Shuffle Dancing in the Green Room

The House of Blues Anaheim's senior talent buyer Sean Striegel prides himself on knowing what bands you want to see.

What is a senior talent buyer?I'm responsible for booking all of the entertainment that you see and don't see at the House of Blues in Anaheim, California—any of the acts on the main stage, artists that perform in our restaurant, private events, all that stuff. Basically if they come to the House of Blues Anaheim and make music, I booked them.

What's your background?I did a lot of independent stuff in the past, but prior to the House of Blues Anaheim I was the talent buyer for the Coach House and Galaxy Concert Theatre.

So you've got an Orange County booking background.I am born and raised in Orange County. Born in the city of Orange, grew up there, went to El Modena High School, and I've always lived in Orange County. For me it's the absolute best situation in the world. Having grown up here and music being what I wanted to do—I can't beat it.

Do you have a booking methodology, either booking in OC or booking at House of Blues?I do, actually. I could be wrong in this statement and sound cockier than ever, but I've been doing this for quite a while now, and I've tried really hard to figure out what Orange County wants. That's what my goal is. Not every show I book is booked with the intention that it's going to sell out. It's booked on the intention that Orange County really wants to see this. They're going to want this to happen. I love to be involved with fostering growth of artists. That's one thing that's nice about the House of Blues. They're into that. The House of Blues has a vested interest in helping people grow because they are the future of the business. Not everyone will be around forever.

Do you ever get weird riders from artists, like demanding bowls of M&M's with all the brown ones removed?There definitely are funny requests. One being Mike Watt. I'm reading through it and I had to stop. It said, “We're willing to forgo food in exchange for X amount of beer and a big bag of chips and a large bowl of salsa (salsa so hot, later we'll shit fire).”

Do you get riders where bands put them in to make sure you're reading?Yeah. An artist wanted “three easy girls no more than a $10 cab ride from the venue.” I don't know if they were serious or not, but it made me laugh. There are funny things people put in to make sure you're reading it. I've seen “Purchaser agrees to be present and do a shuffle dance in the green room for the headliner prior to going onstage.”

There are several live records and DVDs that have been recorded at your venue.It's gratifying, but at the same time that's not the big thing that makes me excited about my job. The thing that really excites me and makes me feel like I've made a difference is just going into the music hall during any sold-out show and just looking out at the crowd, and there are a thousand people who are having the greatest time and they know every word. They don't know who I am, and I'm perfectly fine with that. The fact that I was able to do something that got these people to get up off their couch and spend their hard-earned money, and actually come out and see one of their favorite bands . . . to me that's the greatest thing in the world.


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