Welcome to a Unexpected Influences, where we talk to musicians about the music no one expects them to like.
With the help of his band, The Northern Lights, Jonathan Tyler has used a passion for a variety of musical influences to fuel his soul-infused brand of Southern rock 'n' roll, becoming one of North Texas' most sought-after bookings. And rightfully so: Jonathan Tyler brings it big.
And while much of the roots rock that colors the current styles of his music will seem like a given to his loyalists, Tyler still manages to dig up some influential muses that may come as a bit of a surprise.
For this week's installment of Unexpected Influences, we caught up with Tyler and learned quite a bit about the early beginnings of his love affair with music. In an era when access to recorded music was archaic compared to today's world of instant sonic gratification, it's quite impressive that the young prodigy was already formulating his favorite playlists before even reaching school age.
Hit the jump for some surprising tidbits on Jonathan Tyler's musical influences, like who his childhood hair hero was, which nation played a big role in forming his musical sensibilities, and see what big artist of 2010 he snuck into his sampler playlist that skews heavily toward the sounds of classic rock.
Do you have any influences that your listeners may be surprised to know about?
I don't know how unexpected a lot of this would be for those who are familiar with me or are familiar with our music. I've got a wide variety -- one of my first records I had was an Oasis record, What's the Story Morning Glory? I was in elementary school. That was a huge one for me. Really early on, about the same time, I was into Radiohead, too. A lot of British stuff. But I was raised in the South, in Alabama, so without even really having a choice, I was around music like Lynyrd Skynrd, Marshall Tucker Band and Charlie Daniels Band. As I got older, I got into different types of Southern rock -- Allman Brothers were a huge one for me. But I think all of those are kind of expected. More unexpected stuff would be T. Rex. And I'm really into Queens of the Stone Age. Rage Against the Machine was another really big one for me. Still love it.
Who do you look to for inspiration when you perform?
I really like bands that are known to improvise live. I like moments that aren't planned out, so bands like The Allman Brothers that I said earlier. I really like the kind of jazz-like improvisation that they did. Other bands like Delaney & Bonnie, Derek and the Dominos, too -- I'm really into late '60s and early '70s rock. I'm also really into a lot of jazz performers like Roland Kirk. He's an amazing performer. I really like Bill Evans. I just like wathing a band who doesn't necessarily plan out every step -- someone that, when you're watching them, you're watching something develop before your eyes. But I do think that you need to have a little stucture, a little plan. I get bored with just endless guitar solos. I like watching moments unfold.
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Do you have any musical guilty pleasures?
I don't really like a lot of pop music. I can't really think of anything, but I'd have to say that Passion Pit is my guilty pleasure.
Do you remember the first record that you bought for yourself?
I was buying tapes -- I mean I was buying music as long as I can remember. I think one of the first tapes I bought, when I was about four years old, was Vanilla Ice. I wanted to get the haircut and everything. I loved music as early as I can remember. The first couple CDs I got was that Oasis disc and [laughs] an Alanis Morisette CD. From then on I began to accumulate tons of different stuff.
Would you like to provide us with a mini playlist for your listeners so they can get a taste of your unexpected influences?
The Verve - Slide Away
Oasis - Live Forever
Rolling Stones - Can't You Hear Me Knocking
RL Burnside - Goin' Down South
Lou Reed - Walk on the Wild Side
T. Rex - Children of the Revolution
White Stripes - Ball and Biscuit
The Warlocks - The Dope Feels Good
Black Angels - Young Men Dead
JJ Cale - Let Me Do It To You
Deerhunter - Coronado
Download the mix right here.