Mars Hollow was born in April 2007 when Steve Mauk answered drummer Jerry Beller's classified ad in Music Connection magazine for a progressive rock keyboard player. Shortly after, bassist Kerry Chicoine (whom Jerry had met playing for Spock's Beard Ryo Okomoto's band) joined and rehearsals began at Kerry's house as the search began for a suitable guitar player. In July, Kerry needed to take time off for personal reasons and September another Music Connection ad resulted in the good fortune of finding bassist Joe August and guitarist/vocalist John Baker. Rehearsals started in earnest at Steve's house in Simi Valley, and over the next nine months the beginnings of the first album was written and rehearsed.
Performing at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood, June 2009 (photo by Kathy LaForce)
In January 2008, the band settled on the name "Next" and rehearsals continued, now at John's studio in the Valley, until the departure of Joe in May. As luck would have it, Kerry was available to resume bass duties, and a three track demo was recorded in November that caught the attention of renowned record producer Ronan Chris Murphy. December saw Next's first live performance at the Universal Bar and Grill. By March of 2009, tracking began for the first album in Ronan's Veneto West Studio. The Spring and Summer of that year remained busy with the first radio play of the demo on WSLR's "The Woodshed", and gigs at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood and an appearance at the International Pop Overthrow festival. By the fall of 2009, the band agreed to their new name "Mars Hollow" and began shopping their freshly mixed and mastered album to interested record companies.
Promotional photoshoot March 2010 (photo by Kathy LaForce)
In January 2010, a deal was signed with 10T Records and release of the self titled album began to gain praise and recognition from critics and fans around the world. That Summer saw performances in Mexicali Mexico, and at the United States longest running progressive rock festival, ProgDay in North Carolina. By December material for a second album had been written and rehearsed and recording began with the legendary Billy Sherwood, in his Valley studio. May of 2011 saw the release of "World in Front of Me" perfectly timed for their performance at the Rites of Spring Festival (RoSfest) in Gettysburg PA. (playing in the coveted "Church of Prog" spot Sunday morning) Later that year the band would play a short tour in Mexico with Sherwood's band Circa, as well as playing with them again in the LA area in October.
In John's studio June 2010 (photo by John Rotundi)
By the Spring of 2012, performances both at home and at the "Terra Incognita" festival in Quebec City Canada with renowned prog bands The Tangent and Beardfish continued to garner acclaim. In June, fans were disappointed to hear of the departure of Kerry Chicoine, with Jerry later announcing he would also leave.
Promotional photoshoot January 2012 (photo by Trevor Mauk)
That Summer, attempts were made to reform a new lineup with the return of Joe and drummer Bob Craft. (whom Joe had played in a variety of projects with over the previous 8 years) The song "So Far Away" was written and recorded that Fall in John's studio and released with a live CD and separate DVD of the 2011 RoSfest performance. Shortly thereafter, John relocated to Oklahoma with his wife Lisa LaRue. Discussions about possible future collaboration have occurred, and new Mars Hollow music is a possibility sometime in the future.
Outside of John's studio July 2012 (photo by Lisa LaRue)
As of Spring 2013, Kerry and Jerry have formed the band "Heliopolis", which performs live, and has plans to record an album. John has joined the band "Forever Twelve" and is also witting and recording solo material in Oklahoma. Steve, (along with Joe and Bob) are performing and recording in their new band "Red Spectrum".