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


Mark from Therockpit.net Interviews Danny Vaughn
 

All photographs © Marty Moffat (used by permission)

 

It is with great pride that therockpit.net brings you it’s first ever interview with one of our favourite artists- Danny Vaughn. We have a number of other exciting interviews lined up over the coming months but it was great that Danny could take time out from his busy schedule to speak with us. I hope you enjoying reading the interview as much as I did conducting it.

 

As an added bonus to all therockpit.net readers Danny and hardrockhouse.com have a special offer for you. If you purchase Danny’s new CD quoting the code RockpitHRHDanny by November 1st 2009 you will be placed in the draw to win a very exclusive poster. The poster, signed by Danny and the band, is from the very gig that the new CD “The Road less Travelled” was taken from, and is a very rare item indeed. For details of how to order and have a chance to win please see the details at the foot of this article and click on the hardrockhouse.com link.   

Mark: Hi Danny many thanks for making the time to speak to the Rockpit. ‘The Road Less Travelled’ your latest CD is a big favourite of ours at the moment. We loved your previous live CDs but this one, unplugged, with a full band running through that great back catalogue is something truly special. You and the crowd sound like you are really loving it?

Danny: Without a doubt. The entire idea of doing an unplugged show was one that grew from small beginnings. None of us really has that kind of “unplugged” experience with the exception of myself so it was a very daunting thing for the band to do. Going unplugged is not as simple as it sounds and it’s much more difficult than simply playing the same things on acoustic instruments. Really, your whole approach has to change. And the guys did a great job. Also, my audience is a very understanding and forgiving crowd, so they were well up for the experiment and brought an awful lot of noise and good will to the project.

Mark: Do you have any plans to take that show back out on the road? Round Europe maybe; or the US?

Danny: Not really, no. I wish I could but at the moment I find myself trying to juggle more things than I can handle so a few things have been relegated to the back burner. But it is my hope to take whatever monies we generate for this album and roll them over into the making of a new, semi acoustic solo album. I’ve got about 20 songs that I call my “orphans” that have no real home either on a solo rock record or a Tyketto album and I’m really anxious to try and get them properly recorded.

Mark: Classic Rock magazine has called you ‘one of the top voices of the melodic hard rock genre’ we have to agree with them. Where does that voice come from?

Danny: Dumb luck, really! I think, for the most part, a singing voice is something that you are born with. You can learn to add to your range and you can always work on your technique, but there are intangible things like listen ability and likeability that are selective to each person. If you are really lucky, a lot of people find something about your voice that they just like. After all, almost everyone can sing.

That Classic Rock mention was quite a thing for me. Normally, I don’t care much about lists. And I wouldn’t even dare venture to say if I deserve to be there or not, but it was a really great feeling to be recognized for 20 years of decent work.

Mark: If we can take you back in time for a while... We first heard of Danny Vaughn in 1986 when he became the new singer for Waysted. Was that first taste of Rock stardom all that you thought it would be?

Danny: Yes, and a lot more. And every now and then, a little bit less. When it was great it was the best experience ever. There were times where the glamour falls away, however, and the reality can be very down to earth. Or lower!

Mark: What was your most vivid memory of your time with Waysted?

Danny: Naming one is hard but the first thing that comes to mind is when we played Madison Square Garden in NYC opening up for Iron Maiden. That whole experience of opening for Maiden was unforgettable but to play in the ultimate, the most famous concert hall in the world AND it’s also in my hometown where I grew up! I was dazzled for days by that one.

Mark: Do you have a favourite quote about Pete Way?

Danny: Most of my favourite stories or quotes about Pete are not fit to be retold in the general population! He is a rocker’s rocker. He lives it and breathes it. So many others are just pretenders.

Mark: The first Tyketto album ‘Don’t Come Easy’ is one our all-time favourite rock records. I know that you guys got together in 1987 after you left Waysted and the album was released in 1991. Was that album a product of 4 years hard work or did it come together quite quickly?

Danny: The first album is almost always a culmination of the previous several years work. We worked very fast and knew our way around to get the right connections but even that takes time. In the 3 or 4 years previous to releasing DCE we worked hard on learning to become songwriters and I think it shows.

Mark: The album did reasonably well I seem to recall, and ‘Forever Young’ got some airplay but the second album came out on a minor label. How did you come to part ways with Geffen?

Danny: DCE made some major in roads for us. We had done a couple of big tours, we had done a couple of well received videos, been on MTV Headbangers Ball, and a number of other international video shows. It felt like things were moving ahead. But while all of that was going on, the music industry did a major change ushered in by the success of Nirvana. Suddenly, people that last week were telling us what big stars we were going to be wouldn’t return any of our phone calls. When you are “out” of fashion on the music industry, it’s a long fall onto a concrete surface, I can tell you. We had finished recording the 2nd album, “Strength In Numbers” with producer Kevin Elson. Lots of money had been spent on it and Geffen had gone so far as to have sent out pre release cassettes (remember them?) to a number of radio stations in anticipation of its release. The only thing that wasn’t done was the cover artwork. Then, out of nowhere, someone in the accounting department decided that we weren’t a good investment and, BANG!, it was over. One phone call. Like when they whacked Carlo in Godfather 1. We were shocked and disheartened.

Mark: Did you see anything positive about the rise of grunge in the 90’s in retrospect?

Danny: Several things, believe it or not! But the most important thing about the rise of grunge is that, initially, it was not something done “to us” by the record labels or the fashion industry. The popularity of Nirvana and Soundgarden, to name a few ground breakers, was completely decided by the audience who simply had had enough of too many pretty hair bands with matching leather outfits and the same, slinging the guitars around their necks, choreography. They wanted their rock stars to look just like them. I respect the fact that it was a rare time that the audience took it upon themselves to choose rather than be spoon-fed whatever the industry wants them to eat like they do now. Pussycat Dolls? Lady Gaga? Get real. And shame on everybody that is buying that junk and calling it music.

Mark: How hard was it is for a band like Vaughn to ‘start all over’ in 2000?

Danny: Not hard at all because I was completely aware of the changes that had occurred and I had no expectations. I still know bands today from “my era” that haven’t figured out that they just aren’t popular like they used to be. When I started out again after almost 5 years away from the game, I simply wanted to be allowed to sing and write songs. Everything else has been a bonus.

 

© Marty Moffat

Mark: You’ve been involved in several other Projects over the years like ‘Flesh and Blood’ and ‘From the Inside’ and ‘The Illegal Eagles’. To be honest we love them all and would certainly encourage readers to check them out. Do you have anything you have always really wanted to do but have never found the time or opportunity to make it happen?

Danny: As a matter of fact, I am now doing something I have never done before, which is actively finding web sites and fan pages and writing people to please check out the new live/unplugged CD I have out called “THE ROAD LESS TRAVELLED” because we are doing this one completely off of our own backs with no record company involved. My goal is to sell enough copies to fund the next solo project I am really dying to do entitled, “Myths, Legends, and Lies”. I have about 20 songs that I have written over the years that are what I refer to as my orphans. They are a little strange and different and not suitable to be included in the rock records that I do with either my band or with Tyketto. I already know whom I would like to have play on the album and how I would like to produce and record it. All I need now is the capital.

Mark: The UK has always had a soft spot for Tyketto and Danny Vaughn. I have a friend who religiously goes to every show and I myself managed to visit the UK to ‘coincide’ with a show a few years ago. What makes the UK special for you?

Danny: First of all let me just say, “bless you both”!!!  LOL! That’s really cool to hear, thanks so much for that. It’s a real vote of confidence that I take to heart. I think UK audiences have long and strong memories. When I first came over here with Waysted, I was replacing a well-known singer in a well-known band and it was a hard thing to do. But they gave me enough rope and I didn’t hang myself. I managed to deliver. And that’s what I’ve always sought to do, with Tyketto and my own shows, deliver. I think any audience respects you when you go out there with the express purpose of giving the fans their hard earned monies worth.

Mark: Fill us in on the Illegal Eagles? How did that come about?  What are your plans for the future of what must be one of the top UK tribute bands around?

Danny: The Illegal Eagles have been a real blessing to me. I got the call to audition for them at a very rough time in my life, when I had just finished a disastrous tour where I was heavily ripped off and I needed rent money. What started as a sometime thing quickly became a full time offer and I was hooked. I love the music. It takes real skill and attention to reproduce such amazing songs accurately and our band has some of the best players I’ve ever worked with in it. We are currently doing about 80 to 100 shows a year and I’d like to see that number grow.

Mark: Danny, when we saw Tyketto on the roster for Rock Gone Wild this year we were excited. I know some people who personally purchased tickets to specifically see you. What happened with all that and how were you affected?

Danny: All I know is that the promoters lost the land rights to put the show on. We were all pretty upset, as it would have been the first big show for Tyketto, which has had some membership changes recently, in America in a very long time. Still, all we can do is keep pushing forwards and try to get a slot on one or two of next summer’s big shows.

Mark: There were rumours that last year you were badly treated by a certain promoter booking for Rocklahoma. We understand that person is no longer booking. Is there any chance of seeing you in any form at Rocklahoma in 2010? We would be more than happy to help.

Danny: It would be bad business for me to slag anybody off here, especially since I don’t know all of the details involved. I do know that we tried very hard to get onto Rocklahoma’s roster for this year. After all, we’re about the only band from that era that they haven’t had on their stage at least once already. I don’t know about any particular agent but I do know that a lot of people write into their web site and made some noise on our behalf and I would be brazen enough to ask your readers to please take a minute and do that again this year. We would love to storm that stage!

 

© Marty Moffat

 

Mark: You seem like someone who just enjoys playing live music, what motivates you? What keeps you going?

Danny: I wish I knew exactly. But you are right; I love playing and singing, be it live or in the studio. It’s the best way that I express myself and I find that I can reach in pretty deep sometimes. There always seems to be more to discover both internally and musically. I have always been a traveller, as well and music has given me the joy of going to so many places and meeting so many people around the world. What a great job!! (when it pays, LOL)

Mark: Where can we next catch you live?

Danny: The Illegal Eagles are touring all over the UK (35 shows) this autumn from September to December. The dates are all posted at www.illegaleagles.com

I’m hoping to have some Tyketto shows all over the place during the summer of 2010 as well.

Mark: I know you must get asked this a lot and every so often we hear rumours of a new Tyketto album. What are the chances?

Danny: Very good, these days! We have decided to make a new album this summer. It’s all about the song writing. If we can manage to write the kinds of songs that our fans would expect from us, over the rest of this year, then we are going to steam ahead and record a new album and tour it next summer. It’s high time for new material from this band, don’t you think? 

Mark: We’re putting that in the diary already!

Mark:  What other ambitions does Danny Vaughn have these days?

Danny: I’m not a particularly ambitious person. I tend to take a more Zen approach to things and watch what is occurring around me to see what I can make happen. But, of course, I really want to keep playing, keep writing, and finding new and exciting projects to sing on. So everybody keep sending me those demo ideas! 

Mark: Looking back over the last 20 years what is your biggest disappointment or regret?

Danny: I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t have any. To be perfectly blunt, I wish I had managed to get Tyketto’s first album out in 1989 instead of 1991. I would love to have seen how high the band could have risen when the wind was in our favour. Like anybody else, there are lots of mistakes made along the way, but I’m so happy with where I am right now that if making those mistakes is what got me here, then I can live with them just fine.

Mark: What five songs sum up your career to date? 

Danny: Hmmmm…. Tough one. In no particular order: FOREVER YOUNG, A MILLION MILES OF ROAD, LIFTED, THE VOICE, SOLDIERS AND SAILORS ON RIVERSIDE.

Mark: What new music are you listening to at the moment?

Danny: I’m embarrassed to say that I haven’t picked up on anything new lately. I’ve been doing my own thing in my own corner of the world and I haven’t been listening to anything but my ipod. The last band that I caught on to recently is a group called “Elbow” that I think are very cool.

Mark: What do you see as the future for the kind of melodic rock music we love?

Danny: I wish I knew. I feel that there is a larger audience out there somewhere but that we just haven’t had the resources to reach it. Certainly Frontiers Records are the biggest company doing melodic rock and they haven’t broken any new ground or found a new audience in many years. So I’m not sure it’s ever going to grow any larger. But new bands come along and do what we have always done in slightly different clothing. The first Daughtry album doesn’t sound so far away from Tyketto. Wolfmother is doing a retro 70’s thing. It all moves in circles.

Mark: How can small unsigned or minor label artists hope to survive in these days of dwindling sales? Is the future live?

Danny: Live is definitely back in a big way. We are about 10 to 20 years away from a time when nobody will even be able to remember when they couldn’t get music for free. I hope we don’t get so spoiled that we forget that it takes money and hard work to make music in the first place. Otherwise, our choices will get slimmer and slimmer and all we’ll have is this pre fab radio pop crap that seems to be everywhere these days.

Mark: We hear that got married in September and we wish you all the best. After the big day what are your musical plans for the remainder of 2009 and 2010?

Danny: Thanks! Our wedding was absolutely magical. It was a perfect day and everyone that was there had a wonderful time with us. I found the most amazing woman and life partner I could ever have hoped for and I have never been happier.

You’ve already heard most of my musical plans for the next couple of years. I took some time off to be more than just a token part of planning the wedding so that we could have some real time together before I start travelling again. I put song writing on hold as well in order to get adjusted to my new home, etc. Now I’m expecting all of this excitement to lead to a lot of new songs fairly soon!

 

© Marty Moffat

 

Mark: Where can people keep in touch with Danny Vaughn and more importantly where is the best place to buy your music?

Danny: The web site www.dannyvaughn.com is the best place to keep up with what I’m doing, as is my myspace page. Please sign up for newsletters and bulletins and don’t worry, I only write when I actually have something going on! If you’re having trouble finding my cds (and some of them are out of print) drop me a line and we should be able to send you to a good web site.

Mark: In our opinion the world would be a better place if everyone rushed out and bought a copy of Danny’s new album ‘The Road Less Travelled’.

Danny: LOL! Now all we need to do is make your opinion everybody’s opinion!! Thanks so much for that, guys!

Mark: Thank you for taking the time to be our first ever interview: for that you will always have a special place in the hearts of the Rockpit team. We hope to see you again in the UK soon and are crossing our fingers for more dates in the USA; one day we might even get you down to Australia! 

Danny: You guys have been great! And you left no stone unturned either. My index fingers are worn out from typing! It is my sincere hope that I get to play some show in Australia some day. I’ve been dying to visit you guys for years! All the best,

Danny Vaughn

 

mark@therockpit.net

 

Danny’s latest release ‘The Road Less Travelled’ is available now.

Danny’s latest CD ‘The Road Less Travelled’ is available now:

www.hardrockhouse.com/TheRoadLessTravelled.htm

Remember to quote your unique Rockpit.net code RockpitHRHDanny in the comments section when ordering to go into the draw to win the signed poster.

 

You can keep in touch with Danny and all of his news at his website www.dannyvaughn.com

Help get Danny and Tyketto on nest years Rocklahoma bill be writing to: info@feverfest.com

or by joining and posting on the Rocklahoma forums at: http://fevertalk.com/

Enjoy,

 

Mark