On the road with… Jack Payne, Merchandise Manager

Ever wondered what it would be like to work merch for some of the UK’s most exciting new rock bands?

Jack Payne is one man who knows, and he’s had a good ol’ chinwag with  tmBlog to tell us all about his job as a Merchandise Manager for bands like Lonely The Brave, Marmozets and As It Is.

Think it’s all late night parties and lazy days on Warped Tour? Think again…

Hi Jack, we know you’re a busy guy but what does your job involve on a day-to-day basis?
“On a day-to-day basis my job includes loading in the stock I need for the show and setting up my display in the appropriate area. I’ll then count in my stock and have it stored on my spreadsheet. When doors open I’ll be at the merch area ready to sell and will sell throughout the whole night until curfew. After curfew I’ll count out my stock and work out how much money the band made. I’ll send out the emails I need to after the show to management with these details; then I’ll load out and my night will be over.”

Jack Payne merch interview

Do you find that a lot of people often misinterpret your role?
“Absolutely! The amount of people that I’ve met that think I’m either a friend that’s tagged along on the tour or just a dude that stands behind a table is ridiculous. Either that or people back home think I’m just on tour partying every night. It can be quite frustrating as everyone who works in the touring industry works very hard.”

What do you love most about your job? And are there any unavoidable downsides?
“The thing I love most about my job is that I get paid to travel the world. I may not get to see a bunch day-to-day, as I’m working inside a venue, but being in a new city every day is incredible. The downsides are missing loved ones back home and missing out on important dates, but the pros definitely outweigh the cons.”

How do you cope with life on the road?
“I think I cope very well. Obviously from time to time I will have a couple of days where I’m not super upbeat and will be missing home but that happens to everyone I’m sure. I’ve been lucky that every band I’ve toured with have taken me under their wing (especially as I’m usually the youngest on the tour).”

What’s been the biggest pinch-yourself moment of your career so far?
“I think either last summer at the APMAs (Alternative Press Music Awards) where I was with Ghost Town. Being surrounded by absolutely everyone in the industry was unreal and calling a few of the people who was there friends is really cool to me. Also touring the US always gets me; I love the US so much and I’ve been lucky enough to tour there a bunch of times. Waking up in a new city in the States always makes me think how lucky I am. I’ll be on the Vans Warped Tour for the third year this summer and I couldn’t be more grateful where this ‘job’ has taken me.”

Jack Payne merch interview

Are there any bands you’d love to tour with next?
“I would absolutely love to tour with The 1975. I love their music and think they’re great dudes; I think it would be fun. I have been lucky that my three full time bands are Marmozets, Lonely The Brave and As It Is, who are all upcoming UK bands that have a massive buzz. The future is exciting.”

Any advice you’d give to someone who wants to work in your area of the music industry?
“Don’t think that touring is a holiday or that it’s easy. It’s very hard work physically and mentally. If you want to do it though, don’t give up and find a band that will take you out and work your way up. If you want to do merch, make sure you can count!”

You can keep up to date with Jack’s adventures by following him on Twitter, @Jack Payne.