The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
Tyla J Pallas Dog Tales book review













For the uninitiated Tyla is what you might call an English treasure: one of those rare breed of musicians from the eighties UK rock scene whose star may have faded somewhat in the intervening years, but despite the fluctuations of fortune; someone who has always stayed true to his art, always been able to produce consistently great music and just as importantly always been able to engage and charm those of us who have stayed along for the ride.



It’s hard to sum up an artist like Tyla in a few sentences as the man has many facets but if you do get the chance pick up a CD and see what you think, or maybe even a copy of this book you won’t be disappointed.



‘Dog Tales’ is thankfully not the most conventional of reads, it’s not a biography, though I guess it could well be fragments of stories that may one day fit into such a volume. It’s more a collection of ‘tales’, or stories, that at times are insightful, amusing, amazing, ridiculous or all of the above. What is most refreshing for me at least is that it appears to be almost random in construction with tales of childhood propped up against tales of debauchery from the days of Tyla’s band The Dogs D’Amour but also containing snippets that you might even go as far as calling ‘unfinished fables’ (‘The Wolf’) and even glimpses of the charming absurdity of the world (like Ali’s Biggest Fan’). There is even a snatch of poetry which of course Tyla has delved into in previous publications.



For most the biggest draw will of course be tales from the road and those stories that look at the nature of being in a band and all that comes with it.  It is not, of course, Tyla’s first foray into setting down his musings, with smaller scale works accompanying earlier musical releases like the ’Treasure Chest’ encased  version of 'Lullabies For Tough Guys' and the  'Mightier Than The Sword Vol. 2' album. This collection is very much worth the wait! (Though some might say long overdue).



What draws you in most of all is the style of Tyla’s prose, it’s very conversational and draws you in beautifully, makes you feel like you are sat next to a man whose latent sense of humour is always either on display or trapped just below the surface hidden by a smile. This is the sort of guy that you would love to share a pint and a yarn with, and in fact I’ll go so far as to recommend that you do that, or at least pour yourself a nice glass of red before setting down.



The other point I have to make here it that it is all very English, especially in its humour, and in an entirely positive way. Whilst a few of the allusions and references may be lost, especially on our American cousins, you won’t necessarily feel like you may be missing out on the full experience if you don’t pick up on some of the references due to the geography of your birth. It just makes the experience all the more rich for some I guess, like  when I’m talking to American friends and they drop in a cultural reference or two and you just nod sagely…  Tyla’s Englishness though is a huge part of his charm, though I guess coming from the Midlands myself, and being not too far removed in age, I might be overstating this a little! But I always find a lot of your humour comes from your upbringing and Tyla has a wonderful understated Englishness to his sense of humour as well as a great eye for detail and an obvious appreciation for the droll, the nuance and the ironic as well as the firecracker humour we all know and love.



Enough of my ramblings though. Dog Tales is a wonderful book and contains some great stories. It’s also the sort of tome that you can dip into here and there at will and get something out of it whether it’s a short note about a practical joke on a sleeping traveller on a train, an aside about Salvador Dali, or the opening story about a supercharged childhood motor scooter.  




If you are here for the Rock and Roll there’s plenty too from not meeting Axl Rose back in the day after he was ejected from a Dogs show, to tales of destruction and excess along the years: room service bills a mile long to TV’s too well nailed down to exit hotel windows.



There’s also tales that lay bare the whole Rock and Roll mythology from being ripped off by managers to not being able to afford a beer when 'A Graveyard of Empty Bottles’ (The Dogs most successful release in the UK) charted. To balance that there are countless tales of fans and supporters and friends who were there along the way.



So if you want to delve into a collection of random recollections about the world of Tyla J Pallas and the magic and chaos along the way this is it. A large part of the charm of this read is that chaos and not knowing what is coming next keeps you going. It’s also a book you can sit down to and read from cover to cover, or just keep dipping back into: both approaches are equally enjoyable.



There are some classic stories in there, some interesting asides about the musical path, but not so much critique or analysis, it’s more about the yarn – and you, the reader, get to decide what to make of it. All up it’s a wonderful package and there are some great illustrations too for fans of Tyla’s art. If you are like me you won’t be able to put this down and keep dipping back to re-read a few favourites. I hope there’s much more to come and certainly don’t expect that we won’t see a sequel, but hopefully sooner than later.



Pick up a copy from here:



By Mark Diggins