If you could introduce yourselves for us, who are you?
I’m Marq Andrew Speck, lead vocalist and keyboard player for 24-time Detroit Music Award winning band SWEET CRYSTAL . Along with founding members guitarist Bill Blatter and drummer Steve Wieser and now joined by newest member and bass player Martin Kuchar, we have been at the forefront of the Christian rock scene here in Michigan even before this genre had its own radio and broadcast outlets.
How did you all meet?
The three of us that started SWEET CRYSTAL met right out of high school and became fast friends for life. The newest (and youngest for that matter) is Marty on bass and as of today, has been with us for nearly 5 years – I guess we passed his audition.
We’ve all been playing since we were teenagers – actually Bill (guitar) and Steve (drummer) played together during high school. I came along later, during our college years and we all set out to make it our fulltime jobs (which we did for many years – 6 ½ tons of gear, 4-man road crew). The three of
us – the core-founding members – have never stopped playing together since then (although live touring did stop for a time).
How long have you been playing?
Getting ready for our fifth decade together. Does it get old after 40 years together? Absolutely not! It just gets better with every passing day.
What three words would you use to describe the music you play?
Christian Progressive Rock
What are your musical influences?
We started out totally influenced by the progressive rock English music scene of the 60’s and 70’s: bands like Pink Floyd, Yes, Genesis, Atomic Rooster, Uriah Heep all left their musical marks on our writing and playing. We also listened to a lot of American bands like Kansas, Journey, Rush and Spock’s Beard to keep our creative juices flowing.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen during a show?
Every time we play a show on or near Halloween… seeing a dance floor filled with costumed monsters, witches, Wookies, cartoon characters and big babies always makes you wonder “What the…?”
Being away from the stages since last year, where is the one place you’d visit when the restrictions are lifted?
Even though 2020/21 were a very tough years for us – and everyone for that matter, what with the closing of most venues and other places to play out – we had the great experience of Live Streaming a 30-minute performance from our personal studios Nightcrier Music here outside of Detroit. It’s up on our YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/AW776sHKAes along with a lot of other online and live event videos that give a pretty sweet view into all things Crystal. It turns out this was a great way for our fans and new audiences to experience who we are and what we offer musically while relaxing at home or anywhere they can get the web. We miss the live audience feedback of a concert appearance but this at least kept us smiling. Once all restrictions are lifted… the sky’s the limit!
What’s the one record you own but wouldn’t ever admit to owning?
What’s a ‘record”? Kidding – sold our album collection years ago.
What have you been listening to in the last few weeks?
The latest Deep Purple release (love classic acts that just keep going), a lot of the solo work from Neal Morse (Spock’s Beard, Transatlantic, more) and the new CD from Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater). Prog Rock Rules!!!
Are there any releases you have planned in the near future?
We just released “7th Heaven” – which happens to be our 7th CD as well. We previously released 4 singles from “7th Heaven” during 2020/21 with video support (on our YouTube channel and other social sites) but thought waiting until this New Year (with the very challenging last two years behind us) might be just the spark our fans and audiences would appreciate to make 2022 a much happier New Year indeed. Our complete discography can be heard over at our Bandcamp and Soundcloud pages.
This latest album ‘7th HEAVEN’ continues where our last release ‘Got Your Six’ left off: songs of hope and inspiration featuring our signature guitar sounds, synth melodies, straight ahead drumming with just a few chanting monks thrown in for good measure.