Let's do a quick analysis here.
Your initial point, if I'm reading between the lines correctly, is "Do some of you find Mr. Bonamassa's exploits into signature merchandising a bit excessive and subsequently creating an unintended image as gauche?" Of course thats what you meant. Some people may side with you, others not, just depends on your point of view. It is a great way for artists to get additional income with a high markup, i.e. more funds for tours, albums, etc.
"Merch whore" perplexes me. When read literally, it means offering up your body intimately (trying to be appropriate here) in exchange for merchandise. A better example of that would be what's commonly referred to as a "Gold Digger" - i.e. a lower or middle class person, usually referring to a female but not always, who marries someone excessively wealthy for their inheritance and material possessions they can provide in exchange for physical favors and an off perception of "love", and they usually target someone older so that they don't have to wait long to gain said inheritance and marry off to their trashy partner on the side, who is in fact their true "love". Alternately means a prostitute who barters.
But thats neither here nor there, as I don't believe it was written to be read literally. But I'm having fun with literal analysis, so moving on!
When applied to JoeB and his band literally, does this mean you've seen Joe pimping out Tal on the street before a gig in exchange for EL84s? Of course not, its bad for the band image. So is it one of those higher class escort services in exchange for guitar strings? Could save alot of money, string purchases add up. But then, he probably has a deal with Ernie Ball. Either way, those tour buses are very high class and provide a discrete location.
More information would be helpful, I can't come to a reasonable conclusion.