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In Words: Tyketto

- Danny Vaughn & Michael Clayton - April 1994 - Claudia Ehrhardt -

Danny Vaughn - live 2000
© Claudia Ehrhardt

Danny Vaughn & Michael Clayton
- April, 11th 1994 - Hamburg (Germany) -

Today Shotgun Symphony and Tyketto are in town. I liked Tyketto from the first time I heard their debut album. Arriving at the venue early afternoon I asked singer Danny Vaughn, if it would be possible to do an interview and he agreed. A little later Danny Vaughn, born 18th July 1961, and Michael Clayton, born 28th September 1962, been so kind to talk with me at the tour bus.

Tell me about your past, the past of Tyketto.

Well, it basically all started with James Lomenzo (ex-White Lion) and he was in the mist of doing a drum demo with Michael and also involved Bobby Gustafson who was in Overkill in that days. Michael was doing a demo to circulate by mail, actually to Geffen Records, because Whitesnake were still looking for a drummer. James called me up and said we have a singer down here, but it didn't work out. I just came off tour with Waysted and they ask if I might come down and sing. You know, he really liked this guys and so "Great, let's do it." So we did the demo and it actually become a local radio favorite. It was a Cheap Trick cover on it which use to be played on the radio. And than we doing some shows just playing cover songs, coz we really like playing together. Michael and I had a friendship ever since. When the time came and he wasn't busy and I wasn't busy, we decided to form our own band. And do it the way we felt a band should be which is a little bit more of a democratic friendship than necessarily all business with one person. We found Brooke (born Oct. 9th '62) after listening to more guitar demo tapes than I ever wanna hear in the rest of my life! At the time our original bass player Jimi Kennedy was a friend of Michael and so Michael muscle the man in. You know all starts by fall in the place of rehearsal somewhere in the wilds of New Jersey.

Funny thing about the tape thing is, when we were looking for a guitar player, all the tapes we got for guitar players, the drummers on the tapes were amazing. And when we got bass demos, all guitar players were great. We got this all wrong.

Jamie just come in about a year ago, wouldn't it been two years in June?


Wow, two years in June. We started writing for the 2nd record, we realized that Jimi Kennedy wasn't the bass player for Tyketto any more for a number of different reasons. So we figured initially we just gonna hire somebody to do the record with us. After about a month of toying around that idea we realized that ain't what Tyketto is all about. We need a family member. Fortunately before be ever handled auditions Jamie has send us something. And we just kind to give a listen and "Hmmm! Let's get this guy down." He was in California at the time. We flow him in for a weekend and got on playing AC/DC and Led Zeppelin songs for two days. And gave him the gig. That's kind of where we ended up today!

You released one album in 1991.

'Don't Come Easy'!

This is the 2nd album. The bassist change, is there a change in between the albums or just continuing?

There is a change definitely.

The world has changed for Tyketto. It's like a different planet that we living on from 1991.

First of all, the 1st record, each record I think should represent a face in a bands life. To make the same record twice doesn't make any sense. The first record was exactly like a snapshot of what we were at the time it got written. All the songs of a period of a few years we felt very strongly about, Richie Zito came in and made the particular sound. I think with the first record it was generally, if you like one song, you like all the songs. They were of a certain nature, you know very similar. With this record we had a little more experience, we've been out in the world, we kind of see more what it's like and with the addition of Jamie our rhythm section is allowed to play many different styles which we couldn't do before. It's allowed us to write different kinds of music. That's the type of the bands we love 'em most, are bands like Queen or The Beatles or Led Zeppelin or the Stones that would you never knew what exactly coming next. There were just laps in the country music when they felt like it.

It's more interesting then just one style.

Yeah, what's happen in the music industry now, is that they sort of demand that a band made all of the same kind of music that we can identify what they are. You need to put a label on a band. We don't really wanna do that. We think that an album should be something that takes you to different places as you listen to it.

The Germans for example are always one way, they think in one way.

Everybody is that way, especially critics and journalists, it's... They don't need to listen to a record to make their decision.

I don't listen one time to a record, I listen again and again and again ...

You need to do that.

Unfortunately, especially in America, people don't do that. We decided when we actually recorded the album in 1992 that a lot of the critics might not get this record, coz if a critic cast to decide he likes one song and doesn't like another, it scares him. He has to say that he doesn't like the other one, so it's kind of ... You hear the first record the first track and you pretty much got the vibe of the whole record. Or you really know where we going with all 10 songs. This is as far as the music industry is concerned last song Inherit The Wind never be on the same record. Big NO! NO!

It's all Tyketto, it doesn't have to be one way.

I think it's more interesting.

It's more a fans record!

Yeah, and some of the songs there are on this record been around for quite a while. Why Do You Cry was written before the first record, but everybody was to scared of it. And so we just feel that we know a little bit more about what we want in the studio which is why Kevin Elson came in. Because he accented that attitude better. Richie Zito is definitely a type of person who take a bunch of people who didn't know exactly what to do and "Go, follow me boys!"

That was us in 1991!

It was perfect for that time. Now we got a little more attitude, we know a little bit more about how the studio works and we also defiantly know more than everyone else on the planet what Tyketto is all about. Many record people exactly know how it should be, coz they are important people. They were getting further and further from the truth all time and they wanted Tyketto to be a very pigeonhole kind of band. And we wanted to be the kind of band that when you look back at our records, you go this is different from that one and they trying to sound like this. The kind of way I looking at the Rolling Stones records or Queen records.

I think that is one thing which keep this bands so long in the business. Because there is always something new, they didn't get boring.

They try to do it effectively and do it convincing. A band like the Eagles, if they decide to do a country son, it would be on country radio. Where people listen to nothing like country music. That's kind of what Tyketto try to do, it's like we gonna go for a blues rock, let's play this for a blues band and not as commercial rock band who attempt to play a blues track. A lot of bands think that's easy, just try to do whatever... You have to give it your full attention.

I think that is more honest, coz you not always feel the same way. Your feelings change and one day you feel more like blues. So, why shouldn't a band change the musical style?

That's what Last Sunset is all about. Last Sunset... Danny forced us to do it and the initial reaction been kind of what type of band Tyketto was that time... Where the drums gonna go, where is the guitar so and we just looked at the song. It's almost a country song and that's how it should be kept. There is nothing on the song, but acoustic guitar and bass, that's it! And it's what it should be and anything else wouldn't have done the song any justice. So we kinda stick with that.

What are your plans for the future? What do you do after the tour?

After tonight we're going home which we all are excited about for a pretty time and then we gonna come back in the summer. This tour was kind of really find out, if anyone care anymore.

Just testing.

Yeah, exactly. We had a very, very positive reaction, so we gonna start over again to do a little more extensive now.

I think the people wanna listen to something new after the grunge thing. You're here at the right time.

We become an alternative band. I don't know how we did it, but Tyketto is down on the line.

We are the underground.

So you're back in summer.

We are back in mid-June.

We do a little bit more this time. We going to Austria, maybe Switzerland, maybe Sweden.

Italy, Portugal, Spain.

Get out there, see people. I mean, cause we find out that in places like Spain we have lots and lots of fans. We didn't know that.

Nobody ever told us.

I think it's the right way, coz I see it when Freak Of Nature toured. The album been released, but hadn't much promotion, than they toured and toured. And after a while you see people from Düsseldorf going to Hamburg to see the band. That's the best promotion when the fans tell each other: "Go to their concerts! This band is great, listen to them!"

It's the simplest form of any kind of sell, but the record companies just forget that the people don't know you are there, don't buy your record. It's so simple, but everybody forgets that. We just talked to the record label today and they said "Tyketto needs to be touring, coz wherever you tour the fan base increases, we sell records and you guys are a live band that's what you do best."

That's the most important thing, above all else live we're whole more an animal than in the studio. It's one of those things when wherever we play, people are "Okay, I understand now." We need to play as much as possible.

Are there any plans to go to Eastern parts of Europe or Russia?

We talked about Poland for awhile. We trying to see what's going on over there.

We just start inching away through Europe. We'll gonna see where we are welcome.

Basically we going everywhere we been invited. If you know somebody over there who invite us, we'll come.

Russia will become a huge market in the near future.

That's the interesting thing about Europe. The United States covers 3,000 miles that's huge and it's pretty much one musical taste in one place. Here you drive four or five hours and you'll be in a different culture. Even as far as Germany goes we finding that closer to the South of Germany Tyketto's music is more accepted. AOR kind of rock is much more in. For the North it's more heavy duty.

But often we have here in Hamburg the best shows, it takes a little longer until they accept a band.

In America DJ's in clubs, it's not a big deal, but here it's a very important thing.

Here in Europe they played the Forever Young video.

We understand what that means, you saying playing in club is not a big deal, but here it's very important.

Our new video is on MTV's Headbangers Ball every week.

What are your hobbies? What are you doing during the day?

I think I'm the only one who have no hobbies.

You have, you collecting blondes. *Laughter* I'm a comic book collector, like fanatic. I've about 400 / 500 right now. Comic books and anything about American Indians.

Jamie is a video gameboy, big time. Brooke is playing guitar a lot which is, I think, what a guitar player should do....

Cross country driving perhaps.

What's your favorite music? Which are your favorite bands?

My favorite band is Led Zeppelin. And John Bonham is the only drummer I ever worship.

I don't know what's Jamie's is. The whole band listen to so much music, I'm a huge King' X fan. I think I started out with The Beatles and I like anything from Janis Joplin, Joe Cocker, James Brown and going on forever. All great stuff.

What song you like most from your own records?

End Of The Summer Days is my all time favorite Tyketto song.

That's pretty defensive. I don't have a particular favorite. It's like picking which of your children you like best. It's not really fair. All the other kids get jealous and put you down. It's sort of switches of from time to time which one's I enjoy more, so I couldn't pick a favorite. I'm afraid. Couldn't help you now.

It's the drummers test, you have to give the songs, like when your drummer you see... Initially it starts out when somebody tapping the foot. Then you know they are into it. But we put a song like Summer Days live in and 700 people in the clubs swinging back and forward then you know you got 'em.

What's being the most exciting place you ever played?

Glasgow, Scotland! Just because it's nuts, the people so naughty, being so drunken, so crazy and the place we played was really tiny. Like a 400 seater and was sold out, the P.A. blow up and the soundman cooling the P.A. with a towel and I did a drum solo and Brooke a guitar solo without P.A., but it was great. Sweaty disgusting Rock'n'Roll! It was wonderful!

I think my favorite was unfortunately with another band. I would like to take everybody there, it was Budokan. My favorite gig I ever did. Just to be in that place, it's an amazing city.

What's your wish for the future? Beside Tyketto.

I wanna be a game show host one day, with a sparkled tuxedo jacket on. *laughter*

The Clayton version is answering correctly and don't be beaten. *laughter*

We don't really look into the future anymore, coz with Geffen Records and the first album they had us sold 2 million records and looking out on everything and none of it paid out. They kind of fucked our heads off, coz when you set your mind on what's the future is gonna, it kinds of screw you up. It never come like you imagine. Right now, we don't know where we're going, we don't know what part of planet we gonna play 6 months from now. It's more exciting. Move ahead as each day goes by.

Thank you very much and good luck for the future.

I really enjoyed this conversation and hope it won't be the last time! I have to confess that I'm a fan of the New York / New Jersey-based band. I'm really looking forward to see them live tonight and I think that it won't be my last time!

Claudia Ehrhardt


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