Maria Ferrero: Queen Bee at Adrenaline PR
by Russell Ray
Behind every successful band is a team of people that most of us don’t know that are working behind the scenes promoting, funding, pushing, believing, and on and on to ensure momentum in a bands career. People who believe in music, people who believe in the fans, people who believe in the entire experience for what music is. A way of life. So much credit is deserved for these warriors who do not need the lime light but they wake up every day and hustle and push…
So, this leads us to this issue. Slayer is an Icon. Metallica is an Icon. Anthrax is an Icon. Testament is an Icon. And so is Maria Ferrero. Maria has spent her life dedicating every breath to bands that have graced all of our lives, fans or not. Behind the scenes she has promoted and exposed all of these bands mentioned above and more so that people like us (Fans) have something to experience. We are honored to have this interview with her:
RR: Maria tell us where you got your very first start in the music business?
MF: I was a suburban kid who hung with a group of kids older than me who were into music from Black Sabbath to AC/DC. One of my friends had a neighbor who sold metal records in a flea market in East Brunswick, NJ called Rock and Roll Heaven. I knocked on his door asking if I could buy some metal. I was 15. He sold me a Motorhead album on clear vinyl. I then began visiting their record store and made friends with the couple. They were 27 and had a one year old so I would help baby sit or make meals for the kid. I worked in a bakery at the time, they started promoting shows and I would give extra loaves of bread to help them feed the bands. Eventually they started Megaforce Records and I would just show up daily helping them answer phones or type letters or babysit. We signed Metallica and then things got serious… seemed like a job I felt I was making a difference and we really grew from there.
RR: I read that you had a passion for cooking and that you dreamed of becoming a chef. You also had an accident that changed your course. Can you elaborate on that and the direction it pushed you towards?
MF: 1997 – I was married, my husband died in December. He was 30 it was awful. It made me realize life is short and follow your dreams. I wanted to be a chef, so I signed up for a cooking school and went away to Australia for Xmas vacation. When I arrived back to America I went to my job as a product manager at TVT Records. I was told my job was over, so I said you know what I signed up for a cooking school and I’ll stick with that. So, I did it fast and then trained at a 4 Star French Restaurant called Chanterelle in NYC. I then went to Berkeley California to intern at Chez Panisse and eventually went back to NY. I took a job at FRENCH JAPANESE Cuisine. My second night at work I was hit by a truck while crossing the street. I re-cooperated from a broken hip and herniated discs in my back, but I just could not do it. So, after 9 months in the kitchen, I came back to music. It’s truly where I am.
RR: You also worked with a number of Iconic artists (Metallica, Anthrax, and more). Tell us about some of those times as you are a part of that history.
MF: We were kids. It was a special time and none of us knew anything certainly not where we would end up “MAGIC” it’s called!
RR: You worked at Megaforce Records. Who are some of the bands that you signed and helped launch their careers?
MF: I signed Testament when I was 19 my bosses did not like them. Jonny had Metallica then after that. ANTHRAX were his babies and I wanted a band all my own so I drove him crazy until they said “okay we will sign them”, 25 years later I manage the band helping them to resurrect their career and it was well, again “MAGIC”… I also signed Vio-Lence when I was 21 and signed the Skatenigs, Nudeswirl and Ministry to management. I did all of their PR and they graced the covers of every magazine from 1990-1996 “their heyday.” Someone mentioned MAGIC…
RR: What inspired you to start Adrenaline PR?
MF: I lost my job at Metropolis Records due to funds and distributors going out of business. I called my friend Debbie Abono who called Gloria Cavalera to tell her I lost my job. Gloria hired me for Soulfly, and I started the company 17 years ago.
RR: Who are some of the bands that you launched by starting this company?
MF: From Autumn to Ashes, August Burns Red, Lamb of God, Dimmu Borgir, Every Time I Die. There are a bunch… Still there are Wilderun, Anamorph… etc…
RR: Starting something from the ground up can be very difficult. You managed to craft a very successful business and are LEGENDARY in the industry. What has been your drive that keeps you pushing forward through the ups and downs over time?
MF: Stay true to yourself, ride the waves, never give up, be cool, and believe in MAGIC!
RR: Tell our readers about your management company “Breaking Bands LLC.” How did this venture come to fruition and who are you currently managing?
MF: I wanted to work with my friends Jonny Z who I felt needed a pick me up inspiration, motivation, magic, etc, and we called Chuck to see if he wanted to do it with us, he said yes and we worked together very well when I was managing Testament. But all things come to an end. We’re friends forever no matter what, and that is yes you know it… MAGIC!
RR: What advice would you give to people who are getting their start in the music business? Also, what is the mentality that they should exercise to help them persevere throughout their careers and business relationships?
MF: Stay the course, be savvy, network, build relationships, and have a back up plan.