Lyle Chastain (Run Kid Run/Frontline/The New Jerseys) - Sound In The Signals Interview


I recently had the chance to interview Lyle Chastain about his time in Run Kid Run, Frontline, and The New Jerseys. We discussed how he got into music, forming Frontline, being on Tooth And Nail Records, recording with James Paul Wisner, and more. Check it out below.

First, thanks for the interview.

No problem! I was excited to be able to do it!

To begin with, how did you get interested in music and what made you want to start a band? More specifically what got you into punk/rock and emo music?

I was always into music and loved singing and listening to all kinds of music. When I was around 13 or 14, myself and some friends decided we wanted to start a band so that Christmas I begged for my first guitar and got a no name strat copy and a tiny practice amp. I started listening to songs and learning them off of cds. I was already into some of the alternative and punk Christian bands coming out at the time like MxPx, Value Pac, and Squad Five-0, then I met David Curtis my freshman year of high school and he introduced me to all kinds of other punk and ska bands. Then I was really hooked into the whole scene and there wasn’t any stopping me from there haha.

You used to be in the band, Frontline. That’s the first band I saw you perform in. Can you tell me how Frontline got together and what some of your biggest influences were at the time?

Yeah, so I had a 3 piece punk band with Neil Endicott and Ben Arnold my freshman year but we wanted to add a drummer so me and Neil could play guitar and sing.  We found Thomas Poole and had him come play with us once in Neil’s basement and that became Frontline. I’d say our biggest influences were blink-182, MxPx and bands like that at the time.

The band was always known for having close ties to Side Walk Slam. What are some of your fondest memories of the scene you were a part of during this time?

One of the best things of that whole time period were basement shows at Neil’s house. We would have punk rock and hardcore bands come play all the time from all around the area and they were always so much fun. When Side Walk Slam and frontline played the shows would almost always be packed full. Which really wasn’t hard to do because it was a small basement but man, those were some of the most fun shows ever. All the local shows back then were so much fun because everyone would come out and everyone cared about supporting local music. It was such a cool experience to be a part of that time.

I really liked the Frontline EP when it was released. What was the recording process like for that EP? Do you have a favorite memory from recording that EP?

Yeah, That was a blast. We recorded in a tiny studio in Dongola, IL with Josh Plemon. He’s also the guy who recorded all of Side Walk Slams early EPs before they were signed to Tooth and Nail. We would just go down and record as many parts as we could in a day or however much money we had for the project. I think a majority of our first ep was recorded live due to budget and the studio set up at the time. It was such a fun experience though.

I saw Frontline in the early 2000s and during that era you had been known to play ‘Enema Of The State’ songs, and you did at that show. You might have even played a full ‘Enema’ album show at one point. What do you remember about the fan reaction when you played one of those blink-182 songs in the set? What stood out about those songs that made you choose to cover them?

Yeah, like I said earlier, blink-182 was one of our big influences so we really liked to play their covers in with our sets. We always got really good responses when we did their covers and we really liked playing them which was even more important. I guess we just really loved the punk rock themes of their songs as well as really just digging their writing style and musicianship.

Frontline later became The New Jerseys. What do you remember about that era of the band and why you went in that direction? I know you brought in a new vocalist for that band. What do you think he brought to that band?

I guess we just wanted to change things up some a little and try something new. Around that same time Neil, David from sws, Josh and myself had started this band kind of as a joke called lean down for Neil. We wrote some songs just for fun over a weekend and ended up really liking them so we kept writing. We only played a few shows but it gave us the idea to kind of combine that with frontline and start The New Jerseys. I really liked the idea of a frontman and how we could kind of be a little more free on stage. It was a lot of fun for sure. 

After a while the band sort of went back to that Frontline line-up and became the first iteration of Run Kid Run. Can you tell me about that first iteration, why you went back to featuring Neil and you more on vocals, and why the band chose that name?

I don’t really remember what caused us to go back to the four piece but I think it was mostly that we just liked that feel better for us. We were used to it and it just worked with our writing and playing together as a band. We wanted to rebrand ourselves though and take things a little more seriously so we went with a new name which was Run Kid Run. The name idea actually came from Matt Jackson of side walk slam and we really liked it so that was what we chose. All the new songs Neil and I co wrote and we would just sing whichever songs we started the lyrics to usually. It was definitely my favorite time during the band.

I remember seeing the band, around that time, opening for Side Walk Slam and you all were selling a sampler with some new songs and talking about an upcoming album. I don’t think an album was ever released. Did you finish it and/or was it ever released? If it wasn’t, what’s your favorite song nobody had a chance to hear? What could fans have expected from that new album?

Yes,  we finished it mostly I believe and it had some good songs on it. I don’t know if there are many copies out there though and I don’t know if we had it at very many shows. There were a few songs I was really proud of but I honestly can barely remember them at this point haha. It was definitely our most mature and polished sounding set of songs and I really was sad we didn’t do anything with it.

Neil parted with Run Kid Run and joined Side Walk Slam who later rebranded as Run Kid Run. You joined the band for the Tooth And Nail album, ‘This Is Who We Are’. What was it like getting to be on Tooth And Nail? What do you remember about this time?

That was such a fun and crazy time. It was like a dream come true to get to have those experiences and be a part of the band at that time. Being on tooth and nail was my dream as a kid so it really was special to me. Going to t&n headquarters in Seattle and meeting Brandon the owner was always such a surreal experience. Every band we played with was always so special too because they were all the bands I was listening to or fans of as well.

What’s your favorite memory from recording that album?

I think just being at the same studio where Dashboard Confessional, New Found Glory and Underoath had been was really special to me and getting to be there with my friends and band was just crazy. 

What was it like working with James Paul Wisnser?

It was my first time in a “real” studio so it was all just so surreal to me. He seemed like a genius  to me because at that time I had no idea how to do any of that stuff and it just seemed like every idea he had to bring to the table was a great one.

You left after that album was released. Could you tell us about why you decided to leave the band and if you pursued any other musical projects afterwards?

Yeah, so there was a lot that led to me deciding to leave. Even though there were so many great things about that whole experience, there were a lot of things that weren’t great too. There were some experiences on the road and different situations that overtime just took a toll and led me to a place of asking myself if that was where I needed to be.  As I was in that time of evaluating, a band offered me a spot playing guitar and keys and back up vocals so I prayed about it all and decided that was an opportunity to try something new and move on from rkr. That was with a band called Estelyn based out of Boise. I played with them for a few tours then decided I just needed a break from music for a while. I’ve done some other tours sense then but not really pursued anything full time besides church and worship gigs. 

Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions. Do you have anything else that you would like to add?

I just wanted to say thank you for the interview and for doing what you guys do. It’s been fun to revisit some of these wonderful memories and I hope you enjoy it as well! 

Follow Lyle On Social Media:


Follow Sound In The Signals:

1 comment: