About Marty Casey
BiographyBy Amy Coker-Pascoe
Since the time Marty Casey shot to fame as a runner-up on CBS-TV's hit Rock Star: INXS, his brand of rock-n-roll has been on the roll.
Although Rock Star's top prize - a gig as front man for INXS -- eluded him, the buzz Marty created on the 2005 reality show crescendoed to a full-blast musical fury of song writing, touring and recording. He continued to blaze new trails with his powerfully electrifying performances, first with his band, the Lovehammers, and, since June 2008, as the lead singer for L.A. Guns, one of the hardest rocking and most notorious bands to come off of the famed Sunset Strip. He hit the road this summer for the U.S. and South American Blackout Tour with his new band mates - Jeremy Guns, Chad Stewart, Alec "Big Al" Bauer, and band founder Tracii Guns, who calls Marty "a charismatic front man with a golden voice, incredible drive and impeccable songwriting skills."
The drive and the songwriting skills had been developed and honed long before Marty shot to fame on Rock Star. His life is a blend of talent, hard work, tenacity, determination, and total devotion to his art. How else could a kid from Hickory Hills, Ill, who started his own band at 14 and went on to major in Finance at the University of Illinois, hit the world of rock-n-roll like a rolling thunder?
The winner of the John Lennon Songwriting writing Contest with "Rain on the Brain," Marty and Lovehammers - longtime favorites on the Chicago rock scene - chartered inroads as opening acts for such rock heavyweights as Nickelback, Jerry Cantrell, Interpol, New Found Glory, Cake, and Gomez. In 2004 the band's DVD, "Live/Raw" debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard musical DVD chart; and their song "This Town" was selected as the theme song for the World Shidokan Championships on ESPN.
The buzz Marty created on the 2005 reality show escalated to a full-blast musical fury of songwriting, touring and recording. He hit the high notes with his critically acclaimed CD, "Marty Casey and Lovehammers," which the Washington Post called "a well-polished hard-rock collection;" opened for INXS on the first leg of their world tour, had his first headlining tour in the spring / fall 2006, released a DVD of a special HammerJam concert in Chicago, and a new Christmas album titled "Merry Christmas (All Year Long)." An independent music video for the song, loosely based on the holiday classic "It's a Wonderful Life" premiered online at MartyCasey.com and MySpace, as well as in the "...and the rest is history" DVD by Marty Casey and Lovehammers.
History, however, has a way of repeating itself and a new opportunity - in the form of L.A. Guns - was soon knocking on Marty's door. "I had previously written some songs for the group, and when they needed a front man, they asked me whether I would like to sing them," Marty recalls. "They were starting a world tour, so it was an opportunity for me to play a bunch of live shows and to record some music that I had participated in writing. I always wanted to go around the world playing music. I wish I had that chance with the Lovehammers, but it just never happened."
That doesn't mean that switching bands has come easy to Marty. "It was a very tough decision. I've been with the Lovehammers for twenty years, and they will always be a big part of my life," he says. "But we were stuck in a perpetual holding pattern; all of the momen tum that I had built-up from Rockstar: INXS was slowing and we found ourselves back where we had started - performing in Chicago on the weekends and working regular jobs during the week. That greatly limited our opportunities for touring."
As a matter of fact, Marty was waiting to start a job for commercial appraisal at a bank when L.A. Guns invited him on board. "I saw this as an opportunity to keep music the focus of my life and to keep the dream alive. It really ignited a creativity in me that hasn't been open in a very long time, expanded my knowledge of music, intensified my performance and strengthened my voice. I hope that, in time, I can bring all that back to the Lovehammers."
His old band mates "are still a part of me, and always on my mind," Marty says. "I miss playing and performing with them. They have all the power and creativity to do something ultimately new also. I hope they do while I'm out this summer. I'm doing my thing, and they're entitled to do with their lives whatever they choose as well, but hopefully somewhere down the road we'll get back on the stage with some new material and keep it going."
As much as he loves touring, Marty admits that life on the road can at times be bumpy. "The worst thing is the lack of personal space," he says. "If I can't stretch out physically and mentally, I hibernate in my mind and get claustrophobic."
Fortunately, life on the road is not without its lighthearted moments that play into Marty's fun-loving, humorous side. "On the tour bus, we have to find creative ways to keep ourselves entertained and amused so we are constantly pulling pranks on one another," Marty laughs. "For example, Tracii has been putting BBQ sauce in my drinking straws!"
Touring also allows Marty to connect with his die-hard fans - and make new ones along the way. A fan like "Wasp," for example, who saw L.A. Guns in concert in Ft. Wayne, IN recently and was bowled over by Marty's performance. "It was my first time seeing Marty live," he reports. "All I can say is, L.A. Guns and Tracii finally have a front man! Marty is great. He has the energy and vigor on stage and knows how to work a crowd."
Testimonials like these are - no pun intended - music to Marty's ears. His devotion to his fan base is total and genuine. "I care as much about the fans as I do about my career," he says. "I've been told that I am too open with them and that destroys the mystery of the artist. I feel the need to communicate anyway. I want to build a community, not a mirage. And I think if I challenge the audience with new sights and sounds, they will make more personal discoveries within themselves."
Marty's on-stage and private personas are as disparate as the songs he writes. While performing before thousands of adoring fans he is "in your face" brash, bold, and intensely charismatic, preparing for the rigors of the energy-zapping, high-impact performances by stretching, warming up with a vocal tape, and eating right. "Mentally, I put on my gear down to the wristbands and start to transition into the performance mode," he says. "It takes time to get it all together, and that gives me time to think and take note of how I am feeling that particular day. I try to keep it light mentally because I get so worked up on stage that it is best to chill before the show begins or I risk becoming manic. I think it boils down to finding a nice balance point to leap into the show from."
The other side of the balance scale is the enigmatic private Marty, who keeps his personal life out of the spotlight. Those who are close to him say he is low-key, timid even, but still intense in the way he connects and communicates with people around him. Described as "thoughtful," and "gracious," he is attentive, witty, quick to laugh, articulate and engaging. Most of all, fame and adoration have not altered the "old" Marty's core Midwestern values.
"I don't feel like I am a different person since "Rock Star," he says. "Some people presume I am, and they treat me differently now. The challenge is to remain true to who you are even when that foundation gets shifted. You gotta bend and not break.
As he is savoring his gig with L.A. Guns, Marty is looking forward to the new CD he and band are releasing in mid 2009. The songs, he says, were inspired by and reflect the new direction his life has taken: "I was in a new place and was ready to write something else. It's all about enjoying the moment. I was thinking 'wow, this is fun, this really feels great.'"
With the new band, a world tour, and scores of new songs under his belt, Marty's star continues to shine brightly in a galaxy of his own.
10 QuestionsMarty answers the "10 Questions" from Bernard Pivot made famous by James Lipton of Inside the Actors Studio. Click here or button below to check out his answers!