Introducing: Sweet Crystal

What are the origins of Sweet Crystal, how long have you been playing together?

I’m Marq Andrew Speck (call me Q – everyone does!), lead vocalist and keyboard player for 26-time Detroit Music Award-winning band SWEET CRYSTAL (www.sweetcrystal.com). Along with
founding members guitarist Bill Blatter and drummer Steve Wieser and now joined by 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.

Unlike most bands who have a lifecycle of about three to five years, this band of high school buddies (myself, Bill, and Steve) has been playing together for 50 years. That makes 2024 our
official Golden Jubilee Year and not many bands can claim that accomplishment! We got together right out of high school (and actually Bill and Steve played together during high school!). 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.

What should people expect when they check Sweet Crystal out?

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.

How would you describe Sweet Crystal?

Basically, we are considered a Detroit Christian progressive rock band and have been since we started this journey. 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. As we hit our Golden Jubilee (50 years of Sweet Crystal!!), we realize we are just as tough and enduring as Detroit – a city that’s been up, then down, and now rising up again!

How did you feel performing your first gig as a band, and how was it?!

It was a very long time ago but the thrill that is generated when you step on stage… has never waned over all these decades.

The new music scene is bursting at the seams at the minute with fresh talent, in what ways do you feel that a band has to stand out to build a name for themselves?

You need to be true to yourself as an artist because if your music doesn’t speak to you, as the writer/performer how well will it speak to new listeners? There are so many ways to get yourself out
there…but always remember that thousands of others doing exactly the same thing so take heart, do what you do with a good attitude, and appreciate what comes your way. Don’t put the media and websites on a pedestal in your life but as simple creative rungs on your ladder along the way.

What are you working on at the minute that people can check out?

This new song ‘Whatever Is Needed, Whatever It Takes’ continues where last year’s ‘7th Heaven’ left off: it’s a song of hope and inspiration, reminding us of what we need to do while we are here in this life and at this time in history. It still features our signature guitar sounds, wall of synth melodies and pads, and straight-ahead drumming with a crowd joining in on the choruses thrown in for good measure.

In terms of a similar audience, which band out there at the minute do you feel What are you working on at the minute that people can check out?

Would love the chance to open for Neal Morse (Spock’s Beard; Transatlantic; Flying Colors; more). His brand of progressive rock and inspiring lyrics would seem a perfect fit to us.

Excluding yourself, which new band would you like to see break out and become a success?

Check out these two Michigan bands that deserve to take it to the next level: Second Hand Mojo, and David Winans’ Pi. Both bands should put a smile in your ears!

What are your own first musical memories?

Me personally (Q) – I sang a solo when I was 7 years old in front of the Lutheran church and the response (mainly from my family I’m sure) was enough to make my little face smile.

And what was the light bulb moment that made you go “I want to do that”?

Again for me personally, I was living in Nashville in 7th grade and my next-door neighbor was a teenager who played guitar with his band. They rehearsed in their garage which was right across
from my bedroom window and watching and listening to these ‘grown ups’ play their music… they just seemed to be so happy. I decided that was a road I wanted to travel.

What was the last gig that you attended as a fan?

We drove over two hours to catch a band called ProgJect which is a current super group of amazing progressive rock musicians who got together to perform almost 3 hours of classic prog – songs ranging from King Crimson, Yes, Marillion and more. Absolutely outstanding musicianship and well worth the time, ticket cost and travel.

What current social issue are you particularly passionate about?

The plight of our homeless veterans hangs heavy on our hearts. We don’t have to support any war but we have to support our warriors. Our tune ‘Warriors’ is the band’s respectful ballad to the men and women of the Armed Forces and to their families who stay behind when their loved ones go off to protect the rest of us. There are always veterans or family members of veterans in the
audience and this song… well it brings a lot of emotion to both us in the band playing it and to those listening.

The album that you have in your album collection/Spotify playlist that would surprise most people?

Probably the amount of Broadway musical soundtracks… everything from ‘Le Miz’ to ‘West Side Story’ and not just the original productions but those iconic songs redone by more contemporary
artists and groups. Listen to Phil Collins singing ‘Somewhere’ – very sweet indeed.

What does 2024 hold for Sweet Crystal?

More new songs are already in pre-production for our next full release ‘8’ [slated for the third quarter 2024]. This time around we will be featuring more lead vocals from Bill (guitarist), which will make it even sweeter. Looking for even more ways to get our music, message, mission and ministry out into an increasingly dark world looking for hope and light! With 26 Detroit Music Awards under our belt, we think it’s time to aim for some Dove and Grammy Awards. Basically, we plan to remain exactly who we are for as long as can.

How active are you on social media and where can people connect with you?

Very! What today’s musician has is an entire world that can be accessed, a gateway to distribute and promote their masterpieces in ways and speeds totally unheard of when SWEET CRYSTAL started out…but that also means there is a continual flood of music being produced and released every single minute of the day and getting your music heard above that roar…daunting to say the
least. Just do a Google search SWEET CRYSTAL and you’ll see a plethora of sites and mentions across the world! Sweet, very sweet indeed.

WEBSITE: www.sweetcrystal.com
FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/SweetCrystalBand
YOUTUBE: www.youtube.com/c/SweetCrystal
SOUNDCLOUD: https://soundcloud.com/sweet_crystal
REVERBNATION: www.reverbnation.com/sweetcrystal
SPOTIFY: http://tinyurl.com/y76vcpqg
TWITTER: www.twitter.com/sweet_crystal

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