Interview: Marty Casey (Lovehammers)

Marty Casey was a finalist in an American rock reality show that aired on Foxtel some years ago, I don’t think I could actually vote being in Australia but I was certainly cheering for this talented musician to win the competition and be the new INXS frontman. Part of me wants to say that unfortunately he narrowly missed out but a bigger part of me thinks it worked out exactly as it should, bringing Lovehammers to a much more global audience and amassing many new fans – me among them.

When I heard that there was a new album in the works I thought it would be the perfect time to approach Marty for an interview and see if I could introduce a new wave of fans to the Lovehammers, and here it is. A true fangirl moment where I get to bring you an interview with Marty Casey of Lovehammers.

There are also details of an exciting pre-sale at the bottom of the interview, please go check it out.

 Can you tell us a bit about how the band was formed?

Bob, Dino and I met when we were 9 years old. We were all on the same baseball team (Giants). When met up again when we were in high school and had similar interests in music. Bob had a drum set and I had recently bought a guitar so we started jamming the few songs we knew – Zeppelin, Motley Crue, AC/DC and Deep Purple. Dino wanted to get in on the action so he bought a bass guitar. And the rest is history…

The four of you have so much more than a working relationship, how have you stayed together for so many years?

It’s the love of performing that keeps us going. We have always put alot of time and energy into developing a bombastic live show and getting such an amazing response from the fans keeps us coming back for more.

How would you describe your style?

Big show rock n’ roll.

Where do you get your songwriting inspiration?

The songs that I create are usually relationship driven. Bits and pieces of true stories, mission statements to myself, trials and tribulations of the band, some inside jokes and alot of intensity.

I’ve been a fan since discovering you through Rockstar:INXS, do you think the experience affected the Lovehammers?

Rockstar: INXS was the launching pad of the Lovehammers. We had been working for a big break for many years and going on the show gave me international visibility that Lovehammers were able to take advantage of. We signed to EPIC records, INXS took us on the road and we had an amazing experience.

What was the most valuable thing you gained from your time on Rockstar:INXS?

I never thought of myself as a singer before Rockstar: INXS. I always thought I was more of a performer. When I started playing some different types of songs with the House Band, I realized that I could actually sing. That gave me a huge boost of confidence. When I sang the Pink Floyd song “Wish You Were Here” I got the understanding that you can move people with the tone and inflection of your voice. I always thought I had to run around and do backflips in order to entertain a crowd and get my message across.

(Michelle’s note: I remember your performance of ‘Wish You Were Here’ and it almost bought me to tears. Loved Trees from that very first listen and another of my favourite’s was ‘Baby One More Time’ just because it was Britney and you totally owned it! – Fangirl moment over)

Did you make any lasting friendships through Rockstar:INXS, are you still in contact with anyone from the show?

I see Ty Taylor and his band Vintage Trouble a few times a year. I also cross paths with many others from the show when they pass thru Chicago.

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The new album ‘Set Fire’, is due for release in 2012, can you tell us any more about when we can expect it?

We are shooting for a November release date with an official CD release party at the top of December.

What can we expect from the album?

As with all Lovehammers albums, there is a lil’ bit of everything. I am excited because the songs are high energy and will really make for some great live shows. We always work hard to have some songs that take the listener on a thrill ride.

Marty, you spent some time singing for L.A.Guns, how did that come about?

I was asked to help LA Guns write an album as they had gotten signed and were starting the process of recording. I flew up to Canada and wrote 5 songs in 5 days. A month later, I flew back up to the studio in Canada to produce the vocals for the recording. When I arrived, I was told that the singer had quit the band. The label owner, producer Steve Thompson, the band and I were all at the studio and it was suggested I sing on the album since I wrote most of the songs. I thought it would be a fun adventure for a few months and I got to travel all around the world singing metal songs from the 80’s. These are the snapshots of the past that make me look back and think “life up to this point has certainly been a wild ride!”

My first thought when I heard about L.A. Guns was what would it mean for Lovehammers and I was reassured to hear you were working on a new album I must say, but can I ask; what were Dino, Bobby and Billy doing while you were out with the L.A. Guns?

I was touring with LA Guns from June 2008 till October 2008. Dino, Billy and Bob started recording some of the songs we were writing for our new album. When I got back, I started recording the vocals for the tracks and writing more songs.

What is your career highlight to date? P

laying for 30,000 people in my hometown of Chicago when I returned from Rockstar: INXS in October 2005. That is a moment I will never forget.

Are there any plans to tour internationally? (More specifically Australia – I would love to see you in Adelaide.)

I have been in contact with a promoter from New Zealand in regards to getting the band down to NZ and Australia for a tour. We are trying to figure out how to make the tour happen financially and at this point it looks promising.

(Michelle’s next note: *happy dancing over here* Yay! I certainly look forward to hearing more news about that)

Can you tell us a little about the Silver Elements Collection, what inspired you to create it? Where do the ideas for the specific pieces come from?

My co-creator, co-conspirator and great friend Marla Zegart had come up with a brilliant idea and had the courage to scream it aloud. Marla has an immense amount of experience in the fashion world and is incredibly driven. She saw that my pursuits with music had a similar sense of drive behind them. She thought that a fusion of music and fashion would be the perfect breeding ground for some unique creativity. We kicked around some ideas and decided to take some songs I had written and create some jewelry pieces that were inspired by these songs. We launched the first creation “Trees Dogtag” and we were amazed by the immediate response to the piece. Both Marla and I really enjoy the creative process we work thru in creating these pieces and the Silver Elements Collection keeps growing as we dream of new ideas.

All purchases support the ‘Marty Casey Elements of Nature Fund’, what can you tell us about that?

Marla and I wanted to have a purpose behind the Silver Elements Collection that was beyond economics. The first piece we created was the “Trees Dogtag” and hence the tie to donating to “American Forests” thru our Elements of Nature Fund. American Forests is the oldest national nonprofit conservation organization in the country and advocates for the protection and expansion of America’s forests. Since 1990, American Forests has planted nearly 40 million trees. And like D. Elton Trueblood said, “A man has made at least a start on discovering the meaning of human life when he plants shade trees under which he knows full well he will never sit.”

How do you like to spend your down time?

In the summertime I like to play beach volleyball and ride along Lake Michigan on my bike. I went camping this past weekend and realize how much I enjoy it and look forward to the next adventure.

What is next for Lovehammers?

Building up to the big “Set Fire” album release this winter. We are currently taking band photo’s, working on final tweaks to the mixes, putting together album design work and arranging a HUGE show in early December with lots of amazing lighting and stage effects! I am excited to perform these new songs and build an exciting show for the fans.

Can you tell us a bit about the ‘Set Fire’ CD Pre-Sale?

We have partnered up with Pledge Music for our Pre-Sale. This allows us to add really personal and exclusive items as well as the new album. In addition, all that pledge will have an inside look into the band as we finish the album and launch. We will invite all Pledgers to help us decide on CD artwork, song orders, etc. We want to make our fans as much a part of this release as possible. Basically, this Pledge Campaign is an Enhanced Pre-Sale and Fan Club. So far we have gotten great feedback on it.

All of the pre-sale info can be found here: http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/lovehammers

Marty, thank you for taking the time out to speak with us. It has been wonderful to learn a little more  about the Lovehammers. And to everyone reading this I urge you to go check out this Pre-Sale – I pledged the day it opened and I CAN NOT WAIT to get my new Lovehammers CD.

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