The Read & Hear Q&A; Lonnie D Hillyer of Maggie’s Dream – solving the mystery!

One of my favourite bands from the early 90’s are Maggie’s Dream. They released one album, the self titled “Maggie’s Dream” back in 1990. The album was, and still is, a great hybrid of groovy retro rock, funk and soul. The band disbanded after a few years. They did just this one album – and it’s without doubt a great lost and largely overseen classic rock album!

Maggies Dream

The self titled Maggie´s Dream album can be downloaded on iTunes here!

The members of Maggie’s Dream were;
Robi Draco Rosa – Lead vocals
Tony James – Drums
Lonnie Hillyer – Vocals, bass
Raf – Vocals, guitar
Danny Palomo – Vocals

The bands retro-rock songs reminded me of Lenny Kravitz – and was released just a year after Kravitz released his classic debut “Let Love Rule” back in 1989. Being a dude who reads every word in an album cover – I became amazingly curious when I discovered the Maggie’s Dreams guys thanked my hero Lenny Kravitz in their liner notes. This has been a mystery for me ever since the albums release, back in 1990 until now. That’s 24 years ago! And now it seems like the answers finally here!

I’ve been searching to solve the link between the band and the retrorock/-soul star, and I found out a while back that Mr Kravitz had actually been working with the band according to a Wikipedia post about Maggie’s Dream.

I then happened to stumble upon Maggie’s Dream on YouTube and to my surprise I found several tracks from an unreleased album, rare video clips, interviews and music videos. On closer inspection, it seemed like this was posted by the band member Lonnie D. Hillyer.

A few mails back and forth proved I was right, it WAS Lonnie from Maggie’s Dream, and we agreed to do this Q&A / Interview

This picture is borrowed from Lonnie D Hillyers Flickr album, edited in black and white by me; Read And Hear editor GlennVU
From left to right; Lonnie D Hillyer, Lenny Kravitz and Andrea Alvarez. November 2011
The Read and Hear Q&A about Maggie’s Dream, Lenny Kravitz, the band members now and then and Lonnie D. Hillyers favourite records! 

I’ve been loving the Maggie’s Dream album ever since the release in 1990, and remember I was so surprised to read that you (the band) thanked Lenny Kravitz in the liner notes and has since 1990 been wondering what was the link between Maggie’s Dream and Lenny Kravitz? A few months back I read that he was once part of Maggie’s Dream.

Q: So here it goes; Would you like to share with me and the blog readers the true story about the Maggie’s/Kravitz link?

A: Danny Palomo and Raf Hernandez were friends Lenny years before Maggie’s Dream, then he sang on the demos of “Love and Tears”, “It’s A Sin” and one other track that did not make the album after we signed with Capitol Records. He sang on those demos before the band was signed and was already working on his debut album”.

Q: If Lenny was part of Maggie’s, was he somehow involved on Maggie’s self titled debut – probably uncredited? I could swear i hear his recognizable voice on at least a couple of the songs (backing vocals), especially on “Human”

A: Lenny Kravitz did not sing on the Maggie’s Dream album.”

Q: Do you still have contact with any of the Maggie’s Dream members? If you have contact with them, what are they doing these days?

A: The drummer (Tony James) and I speak occasionally and I saw Rob a few months ago in Buenos Aires Argentina (played a few t.v. promos with him). Haven’t spoken with Danny Palomo or Raf Hernandez in years”

Q: Have you and the guys ever considered to assemble the band back together again?

A: As far as putting the band back together, haven’t heard anything about that and I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon.

Q: What was the musical inspiration behind the classic Maggie’s Dream debut album? I sense a little retro-rock – and some Kravitz inspiration or is this only coincidental?

A: Lenny and we grew up on much of the same music and we’re all about the same age, so, many of the collective musical influences are similar with the exception of jazz; that is a heavy influence because of my father who played trumpet with Charles Mingus and he was a great jazz musician who played with some other heavy cats. There was a very talented singer Lenny worked named Tony Lemans with whose demo triggered that vibe but for many of us, it was a natural direction, musically.Tony was signed to Prince’s label Paisley Park Records. He subsequently was killed in a motorcycle accident.

Q: Robi Draco Rosa, former lead vocals in Maggie’s Dream has made several albums – and had major success as a writer and producer for i.e Ricky Martins “Living La Vida Loca” and solo. Tony James has worked with names like Cyndi Lauper, Charles&Eddie (what became of them?) Hugh Harris (great debut album) and Jeffrey Gaines. Then it comes to Raf I haven’t found any history besides his Maggies Dream years. What is your story after Maggies Dream disbanded?

A: Raf and Danny were in a band with Dan Reed named “Adrenaline Sky”; Raf also played briefly with Peter Lord Moreland (who was in the Family Stand) for a little while and after that he was writing and playing with this singer who was in the broadway show “Rent”, I think his name was Adam Pascal. Danny dropped out of the music scene all together and became a chef”

Q: Who have you worked with during the years? What has been the highlight of your career so far and who is the most inspiring to work with?

A: I’ve recorded with Billy Joel (River Of Dreams), Gordon Gano of the Violent Femmes, toured Love Spit Love (feat. Richard Butler of the Psychedelic Furs) and a few other artists. Also, auditioned for the Stones in ’93-94; also, played on a few Jeff Gaines albums as well as Charles & Eddie; I toured parts of Latin America a few times with Rob Rosa as a solo artist; there are some videos of various performances with Rob on YouTube, most notably an MTV International live performance which was probably Rob’s coolest band and the drummer in that video (Frank Ferrer) has been playing with Guns & Roses for the past 6 years or so. You can hear some of the artists with who I have played on my YouTube channel. As far as the most inspiring artist I’ve ever played with, well, that’s a tough question, I just like to play music… it’s all inspiring.”

Q: I love to get a sneak peek into the record collection of the ones when I do my Q&As – so now it’s your turn: What recordings are you’re all time favourite albums? Mention as many albums as you like!

A: Here are few of my favorite albums, not in any particular order:

1. Sly & The Family Stone Greatest Hits
2. “Fresh” by Sly and The Family Stone
3. “Gratitude” by Earth Wind & Fire
4. “Grace” by Jeff Buckley
5. “Thrust” and “Chameleon” by Herbie Hancock
6. Any Parliament Funkadelic album before 1990
7. “Songs In The Key Of Life” and “Innervisions” by Stevie Wonder
8. Any Jimi Hendrix album before his died.
9. “Solo Monk” by Thelonious Monk
10. “Superunknown” by Soundgarden
11. “Sea Of Cowards” and “Horehound” by Dead Weather
12. “Discipline” by King Crimson
13. Any James Brown before 1975
14. “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye
15. Any Charlie Parker recording
16. Any John Coltrane recording
17. Graham Central Station
18.Betty Davis
19. “Heavy Weather” by Weather Report
20. Any African-American blues before 1960
21. Most bebop and hard bop
22. Bootsy Collins in the late 1970s

Q: What does the FUTURE for Lonnie D. Hillyer look like? Any cool protects going on?

A: I’ve been in Buenos Aires, Argentina working with the drummer / singer Andrea Alvarez for her new album. You can go to www.andreaalvarez.com for her info.”

Q: If there´s something you could say to my blog readers what would it be? Here´s your chance to say whatever you like!

A: All I can say is stay true to yourself and the music and keep on playing.

If you wanna get to know Lonnie D. Hillyer even closer, watch this great 30 minute interview with Lonnie D. Hillyer from september 2013 by Fernando Martín Alvarez

…And while you’re at it; Feel free to check out this short documentary of Maggie’s Dream, by Mark Pellington

And last but not least, check out The Maggie´s Dream playlist on YouTube here!

It’s so great to feel the mystery has finally been solved, and the unanswered questions have been answered. Make sure you check out the music of Maggie’s Dream I swear you won’t be dissapointed! 

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13 Comments Add yours

  1. HarryDJ says:

    As usual, you surface the best stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank, you HarryDJ – that was a wonderful reply. Make sure you check out Maggie´s – I love´em – and hope you do too!

      Like

  2. Denne skiva får du sette på neste gang jeg er på visitt så jeg får høre Maggie’s Dream! Jeg var så purung i 1990 serru… Men jeg husker at jeg kjøpte Lenny Kravitz-plata på Steen&Strøm på oppdrag fra storebror i hine hårde dager… ;-D

    Cool stuff! B-)

    Like

    1. Den er en av de få platene jeg ikke ryddet bort eller pakket opp da jeg gjorde storrøsk i platesamlingen. Så godt som like tidløs idag som i 1990!

      Like

  3. Anonymous says:

    I worked at Capitol Records in the 90’s and was very fortunate to see MD live at the Roxy on the strip. After all these years, I still hold a spot in my heart for them. These songs are very powerful spiritually and feel as if they were almost written for the societal condition now even more than back then. It was tough to watch that music industry machine and the carnage of great young bands left by the waste side. A band called Blind Mellon almost suffered the same fate as Maggie’s during that time period. MD should have had a long, long successful career and know by the world. There is a Bob Marley wisdom with this band that would have been accepted world wide given the proper chance to grow.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It´s a shame I can´t see who wrote this comment, put I hope YOU read this reply!

      This is exactly how I feel about the band to. There is a spot in my heart always for Maggies Dreams timeless music. It´s a classic album, that never grows old.

      I hope readers of this blog also have taken the chance to check them out, at least on record, on youtube, iTunes or streaming services.

      I guess its too much to hope for a future reunion?

      Thank your for sharing your MD story, whomever your are 🙂

      Like

  4. Anonymous says:

    Great interview. This should be released to the public somehow. I am currently listening to Elysium, the second album that was never released. Yes, Draco Rosa is a grammy award winning artist and my humble opinion is that he created the best latin rock album ever called “Vagabundo” in 1996. Better than Soda Stereo, Héroes del Silencio and many other great artists. But, this … Maggie’s Dream band was way too good to be unknown. It can easily become a “cult” band.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Connie says:

    Maggie’s Dream is one of the best albums, I wish there could have been more! Sad that there is no future of a reunion! Love you guys!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hot tip; Do a YouTube search for the band, and you´ll find a full edit of their unreleased “Eulysium”-album – posted by Lonnie himself!

      Like

  6. Anonymous says:

    This has throughout the times and different musical directions been one of my favorite albums. If not the very favorite.

    I had the privilege and good fortune to see Maggie’s Dream live twice, on consecutive nights, at the Tavastia Club in Helsinki as a part of the club’s re-opening week in July 2001. Man, as a 20-yr old this was my summer of love, my Woodstock right there. The band was grooving, the guitarist played barefoot, but the sound was tight and electrifying. Those gigs still stand out on the short list of favorite concerts. Good times. Sorry they split up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You made me wish i was there! Thanks for sharing!

      Like

  7. Anonymous says:

    Not sure if I actually dated the gigs as 2001 while they of course were in ’91…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No prob. The album is freeekin timeless and sounds just as fresh today!

      Like

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