For Wasserman Music’s Dan Weiner, Home Is Where The Heart (And The New Carmel Office) Is

Dan Weiner photo by Ben Kaatz
Wasserman Music’s Dan Weiner (Photo by Ben Kaatz)

Wasserman Music Senior Vice President Dan Weiner opened an office in the Monterey Bay area of California for the sixth time when he and fellow staffers moved into a new space in Carmel, California, Jan. 8. It marked the first time he and his crew had an office to work from since March 15, 2020, the beginning of the COVID pandemic.

Companies open and close offices all the time. Usually, it’s not a terribly remarkable event. But this office, in this city, isn’t like most.

Weiner, of course, has been running an agency office on California’s spectacular Monterey Peninsula since 1975, when he and Fred Bohlander founded Monterey Peninsula Artists from a library space at his home in the city of Monterey.

With Paul Goldman and the late Chip Hooper, they built MPA into a boutique agency powerhouse. Eventually, MPA moved into an office in the Carmel Highlands area just north of Big Sur, was acquired by Paradigm in 2004, and then became part of Wasserman Music when Wasserman acquired Paradigm’s music division in 2021 as COVID was still raging.

Of course, by then the physical office was long closed. Agents and staff scattered to work remotely from home, while others had relocated to other Wasserman Music outposts, including New York City, Chicago and Nashville. And Carmel is, as California cities go, fairly isolated.

Some of the most notable agents in the business today have passed through the doors of that small but mighty agency, including Wasserman EVPs Jonathan Levine and Jackie Nalpant, and SVPs Joe Atamian, Sara Bollwinkel, Mike Greisch and Duffy McSwiggin. Weiner opens the new office with Vice President Lynn Cingari, Vice President Taylor Schultz and coordinator Dave Jackson.

And the thing is, Wasserman didn’t have to bring in architects, interior designers or technical staff to create a beautiful new office (though they did), located in a mixed-use development in Carmel called The Barnyard. Everyone was working just fine where they were, wherever that was. But it’s a testament to Weiner and his staff, the legacy of MPA and memory of avid Big Sur photographer Chip Hooper, that a physical presence on the Monterey Peninsula will endure for years to come.

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MAKING MOVES: (L-R) SVP Dan Weiner, VP of College Taylor Schultz, coordinator Dave Jackson, Wasserman VP of Operations & Real Estate Trina Searcy, IT Solutions Architect Hideki Komine.

Pollstar: The last time you worked in a physical office was pre-pandemic, is that correct?

Dan Weiner
: We were out of our office on March 15, [2020] and assumed that’s the way it would be from then on. When the office closed, everybody moved. I moved and, fortunately, had space downstairs. I had moved all of my memorabilia there; I had to empty the building, so that was all on the wall [at my home office]. It looked pretty snazzy. And we were there from literally March 15 [2020] or so until last Monday. And here we are. This is week two in our new office.

When you and Fred Bohlander left your jobs in Los Angeles to hang your own shingle, you moved to Monterey which, even now, is pretty isolated as entertainment hubs go. What were you thinking?

Wasserman functions so well because everything is so very thought out and planned. Everything has a plan. They think out everything very carefully before they do it and that’s why it’s so successful. When Fred and I were in Los Angeles, we decided that we wanted to start our own business. We arbitrarily thought of three places: Monterey, Santa Barbara, and Marin County. And we chose Monterey because I had family here and we had our friend Paul Goldman here. And that’s why we chose it. There was no business plan. [laughs] It was all from the heart.

I can’t think of Carmel without thinking of Chip Hooper. Wasserman’s decision to acquire the new office space there feels like it honors him.

I was thinking about how Fred and I started this with the foundation for something that is really special. And when Chip came, he really became a magnet for us to grow deeper, bigger, better. It was really good. We were a very compatible group of people.

It was Fred and I, and then Paul Goldman, and then Chip at one point said, “Look, you’re either going to find a place for me, or I’ll find a place to work in New York.” And we said, “Done. We’re good.” It was a wonderful business and family relationship. What I saw so many times is that he was the magnet; also, you didn’t say no to Chip. He had some very special friendships – everybody had a special friendship with Chip, and there’s still that special relationship with him and his memory.

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It seems symbolic and supportive of you and your team, as well as of the Monterey Bay area.

It felt that way to us. We were really pleased, flattered, whatever word you want to use, when Wasserman decided that we would have an office again in Monterey as opposed to working from home, because we all feel very committed to what we do and we feel very committed to the company and to each other. So it’s really great.

I would give the credit to the executive group at Wasserman when they advised us that we could have an office. We weren’t looking. It’s in a place called The Barnyard, which is a mix of commercial and some offices and an architectural firm, and so on. The space became available, and we had almost decided on another space in The Barnyard, which was clearly not as good as this one. And the Wasserman team came in and designed it and put it together. And once we got rolling, it was done in pretty much record time.

[Wasserman VP of Operations & Real Estate Trina Searcy], was responsible for putting it all together. I was in a few days before it opened just to see what was going on. It was quite remarkable, having seen the empty space and then being here on the opening day when Taylor and Dave came in and got to see our new home, it was really quite special. It’s a perfectly executed space, and it’s just as great in person as it looks like in the pictures.

I can only speak for myself, but I was fine working from home. Life was good. Very, very good. But this is like a bonus, a big bonus in life. So I’m really relishing it.