The Sweet Maya Story
The story of Sweet Maya is one that spans 40 years and involves a set of relationships that have remained strong despite time and distance.
The first chapter started in 1968 when Gail met John. As she recalls it “I met John prior to graduation and my most favorite memories involve a trip to a nightclub to hear a hot band, John being invited on stage to jam, and his horn turning the crowd upside down!”
It was after Gail and John came to Kalamazoo that the third piece of the Sweet Maya puzzle moved into place. As Gail describes it “I met Janice Lakers in a music theory class, we were the top two students. We got together one evening to sing and that’s all it took. In short time we formed a folk duo, both of us playing guitars and Janice doubling on flute and percussion. John was always on the sidelines of our duo, helping us with arrangements, and sitting in with us when he could.” It was with the formation of this trio that the core of Sweet Maya was formed and plans for expansion were laid. Tom Davis, a drummer John worked with in a previous group quickly followed by guitarist/bassist Tom Hill.
Thus Sweet Maya was born.
Where there had only been two now there were five but the sound of the band continued to be a work in progress. Feeling the need for a dedicated bassist and a more driving sound, the core Mayans sent out a call to audition bass players from around the area. Many tried out and all had their advantages yet in the end one player stood out among the rest, securing a sought after place in a successful local band. The one selected was Mark Bowen completing the six member, multi-instrumentalist band.
Sweet Maya always worked towards continuous improvement and as the rhythm section continued to strengthen the inherent weakness became the lack of a solid guitar soloist. Tom Hill, who had several creative differences with the core group, left the band as Sweet Maya ushered in the last piece of the puzzle, Rob Hayes. This formed the band that most remember as Sweet Maya and its performances drew huge audiences earning it a reputation as one of the foremost musical groups in the mid-western United States.