Tyketto Discusses new album and life after Grunge
Tyketto is a hard rock band based out of New York City. The group was put together in 1987 by former Waysted vocalist Danny Vaughn, Brooke St. James (guitar), Jimi Kennedy (bass), and Michael Clayton (drums) completed the lineup.
By 1990, the band had signed to Geffen Records and released their debut album Don't Come Easy, which included the successful single "Forever Young." Musically, the album was somewhere between Whitesnake and Bon Jovi, and Tyketto opened for the former on many bills. However, the rise of the grunge sound in 1991 saw Tyketto's hopes of a big breakthrough begin to recede. Jimi left the band and was replaced by Jamie Scott. Their second album was rejected by Geffen and finally emerged in 1994 under the title Strength in Numbers on CMC International in the USA and Music for Nations elsewhere in the world.
2014 brought with it the 25th anniversary of the band forming and major touring plans and bookings followed along with the release of the band's first DVD entitled Documentally Yours. The first half of the year saw a run of UK dates built around the Hard Rock Hell AOR Festival all of which were used as live prep for the booking on the now prestigious Monsters of Rock Cruise which sailed from Miami in late March. The two shows on the aforementioned cruise would serve as a springboard for several other high-profile booking such was the caliber of the performances put in on board. The latter half of 2014 saw a twelve date, five country run around Europe to round out a stellar year for the band.
The band released their new album 'Reach' on October 14th 2016. The album features bassist Chris Childs in place of Jimi Kennedy and has received excellent reviews---from wikepedia
I think we would all be thrilled if we can stay this happy making music together.
- Thank you for taking the time to do this interview- Always a pleasure. Thanks for taking the time to listen to Tyketto!
- Let’s dive right in. Do you feel the move from 80’s hair bands to the grunge movement was a direct result of the changing world or more related to the record companies? In other words you had the first Gulf war in 1990, a war which many younger Americans saw combat for the first time. Nirvana released “Nevermind in 1991. Was the social climate simply changing and the party was over? Man, I am so NOT the political activist of Tyketto, but you raise good points. Tyketto was the poster child for “Late 80’s band swept away by the grunge movement”, so we lived through all that. If you look back at our country’s history, it’s always a running balance sheet between generations. I think what you are referring to is more of a sociological shift than a political or music industry one. The seriousness of the 1940’s WW2 era was replaced with a happier and simpler 1950’s mentality, which was then replaced with the rebellious 1960’s. In my opinion, the 1990’s “serious toned grunge movement” was the next obvious result after the bottomless well of prosperity and excess the Reagan years offered us in the 1980’s. Just like the 1960’s, the mentality of the 1990’s was so powerful because it was a decree formed by the people. Nirvana’s success wasn’t a master business plan of the industry. It happened solely on the heels of a younger generation looking to find their own voice.
- Tell us about The writing process for “REACH. PAINFUL!!! J The album was done remotely and all ideas were sent via email. So, instead of a three minute dialogue between members in a rehearsal studio, it would be a three day email exchange! Painstaking, but we will judge this one purely on the results, which are amazing.
- When it comes to lyrics and song structure who writes the most? We have an odd way of doing things, and Chris Green assimilated perfectly into how Danny and I like to work. There is no better lyricist than Danny Vaughn and he does all of the lyrics and melodies. (I did contribute my very first song title on this album with REMEMBER MY NAME). Chris delivered some of the best riffs and solo sections Tyketto has ever recorded. I am usually the arranger, and try and get the song into its best shape for the listener to enjoy.
- Is there anything, as far as topics, that you stay away from? Nothing is really off limits, as Danny has a way of saying things of a weighty nature, while not beating the listener over the head with his message.
- How did the relationship with Frontier records come about? Danny had done some projects with Frontiers prior to Tyketto and always spoke highly of them, Danny and I met the two owners of the company in NYC in 2011 and hit it off. REACH is record #2 with Frontiers, with another one down the road! We are very happy with everything thus far. Solid company.
- What the single craziest thing you ever experienced at a gig? A classic from our debut DON’T COME EASY is a little hip shaker called LAY YOUR BODY DOWN. We wrote it as a tribute to some NJ strippers we knew many moons ago, and the song is a fan favorite at every show. We were playing a 1991 show in San Diego, and I noticed that there was a young couple dancing. While smashing the drums, I took a closer look at them and realized they were just sharing a sexy dance…they were having sex! Pretty bold in a packed nightclub for sure!
- How relevant is social media to you? To me personally, not at all. For Tyketto business, I think it a valuable marketing tool when done properly. (see below)
- With the almost instantaneous communication and streaming now available, do you see this as a good thing or something else? Initially, I found it fantastic, and just like any good thing that comes along, people tend to abuse it and diminish it’s value. The thing I dislike about it is the level of falsehood one can portray while spouting their opinions, without ever having to make eye contact with the person they are communicating with. On a business level, it has proven to be wonderfully effective in helping Tyketto reach new fans around the world. Overall, I think there are good and bad sides to it.
- Looking at your audience today. What surprises you the most? Two things, First is the total enthusiasm our older fans show each and every time we take that stage. No matter how many times they have seen us live, the scream their heads off! The other thing is seeing the number of new faces enjoying us for the first time. It’s such a mixed age group, and it makes me very happy to see that our music stands the test of time and of generations.
- How difficult was it to watch videos fade from mtv and the 80’s scene dry up so quickly? (don’t tell anyone…but as far as video and MTV …NOT AT ALL!) I want to find the MTV exec that thought it would be a great idea to have bands act in the own videos, and punch him!!! I think too many people overthink it. As far as the music and the genre, it was simply another trend moving to the side to let the next generation get their shot. The success and amazing attendance at the shows we have been playing the last few years are a testament to the fact that regardless of the era, there are really only two kinds of music….good and bad.
- What do you see for the future of TYKETTO I think we would all be thrilled if we can stay this happy making music together. Right now, we are all content simply enjoying this moment in time.
- A song or artist that is on your music playlist that fans might not expect. There is a NJ band from back in the day called Mr Reality. Three piece acoustic pop band. I just rediscovered them on YouTube and forgot how amazing they are!