Today’s Feature: October 14th & 15th – Black Market Radio

November 4, 2007 at 3:23 pm (Today's Feature)


XXQs: Black Market Radio (PEV): How and when did Black Market Radio form as a band?

Keith Mannino (KM): We met in 2000. I was booking a club in NJ. I booked Peter and I told him I owned a recording studio called SHOUT Audio. He had a project he was working on, where he needed to record vocals to music beds that were previously recorded by a band called Somnambulist. When he came to the studio and started to sing, it was chilling- like hair stands up on the back of your neck chilling. I knew that if we worked on music together it would be a slam-dunk. So when the project was over I invited him to the studio to check out some tunes I had in the works. The first thing I played for him was “Better Than A Killer”. He immediately came up with the Guitar hook/melody and we went into the booth and recorded it around 1 mic. Then he had to go to LA to work on a project for about 6 months to a year and we he came back to NYC on a break I had recorded drums electric guitars and bass. Also I had started working on Warned You and Good Riddance, which he really liked and we worked on those. When he returned on his next break we compared what he had been working on in LA with what we had done in 2 recording sessions one of which (“Better Than A Killer”) was only 20 minutes long!! Hands down what we had done was far superior- so he quit the project in LA and moved back to NYC and we started writing songs; Black Market Radio was born. (PEV): Peter, how did it feel when “Better Than a Killer” came out, after years of imagining it?

Peter Cornell (PC): A huge victory for me to break away from the shadow of the Seattle-Sound era and be part of a renaissance of the most exciting musical genre-Rock and Roll. I feel like the musician I always wanted to be.

PEV: What were your early inspirations or what made you decide to pursue a career in music?

PC: I had a minimal background in music but was fascinated by what I was seeing and hearing in Seattle circa the late 80’s. Regular guys I knew creating and performing a whole new and inspired brand of really fat rock. I wanted to experience the art of song writing and that desire combined with a winter in the South Pacific, an old guitar and a lot of time floating around creating sounds, lyrics and songs and BAM! I was in the game.

KM: For me I was inspired by my father record collection and I would spend hours listening to his records on headphones. They were Pink Floyd, The Beach Boys, the Beatles, Neil Young, Crosby Stills and Nash, Allman Bros.The Grateful Dead and tons of Jazz records. When I was old enough to understand the complexity of lyrics and songwriting I was blown away with Roger Waters(Pink Floyd). He inspired me most in my formative early songwriting stages. Insofar as why put down the guitar, picked up the bass, and started playing Rock n’ Roll and getting in tons of trouble. I BLAME that all on Nikki Sixx(Motley Crue). He OWES me!.. BIG TIME!.

PEV: What environment do you like to surround yourselves in when writing music?

PC: In the studio, no clocks, a little patience and the ability to edit yourself. And any southern hemisphere beach outside the window. KM: I like to be in the comfort of my own studio on my own time schedule. I prefer to be alone to form my ideas. Then work just Peter with to bring them to life.

PEV: What was it like going into the studio with band for the first time? KM: This line-up has not yet been in the studio together. The record was recorded in various stages. Peter and I played all the guitars. The anticipation to get in the studio with John and Kevin is killing me.

PEV: What can people expect from a live Black Market Radio show?

Kevin Hummel(KH): Well a whole lot rockin’ and/or rollin’…some of the heaviest and loudest heavy rock that there is today.

PC: Loud guitars. Shark-size hooks. Fat rifs you can hang your hat on. Lyrics that hope to tell a story and/or convey ideas that are not too complex to understand but aren’t so simple they insult your intelligence.

KM: ENERGY TONS OF ENERGY! A kick ass band that can throws down and jams on hard-hitting tunes. And melodies and lyrics that with stick in your head from the first time you hear them.

John Hummel(JH): Heavy duty rock n’ roll.

PEV: What do you find to be the best part about playing live? Also, what do you think is the worst part? JH: The exchange of energy between us and the audience is the Übest part. The worst part is being all soggy at the end of the show.

KM: The best part is the spontaneity between BMR – that only happens when we are playing in front of people. I love the heat from the stage lights and the energy coming from the rest of the band there is no other feeling like that in the world. The Worst part: “THANK YOU GOOD NIGHT!”

KH: The best part is the playin’, I’m all about the playin’. The worst part is when we’re done.

PEV: Keith, what city has been your favorite to play in? What audience do you feel has the greatest appreciation for music?

KM: With BMR we have only played on the East Coast so far, so as far as that goes I would have to say Philly has been the best so far. We are going to make our debut in Baltimore at Fletchers on Oct.15. That feels like the biggest BUZZ in any city BMR has played in so far. Our tune BIG STONES is on 98ROCK a lot and the response from the fans on myspace has been intense. Check us out live in the studio on 98ROCK on Sunday October 14 at 11 with Matt Davis and Monday morning October 15 on the 98Rock Morning show with Mickey and Amelia.

PEV: Peter, how does the music scene in Seattle differ from that in New York? Any preferences? PC: I have been in NYC for awhile now and haven’t seen the Emerald City in several years. I know from family and friends left behind that Seattle is a very different place for music than it was when I was learning the craft during the “90”s. NYC is home for me and it was here that I was able to find my “voice” as a singer, writer, guitar player and true collaborator. I always felt like in Seattle success was linked to a certain sound and style and bound by a passed decade. In New York, it is a wide open feel and truly success is linked to learning how to be the best you can be.

PEV: What does your family think about your music career?

PC: Some support. Some are skeptical. At the end of the day, whoever really listened to their families?

KM: My family has been supportive of my career since the beginning. It has been a lifetime of undying love and support.

PEV: Peter, you turned down a developmental deal with Virgin to expand on the good thing you felt you and Keith were beginning. Explain how exciting it is to start a new project with someone as dedicated to the music as you are.

PC: Not so much a feeling of excitement as it is a comfort zone you drop into when you work on something that “works”. Good collaboration is never about fitting a square peg in a round hole. The shit just works and you don’t struggle for quantity you focus on quality.

PEV: How long have you been searching for the perfect band mates? Any horror stories from previous bands? KM: I had been looking for a guy like Peter to write with all my life. John is the best drummer I have ever played with. The minute I saw him play I knew he was the guy. BMR had been searching for a guitar player that we would consider was a band mate since we started. All of the guys we played with prior to Kevin were not the right fit for BMR. After our previous guitar player, Topher Mohr, we decided to jam with John”s brother Kevin. We clicked instantly. The band has never been so tight. The chemistry between us is incredible. It inspires them to play with each other and the energy that that brings is contagious. Horror story: I had a guitar player once who OD’d hours before we went on stage, he went to the ER came back and did the show. He was fired the next day.

PEV: Is there one artist you would like to collaborate with that you haven’t had the chance to so far?

KM: Hands down Warren Haynes of the Allman Brothers and Government Mule.

PC: Britney Spears. She needs our help.

PEV: Any crazy stories from the road? Crazy fans?

KH: Well, I remember when I was in Germany there were a group of German fans that not only followed the band all over Germany, but they always came baring gifts.

KM: After one BMR gig a girl who had seen the show asked me to walk her to her car because “the parking lot is kind of dark” so she said. When we got to her Ford Explorer she proceeded to show me that she was NOT wearing panties.

PC: …on the road, stays on the road!

PEV: What is one thing we would be surprised to find in your homes/studios?

KM: The PINK loofah sponge in my shower.

JH: Bee Gees records.

PC: That I have two cats. Cats are not very rock!

KH: Where do I start … my rack, or my iron maiden, the pit for the bodies…

PEV: What other bands on the rise should we be looking out for?

PC: The Maps. Fosterchild.

KM: Rose Hill Drive, Wiser Time, Fosterchild. Grimace Federation.

PEV: Keith, when the band is not performing and/or traveling, what can we find you doing in your spare time?

KM: I enjoy either going out to a good restaurant with a bunch of friends or having a bunch of friends over and making in lots of food. Snowboarding anytime I can get near a mountain. Photography – whenever I can get away by myself – to shoot some photos.

PEV: What would be your dream venue that you would want to sell-out and just rock all night long?

PC: The Gorge in Vantage, Wa.

KH: Cafe’ Mokka in Switzerland… best venue ever !

JH: I have two: Madison Square Garden and The Royal Albert Hall.

KM: Madison Square Garden.

PEV: What is next for Black Market Radio?

KM: Getting on the road and finishing the new tunes Peter and I have, and recording them with John and Kevin.


KH: What’s next?… the fuckin’ world as we know it!

For more information on Black Market Radio, check out


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