Richest CelebritiesRock Stars
Net Worth:
$8 Million
Apr 10, 1959 (64 years old)
Guitarist, Musician, Singer-songwriter, Actor
United States of America
💰 Compare Brian Setzer's Net Worth

What is Brian Setzer's Net Worth?

Brian Setzer is an American songwriter, guitarist and singer who has a net worth of $8 million. Brian Setzer is best known for being the lead singer of the Stray Cats and the Brian Setzer Orchestra. Growing up, Brian was always interested in jazz and 1950s rockabilly music. He formed a band called The Tomcats with his brother Gary in the late 70s. In 1979 The Tomcats became The Stray Cats. Their retro sound was popular, particularly after the release of their 1982 album "Built for Speed." The singles off of that, "Rock this Town" and "Stray Cat Strut," were both top 10 songs, and continue to get airplay on radio stations around the world today. The Stray Cats separated in 1984, leaving Setzer to pursue solo projects. His first solo album, "The Knife Feels Like Justice," had a much more mainstream sound than his fans were accustomed to, and was not the smashing success he'd found with The Stray Cats. In 1990 he formed the Brian Setzer Orchestra, a 17-piece jump blues band. The group's cover of "Jump, Jive an' Wail" won a Grammy for best pop performance by a duo or group. Brian can also be heard in some rather unexpected places, such as the children's Disney Channel TV show "House of Mouse," for which he composed and performed the theme music.

Early Life

Brian Setzer was born on April 10, 1959 in Massapequa, New York. He was interested in music from a young age and initially started playing on the euphonium. He played in a number of jazz bands while he was in school and often listened to jazz at the Village Vanguard when he made his way to New York City. He also became more interested in rock, punk, and rockabilly music.

The Stray Cats

Some of the early bands Setzer was a member of include the Bloodless Pharaohs and the Tomcats. He began the Tomcats with his brother, Gary. The band then morphed into the Stray Cats after Gary decided to leave and double bassist Lee Rocker and drummer Slim Jim Phantom joined. Hoping they would have more success in England than in America, they sold their instruments in 1980 to purchase flight tickets and flew to London.

After performing in London for a few months, the band met Dave Edmunds, a guitarist and record producer who also loved rockabilly and 1950s' rock and rock. Edmunds ended up producing the band's debut album, "Stray Cats," in 1981. The album produced two hit singles – "Stray Cat Strut" and "Rock This Town." In 1982, they released their second album, "Gonna Ball," which was less successful. The Stray Cats then returned to the U.S. and released a third album, "Built for Speed," which included songs from both their first two albums. This led to the group becoming popular in the U.S., as well as because they had made some music videos that aired on MTV. In 1983, they released their next album, "Rant n' Rave with the Stray Cats." This album included the hit single "(She's) Sexy + 17."

The Stray Cats then disbanded in 1984. However, in the years that followed they would occasionally reunite to record and tour together. They made three other albums with new producers before returning to Dave Edmunds for their 1992 album "Choo Choo Hot Fish."

When the Stray Cats disbanded, Setzer began a solo career. He started working as a sideman for acts like the Honeydrippers led by front man Robert Plant. He also began making his own music. He released his first solo album, "The Knife Feels Like Justice," in 1986. The album marked a departure from rockabilly and a move toward rhythm and blues and heartland rock. It was produced by Don Gehman and featured drummer Kenny Aronoff.

In 1988, Setzer released his second album, "Live Nude Guitars." This album had a more straight-ahead blues rock direction. Setzer co-produced the album along with Larson Paine, Chris Thomas, and David A. Steward. They then joined Thorogood, a fellow blues rock musician, on tour later that year.

Brian Setzer Orchestra

Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Gibson

Brian Setzer Orchestra

Setzer has been credited with the revival of rockabilly in the 1980s. He then began focusing on another genre of music throughout the 1990s. He had always enjoyed the music of the 1950s throughout his early life, particularly the jump blues of Louis Prima. He put together a group of musicians to begin playing swing music and called the ensemble the Brian Setzer Orchestra.

The group was a seventeen-piece big band. In 1994, they released their debut album. They caught the wider public's attention with cover version of Loius Prima's track "Jump, Jive an' Wail." The single is featured on the 1998 album, "The Dirty Boogie," which was put out by Interscope Records. The track won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. Another track from the album, "Sleep Walk," was also a critical and commercial success. It won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance. The group often would play during the Christmas holidays and went on a Christmas tour in 2017. They have released nearly 20 albums, compilations, and live albums between 1994 and 2015.

Additionally, Setzer has continued releasing a wide number of albums as a purely solo artist in the 2000s. In 2007, he released "Wolfgang's Big Night Out," which featured his interpretation of various classical pieces like "Für Elise" and "Symphony No. 5" by Beethoven. The album earned Setzer his eighth Grammy nomination, this time in the Best Classical Crossover Album. He produced a number of solo albums throughout the early 2010s and then took a seven year hiatus from releasing new music. In 2021, he announced the release of his newest album, "Gotta Have the Rumble."

Over the course of his career, in addition to various Grammy awards and nominations, Setzer has also been the recipient of other awards and accolades. He was given the Orville Gibson Life Achievement Award in 1999. In 2015, he was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame.

Personal Life

From 1984 to 1992, he was married to DeAnna Madsen. In 1994, he married Christine Schmidt. They divorced in 2002. In 2005, he married his third wife, Julie Reiten, a former singer with the Dustbunnies. They live in Minneapolis.

Real Estate

In 2000, Brian and his then wife Christine paid $3 million for a 1-acre property in Malibu, California. They sold this home in 2005 for $6.3 million.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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