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
Michael Arbeeny Tyketto - Interview
The Rockpit interviews

MICHAEL ARBEENY

TYKETTO


Hardline

After five years of relentless touring that included playing on some of the most prestigious stages on the planet, Tyketto took their revitalized energy in to the studio in the spring of 2016. The sessions took place at the legendary Rockfield Studios in Wales (Queen, Rush, Oasis). Tyketto released their new album "Reach" on October 14th via Frontiers Music SRL so we caught up with drummer Michael Arbeeny to talk about the new songs and much more.

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Mark: Hi Michael thank you for talking to The Rockpit today.

Michael: Pleasure to meet you! I am on my 3rd cup of coffee and I am ready to answer all your questions.

Mark: It's almost 30 years now since Tyketto formed and 25 years since the release of 'Don't Come Easy' one of my favourite albums of the eighties. I'm pretty stunned as you’ve just managed to come up with something that almost equals it! Did 'Reach' come easy? And did it feel special when you listened back?

Michael: We all call REACH the "miracle baby" of the Tyketto catalogue. We wrote and demoed the entire album remotely from three different countries. The entire process was done via email, and I wrote and recorded all my drum tracks on an old electronic kit. If you would have seen the process, you never would have believed it would reach completion. We all took a step back when it was finished, and thought, "Holy S**T... What the hell did we just create!" We logged more hours on REACH than any Tyketto album prior, and couldn't be happier with the results.

Mark: New album 'Reach' is out on October 14th worldwide through Frontiers, you've made a lot of new friends playing a lot of shows over the last three years, but as sales go what are the realistic hopes of a hard rock band these days?

Michael: Here in America, you're considered a hit if you sell 20,000 units! The market has most certainly changed, and we are quite pleased with our pre-sale activity. All four of our single pre-sales went to #1 on Amazon UK online order, and the press has been consistently positive. For a band like Tyketto, our core fans will always come out and support. Unlike other bands of our genre, we are exploring other avenues of placement ala television and movies. As the band's manager as well as drummer, I want to take Tyketto out of our comfort zone and introduce us to a whole new market.

Mark: The album hooks you in so fast starting out with the huge single 'Reach' then right into 'Big Money' was the intention to take no prisoners!?

Michael: Once we decided to "steer our own ship" and make all business decisions based on our gut instinct, all bets were off! For over two decades, Tyketto has been considered an exemplary live entity. We made the conscious decision to approach the recording like a live performance. That mentality came with an adjustment period. As the music was so atypically aggressive for Tyketto, Danny initially had a hard time trying to figure out where he fit in. We discussed it in England on the 2014 tour, and he said he didn’t quite know how to come at the music that Chris and I were writing. I suggested to take the map he was looking at and turn it upside down! Basically, the game plan was to abandon conventional thinking and just put the whole thing over the top. Many reviews compare the energy of REACH to Van Halen's debut album, so I guess we accomplished our goal.

Mark: Tyketto always had that ability to put together a great song with huge hooks and memorable melodies but this incarnation of the band just seems to be bestowed with a real relentless drive that we caught glimpses of on comeback album 2012's 'Dig In Deep' - how do you feel the band has progressed since that record?

Michael: A huge factor was the new members on REACH. Dig In Deep was recorded with the original DON'T COME EASY lineup. I like that album a lot, but just like our 1995 SHINE album, I felt it didn't fully blossom as a full body of music. I think we were all in different places personally and musically during that time. In my opinion, there were some incredible songs, but it was not an incredible album as a whole. The new guys (Chris Green; guitar, Ged Rylands; keybords and Chris Childs; bass) all entered the band as fans first and foremost which brought great energy to REACH.

Mark: Chris Childs (of Thunder) plays on the record rather than Jimi Kennedy, has Jimi left the band?

Michael: Chris is officially the bassist of Tyketto. Jimi and I have stayed dear friends, but his family commitments and job won’t allow him enough time to travel with the band.


READ OUR REVIEW OF REACH



Mark: The new guys Ged Rylands (keys) and Chris Green (guitar) seem to have fitted in beautifully, what's it like working with them?

Michael: Danny and I are brothers for life, and have shared an incredible 30 year friendship. There is something so special about Chris, Ged and Chris joining our family. It is by far the most comfortable, happy and exciting feeling in the world to be in a band with these guys. Our energy just feeds off each other's. For me, it is very reminiscent of Led Zeppelin. Great players unto themselves, but when you put it all together...Magic. I am hoping this lineup is around for many years to come.

Mark: Taking a look at some of the other tracks: 'I Need It Now' is the sort of song most Melodic Rock bands would kill for, all laid back cool, and with a stuttering guitar line that drives the song to an infectious chorus, it's huge with a soulful breakdown and looks like a surefire single?

Michael: One of my top three on the album. Chris HATED it when he first heard Danny's idea (which was much different musically than the finished product). We went to work on it and the result was fantastic.

Mark: 'Tearing Down the Sky' is maybe even better, vintage Tyketto guitars with a trademark slow build, great vocals and perfectly balanced guitar. Who brought that idea to the table?

Michael: That was a hybrid of Danny, Chris and I. Danny had the vocal melody from an older song he was working on, and I loved the verses. Chris came up with the riff and solo section and I arranged it. We didn't actually have the chorus until the day we recorded it!! This one is the most Tyketto friendly I think.

Mark: 'The Fastest Man Alive' offers up a nice change of pace, mid-tempo, driven by drums and a dirty guitar sound it shimmies into town, picks up pace and walks all over your speakers in a sea of blistering guitar and swaggering melody. You sound like a band brimming with confidence?

Michael: Before the lyrics were written, we affectionately nicknamed this one "STRIPPER". It oozes sex and confidence. There was an entirely different vocal melody, which Danny didn't like, hence the re-write that ended up on the song.

Mark: 'Sparks Will Fly' is one of my favourite tracks, bristling with cool and topped with a searing chorus that Danny Vaughn makes his own, it's another sure-fire winner?

Michael: You and I think alike! One of my faves as well. Something about this song just makes me smile. Love the chorus lyrics, and the outro music will do any Zep fan proud. That's what one would call a MIGHTY RIFF!!!

Mark: 'Scream' the second huge ballad here delivers plenty of emotional punch in great style indeed it could well be the best song here - we've looked at a few contenders now - but which songs did you most enjoy working on?

Michael: SCREAM has most certainly gotten the most attention of the four songs released thus far. It dark and powerful, and really garnishes deep emotions. My favorite songs to record are different than my faves to listen to -
To record, it was BIG MONEY, KICK LIKE A MULE, and CIRCLE THE WAGONS
To listen, it's I NEED IT NOW, SPARKS and THE RUN

Mark: You sound like as a band in the form of their lives, does it feel that way?

Michael: There's an old saying that says, "When everything falls into place, you will find happiness." This is the wrong way to look at life. The correct approach is, "When you find happiness, everything will fall into place". We are so pleased with our music and each other (both as musicians and as friends), we seem to have this beautiful breeze at our back, pushing us along quite comfortably. We're not quite certain where it's all headed, but all five of us are really enjoying the journey.


Monsters Of Rock Cruise 2015



Mark: We loved the 25th Anniversary Documentary 'Documentally Yours' you put together, it sounded like a labour of love, but I bet it took up a fair amount of time?

Michael: YOU HAVE NO IDEA!!! 2 years and change to be exact, and I elected to tackle the whole thing on my own! While saving our old VHS tapes to DVD for my then 5 year old son to watch someday, a unique story stated to unfold. I took over 93 hours of footage, and (in real time) watched every second, and trimmed it down to the story that ended up being the documentary.

Mark: Were you happy the way it turned out and glad that you'd kept all those tapes over the years?

Michael: Every few months I pop it in and enjoy is just as much as the first time I saw it. It's the story of a band that got knocked down many times, but always got back up. Danny gets the credit for relentlessly filming all those years and for saving the tapes...all 33 of them!

Mark: Taking it all the way back - how did you guys first meet and what was the grand plan?

Michael: Jimi Kennedy and I were pals and in a local band. When I heard that Coverdale was assembling a new Whitesnake line up in 1987, I wanted to submit a drum demo. My buddy James Lomenzo (White Lion) offered to play bass, and brought Danny along for vocals. He and I instantly clicked, and decided to form a band. Jimi was my only choice for bass. Brooke was recommended for an audition, and soon after moved to NY from the Midwest. Grand plan? No such thing back then. Just four guys in the twenties looking to make some music.

Mark: You reformed first in 2004 then 2007 for 'The Last Sunset' then more dates in 2008 and it has really kept going from there - When Tyketto reformed what were your hopes?

Michael: Our desire for all those reunions was just to get together as friends and play music together. Besides a brief flurry of business success in the early 1990s, Tyketto hasn’t been about a bottom line. We grew up together, and enjoyed reconnecting from time to time.

Mark: In 2000 you played Download - did you ever think Tyketto would be playing a stage like that especially second time around?

Michael: I have always believed Tyketto belonged on the arena stage. Danny is one of the best front men in rock, and all of us have always put 100 percent out there for our fans at every show. I feel blessed for all of these new opportunities, but seeing how hard my band mates have worked for this, I can also say it is well deserved!

Mark: The first time I'd seen you since back in the day (the UK Tour with White Lion) was on the Monsters of Rock Cruise last year, and you just got back from the West Coast 'Monsterwood Cruise' - I trust you went down just as well in the West?

Michael: Some say the theatre show on the west coast cruise was one of the best live sets the band ever delivered. That's quite an accomplishment when you're in your mid 50s!

Mark: What was your favourite moment?

Michael: My favourite moment is quite uneventful! While playing a show in Germany about two years ago, I simply sat back while playing my drums and watched my band mates perform. In over 44 years of drumming, I had never felt that level of pride. All four of them looked like there was nowhere else they wanted to be than on that stage together. To this day, it goes down as my favourite Tyketto show ever.

Mark: How did the new songs go down live and which did you play?

Michael: We haven't played any live yet! That's coming this November!! Rock bands on a Cruise ship! Who'd have thought it? Not me, until I did one. Thoroughly enjoyable on every level, and my son is now addicted to buffets.

Mark: Outside of Music what takes up your time?

Michael: My booking agency clocks over 3,000 shows a year, which take up most of my time. After that it's quiet time with my wife and son. (Yes...boring rock star)

Mark: You manage Tyketto, for all your Australian fans out there, what's it gonna take for us to get you down there?

Michael: You tell us! Japan and Australia have eluded us. They are both bucket list wishes!

Mark: What got you started in music and when did you know it would be your life?

Michael: When my bother decided he didn't want to play the drum set my parents bought for him, I got the gig at 9 years old...and HATED it! It wasn't until my teens that I embraced drumming. One of the neighbourhood kids and I would jam together along to KISS albums. A career was born...

Mark: If you could have been a "Fly on the wall" for the creation of any great album just to see how the magic happened - what would it be for you and why?

Michael: Great question! I would say Physical Graffiti by Led Zeppelin. Such a diverse collection of songs, with the band at the top of their game.

Mark: And finally the easy question - "What is the Meaning of life?"

Michael: That's the easy one!!!! Oh boy...I've actually got this one. If you can honestly say that you are content with your life at this precise moment, then all the twists, turns, disappointments and changes were actually your correct path. The meaning of life is right now. Not what happened yesterday or what tomorrow may or may not bring. That is my daily Zen message...Now I'm off to make more coffee

Mark: Thank you so much for taking the time Michael, see you on tour!

Michael: Thank you!


CATCH TYKETTO IN EUROPE IN NOVEMBER

November 13th - De Bosuil - Weert, Netherlands
November 14th - Spirit of 66 - Verviers, Belgium
November 16th - Pacific Rock - Cergy, France
November 18th - Hall of Fame - Wetzikon, Switzerland
November 19th - Riffelhof - Burgrieden, Germany
November 21st - Nachtlebel - Frankfurt, Germany
November 23rd - Matrix - Bochum, Germany
November 24th - Boerderij - Zoetermeer, Netherlands
November 26th - Cluny - Newcastle, UK
November 27th - O2 ABC2 - Glasgow, UK
November 28th - 02 Academy 2 - Liverpool, UK
November 29th - 02 Academy 2 - Islington, UK
December 2nd - Planet Rockstock - Trecco Bay, UK
December 4th - Robin 2 - Bilston, UK
December 5th - Rescue Rooms - Nottingham, UK


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Interview by Mark Rockpit on October 2016