Back in the 80s when Martin England was first starting his music career, people began to describe his vocal cords as “Tito’s soaked vocal cords.” This all began because he sang in metal bands and had to sing “wicked loud” because they didn’t always have amps to project a singer’s voice.
Someone once told him that his voice was like a jackhammer because he could sing so loud and from there his “Tito’s soaked vocal cords” were born.
England performed at Union Court at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) in the Memorial Union Building (MUB) on “Live Music Novelties Wednesdays” this past Wednesday. England has been a musician for 42 years and plays with his band The Reconstructed, as well as on his own. He performs mostly around the New England area now, but has done some U.S. tours.
When asked about what it’s like to play at Union Court when people aren’t totally listening, he said that he doesn’t mind playing for a crowd that isn’t 100 percent engaged. England said he doesn’t care if he’s “playing in front of 10,000 people or just one.” He also said he’s usually in his own head when he’s performing, so he doesn’t notice the crowd.
England also used to be a student journalist for The New Hampshire (TNH) and said that he loves to write. All of the songs he writes are from his own experiences because he said that he’s a firm believer that “you can’t write what you don’t know.” Thus, all of his songs are personal experiences but he added that he sometimes thinks a song is about one thing, and when he’s on stage performing, he has an epiphany that the song is also about something else he didn’t realize before.
England said he lives a “balanced life” where he works in IT at UNH and also plays his music and runs a nonprofit to help support challenged artists. He said, “Art and music are so intrinsic to who you are as a person… a lot of people think that has to be all you do,” but he thinks that you can be an artist and also do something else with your life like he does.
England’s advice to aspiring artists is “don’t be afraid to fail.” He continued, “There’s no great safe art and if you play it safe, it’s boring.”
He said the last time he played at UNH was in the Strafford Room in 1994. He joked that they used to serve beer there and there also used to be a bowling alley there that he misses.
England ended his UNH performance with the song “Rocket Man” by Elton John after playing mostly songs that he wrote himself for the rest of the show. He said that his next performance is at the Dover Brickhouse on Dec. 7.
Sophomore neuroscience and behavior major Allison Hurley said that she enjoyed the performance.
“He did Rocket Man and it was nice,” Hurley said.
Sophomore communication sciences and disorders major Kelly Kauranen said that she goes to Union Court often and likes that there is live music on Wednesdays. She said that she wasn’t fully paying attention but she thought England was really good.
Senior finance and marketing major Evan Carpinella said that he hadn’t been to Union Court in a month, but he watched some of England’s performance and said, “For the five minutes I’ve been listening, it’s been really good.”
England said one of his favorite places to go to and play is at South by Southwest, which is an annual conglomerate of film, interactive media, music festivals and conferences that takes place in mid-March in Austin, Texas. “If you go to Austin you’ll want to live there,” he said, but added that it’s too hot in the summer for his liking.
Union Court hosts live music every Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Patrick Boutwell, an indie-rock singer and guitarist, will be performing next week.