Face the Music: The Cave Dwellers 

Jayson Wyatt and Zack Lyle met in 1995 while both worked at a music publishing company. Wyatt was a plugger and one day he played songwriter Lyle's "Good Morning Beautiful" to artist Steve Holy, who put the song on his debut record. Soon after, Wyatt and Lyle were victims of corporate downsizing and found themselves out of jobs. Frustrated, Wyatt and Lyle, along with Wyatt's high school pal John Wheeler (who conveniently had a studio and sound-engineering expertise), made a demo.

After finishing the demo, and holing up for a night in Wyatt's music room, the guys decided to form a band. So with the addition of bassist Brett Seltz, the Cave Dwellers emerged with Sorry If I Rattled Your Cage, a collection of catchy countrified punk ditties. Here Jayson Wyatt sounds off on one awesomely bad lead guitarist, The Eagles Greatest Hits, and his unbiased love for Hayseed Dixie. See the Cave Dwellers Friday at Hair of the Dog, 7:30 pm.

Describe your music style, please. Neil Young & Crazy Horse sloshed around in a beer mug with Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers and a shot of punk thrown in for good measure.

Why the Cave Dwellers? Zack came up with the band name. It's basically about how he and I are both introverts at heart and how sometimes people can get into their own heads so deep that they feel like they're in a cave. This band is about busting out of the cave with the force of an explosion.

Who are the band's major influences? I grew up on KISS, Cheap Trick, Queen, John Denver, Rush, Fleetwood Mac, Boston, Kansas, Styx, Billy Joel, Ozzy Osbourne, AC/DC, The Eagles, Pink Floyd, The Police, Blondie, 80's pop & hair metal...then later got into artists like R.E.M., Suzanne Vega, U2, Lou Reed, and XTC. We always thought Queensryche was pretty cool. Zack is quite fond of the Stones, while Brett's favorite band has always been Led Zeppelin.

What's the first album you ever bought and where is it now? KISS: Rock And Roll Over. I still have it.

What song would you never want to hear again, and why? "Achy Breaky Heart"...because it sucks.

What's the cheesiest song that you love? "The Ghost in You," by The Psychedelic Furs.

What's the worst gig you ever had? The second show with The Cave Dwellers. We had this lead guitarist that was a fabulous musician, but was just the wrong guy for the band. It was like Mark Knopfler playing lead guitar for The Ramones. It just didn't work. Anyway, at one point in the show he was in the middle of the audience on his knees playing a solo and it came time to end the song. I couldn't see him and had no idea where he was so I ended the song where it was supposed to end. I'm guessing that was a long walk for him to get back to the stage. Who would use a wireless rig in a place that holds around 100 people anyway, you know?

What record do you wish you'd made? I guess maybe The Eagles Greatest Hits 1971-1975 since it has sold more copies than any other album in history. It passed up Thriller a few years ago. Seriously...probably The Beatles' Revolver.

If you could be someone else for 24 hours, who would you be? I would be the drummer for Cheap Trick.

What's your opinion of the Nashville music scene? It could definitely stand to be better, but it's not quite as bad as everybody seems to make it out to be. It is a pretty hard town to be a non-country artist in, I guess. There are so many great musicians and writers here it's hard to stand out.

Who are your favorite Nashville musicians/artists? Josh Rouse, Brother Henry, Hayseed Dixie (of course John is in that band so I have to like them...nah, I'd like them regardless). I don't spend much time checking out local stuff just for the heck of it really. Maybe I should do that more.

Who is someone you've worked with that you think is incredibly talented and everyone should know about, producer, musician or otherwise? David Henry is a great musician, writer, and engineer. He recorded our album. He was really easy to work with and I'm glad we chose him for the project.

What is your proudest moment in music? I don't think it's happened yet. I guess I was pretty proud when the band John and I had right after high school, Air-Conditioned Doghouse, had the most requested song on 91 Rock for a few days in a row. On second thought, my brother and some of his friends were probably calling in the requests. I never really knew for sure.

—Marie Yarbrough


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