By Nicole Heubusch
Local band Merchandise is celebrating the release of its newest album After The End by hitting the road for both a U.S. and European Tour this fall. The band, made up of four Tampa locals and one Valrico native, is currently touring the States and will be crossing the ocean to Europe in November.
The band started out as a trio in 2008 and has undergone revisions and reinventions ever since. Though the band has settled down with its five members Carson Cox, Dave Vassalotti, Patrick Brady, Elsner Nino and Chris Horn, they still can’t pin down their genre of music. However, this is something that the band and their fans embrace.
“There’s nothing worse than getting in a rut musically. Constant change and reinvention is a necessity. We’re students of a really diverse set of influences (in and outside of music), and that tends to make our output difficult to genre-lize. We’re also five very different and distinct personalities. That all comes together to create something uniquely ‘us’,” said lead guitarist Dave Vassalotti. Vassalotti, who grew up in Valrico, graduated from both Bloomingdale High School and the University of South Florida.
Merchandise is currently making its way through Texas and headed toward California. This isn’t their first U.S. tour, so they have experience in some of the venues they are stopping at, but there are some new ones they are looking forward to.
“We’ve done so much extensive touring in the United States for the past few years, but we’re managing to hit up some new out-of-the-way towns this time around. Spots like Fargo, N.D., and Marfa, Texas; isolated places. Those are the shows that pique my curiosity,” said Vassalotti.
After the U.S., they will head for Canada and then Europe.
“Toronto always treats us real well. We’ve done a few shows at the Horseshoe there and they stick out in my mind. London is always a blast as well. They give us a lot of love,” Vassalotti said, speaking about his favorite venues to perform at. “Europe feels like more of an adventure overall. I’m really looking forward to Italy and Croatia.”
Their newest album, After The End, is now available to buy and stream worldwide. “After The End is probably my favorite song on this new album,” said Vassalotti. “It has the most diversity and ambition. That or Life Outside the Mirror.”
This is the third album for the band, following their popular, Children of Desire LP release, and their album Total Nite which also saw them touring America and Europe. After The End will be their first album released with their new record label, 4AD. This new album is similar to their previous ones in the way that it is also a home recording album. That’s where the similarities end. This new album is more tranquil, and reveals Merchandise’s even deeper layers.
Terry Vassalotti, Billing Manager at the Osprey Observer and Dave’s mom is very proud of her son.
“It’s so great to see Dave doing what he loves and following his dream. I’m very happy for the band and their success,” she said.
The album can be purchased through their record label 4AD, iTunes and Amazon, or by visiting www.wmerchandise.com. For more information on shows and updates, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/wmerchandise.