Ax Facts and Stats: Lyle Workman

Welcome again “Ax Facts & Stats”. This month we are proud to be joined by the very talented Lyle Workman.

My name is: Lyle Workman

My current job is: Guitarist, songwriter, composer, ad nauseum

My hometown is: San Jose, California but I now reside in Los Angeles, CA.

My current album or project is: Third solo album Former band(s): Bourgeois Tagg, Todd Rundgren, Frank Black, Beck.

My guitar influences growing up were: The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Chet Atkins, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Jeff Beck, Focus, Johnny Winter, Django Reinhardt, Wes Montgomery, Rev. Gary Davis, Albert King, Joseph Spence, Pete Townshend, Pat Metheny, Adrian Belew.

The guitars I use are: The Tele, Les Paul, ES-335, Les Paul Junior, SG, MJ guitar, Hamer, Jeff Traugott and Rick Turner acoustics.

The strings and tunings I use are: My electrics have Dean Markley Strings gauge 10-52 in mostly standard tuning, although I’ve been known to rock a Drop D.

My current rig setup consists of: Vox AC-30, Fender Super Reverb, and Divided By Thirteen amps. Custom Audio Electronics rack system with a bunch of old pedals with amp switching.

The greatest invention for guitars is: The tuner.

My normal songwriting process: Pick up a guitar and improvise with my Superscope cassette recording.

My Career highlight is: Too hard to pick one so here’s a few: having a single in the top twenty, playing with Todd Rundgren, Frank Black and Beck, performing on Saturday Night Live, hanging out with Neil Young (for he is a God!)

My most embarrassing moment on stage: Playing an entire solo a half step (one fret) off and not realizing it until the very end -to a room of my peers and music industry people!

The one piece of my gear that I cannot live without is: Vox AC-30 amp.

The first song I mastered on guitar was: “Dear Prudence” by the Beatles.

My first guitar was: A Teisco. Real cheap, but I wish I had kept it!

The one thing most fans don’t know about me is: I cry at weddings.

The best advice I could give beginning guitarists is: Practice and study, practice and study. Of utmost importance is developing a good ear. This is achieved by teaching yourself tons of stuff from records and CDs. Start with real simple material. Find a good teacher – one that can encourage, guide and inspire you to be disciplined in your practice. Learn, at minimum, the basics of music theory and even better – add note reading; these skills will serve you in the future whichever direction you ultimately take in music. Even if your into Punk/New Metal/Emo, the ability to write down a chord chart and a melody is a great tool and you will have an edge over other players, let alone the myriad of advantages you will possess. To further expand your musicianship, learn to play the piano – as you progress, this instrument will be the gateway to many advantages such as the ability to play (and/or sequence) any instrument controlled or triggered by a keyboard, as well as advancement in harmony, composition and arranging – plus it sounds cool when you play “Let it Be”. Listen and analyze all kinds of music and other instrumentalists, not just guitarists. Play with other musicians and in bands. Music is a cooperative venture so try early on to interact with other musicians. If you can, play with people more advanced than yourself. And last but not least, stick with it!

The CD(s) I’m listening to right now is: Joseph Spence “The Complete Folkways Recordings”

My 3 all-time favorite albums are:

  • 1. Any and all Beatles albums (is that cheating?)
  • 2. The Who -“Who’s Next”
  • 3. Weather Report – “Heavy Weather’

I’m a sucker for: A great guitar solo, simple or complex, and for guitarists that can play great melodies over non-diatonic chord changes.

My favorite junk food is: Cheez-Its (low fat)

My biggest pet peeve is: The “dumbing” of popular music.

The word or catch phrase I say way too much is: That Whack is Dope’ .

The hardest part of my job is: Getting record companies to pay on time.

I knew I hit the “big time” when: The first time I was in a band that got “a record deal” and when I heard my song played over a radio station in a museum in Paris.

The worst job I ever had was: Cooking fries at a Der Wienerschnitzel.

Right after this interview I’m going to: go into my studio and listen to some new tracks.

My greatest obsession: To play the rock and roll music.

My first band was: ‘Kronix’, and the spelling is what made it so damn cool.

My next move is: to score films

The greatest contribution guitars have brought into my life is A way to express myself through the arts; to make a living at what I love to do, for which I am forever grateful.

The coolest toy I had growing up was: Rock’em, Sock’em Robots

Check out my Website at

If I could have three wishes, they would be: 1. World Peace. 2. A world free of hunger, disease, violence and crime. 3. A dumpster filled with cash and Cheez-Its (low fat).

I couldn’t imagine being on the road without: My Powerbook G3.

My greatest regret is: Not learning the piano while I was young.

The one musician I would love to work with that I have not yet had the chance would be: Peter Gabriel

If I wasn’t doing the musician thing, I could really see myself working as: An actor or writer.

My favorite movie ever is: Waiting For Guffman (when I want to laugh).

My mission in life is: Spread good will, be a great Dad and make great music.

Points of Interest:

Toured with: Beck Nov. ’99 – PRESENT, Dreams Come True Japan ’99 , Frank Black U.S., Japan, Australia & Europe March ’94 – June ’98 , Jude Cole U.S. ’93, Todd Rundgren U.S. & Japan ’89 – ’91, Bourgeois Tagg U.S. & Europe ’85 – ’88

Appeared on: Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show, Conan O’ Brian, American Music Awards, American Bandstand, Top of the Pops (U.S. & Great Britain), MTV, Lyle’s first solo Purple Passages was recorded in his spare bedroom later received international acclaim and was dubbed “possibly the best guitar album of the year” by Guitar Shop Magazine.

Lyle produced the remake of “Here Comes the Sun” for Disney’s “The Parent Trap”.

Lyle’s guitar work can be heard on the soundtracks for the movies:”Blue Streak”, “Things You Can Tell Just By Looking At Her”, “Waking the Dead”, “Charlies Angels”, “Miss Congeniality”

EG: Thank you so much Lyle for being such a great sport and taking part in Extreme Guitars “Ax Facts & Stats”. I want all of our readers to please check out Lyle’s Website at Also be sure to check back for the next installment of Extreme Guitars “AX Facts & Stats” coming soon!

All materials are Copyright Dave Roberts & Lyle Workman, All Rights Reserved. All articles are available for use or reprint ONLY by Permission.

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