Matt Tiegler was born in Des Plaines, IL, a suburb of Chicago. His musical introduction to the music scene was fairly typical. He began with early piano lessons, then came a 1975 Sunburst Fender Stratocaster on his 16th birthday and a few years later a Tascam mini-studio. He had written and recorded about 15 songs -- none that he considered that well-structured -- but he felt that they worked. Somehow one of his tapes made it into the hands of a college DJ in Sweet Briar, VA. Tiegler was unaware that requests were coming in and dubs began to circulate in the Mid-Atlantic states, resulting in further radio airplay. This alone did not make Tiegler's name famous in every corner of America, and the big contracts didn't breeze their way over to his door. By this time, he was studying business at Arizona State in Tempe with thespian activities more prominent than his playing music onstage. He did venture into Phoenix's Happy Campers Studio for a full band five-song demo that was produced by Michael Broening, who is known for his work with artists as diverse as the Rippingtons and Glen Campbell. He sent it out to about fifty stations and not much happened, except when a radio station in Nome called to asked how to pronounce his name. His professional theatrical career began when he moved back to Chicago to attend the Improv Institute. His next major ensemble was the Free Associates, a troupe which specializes in fully improvised plays in the styles of such authors as the Bronte Sisters and Tennessee Williams. In the year 2000, he was an artistic company member of the Noble Fool Theater Company, which was looking to the future to have its own theater complex with three performing spaces in the Loop. He was also performing several roles in Flanagan's Wake and The Baritones, which was a parody of HBO's The Sopranos. Tiegler is largely self-taught as a guitarist and his musical influences can be traced back to the first two albums he claims as his own, the Beatles' Help! and the Beach Boys' Endless Summer. While the Clash, the Specials and the Police became favorites, he states that he was obsessed with R.E.M. He had to make a conscious decision not to be a Michael Stipe and Peter Buck imitator. Also, James Taylor was a huge influence on his guitar technique. Tiegler began studying with bluegrass musician Gus Friedlander, who recommended he take a songwriting class at the Old Town School of Folk Music. The teacher in the class he attended was Ralph Covert, best known as the former leader of the Bad Examples. The two decided to work on an album that eventually became Tiegler's debut album on the Waterdog Music label, Gods and Heroes. Recorded at Uberstudio in Chicago, the album featured some of Tiegler's longtime musical compatriots and others from Covert's contacts. The disc was released in April 2000 and contained twelve original songs by Tiegler.
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