Spanning more than two decades from metal to melodic rock, supplying the powerhouse vocals behind the music of Waysted, Tyketto, and countless additional projects, Danny Vaughn continues to kick some serious rock n’ roll ass, with each of his contributions to the music world following the huge success of Tyketto’s ‘Don’t Come Easy’, leaving fans worldwide looking for more. His most recent answer to that call came with the release of ‘Traveller’, a project he refers to as “the best album of my career”. Read on as Danny elaborates on the reasons for that and more, with a look into the past, present and future, including the story of his debut performance, his take on the rock scene today, and what’s up next. Check this out….
Blast Magazine: Let me start by congratulating you on the success of Traveller. Beautiful work, by the way. Do you have a favorite track on it?
Danny Vaughn: Thank you very much. I think I have a new favorite each day. It all depends on what mood I'm in. Picking one is just impossible, though. In a way, to me, it's all one song because it's an entire journey all the way through and not just a random selection of tunes.
Blast Magazine: You’ve seen so much success with your previous projects, yet this one’s been described by you as the best album of your career. What sets it apart from the rest?
involvement of so many people who are close to me. The band that recorded it is
the same band that has toured with me for the past two years, and up to now they
have been working on other people's songs. This time they got to come in and
make their own mark on things and they took the job very personally.
The artwork on the cover is one of my father's paintings. I have waited for years to use some of his artwork on an album cover so, as you can guess, I'm really proud that he and I could be "together" on a project.
The logo and the cover layout were designed by my lovely girlfriend, Hayley Warren. It was a great boost to have her and so many people that I love all involved on the same project and I think it made so many of the songs much more personal than ever before.
Blast Magazine: That’s cool; the cover art and the logo are beautiful.
So now you worked with Tony Marshall, Pat Heath, Steve McKenna, and Lee Morris on this CD. What made that combination the choice for it?
Danny Vaughn: These guys have been touring with me in the UK and Europe for the past couple of years. It's the first time I've been in a two-guitar band and we wanted to write some songs that played to that strength.
Blast Magazine: Who wrote the songs on Traveller?
Danny Vaughn: As with all my recordings, a great deal of it starts with me and then people come in and give me their ideas and inputs for changes, new parts, arrangements, whatever. It's great to have differing points of perspective when you write songs. I like it when you end up with something that wasn’t forseen when you started. Mostly Pat and Tony worked on the writing end of it with me on several songs but there is also one co-write with a good friend, Charlie Calv from Shotgun Symphony.
Blast Magazine: Which new material has been played live so far?
Danny Vaughn: Almost everything! The album translates very well live. Even the acoustic song ‘Better By Far’ came out great when we played it. Now that we have three full-time backing singers in Steve, Lee, and Tony, nothing seems beyond our reach. We weren't sure how to present ‘Death Of The Tiger’ but rolling the intro part of the song on tape and then having the band come in over it provided a really good dynamic.
Blast Magazine: What else is featured in your set?
Danny Vaughn: We always try to juggle songs from everywhere in my back catalogue; I still can't get used to the idea that I've been around long enough to have a back catalogue! So there were a couple from ‘Fearless’, a couple from ‘Soldiers And Sailors’ and of course, we couldn't play without a liberal dash of the Tyketto stuff. There will always be things that get left out. This time there were no songs off of ‘From The Inside’ or other outside projects that I've done, we just stuck with the band related songs.
Blast Magazine: Looks like you’ve had a pretty full schedule as far as shows. How’s the turnout at those been?
Danny Vaughn: It's been varied, to be honest. You get nights like in Sheffield and Newcastle where the place is heaving and you get that wonderful atmosphere of a concert even though it's a club, but then nights like Nottingham, while we played great and the audience was very cool, it was more sparse than it should have been. I'm not sure if that is because people are going out less and less to club gigs, or simply slack promoters.
Blast Magazine: Where else are you planning to play?
For now I think we have done our bit for the year. I am looking into getting on
some summer festivals for 2008 and seeing what could be open to us but the live
music scene in the UK and Europe is really struggling. We have so many fans in
Germany, for instance, but the money that they are offering over there is
laughable. It's less than half of what we get everywhere else, so it's just not
economically feasible to play there. What a shame.
I think audiences in general have become used to getting less for their money and it makes them stay home a lot. People walk out of our shows shocked at how powerfully we can present a show, where much younger and more popular bands can't come close to the energy and audience connection that we have.
Experience is a good teacher.
Courtesy of Al Borrow
Blast Magazine: You’ve still got quite a fan base here in America, going back to the Waysted days, who would be very happy to see you again. Any plans to return?
I'm afraid not. America is just too big and there are thousands of miles between
the places that I could play where you have to drive, sleep, and eat with no way
to pay for it. It always comes down to practical economics, not desire, I'm
sorry to say.
Blast Magazine: What about Tyketto? Anything in the works for a reunion tour?
Danny Vaughn: We are going to get together in October for just a few selected shows. We were offered to play in the prime slot at this year's Firefest and we were happy to do it. It's the premiere place in the UK for bands of our type to be seen and a great gig, so we'll do a few others based around that. I know there will be at least one warm up show in New Jersey before we go over to Europe and we'll make announcements soon.
Blast Magazine: The rarities CD is also great listening, and we’re happy to have it available on your site for download. On behalf of all your fans, thank you.
Danny Vaughn: That's very kind. The real hardcore fans are always looking for more stuff, even when I don't have any! My opinion is that too many people are willing to milk that desire for every extra penny. A lot of "lost" tracks were lost for a reason. I would hate to put something like that on a CD, charge fifteen pounds for it, and have somebody feel ripped off. That's why they are free on the web site. We ask everybody to donate to the upkeep of the site as my web master, Chris, has done it for many years without asking for anything. A number of people did donate and that shows the high caliber of fans that I have.
Blast Magazine: Unfortunate story behind the Allied Forces album, but fantastic music. What made you decide to include those tracks?
Danny Vaughn: I only included the ones on the rarities that I was involved with and it was so people could hear them for free and satisfy their curiosity without getting ripped off. The original album, on Escape records was a rip off from the word "go" and they should be ashamed of themselves for taking advantage of what was to be a charity album whose money was to go to the Lakota Indian Nation. The music industry is filled with greedy, evil people. But that's hardly news, is it?
Blast Magazine: Have you played any of your work from Allied Forces live?
Danny Vaughn: No, I never have except for the one benefit show we all did originally for the Lakota Nation way back in the early 90's.
Blast Magazine: Rumor has it that you’re an avid reader. What are you reading now?
Danny Vaughn: I just finished ‘Executive Orders’ by Tom Clancy and ‘The Road’ by Cormac Macarthy. When I was in Finland I got into reading their national mythology, ‘The Kalevala’. I do love to read. I like to learn everything I can about the language. It helps keep my mind fresh for song writing.
Blast Magazine: What are you most inspired by when you’re writing?
Danny Vaughn: Usually the more personal the story, the more inspired I am. I realized back when I made ‘Soldiers And Sailors’ that I wanted to take a chance and show what was inside. You always take a risk of frightening people away when you show what really goes on inside your head. But I feel that the best writing comes from that risk.
Blast Magazine: Any desire to write outside of music?
Danny Vaughn: Every now and then I think I might want to tell my own story, but don't we all get that desire from time to time? I'm vastly under-qualified to write anything like that, though. Thank god for spell checker!
Blast Magazine: What else are you into when you’re not working?
Danny Vaughn: I am a professional relaxationist! I love to kick back on a nice sunny day and read. I’m also a huge movie geek. I probably should have another hobby, but then that wouldn't leave any time for anything else. I also give guitar lessons and that has been very rewarding.
Blast Magazine: What’s your earliest memory of musical influence?
Danny Vaughn: Without a doubt, the Beatles. Mom and Dad had all the albums and I used to stand behind our stereo speakers and sing along and try to blend in so that you couldn't tell it was me. God help my parents with my tinny, shrill voice when I was 3 years old! I think that's what taught me how to harmonize.
Blast Magazine: Can you tell us about your first live performance?
Danny Vaughn: The first time I ever sang live was in fifth grade in my brand new school. I had just changed from a public to a private school in the middle of the year and as soon as the teachers got a load of my big mouth, they stuck me right into school chorus. A month later I was singing the featured role in a performance we put on in a big church of a piece called ‘Pie Jesu’. I was really small and my voice was very high. The part I sang was normally for the castrati of the old boys choirs. That tells you how high it was! I remember everyone craning their necks and trying to figure out where the voice was coming from. All that attention? I was hooked.
Blast Magazine: That’s great, and by far one of the most original I’ve heard! Most kids are so shy at that age. What are you listening to now?
Danny Vaughn: Hmmm…there's not a lot of new stuff that excites me. The new Disturbed is very good but it gets a bit samey if you listen to the whole album all the way through. Pick any one track and it's monstrous, though! Today I was listening to ‘Storyville’ (the band), The Eagles, Bruce Hornsby, and Rob Zombie. It's a good day when it varies like that.
Blast Magazine: What’s the best part of what you do?
Danny Vaughn:The connections. When you are on stage and you can see people's eyes and they are emotionally moved by what you are doing. Whether it be a real hard rock kind of fist in the air reaction, or a ballad-like situation, connecting with others is the best part. Meeting people who have used music that I've made as part of the background for their lives is a very humbling thing.
Blast Magazine: What’s next for Danny Vaughn?
Danny Vaughn: Lunch, I think! Let's see now, there's actually quite a bit going on. I'm starting to work on From The Inside Part 2, with Fabrizio Grossi. I'm finishing up a project that got side lined for too long with Brazilian guitarist Davis Ramay, and I've just joined an Eagles tribute band in the UK called ‘The Illegal Eagles’ I get to do most of the Don Henley parts. How cool is that? And, oh yes, the Tyketto reunion shows. That has my year pretty full. Luckily, I'll have almost the entire summer at home, and that's a rare treat that I am looking forward to.
Blast Magazine: Anything you want to say to the fans?
Danny Vaughn: I can't think of any way to say thank you that hasn't been done to death, so I'll simply say thank you and mean it.
Danny, thanks so much for taking the time to chat. Again, congrats on the success of Traveller. We hope to see you out there again soon!
Thanks Meri, It's been a
Ok you guys, on a personal note… actually, lunch does sound like a plan…lol…just kidding…what I was going to say is if you haven’t heard ‘Traveller’ yet, the deal is this: Grab it, play it, crank volume accordingly! Everything you’ve loved in Danny’s previous work and then some is wrapped up in this one. And when you’ve had your fill there, jump over to his website and check out the ‘rarities’ collection we talked about earlier….awesome stuff…Enjoy!! Thanks for joining us…until next time.