Independent Interview: Corey Dement (TM & Merch Manager of Shane Smith & The Saints)

Welcome back to our appointment with Independent Interviews.

Today’s interview is very important for me. I really wanted to highlight the figure of one of the best people I’ve met in the independent world: the great Corey Dement, tour and merchandise manager of the Texans Shane Smith & The Saints.

Hi Corey welcome to Trex Roads and thanks for taking some of your time to have a chat with me. Tell us a little about yourself: where you were born and raised, what you did before embarking on this adventure in the world of music.

I was born in New Braunfels, Texas.

It’s the home of the legendary Gruene Hall and Whitewater Amphitheatre, 30 minutes north of San Antonio and 45 minutes south of Austin.

So music was always a major factor in my life due to the culture of the area, whether I realized it or not.

Before being full time with Shane Smith and the Saints, I was doing a lot of free lance work in the industry, basically picking up any merch, show runner, stagehand, TM position I could.

I just would constantly take gigs and learn what I could, most of the time for free with the belief that it would eventually pay off.

In my early 20’s I was working full time for Walmart Logistics 4 am to 4 p, tuesday through friday, barbacking at multiple venues on Tuesday and Thursdays and then picking up any music related job I could on the weekends.

We met because I bought Shane Smith & The Saints merchandise and you are responsible for this whole world. How did you start? Did you already know the band?

I started with Shane in 2018.

I had helped a friend with a few gigs with the Turnpike Troubadours, had been out with John Baumann on weekends for about 6 months, and had been asking people I knew if there was any hope of a full time gig as a crew member.

I am not somebody who just takes a job because it looks cool, I believe that you have to have belief in the project you are a part of, no matter the position, and work as hard as you can to add value.

Without hard work, nobody makes it in any field.

I didn’t know the band when I met Shane, but i had seen them live before and if I am being honest my first thought was: “How the fuck are they not superstars and how the hell are they a country band?

Their live show had so many rock elements, and the energy was unmatched.

I only knew the song “Coast ” at the time but there was something different about them.

I am at my core a rock and metal lover, but they had the energy of the Foo Fighters live and the harmonies of a gospel choir.

It was truly mind blowing to witness.

My friend Dale Martin, who is the music columnist for our local paper here in New Braunfels, reached out to Judy Hubbard because Ray Wylie was looking for a tour manager.

While Ray was cutting back on shows, Judy emailed me and asked if I had heard of Shane Smith and the Saints.

She passed my number along to him I believe, I got a text and then I met Shane at a venue called Conways at the time here in New Braunfels.

We got in his truck, we talked a little bit and now I have blinked and 6 years later they are superstars. 

What was it like to witness the real explosion of these guys? When did you realize that the wind had changed and nothing would be just “local” anymore?

Well the term explosion is hard to justify because they are constantly progressing.

It has always been a slow and steady growth with them.

In 2019 he pre sold out his first headline show at Gruene Hall and that was where I started really thinking: “Holy shit this might become something.”

Then Covid became a thing. We scrambled and Shane‘s first words to me were “We have to keep everyone paid.”

I will never forget that moment.

We launched a parody Corona beer logo tee, a Shane Exotic Tee (Tiger King was a big thing in the states during covid so we thought it would be funny. If you ever want to see Shane‘s best social media post go to 2020 on his page and see his Joe Exotic impersonation).

Shane would do these live streams and set up tips on his phone at his house and half the time the phone would fall over, or there would be no sound.

But everything we were doing was organic and real and it was wild to watch him get more popular during a worldwide shut down.

As shows started coming back in 2021, we actually were the first band to play Red Rocks post lockdown opening for Lucero.

That was inspiring beyond measure.

I remember our drummer Zach backstage looking at the crowd when Lucero was on and he simply was nodding and looked at me and said: “We could sell this place out. Not yet though.”

I believed the same thing.

We also got placement on Yellowstone Season 4, with episode 4 featuring “All I See Is You” and actually being named after the song.

The infamous line in the truck, “Shane Smith and the f*****g Saints” was said and ever since then it’s been a blur.

That was a big moment, but honestly when you are in it you never really realize what’s going on.

You just look up from the stage and there’s alot more people than in the past.

It’s hard to describe so maybe someone in the band could tell you better.

We were told that independent life on the road is demanding: how do you reconcile this with your private life and your commitments outside the band? I know you have your own merchandise design site.

Road life is demanding but after you do it for a while you get used to it.

You don’t ever get used to missing the people you love.

I am the world’s worst wedding date because I can never go.

I have been through some pretty intense stuff in my personal life that is just between me and God, but my private life I try to keep private.

When you are in this industry you know a lot of people and a lot of people know you. Sometimes, even as a crew member, it gets a little weird or you feel a little violated because everyone wants access to you.

You have to learn how to respectfully interact with people while maintaining distance. But you also can’t forget that the FANS are the reason you are able to live your dreams. Guys in our industry that dont have gratitude and walk around like they are Gods on earth are the biggest f*****g douchebags ever.

Some of my favorite people on earth I have met because I tour.

They become like family. So you can feel at home while being away, it’s just a different version of home.

I do have my own merchandise line that I launched this year, mainly trying to have my own identity besides being the Saints merch guy.

That doesn’t mean I am not grateful for my position, but you can only hear the band name 30 times a day, every day, for 6 straight years before you start going a little crazy.

Just like musicians need outlets to get their creative side out, people like me in merch do as well.

Maybe not all merch guys, some guys are content just selling and complaining about their lives, but I would rather create as much merch as possible and try to leave an impact on people, no matter what the design is for. 

We saw each other in person during the band’s European tour in London: what was the experience like? Was it the first time for you and the band? Which place impressed you the most?

It was our first time as a band to do shows in Europe, so it was pretty insane to be 6000 miles from home and people were singing every word.

I remember meeting you in person by chance at that record store next door that day.

For me, that was the coolest thing and one of the coolest things about my job and where this band is at.

You and I had talked for a couple years, so to finally meet you in person and give you a hug was a really cool experience.

If I am being honest London was cool, but I fell in love with Denmark.

Europeans value time and pace their lives so much differently than we do in the states.

And it was amazing to see the unison in the shows for those fans, just the gratefulness that we showed up was really humbling and inspiring to see.

The band’s new wonderful album has just been released after 5 years: did you witness the writing and recording process? Which song did you like the most from “Norther”? Did you expect this incredible reception from the public?

I am literally laughing out loud at this question because the crew was a part of it.

We were touring full time, and then randomly we would have off days and so management would schedule those as the sessions for the new album.

Being on the crew, you always go to everything so there were a few….discussions about why we were there.

The process from my perspective was very grueling.

Touring in itself is a grind, so add recording an album to it and you can get pretty burnt out.

There were alot of days where it was “what is going on?”

But then when Shane sent the initial mixes, I was absolutely floored and realized what they had.

I think it’s hard for the band to see it since they are in it, but I hope those guys are proud of what they made.

I say this as a fan of music, Norther is one of the best albums to come out in the last decade. Top to bottom, there isn’t a bad track.

And the guys know I don’t normally throw out compliments.

But it is amazing that in the chaos and stress, they created an album that i think is going to have a lasting impact on people for a long time.

It’s not even close, Norther is their best work. 

Who are your favorite artists? Do you listen to other genres? What if you had to say your favorite song in general and then the band you work for?

 My favorite artists are Foo Fighters, Clutch, Mac Miller, Mastodon, Queens of the Stone Age, John Mayer…..

I could go on and on.

I listen and am a fan of good music in general no matter the genre.

Trying to choose a favorite song is like trying to choose a favorite memory of my life, there are way too many.

But if I was to be forced to choose one, it would probably be “Come Back” by the Foo Fighters.

The most beautiful thing about a song is it is the artists until it’s released.

They know why they wrote it, but once it is out, it can mean so many different things to so many different people.

That song represents pushing through to me, which has been the story of my life.

I have been through some dark, dark times in my life.

The guys in this band: Shane, Bennett, Dustin, Chase, Zach, Randy, Ethan, Ruben, Eric, Brian and Crawford, have all never given up on me, even when I gave up on myself.

I consider myself lucky, not only to work in music, but to work with and see the world with 9 guys that are all like brothers to me.

We know each other better than we know ourselves sometimes.

But it’s easy to have fun and work hard when you all want to see your brothers succeed.

I thank you for your availability and I wish you the best in your career which leaves you little time for yourself but lots of satisfaction and friendships around the world.

We’ll see each other again at Red Rocks in Colorado in May: I can’t wait.

web site of Corey:

band web site Shane Smith & The Saints:


Pubblicato da Trex

Sono un blogger e scrittore appassionato di musica indipendente americana. Scrivo gialli polizieschi e ho inventato il personaggio del detective texano Cody Myers.

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