Nathan Payne was born on Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland, America in 1973. He graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a Bachelor's Degree in English in 1997. His first solo album, Angels on Fire, was released in 2001. Katherine Raz of Chicagogigs.com called the album “depressing, but harsh. It's sad, but it rocks.” Lackluster attendance at shows prompted Nathan to christen his group the “Nathan Payne Memorial Service,” to give the impression that every performance was an actual memorial service for himself. It worked so well that one friend called Nathan's mother to offer condolences at the news of his passing. After assuring his mother that he was indeed among the living, Nathan decided to keep the name as a promotional gimmick.
Thus began the “Nathan Payne Memorial Service,” under which moniker Nathan would release only one album, the cold & creepy California Death Trip. Shut Eye Records called the album “a dark and brooding journey through a creepy gothic landscape.” Fran Magazine in Los Angeles said that it was "creepy...clever, dark, and funny.” Rod Charlton of Rainy Day Records said “[the album] reminds me of a trip through hell on a flaming rollercoaster while on a bad acid trip. It's sort of like smashing yourself over the head with a frying pan and then licking your guts off the stove.” Nathan, meanwhile, decided to quit his job and move into his car.
It was while living in his car that Nathan recorded & released All The Diamonds You Can Eat. With the exception of 2 or 3 tracks, the entire album was recorded with a broken 4-track on lo-fi cassette tapes purchased exclusively at the dollar store. With the success of the single “California Hills,” which Fred Kiko of KXLU called his “favorite song about California ever,” Nathan became a regular guest on Fred's radio show Demolisten in Los Angeles. He also starred in the short-film video for his song “The Black Dahlia,” a re-creation of the infamous Black Dahlia murder, shot and directed by independent film director Thaddeus Jaworsky. During this time, Nathan was able to record No Destination, a 3-song E.P. that brings his one-time love affair with Los Angeles full circle, stating in the title track, “there ain't no love on Hollywood & Vine,” and “the streets don't need me, the well is dry.” Leaving Los Angeles for less narcotic climes, Nathan traveled east, performing at New Jersey's Black Potatoe Music Festival with the South Austin Jug Band before continuing on to New York City for a series of parties, performances, and television tapings.
The Korean Broadcast System interviewed Nathan in New York, and used his song “George Bush What's Your Problem?” as the theme song for a segment of the show Culture Zone about dissent in America after 9/11. Political leanings intact, Nathan moved to Austin, Texas in 2006 to begin work on American Infidel, a sort of fare-thee-well to the American Dream, which Martin Stamper of Fast Heart Mart called “one of the best albums of the double-zero decade.” After a quick tour of America in 2007, Nathan returned to the studio in January 2008 to record and mix both Vampire Cats and Blinded By Faggots simultaneously over an 11-day period. Still not satisfied, Nathan returned to Los Angeles in December 2008 to begin work on Slow-Burning Fun, an ambitious double album released on Alcoholic Clown Records in 2009. A greatest hits collection, covering Nathan's best work of the last decade, was released on Alcoholic Clown in 2010.
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