Progressive rock band Mars Hollow has announced that they will be recording a new album after a nearly 5-year hiatus. The announcement was made during a semi-reunion show and subsequent radio interview in June, and came on the heels of a show billed as “John Baker and Steve Mauk Perform the Music of Mars Hollow” in Chicago. The show was the first time Mars Hollow has performed live since May, 2012. The most recent studio effort from the group was the track “So Far Away,” which also had a video release and was included on the Mars Hollow Live album. The album, also available on DVD, documented the band’s ‘Church of Prog’ spot at RosFest, 2011 and was released in Fall of 2012.
However, guitarist and lead vocalist John Baker says that the new band will update both its name and line-up to fit the spirit and music of the new incarnation, and will be called “Life After Mars.” The band’s debut album release is tentatively scheduled for Summer, 2018.
Says John, “As Life After Mars is the newly reformed incarnation of Mars Hollow, the best way to explain it is ‘Mars Hollow…the Next Generation.”
Mars Hollow landed on the progressive rock scene in 2010 with their self-titled debut album, produced by Ronan Chris Murphy, and followed up in 2011 with “World In Front of Me,” co-produced by Mars Hollow’s John Baker and Billy Sherwood, now of Yes. Playing festivals and numerous gigs in the USA, Mexico and Canada, the band also played and toured with Billy Sherwood’s Circa, and received accolades and positive reviews for several years. In the spirit of progressive rock, “Life After Mars” seems a natural progression.
Says John, “I think of this as good timing. A perfect time to rethink your mindset, and have a new jumping off point. At one time, walking on the moon, or landing on Mars was the future. Everyone wondered if there was life on mars, and now they are talking about colonization of Mars. Truly, the FUTURE is life AFTER mars.”
Life After Mars features:
John Baker – lead vocals and guitars
Don Schiff – NS stick, various basses and string instruments
Lisa LaRue – keyboards
Emily Dolan Davies – drums
Throughout the years, John Baker has held stints as guitarist and backing vocalist for various original bands and musicians, including Christian Love of “The Beach Boys” and bassist for The Little Girls. Since 1995, John has been operating a successful studio business, comprised of music projects, audio drama, and dialogue work. In the music field, John has worked with many musicians and producers, including Mick Taylor (Rolling Stones) and Richie Zito (Elton John, Tina Turner, Heart). In the dialogue field, John has directed, engineered, and edited hundreds of audio books including works by authors such as Robert Ludlum, Danielle Steele and Deepak Chopra. John Baker, an original member of Mars Hollow, is also the lead vocalist for the LA-based progressive rock band, Forever Twelve, who has just completed their 4th studio album, Home, on Melodic Revolution Records.
Don Schiff has worked with some of the best – including Elvis Presley, Tina Turner, Pat Benatar, Sheryl Crow, Sammy Davis, Arjen Lucassen among many others. Don is also a member of Rocket Scientists. Having scored soundtracks as well as acted in TV shows and films such as “Live From Death Row” and “84 Charlie Mopic,” he has also received gold records for co-writing for Pat Benatar’s “Wide Awake in Dreamland” and Winfield/Schiff’s “Cerebral Man.” Don is internationally known for his expertise with the NS/Chapman stick. He was also a member of Lisa LaRue’s former band 2KX.
Keyboardist Lisa LaRue has worked with many musicians including: John Payne (Asia), Don Schiff (Rocket Scientists, Tina Turner, Elvis, and more), Ryo Okumoto (Spock’s Beard), Michael Sadler (Saga), Oliver Wakeman (Yes). Esquire (Nikki Squire) and others. Lisa has been awarded Oklahoma Native American Artist of the Year and nominated for other awards including the Hollywood Music Awards, Los Angeles Music Awards, and the Native American Music Awards. She collaborated with Gilli Smyth of Gong on a self-released album titled “Dreamscapes,” and has released 5 solo albums, 1 album with Lisa LaRue Project 2K9, 2 albums with Lisa LaRue 2KX, and 1 album with Federico Fantacone (Fantacone/LaRue – Sonic Landscapes).
EMILY DOLAN DAVIES
Emily Dolan Davies is a British drummer who has been playing since age 11, with full time gigging beginning at age 18. She has extensive experience in many genres as a session and live drummer, in addition to playing with artists such as Bryan Ferry, The Thompson Twins, The Darkness, and many more. She is currently touring with Howard Jones.
Here’s what the press have said about Mars Hollow:
“It’s quite clear that Mars Hollow is a band to be reckoned with. This is no garage band, but a very serious group of players with some serious chops.” – Rok Podgrajšek – The Rocktologist
“If you take a little bit of Yes – mostly in John Baker’s vocals – and a little bit of Rush (also there in the vocals), that’s a bit what Mars Hollow sound like.” – Stephanie Sollow – ProgressiveWorld.net
“Each member of the quartet is a star player in his own right. Their sound is a rocking and melodic mix of the best of Yes & Genesis with a bit of latter-day King Crimson.” – Mike Flavin – USA Prog Music
“I would consider Mars Hollow to be a band that will withstand the test of time for the advancement of the progressive genre.” – Grant Hill – Music Street Journal
The news was confirmed by his manager Martin Darvill, who said that the cause had been colon cancer. Wetton had undergone major surgery in 2015 to have a one-kilo malignant mass removed from his abdomen.
Wetton was born in 1949 and played with a variety of bands including Family, Mogul Thrash, Uriah Heep, Roxy Music, Wishbone Ash and King Crimson.
He went on to form prog supergroup UK and following their split in 1980, he teamed up with Geoff Downes, Steve Howe and Carl Palmer in Asia. They released their self-titled debut album in 1982, with Wetton becoming the band’s principal songwriter.
Wetton would later team up with Downes in Icon and along with playing with artists including Brian Eno, Phil Manzanera, David Cross, Ayreon and District 97, he also enjoyed a successful solo career.
Carl Palmer was one of the first to pay tribute to Wetton, calling him “brave and innovative” and a “musical giant.”
He says in a statement: “With the passing of my good friend and musical collaborator, John Wetton, the world loses yet another musical giant. John was a gentle person who created some of the most lasting melodies and lyrics in modern popular music.
“As a musician, he was both brave and innovative, with a voice that took the music of Asia to the top of the charts around the world. His ability to triumph over alcohol abuse made him an inspiration to many who have also fought that battle.
Geoff Downes called his friend “one of the world’s finest musical talents” and adds: “It was a massive privilege for me to have worked with this genius so closely on our numerous projects together over the years. His bass playing was revolutionary. His voice was from the gods. His compositions – out of this world. His sense of melody and harmony – unreal. He was literally a ‘special one.'”
He continues: “Life will not be the same without him. And words are not really enough to describe the loss I feel right now, and the many friends and fans all over the world will also be feeling. It is the end of an era for all of us. But we will soldier on. The music of John Wetton needs to be heard loud and clear from the rooftops. Dearest John, may you rest in peace brother.”
King Crimson’s Jakko Jakszyk also paid tribute to Wetton. He posted on Twitter: “Truly and genuinely saddened by the news that John Wetton has passed. I was honoured to call him a pal. Love to you, JW.”
Wetton is survived by his wife Lisa, son Dylan, brother Robert and mother Peggy.
Re: ASIA: I’ve always loved John Wettons voice, playing and compositions. His work In King Crimson, UK and Asia and his solo works continues to be an inspiration to me. I’ve had the great fortune to work on many various projects over the years with JW, I recall saying after one of the sessions “we’ve worked on so many tributes, what do you think of creating an original piece of work”? he replied…. “Let’s make my new solo record together in your studio”. It was an amazing time, we had always done file share sessions before, now it would be in person, for the 1st time, creating new music with one of my all time heroes in music. We spent 29 days in my studio, and made “raised in captivity”, A record I am very proud of indeed !!!
We developed a great relationship over the years and a friendship that’s endured and one I cherish !!
John has been fighting cancer and bravely pushing forward to recovery…. Always looking to tomorrow in hope, my thoughts and prayers always with him
With the above said… I’m honored to have been thought of and asked by John to stand in while he continues the fight. Of course my heart breaks, understanding the circumstances which have me performing with Asia. It’s a tight knit community in Prog Rock, and Wettons a giant walking within it !! I shall work very hard to maintain the integrity and musical standards expected !!
I am disappointed to announce that, on the advice of my medical team, I have to withdraw from Cruise to the Edge, and from the first leg of the Journey tour, March 15 – April 4.
I will soon be starting a new medical chemotherapy procedure, under which I will not be able to fly.
I am grateful to the promoters of the cruise. I wish them pleasant sailing and I know my friends on the cruise, both artists and fans, will have a ball on the ocean wave, I will be with you all in spirit.
My good friend Billy Sherwood will fill in for me within Asia, keeping my seat warm during the initial 12 Journey dates. While I am naturally disappointed to miss the beginning of what I know will be an historic ASIA tour, I am intending to return to the stage with Asia later in 2017, dates soon to be announced. I know this decision will be in the best interests of my health and our fans, in the long run.
January 11th. 2017
After a three year absence, British super-group ASIA has announced it will embark on a lengthy US tour as the special guests of Journey. The band is delighted to have received this special invitation from such esteemed musical friends.
“Asia is honoured to be asked to share the stage with Journey,” says ASIA’s lead singer and bassist John Wetton. “On a personal note, this couldn’t have come at a better time for me; I look forward to seeing everyone on the tour next year”.
“The idea of ASIA and Journey making music on a tour together is a natural progression from a time when both groups were enjoying widespread airplay on radio and MTV,” says legendary drummer Carl Palmer. “These two bands have a creative history and an affinity. We shared the iconic producer, Mike Stone, back in the days when we both regularly inhabited the Billboard charts.”
ASIA keyboard-wizard Geoff Downes adds: “I’m thrilled that ASIA has been given this extraordinary opportunity to make music on the same stage as Journey. These will be memorable evenings on so many levels”.
ASIA is rounded off by young virtuoso Sam Coulson, who joined the band in January 2013, replacing founding member Steve Howe.
ASIA’s self-titled debut album exploded onto the music scene in April, 1982, with several Top 10 singles. It topped the Billboard album charts for 9 weeks and became the best-selling album in the world in 1982. ASIA was the logical successor to their collective bands of the 70s – Yes, ELP, King Crimson, UK and The Buggles; and became one of the most played acts during the first year of MTV. The band reformed in 2006, and has remained together ever since.
An Extraordinary Life Continues….
Journey with special guests ASIA
More dates will be announced at a later time.
Wed March 15 Yakima, WA Yakima Valley SunDome
Thu March 16 Spokane, WA Spokane Arena
Sat March 18 Eugene, OR Matthew Knight Arena
Mon March 20 Boise, ID Taco Bell Arena
Tues March 21 Bozeman, MT Brick Breeden Fieldhouse
Fri March 24 Fargo, ND Fargodome
Mon March 27 Green Bay, WI Resch Center
Tues March 28 Madison, WI Alliant Energy Center
Fri March 31 Fort Wayne, IN Allen County War Memorial Coliseum
Sat April 1 Evansville, IN Ford Center
Mon April 3 Moline, IL Mark of The Quad
Tues April 4 Dayton, OH Nutter Center
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