The King of Mars formed in 2015 as a traditional four-piece rock band and has since evolved into a larger group with synths, auxiliary percussion, and a horn section. Their sound shakes the foundation of traditional rock music by encompassing Jazz, Funk, and Soul musicality alongside insightful lyricism.
Please list all of your band members and their roles in the band.
John Bruner - Lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Randy Deadman - Keyboards, backup vocals
Matt Gordon - Lead guitar, backup vocals
JJ Frale - Bass
Andrew Gercak - Drums
Austin Deadman - Percussion
Jaime Ruiz - Trumpet
Walter Sanchez - Trombone
Gabby Bandera - Tenor Saxophone
For starters, what bands were you guys a part of prior to The King of Mars? How long has the band been around?
A few of us played in bands in high school, but nothing significant. For most of us, this is the first original band that we’ve worked with. The King of Mars has been through a lot of lineup changes over the years, but we’ve technically been playing since 2015.
What’s the origin of that name and have you changed the band’s name before?
Our band name is based off a character from the show Adventure Time. On that show, the king of Mars is Abraham Lincoln and he’s a total badass. The king of Mars just had such a good ring to it that we had to go with it. We’ve never changed the name and have no plans to.
Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs and do you think these topics will change over time?
I (John Bruner) write the main structures of the songs, along with the vocal melodies and lyrics. Then the rest of the band fills in around my guitar/vocal parts. A lot of my lyrics deal with addiction, oppression, depression and relationships. For the love of God, I hope our lyrical topics change over time. I don’t want to be writing about the same stuff for decades.
What bands are currently inspiring the music that you’re making?
I listen to a lot of rap and hip hop so that inspires my writing in subtle ways since we aren’t a rap/hip hop group. I’ve been listening to a lot of Mac Miller lately, but for rock bands I’ve been listening to a lot of Queens of the Stone Age and Alice in Chains.
Was there a particular band/artist or concert that inspired you to start a band?
When I first started playing guitar I was obsessed with Red Hot Chili Peppers. I made my first band in fourth grade and we were basically a Red Hot Chili Peppers cover band at that point so they had a huge influence on me when I was younger.
What do you do to prepare for a show? Any flexing, exercises, etc…
We all have a few scales/technical exercises we do on our respective instruments to warm up before a show. Someday I want to get the band to do a group yoga session before each show, but I’m not sure that would fly with everyone.
What has been the biggest highlight of the band’s career so far?
Our biggest highlight so far has been going on a three week tour of the east coast and midwest. We gained a bunch of new fans and met a lot of awesome bands.
If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
I would love to tour with Stevie Wonder’s band. He’s a big influence on my songwriting and vocals. I think our music would go well with his and who doesn’t love some Stevie?
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Check our social media and Spotify pages! Our new album, Bleach and Aspirin, comes out on October 26th! And the album release show will be a Halloween concert on October 28th at Reggie’s Rock Club in Chicago, IL!