“Love me tender, love me sweet, never let me go,” sang Elvis Presley. “You have made my life complete, and I love you so.”
To many people, these lyrics could represent the love of someone’s life, and to Lisle Crowley—that love is the life as a rock star.
Crowley has taken his career to high levels with a lifetime of experience as a guitarist. He is a professional musician and a Dixie State University adjunct instructor who teaches two music courses. He is also a private music teacher, a performer in the Jazz Ensemble, a member of the High Desert Duo, and the first-called guitar player in both Tuacahn shows “Marry Poppins” and “Thoroughly Modern Millie.” He also has published books providing guitar lessons and arrangements.
Crowley began his passion of music as a young child when he turned on the television and saw his idol.
“I remember seeing Elvis Presley movies, and he had it all,” Crowley said. “He would play guitar, he would sing, he would have all the girls liking him, he would drive race cars, and he would water ski. He would do all types of fun stuff, so I thought, ‘Hey, that’s what I want to be.’”
Crowley said he had a wonderful support system. He grew up on a farm, and his family loved living the world of a mechanic. He said his brothers could fix anything they set their mind to, and his parents were comfortable in that lifestyle. Crowley decided he wanted to be a rock star at an early age, and he said he was “a little bit in left field” because his parents weren’t sure how to support his dreams.
Although they didn’t know how to support a musician compared to a mechanic, they still helped him accomplish everything he wanted.
“They wanted me to do what I wanted to do and be happy,” Crowley said.
His wife is another person who has supported him throughout his career. He said it is very difficult to be married to a musician because of the lack of money and abnormal hours.
“While I was out in Tuacahn, people would ask if they should marry musicians, and I said, ‘Well there’s no reason both people should be miserable,’” Crowley said.
Although the music career was a struggle for Crowley and his wife, he said she never doubted his dreams and abilities.
Crowley has more than 10 books published, his arrangements have been picked up by Fingerstyle Guitar Magazine, and he has many CDs out for purchase, including a new Christmas CD available in two weeks. He said he loves to play solo guitar out of all of the talents he’s encompassed, but it’s not as easy as people may perceive it to be.
“A solo guitar player will expend as much energy at a gig as an NFL quarterback during a game,” Crowley said. “I will come home more exhausted than working out. It takes a toll physically.”
Crowley said although performing is an amazing experience, teaching is what he enjoys most.
“Growing up, I wanted to be a rock star,” Crowley said. “It hit me somewhere down the line that as much as I like performing, being in front of people, and being on stage, the most rewarding aspect has been teaching.”
Isaac Gish, a senior music major from St. George and one of Crowley’s students, said Crowley has helped him in more ways than one.
“He’s done a lot for me,” Gish said. “He’s always focusing on what will help me in a music career instead of what will simply put me through college. He supports me and…wants me to enjoy the music that I learn.”
Gish said Crowley’s music career inspires him.
“He’s made a living for himself doing nothing but what he loves,” Gish said. “He loves music, so all he does all day is compose and teach music. It doesn’t get much better than that.”
He also said Crowley is an example to him.
“Going into music is not the safest or most stable career choice, but he knows what he wants to do with his life so he sticks to it,” Gish said. “He’s also a very generous guy and opens up opportunities for his students and even helps them get going in their careers.”
Crowley loves to teach because he sees lives change every day through music. He believes music not only enhances lives, but also saves lives. He said he has helped students fall in love with music, and has seen them choose that lifestyle rather than a long, unhappy road in prison or death.
“All of us want to leave our mark on the world and change things for the better,” Crowley said. “Whenever I’ve given people the gift of music, the musical instrument blesses their lives and the lives of others.”
Crowley said music isn’t just about being an artist, and if he were to give advice about perusing a music career, he would tell students to learn everything they can because it is a part of the tools of the trade. They have to be adaptive to everything, and they have to learn the language of the music. Students also need to get the financial tools to succeed, and it will take some sacrifice, but he said it is the exact same thing others have to do for their careers.
“You can’t think, ‘I’m an artist,’” he said. “You have to think, ‘I’m a business man.’”