The Music page
John Mars at Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation building,
Syracuse, New York (Bley & Lyman architects, 1930).
Photographed by Lucas Stagg
Detroit or Buffalo
The new John Mars CD was co-produced by JOHN MARS and LUCAS STAGG It was engineered by J.P. RIEMENS at Grant Avenue Studio; Hamilton, Canada and, was mastered by NICK BLAGONA at Psychotropic Studios; Dundas, Canada
J.P. Riemens has engineered recordings by GORDON LIGHTFOOT and CHRIS HOUSTON and, he is a recording artist in his own right.
Nick Blagona has engineered recordings by KEITH RICHARDS, THE DAVE CLARK FIVE, KATE AND ANNA McGARRIGLE, PETULA CLARK, DEEP PURPLE, THE FLIRTATIONS, RUSH, THE POLICE, THE BEE GEES, TOM JONES, CHICAGO, CAT STEVENS, THE GOO GOO DOLLS and, ALEXIS ON FIRE.
Lucas Stagg is the former leader of the Rock 'n' Roll outfit ROOM 101. His latest two solo CDs were co-produced by John Mars.
Craig McNair is set to release his first solo CD of acoustic music and, that new album is being produced by John Mars.
Danny Weis has a new solo record called "Sweet Spot" and, he was a founder/member of both IRON BUTTERFLY and RHINOCEROS. His lengthy career has included stints with LOU REED, ALICE COOPER, MELISSA MANCHESTER and, at one time, he was band leader for BETTE MIDLER, appearing as the mop-topped, blonde guitarist in the Hollywood motion picture, "THE ROSE".
Danny's long-time friend, Michael Fonfara began his long career with 60's Canadian legends THE CHECKMATES and, he and John Finley continue to lead an awesome version of that group. Michael moved to the USA in the late 60's to join Michael Bloomfield's incredible group THE ELECTRIC FLAG and, then co-founded RHINOCEROS with Weisand Finley and, former Mothers Of Invention drummist, Billy Mundi. Fonfara next became band leader for LOU REED and, he has also played with SOLOMON BURKE, THE DOWNCHILD BLUES BAND and FOREIGNER.
Ray Harrison is the long-time leaderof his own group, THE CAMEO BLUES BAND and, his past bands include SHOOTER, CROWBAR and, THE GREASEBALL BOOGIE BAND.
John's close friends Mary 5e and Suzie Sweetman both lead their own groups.
- JOHN MARS lead vocals
- LUCAS STAGG acoustic guitar and harmony vocals
- CRAIG McNAIR harmony vocals
- DANNY WEIS electric guitar and nylon string classical guitar
- MICHAEL FONFARA grand piano and Hammond organ
- RAY HARRISON grand piano and Hammond organ
- MARY 5e and SUZIE SWEETMAN additional harmony vocals
- no drummers or bass players were harmed during the making of this record
John is pleased to have such a venerable group of creative artists help him realize his own current CD project. For more information on any of them, just continue to explore this web site today and, continue to watch the site in the 'morrow for continuing news on all of these talented men and women.
Illustrations by Dominic Bugatto.
Package design by John Mars and Lucas Stagg.
Dominic Bugatto illustrations have appeared in the NEW YORK TIMES, the WASHINGTON POST, the WALL STREET JOURNAL, the BOSTON GLOBE, FORBES and MEN'S HEALTH. His work has been collected by the SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTE.
John Mars' "WHASUP?" CD was produced by JACK deKEYZER. Many of the songs were written by John and Jack. It was engineered by ALEC FRASER at Hawkstone Studios; Whitby, Canada. It was mixed at Bassline Studios in Scarborough, Canada by SHANE SCOTT and JACK deKEYZER. It was mastered by ANDY KREHM at Silverbirch Productions; Toronto , Canada
- JOHN MARS
- JACK deKEYZER
electric guitar and harmony vocals
- MICHAEL FONFARA
grand piano and organ
- CHRIS ROBINSON
tenor and alto saxophone
- BRIGHAM PHILLIPS
- SHANE SCOTT
bass and harmony vocals
- MARK FRENCH
- ALEC FRASER
harmony vocals and hand percussion
- GAYLE ACKROYD
harmony vocals on 'Wild At Heart'
- Jack deKeyzer leads his own band and, his "Six String Lover" album (which contains "Jump Right To It" written by John Mars and, Jack deKeyzer) won a Juno award. Jack was formerly a member of the ROBERT GORDON band, THE BOP CATS, THE ROCK ANGELS, and, RONNIE HAWKINS AND THE HAWKS. He has also played with BO DIDDLEY, ETTA JAMES and KING BISQUIT BOY .
- Michael Fonfara began his long career with 60's Canadian legends THE CHECKMATES and, he and John Finley continue to lead an awesome version of that group. Michael moved to the USA in the late 60's to join Michael Bloomfield's incredible group THE ELECTRIC FLAG and, then co-founded RHINOCEROS with Danny Weis, John Finley and, former Mothers Of Invention drummist, Billy Mundi. Fonfara next became band leader for LOU REED and, he has also played with SOLOMON BURKE, THE DOWNCHILD BLUES BAND and FOREIGNER.
- Chris Robinson is John Mars' cousin and, he leads his own Jazz group. Chris was formerly a member of JOHN MARS AND THE MARTIANS.
- Brigham Philips is a Juno award winning Jazz trumpet / trombone player who leads his own big band.
- Shane Scott, Alec Fraser have both played with THE JACK deKEYZER BAND. Alec is currently a member of the JIMMY BOSKILL band.
- Mark French was formerly the drummer for BLUE RODEO and, has played on Juno award winning recordings by that group.
The news is out...here's what critics are saying about Whasup!
"100% pure unadulterated rock'n'roll! ...dynamite"
MOHAIR SWEETS (Winnipeg)
"Reminiscent of many 60's pop records, pretty smooth, and he wears all his influences right on his sleeve. The songwriting is first-rate."
THE NAIL (Niagara Falls)
"An extensive pedigree. The inspirations in "Whasup?" are diverse, from "Sticky Fingers"-era Rolling Stones to Stax/Volt and rockabilly. Mars especially excels at the latter, as evidenced by "Lil' Suzy Sue" and "Pristine Christine".
Blitz Magazine (Los Angeles)
"The songs are flush with the verve, flair and confidence of Eddie Cochran, British Invasion flagbearers and Memphis soulsters. Mars and deKeyzer also have added two solid new entries to the litany of girl-name songs ("Danielle" and "Lil' Suzy Sue").
Metroland "The Capital Region's Alternative Newsweekly" Albany, New Yorkcomplete reviews can be found on our news page...***
And, dig this quote from JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE bassist NOEL REDDING
"I was amazed that you did Nervous Breakdown, the track which Eddie Cochran did on Boy meets Girl (British Television Show). Freaked me out actually."
The album package was designed by John Mars and Jack deKeyzer with photography by Huggy Bundle, Scott Harvery, Marilyn Guest and, John Mars.
submitted by Darla Stahl
STUART BROOMER, piano
JOHN MARS, double drum set
WIND (composer John Mars)
DISCREET (composer Stuart Broomer)
DEDICATION (composer John Mars)
CHINA (composer Stuart Broomer)
Direct to Master 33 1/3 rpm 12"lp
Recorded Live by:
Stuart Broomer and John Mars Live at UB
Stuart Broomer and John Mars Live at UB
Katharine Cornell Theatre
State University Of New York At Buffalo
1. WIND composer: John Mars
2. CHINA composer: Stuart Broomer
3. EXPRESSIONISM, Part One composers: Broomer/Mars
4. EXPRESSIONISM, Part Two composers: Broomer/Mars
STUART BROOMER piano
JOHN MARS double drum set, percussion, digital synthesizer on tracks 2, 3 & 4
Friday, November 9th, 1984. Cassette Tape Recording
“In those days I had a kinda pro SONY Walkman that had two condenser mics built into the top of it. A student that I met backstage took it out into the house and recorded this concert for us. It’s a pretty lucky recording. Not bad at all. Maybe we will take this recording into a studio some day to enhance the thing further but, so far, what you are listening to here is just the raw recording. With all thanks to the considerable acumen of webmaster Joan Krygsman, who knows how to put such things up on-line and make them sound like they should.
The first two pieces on the concert are Stuart and I performing two items from our usual, substantial repertoire of original compostions. A couple of our 'Greatest Hits' ~ if we ever had such a thing.
‘Expressionism’ is us performing our original soundtrack for the 1919 film The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari. This is something that Stuart and I did countless times in concert halls, community theatres, cinemas and art museums back in the day.
At one point during ‘Expressionism’, the student had to flip the cassette tape over. Very little from the performance is missing but, at any rate, this is the reason that you have ‘Expressionism, Part One' and ‘Expressionism, Part Two’. No attempt will be made to staple the two bits back together. What it is, is what it is, as James Brown might have it. Listen to one or both. Listen to Part 2 first, if you like. It does not matter. You don’t need to be watching the movie. But, you could be ?
The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari has had a profound impact on my aesthetic and, on my life as an artist. You will no doubt see something or other in my paintings that has something or other to do with it ? I’m not sure what, but, I’m sure it’s in there sometimes. I’ve studied many of the German Expressionist films and read up on them in great detail. This motion picture has always been my fave rave in that genre.
I first saw the film on television at about age nine. The Friday ‘Fright Night Late Show’ on WKBW-TV, Buffalo, which we used to get in my old hometown of Brantford, Ontario. ‘Caligari’ would come on all the the time for years. My Dad would moan ~ “Oh no, yer not gonna watch The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari again are you?”. You betcha, Dad ! Since then, I’ve studied this film way over hundred times ~ including while performing the Broomer/Mars soundtrack to it. At this point (1984) in our career Stuart and I had done our ‘Caligari’ performance so many, many times but, for me, to take the show to Buffalo was special. Too bad we didn’t have the voice of newscaster Irv Weinstein from Channel 7 (WKBW-TV) to introduce the show ! "
John Mars 2022
Stuart Broomer (piano) and John Mars (drums) began performing together in various Toronto based Jazz/New Music type groups in 1973. Previously, Stuart fronted a number of New Music groups starting in the late 1960's in Toronto's Yorkville Village night clubs. Stu was notably a pioneer in the development of the "prepared piano" technique, along with other innovators such as John Cage. John Mars had been mainly a singing Rock 'n' Roll drummer up until the point the he met Stuart, but, John's group "John Mars And The Martians" had shown a bit of the arresting influence of Albert Ayler and the "New Wave" in Jazz.
In a daring move in 1979, Broomer and Mars began performing mostly as simply a piano/drums duo (neither musician sang in this group). Their appearances in the Toronto area sometimes featured special guests such as Michael Snow (trumpet and piano), the late Graham Coughtry (trombone), the late Doug Willson (flugelhorn) and, Lloyd Garber (guitar). Occasionally the pair also incorporated the poetry, prose and humour of Vic d'Or (Victor Coleman) with delightful results.
As a duet, they toured community theatres, universities and the art museum circuit relentlessly and, the two were very popular at such venues in Ontario, Quebec, New York and Michigan.
Broomer/Mars also garnered a considerable amount of airplay on public radio and college radio throughout North America, Europe and even Africa, with the release of the "Annihilated Surprise" Lp. They disbanded in 1986 and Stu is currently editor of Coda - Canada's Jazz magazine, which has been published since 1958. Mr. Broomer also is a special features writer for Toronto's Globe & Mail newspaper, the Jazz editor for Toronto Life Magazine and, he writes the Jazz CD reviews for amazon.com.
There is a possibility of a CD re-issue of "Annihilated Surprise" in the future, but, for now, it is only available on Lp.
The above photograph of Stuart Broomer at 'A Space', Toronto is © 1976 by George Wale.
Also above: Self Portrait 1972 by John Mars (ballpoint pen drawing).
STUART BROOMER and JOHN MARS "Quotable Quotes"
"A complex of many styles so altered and personalized that their origins have all but vanished".
PETER GODDARD, THE TORONTO STAR
"Just as their are notes in music that exist only in the cracks between the keys of a piano, there are individuals in music who are between definitions that define one style from another".
MARK MILLER, THE GLOBE AND MAIL
"A rational extenision of everything from New Orleans funeral music, Albert Ayler, Sun Ra, "Jellyroll" Morton - the whole spectrum of jazz and, the whole spectrum of art in the 20th Century".
"All those interested in jazz, new music and improvisation have a musical experience in store for them".
THE MONTREAL STAR
"Broomer and Mars are first rate new jazz players".
THE BUFFALO EVENING NEWS
"It was a special treat to hear him (Mars), a propulsive drummer... who produces a wide variety of textures from an only slightly augmented double drum kit".
CODA (CANADAS JAZZ MAGAZINE)