the mary janes

Gary Post-Tribune, Gary, Indiana
November 19, 1999
Bob Craig

Mary Janes send a message

While traveling around the Midwest and Eastern United States, the Mary Janes, a Bloomington-based band, see America off the beaten path. And what they see disturbs them.

"Things are a mess everywhere we go, but the other thing that's very interesting is that everywhere we go we're meeting wonderfully positive people. People that seem to have active minds and active hearts," said Janas Hoyt, the heart and soul of the band.

"We've been talking about trying to find some information about eco-renewal and help to spread information about what people can do in their communities and in their cities to help counter the effects of the incredible degradation that seems to be spreading everywhere."

This sensitivity is evident in the band's music, a lineup of drummer Mark Minnick, Heather Craig on violin, Dan Hunt on bass and Hoyt on rhythm guitar. Hoyt's lyrics and the layered music of the band has been compared to the music of the mythical Velvet Underground, a band Hoyt says influenced her greatly.

"I'll never get my fill of the Velvet Underground, probably my favorite band of all time," she said. "I don't mind being compared to the Velvet Underground at all. I don't sit around and try to write songs like them, but in my formative years as a musician I was listening to a handful of artists, and I'm sure that they informed me and influenced me."

The Mary Janes' music has been described by reviewers as "rock music for grown-ups," a label Hoyt is not totally comfortable with.

"I don't want to get tagged with that because I don't want people who don't consider themselves to be grown-ups to be turned off," she said. "I'd like to think I can play rock music for everybody."

The music has a deeper level than you normally expect from a rock band, probing the joys and sorrows of life while being eminently enjoyable to listen to.

"I think when you listen to the music, you can see that the music is something in and of itself. It's not trying to be something in order to please and I think that's kind of mature place to be in the music industry," Hoyt explained.

This maturity comes from the experience Hoyt has had in the music industry. A former member of the Vulgar Boatmen, she has toured since 1992 with the Boatmen and with the Mary Janes, playing at the Lilith Fair in Indianapolis, Taste of Lincoln Avenue in Chicago and recently returning from a stint of shows that took the band from Pittsburgh through New York and into Massachusetts. Along the way, Hoyt also sang on John Mellencamp's two recent releases.

The Mary Janes released their first CD, Record No. 1, last spring and are scheduled to play on "Mountain Stage," a nationally syndicated live radio program broadcast weekly on WDCB 90.9 FM in Chicago.

This weekend the Mary Janes bring their thoughts and music back to Chicago for a show at The Hideout.

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