As their second album Strength In Numbers in now turning 25, Tyketto are celebrating the event with a UK tour which, judging by the ticket sales, has turned out to be very successful for the band. Tyketto has built up a great following over the years and these guys have managed to bring their melodic rock on some of the most prestigious stages on the planet. We caught up with frontman Danny Vaughn before their show in London so he could give us all the updates and insights about the band.
RAMzine: What can you tell me about this tour so far?
Danny: Well, this tour started because somebody wrote an email to Michael last year saying ‘Gosh I can’t believe Strength In Numbers will be twenty five years old next year’ and we didn’t even know ‘cus we didn’t think about it. So he put a poster up saying ‘Can’t believe it, twenty five years since our second album came out’ and then in two days we got 500 comments asking for a tour. We weren’t planning on it but we decided to go on with it. I think we were under the misconception that Strength In Numbers was the lesser of our albums and that’s not true apparently. People like this album as much as they like Don’t Come Easy so we were very pleasantly surprised and we’ve had the best ticket sales in many years on this tour.
RAMzine: I’ve seen a few sold out shows. Nottingham being one of them.
Danny: Newcastle and Hard Rock Hell too. Manchester came really close.
RAMzine: Must be a lovely feeling for you.
Danny: It’s great. We don’t do this all year around so when we get a chance to come out it’s always so wonderful to see so many people and be able to connect. And we have this really wonderful connection with our audience that I’m very proud of.
RAMzine: After so many years of touring, how difficult is it to write a set list?
Danny: A little difficult. Sometimes there’s arguments (laughs).
RAMzine: You have so many songs to choose from. I guess it was easier for this tour though.
Danny: Yeah for this one of course we knew we were gonna do the whole album so I think there’s only four other songs. That was a tough pick and obviously we are not gonna forget ‘Forever Young’. We’ve just released a DVD from the show we did in Wales with the strings and the horns and the backing singers, so tonight we are doing one of those songs to sort of show people what that was like as all the songs were changed. We’ll do ‘Wings’ tonight and we’ll do it in a total different way.
RAMzine: It’s good to surprise people sometimes and give them something they are not expecting…
RAMzine: Talking about touring, how was your ‘An Evening With Tyketto’ project last year?
Danny: That was the hardest thing we’ve ever done. Honestly, I thought it was going to break me (laughs). It’s great in the idea phase because it started out as we were simply talking about doing an acoustic evening. So someone proposed to get a proper grand piano for Ged then someone else said ‘You know something like Standing Alone would sound so good with just a cello’ and all of a sudden we have three string players, three horn players, backing vocalists, fourteen people on stage. That all sounds good on paper but then you realise all these people need to have their parts written for them, you can’t just bring them in and ask them to play. And who was gonna do that? Me (laughs). So I spent weeks putting together all these parts.
RAMzine: Must have been hard work for you.
Danny: It was because I don’t write music, I do it in my head, I don’t do tablatures or anything like that. Somehow it came out incredibly well but the road to get it finished was the hardest. You name it, it went wrong. There were a few technical problems between video and audio too. In all honesty it was supposed to be released months ago but we kept having to fix things. The only thing I regret is that I wish I had smiled a little more.
RAMzine: That’s probably just because you were so concentrated.
Danny: Very much so. It’s the most unique thing we’ve ever done and that’s the sort of thing that normally a band at our level wouldn’t be able to do. You know, you have to have more money to do stuff like that.
RAMzine: But you are still proud of it, aren’t you?
Danny: Yes, I am. It really is one of my favourite thing we’ve ever done. We’ve just put ‘Forever Young’ out there for people to hear and it’s just an acoustic guitar, a cello and myself so it sounds totally different. I’m glad people are really liking it.
RAMzine: How much of a revolution was this project to your career?
Danny: It seems like a natural progression for me. I’m working at my solo album now and it’s sort of like that, with strings and horns. I think that project allowed me to step into that. It doesn’t mean I won’t do rock ‘n roll anymore but it’s nice to keep pushing.
RAMzine: Do you guys have any special pre-show ritual?
Danny: Naa I kinda wish we did. It’s more like ‘Okay it’s show time, let’s go!’. It’s really simple and it helps that everybody in the band is so experienced. We just make sure we are together thirty minutes before the show and that’s about it. I do my warm up so that’s my ritual.
RAMzine: Do you still feel nervous before a show?
Danny: The only time I feel nervous it’s probably when you wait too long to go play. When we finish this I’ll probably go out to get some food instead of sitting around for three or four hours.
RAMzine: Yeah makes sense. Is there a band you would like to go on tour with in the near future?
Danny: I’m not sure if they are still going but my first answer would be Mr Big. It’d be so much fun and I think it’s a great double bill. I’ll take Whitesnake too, I’m sure that would be amazing!
RAMzine: Can you talk us about your ‘Live From Milan’ record?
Danny: We got really lucky with that. It’s one of those where all the logistics went wrong. I’m not a big fan of live albums because normally the way you do them is how we are doing it now as we are making a live album for this tour. This time we are recording every show and you can’t always afford to do that but this year we can. On ‘Live From Milan’ we didn’t have that luxury so it’s one shot. There were a couple of mistakes and I thought it was only honest to leave them in. What I wasn’t prepared for is that there were about 2000 people, it was quite of a big show. We did it in Milan because of Frontiers of course and it was also a way to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Don’t Come Easy.
RAMzine: Are you guys working on a new album?
Danny: Not yet. With everything that is going on and with my solo album coming out in June we haven’t really started discussing another Tyketto album yet but it’s gonna come soon I think.
RAMzine: I am sure your fans are looking forward to it. What’s been the major change in the band over the years?
Danny: First of all we are older now so we are much more careful of when we play, where we play and how we do it. The days of playing a gig, getting in the van and driving for six hours are over. It’s nice to see that our popularity is getting up again so we are getting asked to do more festivals and playing bigger venues, just little things here and there. Obviously like every band if you wanna continue for twenty five years it’s almost impossible to continue with the same people. Both Brooke and Jimi said they really didn’t want to go on because they wanted to stay home and had other concerns. At that point Michael and I were faced with the decision to whether fold up the tent or go out and play Tyketto’s songs. We felt like if we had the right people it’d have been fine and we have. I’m very happy to work with some of my favourite players. All I can say is if we are not enjoying it, we are not doing it.
RAMzine: What piece of advice would you give to new bands?
Danny: That’s hard because nobody seems to know what to do anymore. Twenty years ago there was sort of a method, you did some demos then you got a manager etc etc. All that is out the window now. What I suggest to people is that whatever music you wanna make, make the music you are the most inspired by, don’t go by what’s popular because that will be gone by the time you record it. For instance, without saying anything bad about them, take this Greta Van Fleet, it’s obviously all manufactured. Somebody wrote their songs to make them sound like Zeppelin so that would have been the biggest discussion. These guys are talented so what they do next is gonna determine whether we are gonna hear from them again. Now they found a way to get noticed which is fantastic but they are gonna have to figure out what’s next. Even Kiss, the most gimmicky band in the world had always something new to propose to their public.
RAMzine: Very true. Any plans for the future?
Danny – As I always say, there’s so much going on. My solo album is coming out in June, I’m sure I’ll do some solo acoustic shows. I’ll do both private and club shows, not sure how far I’ll go with it but only a few people have heard the songs so far and they think we should be going to BBC2 with these. This album is my attempt to stand in the same ring as few of my heroes and I’m looking forward to seeing what will come out of that. Again this is my natural path where I’m going, we’ll see if people follow with me.