Interviewed by Chris (Writer/Contributor) Myglobalmind Webzine
Myglobalmind: Let me get the fanboy crap out of the way and just say I’m a tremendous admirer of your music and thanks for the years of entertainment!
Danny: That’s very kind of you, Chris. Thank you!
Myglobalmind: I remember hearing “Forever Young” on the local radio station years ago. I was lucky in that my station, every Friday night, had two hours dedicated to hard rock and metal. I heard “Forever Young” twice on the show, and managed to get it recorded on tape the second time, and always wondered what had happened to the band. I was an avid music purchaser (still am) and never stumbled across any of Tyketto’s albums back in the day. It wasn’t until maybe 15 years ago that I finally managed to get the Tyketto stuff. The music on those first two albums is absolutely brilliant, and rivals the music of far more popular acts from that time. Why do you suppose the band never managed to catch on?
Danny: I think we came along about 2 years too late. Music was changing at that time (or at least fashion was changing) and we got put into the category of bands that were “on their way out” as far as our haircuts, clothes and sometimes music was concerned. We still did pretty well, all considering.
Myglobamind: What makes me appreciate your music is not only your voice, but the songs. I liken you to more of a Springsteen sort of musician, the whole singer/songwriter perspective. Is this by design or just something that you simply fell in to?
Danny: First of all, I take that as a huge compliment! Thank you! If you’ve heard any of my solo albums, there are always a one or two songs in there that are just blatantly Bruce influenced. I like story tellers. I like songs with movement and a variety of colors. So, while not everything I’ve ever written is a memorable piece, my goal has always been to try and make something memorable. It’s just the sort of thing that I am drawn to. I love writers like John Hiatt and Tom Waits as well as Springsteen, Don Henley, Bernie Taupin. These guys are all lyricists that I study and then gently try to steal ideas from! lol!
Myglobalmind: My getting back in touch with the music of Tyketto came after a friend turned me on to the Waysted Save Your Prayers album, a record I somehow missed out on prior to this moment. To this day, that still ranks as one of my favorite albums of all-time. How did you get involved with that, and again, why didn’t it catch on? The songs from Waysted and Tyketto both are AOR/hard rock mainstays to folks that are “in the know,” yet anyone that’s a fan of good music should be worshipping those albums, yet so many people have no idea who either of those bands are.
Danny: I was scouted for Waysted by the guy that was playing keyboards for them at the time. They were having internal problems with their singer at the time and didn’t want to do the whole cattle call audition process. I had done some demos with Paul Chapman a year or so before and he got me in for an audition, which was to play a gig in Ramat Gan Stadium in Tel Aviv, Israel in front of about 15,000 people. “If it works out, you’re in” they told me. It worked out.
That band would have gone on to some bigger things but became a victim of it’s own demons and vices, I’m afraid. The drummer, Johnny Dee, and I left when the drugs were more important to the guys running the band than the music was.
Myglobamind: When you parted ways with Tyketto, you were going through some pretty emotional stuff at the time. A couple years later you recorded the Flesh N Blood album Blues For Daze. Was that an outlet for you to pour out the emotions of taking care of your sick wife?
Danny: No, I don’t think so. I was very tired and burnt out from Tyketto’s work schedule and was very depressed at how close we came. So I wasn’t looking for anything else to do after I left. Flesh N Blood just dropped into my lap by chance. It was already finished but the record company didn’t like the singer they had. Then a friend sought me out and suggested I talk with Mark Mangold, whose project it was, and we hit it off. For me, it was perfect at the time because I didn’t have to write, I didn’t have to plan, I didn’t have to even think! Ha! The songs were there and I just came in and did them my own way. And it’s a music style that I have always loved and wanted to do. I’m a huge fan of Bad Co, The Black Crowes, The Rolling Stones, so it was an album that I’d always wanted to make. It was actually, a very happy experience.
Myglobalmind: From the start of your recording career to the Flesh N Blood album, there are three songs that have been constant companions for me: Waysted’s “Heaven Tonight,” Tyketto “Standing Alone,” and Flesh N Blood’s “Jenny Doesn’t Live Here Anymore.” Those three songs have had deep meaning for me, especially “Standing Alone.” It was my theme song during my divorce. I know that “Heaven Tonight” was a re-recorded song from an earlier album, but your version totally kills the prior. The other two tracks exemplify why so many people regard you as one of the most underrated voices ever, and why I consider you to be one of the best writers in the business. What’s the back story on the last two songs and what prompted Waysted to re-do “Heaven Tonight?”
Danny: Well, Mark wrote “Jenny” so I couldn’t tell you if it was a story from real life or just a flight of fancy. Probably a little of both, I would guess. “Standing Alone” was something I wrote after I had left Waysted. I was on a high at the time. I had toured the world, knew the guys from Iron Maiden personally, having opened for them for a month of more, I had done a video, released my first album, single, etc. So, in my mind, it was just a matter of minutes before the phone would ring and I would be off on another adventure. But it didn’t ring. I did one audition soon after that and it was for a band that was coming up named “Skid Row”.
I didn’t get the gig and I really let my ego take a beating over that one. “How DARE they not take me”?? That kind of nonsense. When I heard the first recordings they did with Sebastian about a year later, I understood. THAT was exactly what they needed and I was not that. So you learn and grow stronger. But the loneliness and disullusionment that I felt over it all came out in the song “Standing Alone”. I think a lot of writers do what they do in order to channel their depression. I’ve always found that I can vocalize my pain better than I can vocalize my happiness (which seems really stupid to me and I’m working on that). I think that song was finished in about 15 minutes. The good ones usually do come quickly.
Myglobalmind: Waysted re-released “Heaven Tonight” because the original version had been done on a relatively small record label and we had just been picked up by EMI, who thought it was a hit and wanted to put it out again. Then in 2000 you recorded your first solo album Soldiers & Sailors On Riverside, though you only used your last name. Again, another collection of some of the best songs, yet still vastly overlooked. How was it for you going in and doing your first solo album?
Danny: I had been out of the music business entirely for about 4 years at that point. Michael Arbeeny and I had only just started talking to each other again recently and he had asked what I had been up to. Even though I never planned on recording any more, that never stopped me from wanting to write songs. So I was casually writing when the spirit moved me, with no goals or audience in mind. When he heard the collection of demos I had, he really wanted to get me to work again. So that album was a real labour of love. I was tired, depressed and over weight but as soon as we started working on it, I was back in my element and I realized that I’ll always want to make music in some way or another.
Myglobalmind: The track “Is That All There Is” pretty much sums up the majority of my past relationships. Was there a particular inspiration for that track?
Danny: Many of my songs do come from a particular incident or experience but that one was just a simple idea. What if you got down on your knees and pledged your heart, your body, your soul and everything else in undying love to someone and she said “Yeah? So? What else you got?” I just couldn’t resist the idea.
Myglobalmind: You released one more album under the Vaughn moniker, and then afterwards went with Danny Vaughn (minus the live album.) What brought about this change?
Danny: I had always wanted to release those albums under Danny Vaughn. They are, after all, real solo albums. But the record company said that a band name would sell better than an artist name. Shows what they know.
Myglobalmind: So now that we’ve done a mini-Danny Vaughn history lesson, we’re 18 years later, and you’re back with Tyketto, and have just released the new album Dig In Deep. On behalf of early Tyketto fans everywhere, it’s about time! I think the album is magnificent. The band reunited in 2004 for some shows, but stated there would be no more Tyketto after that. So what brought about the change of heart?
Danny: Thank you! I’m so pleased at how well received it has been. It was, by far, the hardest album we’ve ever made.
We had never had any real plans to re-ignite our careers as such and were happy to go out and do a few live shows every couple of years. But after a while, we started to feel like a nostalgia act and we all felt the stirrings of wanting to have something new to play. We had been asked many times before to record a new album but this was the first time that we all really wanted to do it. That’s the way it’s always been in Tyketto.
Myglobalmind: I know Michael Clayton played drums on the Vaughn stuff (as well as Jaime Scott,) but had you kept in touch with the other former members over the years?
Danny: Yes, for sure. We were always friends and after the sting of my leaving the band eased up on both sides, we always kept in touch and looked in on none another over time. It’s like that with families.
Myglobalmind: How was it going back into the studio to write and record Dig In Deep? Was it an easy album to do? Was it nice being back with your old band mates again?
Danny: It was extremely hard. Mostly because of the restrictions that were placed on us by time and budgets. But also because we had to do a lion’s share of the work over the internet, since we don’t live anywhere near one another. Once we started getting into a flow of how to work together again, though, it really was a pleasure. This is, in my opinion, Brooke’s finest work and he really stretched himself in every way to show what he’s capable of as a writer, player, and co-producer (and let’s not leave out that he mastered the album too!). While Michael and I have been in and out of the public eye over the past decade, Brooke has been fairly quiet and he knew he was going to have to come across with something special for this one. And he did!
Myglobalmind: Is Tyketto back full-on now? I realize it’s early on in the album’s release to ask, but I certainly hope so. Will you still continue to release solo stuff?
Danny: It’s hard to say, really. We aren’t at a level where touring isn’t financially feasible. We can do a few shows here and there but it is expensive to get a band out on the road full time and we aren’t playing arenas, after all. So we’ll do what we can here and there. I do hope to release some more solo music before too long.
Myglobalmind: You’re doing an Eagles tribute band in the UK, where you call home these days. How did that come about?
Danny: AS these things often do, the lucky chance of a phone call. I got involved with a different Eagles tribute band several years ago because their singer had dropped out and they had obligations to fill. So I came in for a few gigs. And it worked out. Before long, though, several guys in the band and I felt that we could do a better job than the band we were in so we left and formed The Ultimate Eagles. That was 3 years ago and we just finished a very good UK tour as well as playing gigs in Holland this year. Next year we will be in Holland, Germany, Ireland, the UK, and who knows where else? It’s going well.
Myglobalmind: What are the chances of a US tour in support of Dig In Deep? Tyketto is one of those dream bands I have not seen live and want to before I die.
Danny: There’s not much interest in us in the States, thus far. Perhaps the new album will change that? I certainly hope so. We’ll have to wait and see. Stick around a while 😉
Myglobamind: I want to thank you again for taking the time to answer my questions, and definitely thank you for the music. Just as a side note, years ago I started up the very first Yahoo Group for fans of Danny Vaughn to get together and talk about your career. Sadly, I initially misspelled your name as I’m a big Stevie Ray Vaughan fan as well. I’ve been preaching to everyone I can about how incredible your music is no matter what project you’re working on.
Danny: Thanks Chris. Believe me, it is greatly appreciated.
Webzine Review for Tyketto – Dig In Deep