We caught up with Mike Vanchieri of Metal Zone Merch LLC, the US-based company based in New Jersey. Mike discussed products we could find on their site to a video made by Chris Broderick (ex-Megadeth), and more.
Where are you guys based?
Metal Zone Merch LLC is a USA-based company with our Headquarters located in Parsippany, New Jersey.
Tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind Metal Zone Merch.
I grew up having many genres of music all around me from a very young age and I’ve also had a strong entrepreneurial spirit along with a desire to start a company which offers a wide variety and large selection of high-quality, Heavy Metal, Hard Rock & Classic Rock products for people who are like-minded with myself and share the same passion for music. I wanted to find a way to merge/fuse these two concepts together, and starting Metal Zone Merch just seemed like the most ideal way to accomplish this.
What kind of cool merch can we find on your site?
You can find many types of cool band merch in our web store, including both Men’s & Women’s T-Shirts and Sweatshirts/Hoodies, along with Hats, Pint & Shot Glasses, Drink Coasters, Action Figures, Playing Cards & Puzzles, Backpacks, Messenger Bags, Wallets, and Guitar Straps. We are also in the process of expanding our product offering to include band-based jewelry and artwork in the future.
Is your entire operation based in the US?
Although Metal Zone Merch is based in the United States, we currently ship to the United States (excluding Alaska & Hawaii), all of Canada, and the United Kingdom, and plan on expanding our shipping zones to additional countries and regions in the near future.
What is your favorite Metal band?
My favorite Metal band currently is, and always has been, Metallica, with ‘Act of Defiance’ being a very close second. You can find the general and interesting overview about this on our website here and an even more in-depth backstory of the exact time I was bit by the ‘Metal bug’ here.
Are your products officially licensed?
Every single product we offer is 100% Officially Licensed through our suppliers, respective brands, and manufacturers.
We noticed the video on your website made by Chris Broderick formerly of Megadeth, currently with In Flames and Act of Defiance. What is your relationship with him ?
The relationship with Chris Broderick actually started on a personal level back in the summer of 2010, well before Metal Zone Merch had yet to be formed. I had met Chris during a Megadeth ‘Meet & Greet’ which I had won while I was a member of the Megadeth ‘Cyber Army’ fan club at the time. Before one of their shows at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ, I, along with 9 other fan club members, met the band outside of their tour bus and got to speak with them at length. Having been a guitarist myself since the age of 12, I naturally gravitated toward Chris and we began talking about guitars, amplifiers, musical influences, along with a number of other topics. We had kept in touch over the next year, and then I had the opportunity to attend the week-long ‘2011 Skolnick/Broderick Winter Guitar Retreat’ with Chris and Alex Skolnick in December of 2011. During that retreat, I, along with approximately 30 other musicians, had the opportunity to get up close and personal with both Chris and Alex, and there were classes about music theory, stories about touring and life on the road, recording, and how they got to where they were in their careers. Between classes, Chris and I would continue conversing on a one-on-one basis and got to know each other very well. We would also sit together during breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day throughout the retreat which really contributed to strengthening our friendship. I knew that when Chris was not touring or recording with Megadeth, he taught guitar lessons full-time, however he was booked solid and the waiting list was quite long, but we still kept in touch. In early 2014, he reached out to me and let me know that he had an opening available for a new student and asked me if I was interested. I immediately jumped on that opportunity and have been taking weekly guitar lessons with Chris via Skype ever since. Throughout the past 9 years, I have not only considered Chris to be a very close friend, he has also become my guitar teacher, confidant, and mentor. Therefore, when I told him about my plans to start Metal Zone Merch and asked if he would be willing to film a short promotional video, it was a very easy and natural decision for him to film the Official Endorsement video for my company as his way to help support my business endeavor.
You have a wide variety of merchandise on your site. Where do your ideas come from?
We work with several suppliers of band merchandise, and it was a long, yet rewarding process to decide which products to offer on our website. I wanted to make sure the products we sell are of the utmost quality, as well as items that our customers would feel good about purchasing because they allow them to be able to unapologetically express themselves while representing what they believe in and are truly passionate about.