Friday, December 30, 2011

The Year That Was 2011

Wow! What a year it's been! This was a year of music, travel, discovery, recovery, and much more!

The year started a bit slow, but picked up steam when I began designing the creature vocals for a prequel to "The Thing". This was a challenging and fun movie to work on, but alas the movie going public didn't turn up. Perhaps Universal didn't promote it properly? Who knows...

But then in May I was off to the UK for a tour with my band Maple Mars. Our bassist Trevor couldn't make the trek so we enlisted our buddy Jeff LeGore (who later that summer appeared live on the Jerry Lewis Telethon with Brokedown Caddilac!) to handle bass and vocal duties. Had some great shows, some not so great, but a fantastic time overall with the guys. Saw Stonehenge and Edinburgh Castle, and some amazing places in between!

Then it was off to Italy to eat, sleep, and drink the great Italian cities for 8 days! Milan, Venice, Florence, Tuscany, and Rome. I brought my son out to share the experience with me!

In late June I was back with my family on a short Mexican cruise. My wife likes these trips as we can take all the kiddies on vacation without having to fly somewhere and spend a lot of money.

The rest of the summer saw my wife back to work and I became Mr. Mom! This was an amazing chance for me to bond with my two year old daughter Layla! But changing diapers and pushing strollers to the park wasn't all I was doing. I also rebuilt my home studio, cut a small indie film, and composed and recorded some garage rock cues for a music library company. From these sessions I became inspired to start on a new music project that is now tuning into a full length album. The "yet to be named" side project features my wife and I doing our best early Wings sound, with a little help from a few friends, including Jim Laspesa on drums! I'm super excited about the record as the music definitely strays from my typical 'Mars vibe! I hope to have the whole thing finished by spring.

Also during the late summer I was contacted by a fellow musician I met on Facebook by the name of Tom Löffler from Germany. His band is Two Sheds Jackson, and they create some really fine power pop/psychedelic music. So when Tom asked if I was interested in collaborating on a song called "Beautiful Sunchild" I agreed and sang lead vocals and helped with the lyrics. Three other singer/songwriters also appear on the Two Sheds Jackson EP "Collaboration Series 1", and all the tunes are top notch! I also shot a promo video for the project that should be available early in the new year.

The Fall brought some good times too! The Halloween party we threw was great fun! My brother-in-law's cool props were all over the house and really set the tone. This may become an annual thing for us!

Finally in late November the job I'd been chasing since last Christmas materialized in an offer from Dreamworks Animation as an "in-house sound guy" at their Glendale studio. Forbes Magazine rated this company #10 for being one of the "best places in America to work", so this was a really sweet deal for me! Sound design, mixing, and music are all creative aspects of my livelihood, and I'm excited to have the chance to do all of that at Dreamworks!

Christmas was fantastic as usual, and having my father in from CT helped make the season a little brighter! (sorry for the campiness!) And once again Maple Mars' song "Christmastime In The City" made the rounds on some radio and internet music stations. Thanks to all who downloaded it!

I'm very grateful for all the great things that happened this year! I look forward to a better economy in the new year, and little more world peace might be nice. An upcoming election may bring about a new president, or hopefully a revitalized old one.

Once I can get my side music project finished and released I hope to begin writing the next Maple Mars album at some point during the new year. Hope all goes well for everyone! Here's to a great 2012!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Rick Hromadka & Phil Rosenthal Acoustic Duo

Played the Orange County Fair with Phil Rosenthal doing an acoustic set of Maple Mars and Twenty Cent Crush songs! Also played some covers including The Beatles "Two Of Us" and The Five Stairsteps "Ooh Child". The show was put on by DJ Adam Waltimier of Pop Garden Radio and writer/musician John Borak.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Summer Shows!!!

Maple Mars are returning with a few summer shows that we want to share with you! These are our first gigs since our recent UK tour and we're really looking forward to rocking' locally again! We hope to see your smiling face at one these upcoming events:

Pop Garden Radio Concert at the Orange County Fair

Rick Hromadka will be playing a special duo acoustic set with pal Phil Rosenthal from Twenty Cent Crush. We're on at noon!

The Orange County Fair
@ Plaza Arts Stage
88 Fair Drive
Costa Mesa, California
714 708-1500

Also playing are:
11am - Steve Kobashigawa
12 noon - Rick Hromadka & Phil Rosenthal
1:00pm - NUSHU
2:00pm - The Tickets
3:00pm - Popdudes
4:00pm - Walter Clevenger & the Dairy Kings


International Pop Overthrow Los Angeles

Once again we're participating in David Bash's long running pop festival! Showtime is 9:45PM.

Bar Lubitsch
7702 Santa Monica Blvd.
West Hollywood 323.654-1234​rlubitsch

7:30 Ingenue
8:15 The Popdudes
9:00 Dreaming In Stereo
9:45 Maple Mars
10:30 Sitcom Neighbor
11:15 One High Five


International Pop Overthrow Los Angeles

Our second performance at this year's festival brings us back to the fairgrounds! Showtime is 3PM.

Orange County Fair
(Time Warner Cable's Plaza Arts Stage)
88 Fair Dr.
Costa Mesa 714 708-1500
Fair admission: $10 (adult), $7 (senior) and $5 (youth)

10:30 Backnbloom
11:15 August Rising
12:00 SKICK
12:45 Monogroove
1:30 Evolove
2:15 SMASH Fashion
3:00 Maple Mars
3:45 Jeremy

Check out our latest video featuring footage from our recent UK tour!​ch?v=8wi3KoYFhNo

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Rest Of The UK Tour

Our Newcastle show was also surprisingly cool. The venue Barkollo turned out to be an old house turned into a hip pub and restaurant/music venue upstairs. The livingroom-like stage had hipster couches around it with trippy pillows with tables behind where people could eat and drink. Claudio, the booker and son of the owner, treated us very well and we had one of our best meals in England! The mussels he served (cooked by his dad) were the freshest I've ever had. AMAZING!

Our set started out pretty normal, but soon got really wild as this character, apparently a local hero, who looked like a cross between Charles Dickens and Ron Wood (and about the same age) got up and started dancing in front of the stage. It was his birthday and the audience loved him. Especially when he tore off his shirt ala Mick Jagger in "Performance" and then preceded to strut back and forth shirtless. Others joined in - including me when I wasn't on the mic. Now THAT was fun!

Next we drove all the way to Edinburgh, Scotland on a one lane road. Apparently they haven't built a proper motorway into Edinburgh! But the sights were spectacular so it was worth it.

Our show was at a college venue called The Wee Red Bar located in the Edinburgh College Of Arts. Unfortunately, school was out which meant not many people. But I was pleasantly surprised to see Bob Hutton there, who had seen Maple Mars at Maxwells in Hoboken, NJ back in 2003. Nice guy. The next day we set out to see the Edinburgh Castle, which was epic! AND we saw the Crown Jewels!

This pic shows the Edinburgh sky at 11PM - still showing some blue.

Our next show was to be in Leeds at TJ's Woodhouse. UK bands Empire Safari and The Paper Tigers were also on the bill and it would've been an incredible show. Unfortunately, it didn't happen. The promoter actually canceled the show THE NIGHT BEFORE! I can't tell you how unprofessional this was and really pissed us off as we were really looking forward to being "Live At Leeds"! Oh well, C'set la vie!

Finally, it was back to London to play our last show. We were invited to play this gig by a promoter who caught our first show of the tour at London's The Good Ship. The venue was The Mist, and was located way out in Finchley, near High Barnet. Friend of our bassist,Terry Crowley said "I didn't know there was even music in Finchley!" The Mist is a new venue and has potential, if they can get a better sound system. That being said the gig was cool and a loud end to our tour.

So in the end amid all the chaos and last minute changes, we had our adventure. The DIY approach left a little to be desired this time out, and a good US booking agent would've made a big difference. But venturing out on the road in a foreign country is always a crapshoot - and we did have our hot streaks. Hopefully, we entertained a few, and left some wanting more. Thanks UK, we had fun!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

IPO Liverpool

Once again we played IPO Liverpool. 2 shows, 2 venues within an hour of each other! How fun was that! We starting in the back stage of the Cavern Club and moved across the street the Cavern Pub. Great crowd in that Pub! The place was packed and the people were seated right up to the tiny stage. Very cozy! This was probably our best show of the tour. Great crowd! The highlight was when Ron our drummer's throne (chair) broke as I was starting the intro to "Big Imagination". Ron's frantically searching for a replacement when our bassist Jeff LeGore noticed another one sitting by his bass amp. Ron sat down on the throne Jeff had handed him just in time to come in on the downbeat of the tune and the crowd all stood and applauded. Couldn't have asked for a cooler moment!!!

The next day we celebrated guitarist Steve Berns' birthday in a really good restaurant called Blue. Beatle historian Jean Catharell joined us. Jean was nice enough to give us a private tour of the Beatle homes and landmarks the last time we were here! She also hooked us up with a great hotel on the Albert Docks! THANK YOU JEAN!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Actual Show Was Here!

The Actress & Bishop! Fun show in the upstairs of this huge pub. Great sound system!


This is what our navigation system pulled us up to when we trying to find the club. A burned out building!


After walking all over London on Friday we spent Saturday driving sound to see STONEHENGE. I was really moved by this experience, although I don't know why. Because I'm a Spinal tap fan? No, I think I felt really small - in a good way.

Friday, May 20, 2011

London's A Gas!

After months of planning and having shows at London's The Borderline and Arnolds fall through - thanks to our London promoter, but that's another story...We rebounded with a super cool night at the The Good Ship! Special thanks to Tom Cater for booking us at the last second. Great people, great bands! The Dirty Royals and The Sum Of were both awesome bands who lent us their gear. Thank you! After the show we were approached about playing two other gigs in London next week. Stay tuned...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

UK Tour Dates

Hot on the heels of the Royal Wedding comes Maple Mars to the beautiful United Kingdom! The band returns after a six year hiatus to share it's psychedelic pop as heard on their latest album "Galaxyland". Stay tuned for additional dates.

Hope to see you at a show!

May 19th London - THE GOOD SHIP - (Show moved from The Borderline and ARNOLDS!)

May 22nd Birmingham - ACTRESS & BISHOP

May 23rd Liverpool - CAVERN CLUB (Two shows Cavern Club and Cavern Pub across the street!)
*with Kyle Vincent and Kelly's Heels

May 25th Newcastle - BARKOLLO

May 26th Edinburgh - WEE RED BAR -
*with The Pineapple Chunks and Sons Of Portslade

May 27th Leeds - TJ's WOODHOUSE-
*with Empire Safari and Paper Tigers

For more info on Maple Mars:

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Maple Mars Play The Mint!

Our first of show of 2011 will be Feb 1st at The Mint in Los Angeles!
Show time 9:30PM
Admission $10

From their website:
The Mint, established in 1937, is a local landmark. Many music greats have not only played here, but broke here. Stevie Wonder, Willie Dixon, Natalie Cole, Ray Charles and more have graced our seasoned stage. More recent prominent artists include Ben Harper, Macy Gray, and The Wallflowers.

Although live music is what we are known for, many people come to the Mint to simply socialize and enjoy our tapas style cuisine and drinks. We offer a full bar, including beer on tap and a great wine list to suit any palate and budget. Our kitchen is usually open until midnight.

The Mint has a convenient Los Angeles location just 5 minutes south of Hollywood and 10-15 minutes from the Westside. You’ll also be delighted to find a lack of traffic and free street parking. Valet parking is also available.

The Mint
6010 West Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Phone: 323.954.9400
Fax: 323.938.2994