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CYHRA's JAKE E. On Venue Merch Cuts: "It's The Mafia Method"

He's also got a story about some Italian bootleggers.

Jake E

Merch cuts have been a hot topic over the past few years. Bands have started to hit the road again in a post-pandemic world, but things are way more expensive than they used to be and venues taking a cut of merch sales surely isn't helping. Sepultura's Derrick Green got pretty angry about it recently, while Fear Factory guitarist Dino Cazares spoke on how the practice is making staying afloat financially pretty difficult. Though maybe Dream Theater's Jordan Rudess put it best – "it sucks."

Now former Amaranthe vocalist and current Cyhra frontman Jake E has weighed in, and his opinion is predictably not positive. In an interview with Metal Mal, Jake E goes on a (rightfully) expletive-laden rant about how merch cuts are basically the mafia method of "protection."

"I'm actually, I'm actually participating in a fight against all that together with [Dark Funeral's] Lord Ahriman. Me and Ahriman have been fighting a lot about that or against that. It's so fucking fucked up that companies can come in, make deals with venues saying that 'we are the only one allowed to sell merchandise at this venue' and bands coming in have to pay a cut.

"You're not even allowed to sell the stuff yourself; you have to let someone else do that. And they take 30 percent plus tax, meaning that as a band you usually put… If something costs you 10 dollars to print, you would have to add three times the value, so you would sell it for 30. But if someone comes in with 30 percent plus tax, then you come home, you still have to pay taxes on the same amount of taxes when you get back home. So you're more or less getting a profit of 25, 30 percent of what you made, what it cost you, and you're losing money on the fucking thing. And I think that it's a fucking mafia method, and I think it's so fucking sick."

Jake E also told the story of the time he was on tour in Italy and his band sold merch on the sidewalk outside the avoid merch cuts. Local authorities shut the band down because they didn't have the proper permits, but let bootleggers stay because they did. Which is super fucked up.

"I did a tour in Italy once and in Italy it's actually the mob that is doing these things. We were touring with Hammerfall. We refused to sell merchandise indoors. We went outside and we sold the merchandise from the truck. And there were vendors on the other side of the street selling bootlegs.

"And the police comes, and we tell the police, 'They're selling our shirts, bootleg shirts, on the other side of the street. Can you tell them to go the fuck away?' And the police comes to us and says, 'Can we see your permit for selling on the street?' And we did not have a permit, but the vendors on the other side, they had that. So we had to close our shop while the other ones could continue. So it's a fucked up world — abso-fucking-lutely."

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