Rockford Rocked: Blackmarket Democracy
By Todd Houston
Metalheads Blackmarket Democracy formed in 2009 and hail from Chicago. Their influences included Bad Brains, King’s X, Pantera and Black Label Society. These guys put on a loud, high energy show with the Bad Brains nod being very apparent.
Blackmarket Democracy guitarist and vocalist M. Wht is a big man, maybe 7’ 7” and pushing 600 lbs (not really, but sort of). This guy has been known to hop around the stage firing up the crowd and creating a mosh pit almost on demand. Last week we caught up with him to talk about music influences, city life and guitars.
RRI: You guys have been through Rockford a few times. What do you think of our happy little city next to the Rock River? I hope you didn’t get shot at.
Blackmarket Democracy (M. Wht): Every time we pull into Rockford I’m always amazed at the amount of heart the arts and the music Community has, and Whiskey’s Roadhouse is totally insane. But it really isn’t that hard to see the amount of heart that the 815 has when you have representatives like Big John on the metal mashup show, Chris Johnson, and all of the bands that come out at 815 – they have all shown us heart and love.
Scott and the fellas of Alpha Villain; Rick and the On My six crew; so-called Saints; Paul and the fellas from 99 Proof Devils… these are a few of the bands that Blackmarket has had the privilege to share the stage with in Chicago and in Rockford. They definitely know how to represent working hard and playing even harder.
RRI: I caught some of your show at Whiskey’s Roadhouse last year. The place was thumping! When will you guys be back?
BD: Not sure but would love to soon!
RRI: Ever been to the Uncle Nick’s gyro joint on State Street? It’s a must for after bar munchie goodness.
BD: No, but the absolute best spot for after show munchies in Chicago would have to be the hot dog stands off of Roosevelt and I-94 near University of Illinois.
RRI: Okay, tell us how the band was put together and who the members are.
BD: Mike White on vox and guitar; Glover Washington on drums; Steve Gaede on guitar; and OT on bass. As it turned out, we were all looking for something new. After playing our first song together there was this chemistry between the four of us. It just clicked from there.
RRI: Was it difficult finding musicians with the same musical tastes and interest?
BD: Not at all. There is a quality inside of each one of us that complements each other’s. It’s a pretty amazing thing when the four of us are in the same room.
RRI: What were some of your influences growing up?
BD: Our musical influences vary from Billy Cobham, Paul Simenon, Eddie Van Halen, Cordell Boogie Mosson and Zakk Wylde.
RRI: I’ve never been there but some folks say that Chicago Music Exchange (3316 N. Lincoln Ave.) has some killer vintage equipment! Ever been there?
BD: Steve our guitarist has spent some time in the Chicago Music Exchange and they definitely take good care of him. If you get a chance, make sure you check out his pedalboard! It is fully loaded.
RRI: Here’s a scenario: You guys are busting your butts onstage and the crowd still looks like they all drank a bottle of NyQuil before showing up to the club. What song do you pull out of the arsenal to get them pumped up and awake?
BD: “Buckshot,” of course! Another Blackmarket tune would be “Bounce.” We have not recorded that one yet, but it is a crowd mover.
RRI: I see you guys are set to play The Annex in Madison. Are there still metal fans in the Mad City?
RRI: Any cool road stories involving rednecks, chicken wire or banjos?
BD: Memphis, Tennessee. A guy thought we were the “help”! He was in complete amazement when we rocked his world harder than it ever had been. We had a good laugh!
People say the strangest things – for example, a girl at one of our shows once said that said that, “This is the first time that she had ever been this close to black men!” Ooookay, what do you do when someone says that? (laughs). “Thanks for enjoying the show, please grab a t-shirt and CD on the way out, ma’am.”
Find more about Blackmarket Democracy on Facebook, including upcoming shows in the Chicagoland area.