Band Name: SWEET CRYSTAL
Country: DETROIT, MI USA
Label: NIGHTCRIER MUSIC, INC.
Let's start at the beginning then. When did the band form?
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). In the beginning, we opened up for such classic rock acts as Bob Seger, Foghat, Nazareth, Steppenwolf and many more before finding our true path into the Christian music field. To this day we get together every week to rehearse, record and just enjoy each other’s company. Does it get old after 5 decades together? Absolutely not! We just get better with age.
Who's in the band?
I’m Marq Andrew Speck, lead vocalist and keyboard player for 26-time Detroit Music Award winning band SWEET CRYSTAL. Along with founding band 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.
Were any of you in bands before? No, not really. Everyone jammed with friends during our formative (high school) years but ever since SWEET CRYSTAL was formed… well we have been who we are and have no plans to stop any time soon.
How would YOU describe your sound?
Powerful, progressive and passionate: we continue to produce arena rock songs heavily influenced by the 80’s yet with modern production and performance. We hope that the music, message and words we sing will make a difference in the lives of everyone who hears them. Our music is about us, but it’s also about you. We hope someone who hears our music – or attends a Sweet Crystal show – to come away feeling better about them selves, knowing that whatever they are dealing with, chances are we’ve dealt with it as well. As the main lyricist for Sweet Crystal, I feel if the song doesn’t speak to me as I sing it, it won’t speak to anyone else so I make sure what I write is inspired by my faith and presented as sincerely as I can.
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 have been up to lately? Any new stuff to delight our ears? This latest single ‘Whatever Is Needed, Whatever It Takes’ is the first single from our upcoming ‘8’ full album release (slated for third quarter 2024) and it continues where last year’s award-winning release ‘7th HEAVEN’ left off: it’s a song of hope and inspiration featuring our signature guitar sounds, synth melodies, straight ahead drumming with just a few hundred fans joining in on the choruses for good measure. In it’s first month since it dropped, it’s already gotten over 33 thousand streams on Spotify – that seems pretty sweet to us.
How about live dates? What have you been doing and what ya got planned for 2024?
Already booking music festivals and online live performances starting next month and heading into the summer. Best bet to catch us would be by signing up for our email newsletters on our website or over at our Reverbnation page (see links below). That will keep you in the know for all our appearances.
Name something about yourselves that fans won't know
Besides being a 26 time (and counting) Detroit Music Award winning band, two of the more interesting aspects of Sweet Crystal is our longevity and our staying true to our musical styling. The three of us founding members have been playing together for 50 years which means 2024 will be the band’s Golden Jubilee Celebration year. We think there are not a lot of bands that can claim that accomplishment. To this day, we don’t “chase” current trends in mainstream music but stay true to our progressive arena rock beginnings. The songs are new and fresh but the sound remains classic Crystal, which our fans appreciate. Artists that ‘chase’ trends are already falling behind. You can copy but you can never catch up so set your own individual course. That way, you will always be in the lead of your own musical race.
What's the most embarrassing moment you've had?
I once had a birthday celebration at a club we played regularly at. Someone made a big cake and as the crowd all sang ‘Happy Birthday’, I went to blow out the candles and WHAM – the person holding the cake smashed it inot my face as a joke! Still finished playing the set while picking icing out of my hair. I heard it was supposed tio be funny…
Do you have any superstitions?
Any things you do before a show? Superstitions? Nah…nothing about this world spooks us. What we do though is make sure we say a quick prayer for the people coming to see us…that they have safe travels to and from the show and that the message we bring them touches their lives. Then we just go out and do what we do!
Are there any musicians or bands you'd love to work with?
Not a particular band per se but we’d like to have a guest producer: Alan Parsons! His work with both Pink Floyd back in the day and all his Alan Parson Project accomplishments have always sounded to us… like how we’d love a SWEET CRYSTAL album to sound
.Any final thoughts?
The guys in SWEET CRYSTAL feel our trademarked slogan - Reaching The World, One Song At A Time ™ - pretty much says it all about our music, message, mission and ministry. We are here to reach out to a world with songs of hope and inspiration; a musical light at the end of every dark tunnel you might be going through because chances are good – we’ve gone through those very same tunnels ourselves and definitely have found a way out.