Ask Ty...November 18 [The Merch Question]

It must be Tuesday Wednesday, Middlespace Cadets, because I'm answering your questions
Q: Dear Ty,

This is more of a request than a question. But I'll put it in the form of a question, since I'm guessing those are your rules: Could you make a shirt along the lines of "It's ok, I have a black friend" (maybe with a photo of you on it, you know, for proof and all)?

Now, I know that your are not technically black, that you are a mix like all of us, but you're black enough for the "it's ok, I have a black friend" effect. You know, like when you put Michael Richards yelling the "N" word over an Obama speech, and someone says it's in bad taste, alls you have to do is point to your shirt and say "hey, it's ok, I have a black friend! (and he's ok with it, so why aren't you?)"

You might even make some dough on this one. I know I'd buy one.

-Fan in Florida
Ty: Good question and an even better observation, FiF. Funny you should mention t-shirts. Just yesterday at our "standing weekly meeting" I had to listen to Manager Mark go on and on about "merch opportunities" and "brand solidification" and whatnot. I told Mark that there's no money in merch he screamed at me that I was wearing an Achewood t-shirt and zip hoodie.

So Manager Mark was genuinely excited when I passed along your request-disguised-as-a-question, FiF. I think his txt back contained both the word "crack" (as in cocaine) and "gold mine." I reminded him of Bob Dobbs, Jr. dismal t-shirt returns but he ignored that going on about his "six pages of notes for this thing."

Ahhh, merchandising! Takes me back to the days of making decals on the copy machine at work and "selling" CDs after shows. I guess that's why we (tKoL) gave up "touring"...because of merchandising woes.

But--flashing forward to the present--and as you probably already know, FiF, I've previously dipped a pinky-toe into the t-shirt world, more for fun than for commerce: [clicky]. I did it for fun because fun is...well, fun. I was enjoying myself as an artist (until yesterday, anyway).

Here what Manager Mark had to say:
"Fun? Fun?! You've been giving it away for years and now it's time to cash the hell in. You're already a slut, so why not make a porno? Here's what I think. Your shirts suck! There's no brand on those stupid shirts, you failed to brand your product!"
Mark yelled at me. All red in the face and shit. And he instructed me to try again; he added an "action item" to my "punch list".

I do like your suggestion, FiF. Since I have basically lived my life being "America's Black Friend™" (which sounds a lot snappier than America's Half-Black Jewish Friend) I suppose your shirt makes a lot of sense. It's funny and I really don't have to do any work to get it made (punch list action item done).

So, FiF, thanks and here you are:
Mark says, "Tell 'em to check out middlespace01-07 too.

If I'm lucky, I'll sell one to FiF. To quote Dave Chapelle, "I'm rich, bitch!"

Just a guess,


P.S. Help me! I just want to make an album.