The 25 Most Important People in Metal: #15, Dan Rozenblum
As much as metal is a genre of music and a lifestyle, it is also a community. And like all communities, it has its leaders — men and women whose work, be it by design or circumstance, affects all lovers of extreme music on a regular basis.
Throughout November, MetalSucks will celebrate these industry leaders by counting down The 25 Most Important People in Metal one per day. To be clear, this is a list of the people we believe are most important to metal today, in 2016 — not necessarily the most important people overall in the entire history of the genre. Some of them are musicians. Many of them are not. Some of them are people you’ve heard of. Many of them work behind the scenes and do not routinely get to take a bow. But they all have one thing in common: more than just cogs in a machine, they are truly, undeniably irreplaceable.
In today’s metal landscape, a booking agent is the single most important member of any band’s team. Bands no longer tour so they can sell albums; bands release albums so they can hit the road. Touring is the economic engine of any working band’s existence — see also our #17 entry — and no single person is more crucial to a band’s touring picture than their booking agent.
To be clear, there are “bigger” booking agents in metal than Dan Rozenblum, who current works at Circle Talent Agency; agents with more popular bands and larger rosters, whose worldwide agencies carry more weight. But to a certain sub-set of metal, Dan is THE GUY. He’s been doing it for fucking ever, and if you’re in an extreme metal band or work in the industry there’s no question your paths have crossed, or more likely just merged into one road. He’s a crucial cog in the metal touring machine and, just as important, a metal lifer.
As the proprietor of Thunderdome Touring in the mid-’00s, Dan brought extreme metal acts to the U.S. from overseas that no one else would take a risk on, and scoured the depths of the death metal underground well ahead of the boom of death and tech-death bands that would follow. Under the 19th Most Important Person in Metal Ash Avildsen’s company, Pantheon, Dan held the keys to Summer Slaughter and worked with some of the hottest up and coming bands. Later, at The Agency Group, he got a taste of the big time. And now, at Circle Talent, he’s back to doing what he loves most: promoting brutal death metal that most humans you’re likely to encounter in your lifetime would think completely grotesque and distasteful.
And then there’s the actual work of booking, the single most thankless task in the music industry. The phone calls, and emails, and follow-ups, and begging for offers, and negotiating, and more follow-ups, and chasing down dead-beat promoters for deposits… no one works harder than a booking agent, and no one gets less appreciation for their work. So, here’s to you, Dan: a job well done for nearly two decades. Our little world of metal would be a whole lot shittier if you weren’t around.