Marty and the Martians Out of This World

Jun 13, 2018
Photo by: Ryan Morrill

A band called Marty and the Martians is a guaranteed crowd pleaser with a unique performance style that one might say is out of the world. The six-person band kicked off its show at the Old Causeway in Manahawkin on Saturday night with the song “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)” by Looking Glass – a song from the ’70s that everyone in the bar seemed to be very familiar with. After the first verse, lead singer Marty Mayo was already standing tall on a high-top table singing at the top of his lungs. Even the people in the far back of the bar were rushing to see what was happening.

Marty and the Martians perform at Old Causeway about once a month and never disappoint – that’s the consensus among OC staff.

Over the years, The Martians have played a rather impressive list of venues, including Martell’s Tiki Bar, The Shannon Rose, Moore’s Tavern, Bar Anticipation, Big Shots Sports Bar and Grill, Captain’s Inn, The Fast Lane, Molly Maguire’s, Kenny’s Castaways and the legendary Stone Pony.

Marty and the Martians have been together for over 20 years playing all over the state of New Jersey. “There was a time in the early 2000s where we made originals and really tried to make something real out of this; we played in New York and a few other places, but now we are just sticking to this,” said Mayo.

Although the band has a few original songs, they prefer to do covers because they love when the crowd gets involved and is familiar with the music.

Mayo knows how to connect with an audience. He runs around the bar, climbs on tables, and encourages people to sing into the mic. A born entertainer, he thrives off the energy from his crowd.

At one point in the set, Mayo saw a man in the back corner sitting down, and he worked his way over to him through the crowd and ended up back-to-back with him, singing “I Don’t Wanna Be” by Gavin Degraw, persisting until the man sang into the mic with him. That’s the kind of performer Mayo is: His goal is to make everyone watching have a good time.

Since the band has been together for such a long time, the repertoire is so broad that they welcome requests. “I would say the Martians know how to perform over 100 songs,” Mayo said. “We have been with each other for so long, so that kind of stuff just happens.”

The other members of the band like to mess around, too, but their instruments keep them confined to the stage area, while Mayo’s wireless microphone allows him to roam the room.

Besides Marty, the band members include keyboardist Tom Torhan; guitarist Mike Leonard; drummer Chet Majewski; bassist Mark Lyngholm; and vocalist Desiree Leonardi.

Leonardi is the newest addition to the lineup. She has a powerful singing voice and matches Mayo’s energy. She is all about having a good time and dancing on stage.

“It has been so much fun playing with these guys. They are so much fun and all around a blast to perform with,” she said.

It took awhile for the guys in the band to adjust to a female presence. “She has to deal with me making stupid comments,” Mayo said. “We have all been trying to work on a filter because it has been all guys up to this point, and now we need to start really being careful about what we say.”

The Martians are constantly evolving and learning new music, from yesterday’s one-hit wonders to today’s pop hits, to keep audiences engaged. They call themselves New Jersey’s number-one party band and pride themselves on consistency and stamina.

After the first portion of the show, a tipsy fellow yelled from the back, “You guys rule!” And the crowd erupted in laughter and applause.

Marty and the Martians will return July 7.

To keep up with the Martians, find them on Facebook or visit to see the tour schedule and video clips.

— Johnny McGinley




“Brandy,” Looking Glass

“Dope Nose,” Weezer

“I Don’t Wanna Be,” Gavin Degraw

“Little Talks,” Of Monsters and Men

“Time to Pretend,” MGMT

“You May Be Right,” Billy Joel

“Shake It for Me,” Luke Bryan

“The Middle,” Jimmy Eat World

“Thunder Road,” Bruce Springsteen

“Kiss,” Prince

“All The Small Things,” Blink 182

“Wagon Wheel,” Darius Rucker

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