pine Bush - Arthur Collins, a longtime manager for music acts including the Rolling Stones, Iggy Pop and Joe Jackson, died Wednesday of cardiac arrhythmia at his home in Pine Bush.

Collins, 52, got into the music business in 1975 and met his wife, Nikki, in 1977 when they both worked for Atlantic Records. They both left the label the next year, she to raise a family and he for Rolling Stones Records, the label the band had started for themselves.

Collins began as the label's vice president, eventually becoming its president. He traveled with the Rolling Stones and represented them both on the road and in the office.

In 1982, Collins left Rolling Stones Records and founded Art Collins Management in New York City. His client list included Marianne Faithfull, Joe Jackson and Marshall Crenshaw. He was very close to Iggy Pop, whom he had managed since 1985.

"They (Collins and Iggy) had a brother-like relationship," Nikki Collins said. "He was very hands-on. He'd rush Iggy out to the stage and would be waiting there with a towel, wipe him off and send him back out. He'd have to help him peel his pants off."

In an e-mail from his friend, Arthur Levy, whom he met at Atlantic Records, Levy describes Collins's relationship with Iggy.

"I don't think there is another artist-manager relationship like it anywhere in the world. Raw power." Levy states.

Iggy Pop released a statement about Collins's death but will be unable to attend today's funeral in Pine Bush.

Arthur and Nikki Collins married in 1989 and came to Pine Bush intending to buy a weekend home. They fell in love with the town and, in 1993, made their permanent residence there.

Collins helped raise Nikki's sons from a previous marriage, Kieran McGee, 24, and Travis McGee, 27. Before he died, he was helping pick out songs for Kieran's wedding next year.

"I didn't know what he had started until we found the list," Kieran McGee said. "He always tried to get me to listen to records he liked, and we'd talk about them the next time we spoke."

Both sons now live in Manhattan and work in the music industry. Travis said one of the things he'll miss most is seeing his dad pick them up at the train station.

"He had a smile 24/7, and we never tired of seeing him," Travis McGee said.