nathan lyle

Music

Recording a Song

Music is the longest running thing I've attempted to be creative with... though it's often been a love/hate relationship. When I was in elementary school, my parents made me start piano lessons, but I hateed it so I whined enough that they let me quit barely a year in. I didn't touch an instrument again until about half way through highschool, when for some reason it caught my attention. I'm pretty sure the main initial reason was that I figured girls would love it if I could play a song for them. That being said, I started teaching myself music theory and got caught up in the technical parts of making music, and after that it's just been a stubborn push to force more talent out of my head than may have initially been put there. Fortunately, this is an area where being stubborn really paid off. Despite my fairly accurate awareness of my ability level at any given point, it's never stopped me from trying to get better, and with enough time I can confidently say I did get better. Even if I'll probably never be as good as I expect myself to be.

Lyrics Box

I've always written songs to express how I was feeling about things happening in my life... and I'm pretty sure there've been folks who thought I was oversharing at the microphone. I think music is the best therapy there is. (Not cheapest, because instruments are expensive.) I'm including below some songs stretching back through the various bands I was in, all the way to my earliest highschool recording efforts.

I haven't recorded a majority of the songs I've written, and haven't counted them in a while (the last time I did, it was over a thousand)... the picture here is a quick peek into my lyrics box. A few folders are my written sheet music from various arrangements, mostly from back in highschool, but the lyrics span from the mid 1990's to the current day.

In the sections below, click a title with the + symbol to open that section, and click it again if you want to close it. Inside those sections, you can use the players to check out the songs.

Solo Projects & Miscellaneous

Over the years I've tried to become my own band, not because I prefer it to playing with other people, but I've never found the time to get a new band started up. (I definitely don't enjoy the audio engineering aspect of recording music nearly as much as writing songs or playing instruments.) Unless otherwise mentioned, all the instruments and singing on these songs is me. The drums are most often programmed, though I try to use patterns I could more or less play on an actual drum set.

Selene Album Cover
Sundry & Assorted
September 2002
High School

Bands

While I've definitely spent more time playing alone than with others, I've had the most fun with music when playing in a group. There's nothing that beats the high of playing in front of an audience with a group of musicians who are able to pick up on each other's ideas. I would love to be in a band again, though I can definitely do without the somewhat frequent drama that seems to go along with it. (Musicians are just emotionally reactionary on average.)

Badfish

Badfish

This was the last band I was in, which broke up right around the time my youngest son was born (though of course not because he was born.) We played all covers, mostly 80's and classic rock. I played mostly keyboards, with a little bit of acoustic guitar and some annoying moments on a home-made percussion kit made of pots and pans.

We played a few gigs, but mostly spent time in the basement practicing. Unfortunately, I don't have any recordings to share.

Brave Sir Robin

Brave Sir Robin

This might have been my favorite band I was in - we played a few covers, but mostly originals. Joel played electric guitar, Tara was our lead vocalist, Shawn played the drums, and John was our bass guitarist. I played keyboards and acoustic guitar. Joel and I wrote most of the music, and Tara came up with the lyrics and vocal melodies. We did surprisingly well at hich town bars where they were usually only wanting AC/DC, and played quite a few gigs.

Some of my fondest memories were from the beginning when Joel and I hung out at his place writing songs, usually with a jug of wine, and my entire goal was to break his brain with chord changes that shouldn't work but did. It was a blast.

Angel Blue

One of our earlier songs - I'm playing acoustic guitar on this one.

Body Parts

A fun keyboard part for me... I always liked the half-step stuff.

Caterpillar

Written from a moment of tuning my acoustic guitar. Was literally just getting it in tune and noodling around and said, hey this should be a song. This really highlights why I love being in a group - where an idea can have things layered on by everyone that make it so much more than it otherwise would have been.

Jungle Toy

Probably my favorite to play... we tended to always get too loud when we did. Joel had mostly played in metal bands previously, and I think playing piano along with heavy music is my favorite thing to do.

Leaving Home

A recording from a practice where we were still working this one out...

Rewind

Recorded at an outdoor gig called Goatstock. I'm playing piano on this one.

Head

Head

This was the first normal band I played in (to my mind, as the only one before was my Christian rock band I'd started.) They'd been together a few years, and then I joined up and we played for a little over a year before it eventually broke up. I took it pretty hard, I really felt like a musician for the first time while I was jamming with these guys. They are all incredibly talented.

Terrence was our lead vocalist and flutist (rocks harder than it sounds), Jeff was our guitarist, Scotty played the drums, and Tim held down the bass. I played keys, but also got to sit in on drums because Scotty played the horn—so for Play That Funky Music and Low Rider I got to pretend I knew what I was doing on the drums.

Anything

One of the tracks from the CD "Practically Live" that we put out during the time I was with the band. I'm playing piano and organ on this one (organ was never something that came to me very naturally.)

Ashes

One of the tracks from the CD "Practically Live" that we put out during the time I was with the band. More piano and organ.

Beer & Chaos With Erica

Here's a look inside a jam band's practice session. There were moments more focused than this.

C Thing

One of the tracks from the CD "Practically Live" that we put out during the time I was with the band. Just piano for me on this one.

Heavy Cloud

Recorded (poorly) at the Village Pub during a gig. This is me trying to play the organ.

In The Pocket

One of the tracks from the CD "Practically Live" that we put out during the time I was with the band. Just piano on this one, but some fun moments for me.

Knock On Wood (Take 1)

Working on adding a new song to the set list... posted here mostly just to fulfill the phrophecy. :-) (See next music clip.)

Back To Haunt Us

Yes Terrence, yes it did.

Reality Shock

Reality Shock

A fundamentalist Christian rock band started initially by myself and Clint when we met as freshmen at NMU around 1992 or 1993. He and I shared a house (on Rock street, literally) and had started writing and recording some songs, and then met Gary who was our singer for a short while. During that stretch of time we then met Kent who took over guitar, Gary left and I took over vocals, and I played mostly bass at that point (running through both a clean amp and a distorted one at the same time.) People took us for a punk band, largely because my playing was rough and vocals certainly were as well.

We played a few gigs with other local bands, and had gigs at a few churches, though we spent a lot of our time practicing and writing/recording. One of my favorite gigs was the Radio Xmas concert (held by Radio X from NMU, an idea I'd had on a long drive to the student radio conference in Rhode Island) where local bands played Christmas songs in their own styles. We had a blast with that. Here's a few photos, a video, and some audio recordings...

Here's Reality Shock live at the second Gear Grinder Jam (somewhen in 1995 or 1996 or so)...

A Really Bad Day

I'd left highschool, but highschool hadn't left me... some emo squeaked back in from time to time.

Basement Song

Recorded at a battle of the bands on NMU's campus... this was the most metal we could make Kent play.

Coming Out

Recorded during some sessions where we were working on an album that never really got finished. Inspired by a guy that used to preach on NMU's campus.

Daylight Saving Time

Some melancholy for childhood, mixed into a Christian mindset.

Dirt

One of the Christian bands I liked a lot at the time was Sometime Sunday, who's style I was emulating with this.

Dream Struggle

One of the songs I was proudest of at the time, because of my playing the bass like a rhythm guitar. Written about some dreams I'd had back then.

George

Recorded at one of the Gear Grinder Jams in Marquette, this was a song written about a hamster I had as a kid.

Here Comes The Rain Again

A fun cover, recorded at the Gear Grinder Jam. I've always loved 80's songs amped up with more balls.

Jingle Bells

Recorded at a Radio Xmas concert, us having fun with the holiday. We thought it would be fun to end our set with some thrash.

John Doe

I don't think we ever knew what style of music we were trying to be...

Johnny Be Old

Recorded (badly) at the Village Pub. Dedicated to a blues musician friend of mine. :-)

Just a Little Thing We Do

The beginning of some local musician drama - we wrote this to sound "punk", and included a quoted line from a local punk band who took it a bit personally and mocked us for a few years afterward. Best publicity we could have asked for.

Kick Me

More highschool style introspective melodrama, but from a Christian sinner's perspective...

Mixed Response

Recorded for our last attempt at an album...

One More Idiot

Writen about some guy who screwed over an exgirlfriend of mine. I was a Christian, but not a perfect one. :-)

Private Hell

I liked to point to this when someone would suggest Christian music was all happiness and harps. Sin makes for a morbid story-scape.

Push

Another "punk" style tune...

Sacred Song 51

Before I played bass (Tony was still playing at the time) Kent joined up and played lead guitar while I played rhythm guitar. This was recorded at a church practice in Ishpeming. Kent started moving us a bit away from metal and toward a more complicated sound, which ended up being good for us.

Turn The Page

Another fun cover recorded at the Gear Grinder Jam... I'm not sure how we figured songs like this made sense for a Christian band.

Castle In The Sand

Rock St Demo - just myself and Clint working on a set list before we had a full band.

Here Am I

Rock St Demo - just myself and Clint working on a set list before we had a full band.

Invitation

Rock St Demo - just myself and Clint working on a set list before we had a full band.

Liars Shall Arise

Rock St Demo - just myself and Clint working on a set list before we had a full band.

Not Sight

Rock St Demo - just myself and Clint working on a set list before we had a full band.

Rock Of Soul

Rock St Demo - just myself and Clint working on a set list before we had a full band.

What Good

Rock St Demo - just myself and Clint working on a set list before we had a full band.

Three Candles

Rock St Demo - just myself and Clint working on a set list before we had a full band.