someone had told me when I was seventeen, that someday I’d be
working in an Arena slinging merchandise for bands I would have
looked them in the face laughed and said,
I doubt that! I’m gonna be on the stage!”
was determined back then to be a singer, never realizing that there
was a whole world behind the curtain of all the greatest musicians
and it was about to beckon me with the most delicious offer. Back
then I had no idea the amount of people a good concert required. I
was so blinded by the lights, the music, and the characters on stage
I never once thought to notice the people handing the musicians their
guitars, checking their drums, or duct taping the cords down before
the show. It would be almost ten years before I learned about the
world behind the curtain, and believe me I was mystified, a regular
Alice or Dorothy wondering around with wide eyes following the most
amazingly dreamy guide.
of you already know the story of how I got the internship of the
century with the ever charming and suave Merch Mike, but for those of
you who don’t I guess a brief re-cap is in order. Back in 2012,
(which was already three years ago holy crap), my favorite band, The
All-American Rejects, hit the road again to promote their fourth
In The Street, a
record most people don’t even know exists. I was determined to
fulfill a promise I made to myself at seventeen, a promise to follow
the guys around on tour for at least one week straight. I did a
whole lot more than one week, and by the grace of the rock gods
themselves I was in the right place at just the right time and was
offered an incredible opportunity. It was in Cleveland at the House
of Blues and it was cold and snowing outside that April afternoon so
I begged the Rejects’ merch guy to let me in early. Before I knew
it I was standing behind the merch booth with him smiling at me
before handing me a stack of cash.
need to take a shit, watch the booth for me.” Merch Mike stated
with a smirk.
stared at him dumbfounded, a new sense of complete and utter
excitement building in me. I was selling merch for my favorite band.
No joke, no lie, no kidding. After that I became his official,
(but not too official), intern and even got my own nickname from the
band, Pepper in honor of the ‘I’m A Pepper’ shirt I wore to
every show. I soon found myself on every show I could get myself to.
I drained my bank account, spent every penny I had to get to
whatever show was nearby, and at the very last show I sold for the
Rejects solo. I even got paid at that last gig. Sure it was only
fifty dollars, but that fifty bucks is still framed in my bedroom a
constant reminder that if you believe something hard enough and want
it bad enough for long enough it will happen.
forward to September of 2014 when Merch Mike, after two years of not
really talking to one another, stepped foot onto my sweet Albany, New
York soil. I was right at that airport to hug him ever so tight,
trying to make up for those lost years. I was grateful to be his
intern again, but even more then that as if he wasn’t good enough
to me, he gave me the contact information for my local arena.
gonna call this Elliot guy and pretend like you know him. Hopefully,
you can just leave a message. Then when he calls you back, and trust
me he’ll call back, you tell him who you are and that you want a
job.” Merch Mike said over dinner at Chili’s.
dropping him off at the airport, telling my husband I wanted a
divorce, and generally getting a new sense of determination I made
the call. I did leave a message. Elliot did call back.
31, 2014 I worked my first gig at the Times Union Center (the TU for
short) in Albany, New York. It was an audition to see if I was
legit, or at least that’s what Kevin (my awesome boss at the TU)
tells me. Turns out I am legit. I’ve been working there ever
far, that’s my story. Just the other day I had one of my little
sister’s friends ask me how my life was so cool. I really thought
about that for a few minutes and realized, holy crap, my life is
pretty freaking cool. Why am I not sharing my crazy merch adventures
with the world? Hence my next blogging masterpiece (yes I know a
blog is no masterpiece but I’m still gonna call it that)!
to the world behind the concert curtain. I’m happy to be your
guide. My name is Pepper, the merch girl extraordinaire and I’ll
be entertaining you with my mystifying feats of keeping it real while
I chase happiness one gig at time.