Woe, Is Me Crew Member Wants to Rule the Merch World
"I'm the first one in and the last one out. It's a lot of work. But it's the coolest thing in the world," says Woe, Is Me merchandise guru Devin Gouge.
You've all seen the merch guys at live shows. You know, manning the table before, during and after the sets. Making all the clever little signs to encourage sales (and tipping). Arranging t-shirts, CDs, bracelets and all of the other products so key to a band's livelihood.
"Devo," as he is known to friends, the bands and fans alike (and yes, he has fans) has a merch dream. "I want to be the most famous merch guy in the world," he told Noisecreep recently during Woe, Is Me's stop on the No Guts, No Glory tour stop in Los Angeles. "When I walk into a room, I want everyone to stop and look at me and say 'That guy is the best. He is the best merch guy out there.' Period."
He grew up with the band in Georgia, played music with them (he's also a bassist) but when the merch gig came along, Gouge jumped on it. The work may be hard but he loves the road and has seen all 50 states and then some with the band he adores.
He mouths the words to practically every song they play as he keeps track of the money in his little retail empire that, on this night is parked just across from the Miss May I and Pierce the Veil merch tables.
Their merch guys seem good too, but Gouge turns his craft into a kind of retail art, mixing it up with the fans, taking pictures and, most importantly, driving sales.
"This is how bands make money on the road," he said. "Merch, That's it. It's all about the merch." So the next show you go to, pay attention to the merch guys. Give 'em some love - after all, they work as hard as anyone and without their efforts, these tours just would not be the same.
And if you happen to catch Woe, Is Me, by all means go say to Devin 'Devo" Gouge. You see, he's gunning to be the best merch guy in the biz - and with his can-do attitude, he just may get there.