Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. --
Music has been bringing people from all different walks of life together for countless years. Music draws on the emotions of its listeners and keeps them coming for more.
These are all the reasons two sailors from the Battalion Aid Station, Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, gather to practice and hustle to play in front of an audience.
“It had been a long time since I really played music and I kinda forgot how fun it could be to play in front of people,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Nick Tilton, a hospital corpsman from Tampa, Fla., and original member of the band The Tilton Effect. “It’s certainly more fun than hanging around a barracks room.”
The Tilton Effect began as a hobby for Tilton and his Navy colleague, Petty Officer 3rd Class William Moon, a fellow hospital corpsman. The band gave them an opportunity to go out in town and do what makes them happy – entertain an audience.
“When the crowd receives you and they’re feeling the music that you’re playing, it just makes you feel good that you can play the kind of music that they wanna hear and you like to play.” said Moon, a Ulysses, Pa. native.
The band’s name was a light-hearted jest by Moon, directed at Tilton, who initially declined to join the band. Moon claimed that if he wouldn’t join the band, The Tilton Effect would succeed in spite of him.
The threat of a lingering reminder of “what could have been” wore Tilton into submission and he was coerced into the fold of the band named after him.
“For the rest of his life, if we ever made it big, he’d have to live with the misery that he didn’t join the band,” said Moon.
The band has only been performing for a couple months on and off at establishments around the area, and have been without a steady stream of performances. The Tilton Effect, however, doesn’t perform for the money, unlike some aspiring performers. Their only form of compensation is audience feedback and support from friends and co-workers.
Sailors in the BAS support their performances and try to make it to their various events. Moon, who claims that his performances are a direct reflection of the audiences reaction, draws encouragement from the friendly faces while enticing new listeners into their show.
“A lot of the crowd is people we work with or have worked with,” Moon said. “It’s not like we’re dodging beer bottles or anything.”
The Tilton Effect creates original work but they don’t test their material in front of an audience. They currently have a playlist of more than 30 tribute songs originated by a wide variety of artists such as Kings of Leon, Puddle of Mudd, Pearl Jam and many other bands. The band typically conducts a three-hour set and routinely accepts requests from the audience.
While hustling to line up gigs has proven to be an obstacle, The Tilton Effect pushes on, despite hiccups along the way.
“We had a New Year’s gig this last year that was really pretty bad,” Moon explained. “It was cold out and we had to play outside. We only had five or six people out there at a time and, toward the end of the night, we were running out of songs to play. We had a guy that kept screaming for the same song over and over again. It wasn’t our best show.”
The limelight and perks that often come as a result of stardom are not likely realities for this low-key group. They, instead, prefer to keep their music as a hobby, gather to practice a couple times a week and perform a couple times a month.
“We don’t have thousands of dollars worth of equipment,” Tilton said. “We just got a basic set up. The music we play to, we don’t really thrash around a lot. It’s more like chilling out and playing on some bar stools.”
Music performers can spend their lives trying to impact many and never quite succeed, but for The Tilton Effect, playing music with friends and providing a show for a small audience and some co-workers is gratification enough.
“Everybody wants to be a rock star,” Moon said with a smirk. “But we’ve never been booed off stage, so that’s a win in our book.”