Living Out the Rock 'n' Roll Dream: The Bio of Marty Casey
Written by site co-editor, Amy Coker Pascoe
Marty | Billy | Dino | Bobby
Just as a bolt of lightning transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary, Marty Casey has electrified the American music scene with the unique power of his vocal talents and his stage persona. The rocker, runner up in the CBS hit Rock Star: INXS, has become the force of nature that his Chicago fans recognized long ago.
In the eyes of his fans, the whirlwind of Marty's Rock Star: INXS performances reached hurricane intensity when he sang "I, Alone," in week seven of the competition.
I sank into Eden with you
Alone in the church by and by
I'll read to you here, save your eyes
You'll need them, your boat is at sea
Your anchor is up, you've been swept away
And the greatest of teachers won't hesitate
To leave you there, by yourself, chained to fate
I alone love you
I alone tempt you
I alone love you
Fear is not the end of this!
Sartorially relevant down to his bare feet and black painted toenails, Marty's rendition of this song about a cult leader inspired online fans to christen themselves the "Kool-Aid Commune." Those gathering weekly in Chicago to watch Rock Star: INXS recognized one another by the packets of Kool-Aid pinned to their shirts. Monica, a fan posting in response to Marty's blog, wrote, "You must know that you have already won, because your fans will follow you wherever you go."
As the eye of the storm, Marty continued evolving throughout the weeks of the competition, gathering strength from the feedback of INXS members and from his own dedication to living the rock 'n' roll dream. As one of the two remaining contestants, Marty unleashed his most powerful performances during the show's final week, when the intensity of "Don't Change" and "Wish You Were Here" left fans breathless in his wake.
Although Marty came in second to J.D. Fortune, he remained a vision of strength and power. "I'm still part of the INXS family, but with a different twist," Marty said in an interview with the Chicago Tribune. Marty and his band, Lovehammers, will open for INXS when they launch their much-anticipated world tour in January 2006.
Marty's strength, passion, and positive attitude have their roots in his Hickory Hills, Ill., upbringing. "I've got that Midwestern backbone. I'm hardworking. I want to figure out how to parlay this into a record deal for Lovehammers," he said to the Chicago Tribune. Even Marty's fans recognize the solid foundation upon which his passion for music and songwriting is built. Monica, the fan posting in response to Marty's blog, wrote, "Your family must be so proud of your work ethic, your intelligence, and humility, which has made all of us love you even more."
Full Name: Martin Xavier Casey
Marty Casey, at a glance:
Date of birth: Sept. 26, 1973
Birthplace: Hickory Hills, IL
High school: Amos Alonzo Stagg High School
College: Univ. of Illinois
Siblings: 2 older sisters & 3 older brothers
Color of Eyes: Blue
Marty's family is proud of the edgy rocker, who systematically revealed the depth and complexity of his electrifying talent to Rock Star: INXS fans each week. The youngest of six children, Marty, 32, studiously incorporated feedback from INXS members into his performances, just as he relentlessly pursued knowledge - through reading "anything and everything" - when he was young.
During the whirlwind of the show's clinics, rehearsals, coaching sessions, and performances, Marty continually supported those who were striving for the same prize: to become lead singer of INXS. His sportsmanship was a reflection of the solid core of confidence he developed during childhood, when he enjoyed participating in both baseball and competitive wrestling. In fact, he met Lovehammers bandmates Bobby and Dino Kourelis when the three played T-ball together as seven- and eight-year-olds. Today, the three guys - along with bandmate Billy Sawilchik - remain as tight as brothers. According to Dino Kourelis, the band's bass player, "We understand each other, respect each other, and have lived together for so long, we can pretty much get through anything."
Marty's innate ability to meet challenges and his dedication to the soul of his music proved invaluable during the Rock Star: INXS competition. Whether captivating the audience with a truly inspired arrangement and interpretation of Britney Spears' "Baby One More Time," enduring an intense interview with members of INXS, or hanging with Noel Gallagher from Oasis and tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams, Marty always kept his cool.
Like a storm gathering in the distance, Marty draws upon his inner strength to prepare himself for the intense, edgy performances his fans have grown to love. Although he's frequently compared to Mick Jagger and Iggy Pop, Marty has claimed that Beck and Nirvana are his biggest influences. In an MSN Chat, Marty wrote that Beck "has records that are hard rocking and records that are groovy. I love the fact that he can get away with anything and be creative, and it connects with people."
Marty and Lovehammers have been connecting with fans in Chicago since they formed the band when Marty was 15 years old. As audiences increasingly responded to Marty's charisma, complexity, and grace, the band began to tour with the likes of Nickelback, Jerry Cantrell, and Cake. Even Hollywood took note of the sheer power of Lovehammers' original songs, a number of which have been incorporated into motion pictures and television shows. "This Town" was featured on ESPN Sidokan Championships, while "Clouds" was incorporated into the movie Greener. Their riveting DVD "Live/Raw" topped the Billboard Musical DVD chart in 2004. By tapping into the truth of his experience and infusing his songs with universal themes, Marty's songwriting skills - which he has been developing since his late teens - have won accolades not only with fans, but have also garnered attention in such venues as the annual John Lennon songwriting contest.
The electrifying audience reaction to Lovehammers' original song, "Trees," which Marty performed during the Rock Star: INXS competition, has prompted him to plan what he termed "a proper release" of the song. Marty, who has referred to himself as "single and available," has said that "Trees" was an unabashed plea to give a relationship a second chance. As a fan wrote in response to Marty's blog, "I'm not ashamed to say that I've taken the time to vote for you and 'Trees' every chance I had. I've found myself humming the 'Trees' tune for days on end, I love it so much. Even my three-year-old loves it! Can't wait for it to be released."
Just as lightning and thunder are inextricably intertwined, so are Marty's passions for songwriting and performing. On his Rock Star: INXS webpage, Marty writes, "I love writing music and I think performing those creations completes the cycle and helps me define my life. Writing music is the thought and performing is the action. Great thoughts must be put into action in order to exist. Action without thought can be a train wreck."
A train wreck will never mar the soul of the man fans have come to adore. And Marty will never take for granted the much-deserved accolades heaped upon him by his fans. "Humbled" and "honored" top Marty's list of most frequently spoken words, and he uses both to describe his reaction to the support he received during the Rock Star: INXS competition. In keeping with that theme, bandmate Dino Kourelis has described Marty as "always low-key, except on stage."
Marty's subdued personal style may be an homage to his Midwestern roots, as is the career choice he made after graduating from the University of Illinois, Champaign, with a degree in Finance. His ongoing work as a real estate appraiser seems the sensible choice for someone whose unpredictable traveling schedule and music-related income dictates the need for flexible hours and financial stability.
Although he embraces the spotlight, Marty spends his downtime working on songs with his bandmates, rooting for the Chicago White Sox, and running. He's paved his own path in life, and exhibits none of the angst typical of many rock stars.
Attempting to ease the blow to his anguished fans after conceding defeat in the Rock Star: INXS competition, the charismatic singer and songwriter said in an MSN Chat, "Don't worry about me. I am fine with the outcome. I have the best of both worlds."