(Kool Kat MusiK)


The KKK of pop, Kool Kat MusiK really hits its stride with the 2010 CD release of the latest Maple Mars album entitled Galaxyland. Founded by singer-songwriter and electric guitar ace Rick Hromadka, the four piece Maple Mars have recorded their definitive pop masterpiece that spans generations while drawing from the world of pop gone by. A triple threat musician, Rick Hromadka is a real hero among the pop intelligencia and the IPO crowd and there’s no escape from his galaxy of pop sounds. One early comparison I thought about while spinning Galaxyland was a cross between the classic ‘60s pop band The Association as produced by Jimi Hendrix! Hromadka has a great guitar sound that Hendrix would dig while his healthy respect for pop’s past puts him on the right road. The sound of the Galaxyland CD fully captures the vast Maple Mars pop composite. Backed by Ron Pack (vocals, drums), Trevor Zimmerman (vocals, bass) and Steve Berns (guitars), Rick serves the Maple Mars spirit well and kicks it into overdrive on what will come to be viewed as the group’s best album to date. Also, don’t just buy the download, but check out the expertise put into the design and color schemes of the CD cover art, booklet and packaging. Back in the ‘60s a cover like that would stop you in your tracks and it would probably be bought immediately, back when album jackets were considered art. You can go follow Rick and Maple Mars on Facebook where you can often find him postulating on the meaning of just what qualifies as a classic album! Such devotion to the pop art form springs to life in Galaxyland. As far as the definition of pop “classic”, may I be so bold as to infer that Maple Mars comes pretty darn close on Galaxyland I might add.

MUSIC WEB EXPRESS 3000 presents
RICK HROMADKA of the group Maple Mars

Guitars Center Stage
Guitarists making waves in the music world,
their new recordings and gear!

Musical Background

My musical background began when I received John Lennon's Imagine and Simon and Garfunkels's Bridge Over Troubled Water LPs for Christmas one year. I quickly became a record and radio freak. I remember spending lots of time after school bouncing on my parents bed listening to Top 40 radio. In second grade I was selected to play the snare drum in our production of “The Little Drummer Boy”, mainly because I was the only kid in class who could keep a beat! I also played drums in the school band in junior high.

We had an upright piano for a short while and I'd tinker, figuring out songs from the radio. Ultimately, a friend who played guitar invited me over to hear him play the end solo to “Free Bird” note for note. I was hooked! Bought my first electric guitar at 15 for 5 bucks, and never looked back. That same friend turned me onto a classical guitarist who was giving lessons in New Haven, CT. I became a student, which is how I learned to read music. It really helped my electric guitar playing as well! After high school I went to GIT in Hollywood, CA with visions of becoming a session guitarist.

New CD

Our new CD is called Galaxyland. The concept came from looking at amusement park maps online and "stealing/borrowing" rides to make up my own space park! I did all the artwork for the disc, building this amusement park using rides from all over the world. The album was recorded and mixed at Maple Mars guitarist Steve Bern's studio The Fitting Room, and at my own home studio. We used a variety of friends on the record, including the great songwriter Mark Radice, who's song "New Day" was recorded for this album. Mark also co-produced the track and plays piano. We used Nelson Bragg from Brian Wilson's band, Marty Ross from the New Monkees and The Wigs, Phil Rosenthal from Twenty Cent Crush, and singer Kirsten Proffit. Session orchestral players were hired for strings on "New Day", "When Bridges Fall", and "Head Turner". Steve Berns plays much of the lead of guitars and some rhythm, Ron Pak plays drums and sings backgrounds. I played acoustic and electric guitar, choral sitar, bass, piano and keys, chromo harp, pots and pans, and some other weird noise makers that escape me right now.

The album was recorded using the DAW programs Logic and Sonar. Steve's got a nice Soundcraft Ghost console, so everything recorded at his place ran through that as well as some really good outboard gear. Much of the material tracked and mixed at my place was all done "in the box" using Logic. Steve Berns co-produced with me songs recorded at his place.

I think the album reflects previous Maple Mars albums, but with a bit more experimentation. Song's like “Transcendental Guidance”, “The Excursion”, “New Day”, and “When Bridges Fall” are a bit different then the usual Maple Mars fare.

Favorite Guitars

All my favorite guitars are pretty much all the classics - Strats, Les Pauls, 12 string Ricks. I play a Fender Toronado, which looks a bit like the old Mustangs or Jazzmasters. I'm kind of a creature of habit and that been my main axe for years. I also used a Breedlove Atlas Series acoustic and Fender Precision bass. I shared quite a number of Steve's guitars and effects. These were:

Gibson Les Paul Special
Gibson Les Paul Custom
Gibson Les Paul Standard
Gretsch Sparklejet
Gretsch Nashville Jr.
G&L ASAT Semi-Hollow Body with Bigsby
Taylor 814CE Acoustic

All Steve’s guitars have Thomastik strings. He feels that while they cost a bit more, they retain their resonance and brightness longer and don’t break as often.

Amp sounds were created using a Fender Special Edition Hot Rod Deluxe, it’s the Jensen 1 12” that gives this amp it’s “special” sound,
Also used were some POD XT sounds as well as effects boxes such as:

Dunlop Rotovibe
Line 6 Delay modeler
Line 6 Modulation modelers
Various distortion boxes
Keeley compressor
Dunlop Jimi Hendrix wah
Ernie Ball volume pedal
And a few others..

Various Universal Audio (UAD2) plug ins including the Vintage Roland Space Echo.

Musical Influences

My main musical influence has always been The Beatles. They were perfection! I'm influenced by many genres: 60's garage/psychedelic/pop, 70's glam rock/pop, 70's prog/pop, 80's pop/punk, the list goes on!

My favorite guitarist of all time is Jeff Beck! From his days in The Yardbirds through his Blow By Blow days I was transfixed. I also love Hendrix, Page, Clapton, Howe, and Duane Allman.

Here's a list of my favorite and influential albums:

The Beatles - White Album
Beach Boys - Pet Sounds
The Who - Sell Out
The Zombies - Odyssey & Oracle
Paul McCartney - Ram
Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Jimi Hendrix - Are You Experienced
Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here
Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin
Big Star - #1 Record
John Lennon - Imagine
Queen - A Night At the Opera
Pink Floyd - Animals
Replacements - Please To Meet Me
Simon & Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water
Paul McCartney - Venus & Mars
Aerosmith - Get Your Wings, Toys In The Attic, Rocks - (3 in 1, I know, so sue me!)
Todd Rundgren - Todd
Thin Lizzy - Jailbreak
Kiss - Kiss Alive
Alice Cooper - Billion Dollar Babies
Elton John - Captain Fantastic
Yes - Fragile
Yes - Close To The Edge
Crack The Sky - Safety In Numbers
XTC - Skylarking
U2 - War
Replacements - Tim
Teenage Fanclub - Bandwagonesque
Flaming Lips - The Soft Bulletin

Upcoming Plans

We're releasing a new original Christmas Song called "Christmastime In The City" on an upcoming compilation album called Kool Kat Khristmas from Kool Kat Musik. The song will also be for sale as a single on iTunes. I've always loved many of my song writing heroes original Christmas songs, i.e. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Greg Lake. Even Chrissy Hynde wrote a super catchy one! So, I finally got my chance.

We're planning a tour of Europe in the late spring. We've only been to the U.K. in the past, so it'll be nice to play in some new places.

Web Site

Our website is in dire need of some love at the moment! It's not the best place for current info on Maple Mars. People can go to our MySpace page or

And for the most current news you can check my own Facebook page and Twitter to keep up on what's happening with us. I can always be reached at


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