Danny Vaughn is considered one of the best voices in rock. With his band Tyketto he should have reached stardom but reality shows he hasn’t. Still the man sings stronger than ever and his voice shows no signs of wear and tear. With ‘Reach’, album number five, in the pocket, Tyketto shows they are still very much a force to be reckoned with in melodic metal. HBLS had the honour of talking with him and it became a very sincere conversation.
First thing I do in the morning when I wake up is…. ,,Well, I don’t even want to tell you that, haha…probably the same thing as anybody else does.’’ When in the shower I like to sing …. ,,Gosh, unfortunately it’s often Eagles songs ‘cause that are the ones that are in my head all the time. Especially for the Ultimate Eagles we are constantly changing and adding. This year we’re doing the whole ‘Hotel California’ album and there’s a couple of songs there that we’ve never done live so I really have to work on those.’’ My guilty pleasure is… ,,Movies…lots and lots of movies. I tend to watch everything. It has a lot to do with how much I travel, it’s really movies and books, I never go anywhere without a hard drive full of movies and a lot of reading material.’’ My biggest challenge in life is…. ,,Not quitting. I have people who helped me to not be a quitter that’s more accurate. If I get frustrated enough with something I just want to leave it and that’s one of the reasons why I left Tyketto in 1995. I wasn’t frustrated with them, I was frustrated with the business and I hated to see something I worked so hard on dying a painful and slow death so I left. I get frustrated with business people in general, I’m not a business man.’’
The last thing I do before I go on stage is …. ,,Usually spit, hahaha, if I’m honest, yeah.’’ I like to collect …. ,,It used to be a million things but it is quieter now. I’m still collecting cd’s, it’s a good time to collect them because once of a sudden nobody wants them. We are from a certain age group, we like to have the physical product in our hands. I like to read the notes, watch the pictures even though they’re very small. I am exited ‘Reach’ will be out on vinyl, that’s fantastic.’’ If not a musician I would have become … ,,Homeless. I am sure about that, I can’t do anything else, haha.’’ One special item I always take with me on tour is … ,,Well, back to the movie answer, a very small laptop. I probably spent too much time on it. Also I’m writing a lot more now. Just writing. My ideas, maybe some stories from the road, whatever. I have no plan and of course I watch my movies on it.’’
Writing autobiographies is hip, are you writing that as well? ,,Not consciously, a few people, my wife included, are really encouraging me to try and do that and I find that funny because I don’t have those stories, I don’t have the Mötley Crüe stories. Tyketto didn’t have 100’s of groupies in a room and all those sort of things. I sometimes think who would want to hear my little stories but…once in a while I tell them and somebody say you should write that down. So maybe, at some point but I’m not putting any pressure on myself to actually to put it together in some kind of cohesive story yet. Right now I’m getting used to sitting down and typing away my thoughts, regardless of what it’s about.’’ My all time favourite song is … ,,I don’t know why but the first song that popped into mind is ,,I’m Your Captain’’ by Grand Funk Railroad. But picking favourites of songs is impossible.’’ The secret of my powerful and never forsaking voice is …. ,,Haha, I take care of it. I’m not a big drinker, I never smoked, I have my rituals, my warm ups, things that I am careful about. So the secret to maintaining my voice is being boring I think. I am also fighting this fact that right after ‘Dig In Deep’ was finished…. I’ll backtrack with you. I was always the iron man, for some of my solo albums some of those lead vocals I did almost all songs in a day. And I look back at some old tour schedules and I go Oh my god, 7 days in a row, 1 day off, 6 days in a row. Those things I can’t do anymore, you have to know your limitations but I had a real problem some 4 years ago. My voice just wasn’t working right, it was scary, things were happening I couldn’t understand. I wasn’t just losing my voice, it was not operating properly. So I was diagnosed with a really insidious form of Acid Reflux. I don’t feel anything in my stomach, my stomach feels fine but I am splashing acid on my vocal chords without knowing it and if I don’t do something about it my voice will vanish because my larynx will actually wear away. The far end of the spectrum is throat cancer. I disappeared for almost 4-5 months after that diagnosis, I was just destroyed and the only answer is unfortunately that you have to stop eating a whole lot of things that you like eating and that are not things that are bad for you like citrus fruit, pineapples, oranges, I can’t have any of it. And it is the dedication that you have to have and as I’m going through it I also found out that quite a few contemporaries of mine also have this. And I wonder if it is not a condition of people who use their voices a lot. Politicians get it as well; everybody makes fun of Bill Clinton’s voice but he has the same form of Acid Reflux as I do. So if I’m coming back stronger it’s because every time I sing now I have this huge appreciation for the fact that I still can. And I’ll give you a good example. I did these acoustic tours with Dan Reed and we had a lot of fun with it and he’s also an incredible, powerful, strong singer, great writer and a very strong person to be around and we get into these discussions on stage. There’s no plan to it, all of a sudden we will throw a question to each other or somebody will say something which leads us down this funny road. And I said, Listen Dan I’ll ask you something people ask me a lot, how do you sing for instance ,,Rainbow Child’’, how do you sing that song with any excitement anymore? Cause people ask me that about ,,Forever Young’’ all the time. He said when I get ready to sing a song that I sung for a long time I take myself back to the place of imagining what it was like to sing it for the very first time. And I found that really interesting because I do exactly the opposite, I think ‘what if this is the last time I sing this song?’ and that’s kind of my approach towards every live performance, every recording. You should never coast you know.’’
How come this acoustic tour with you and Dan Reed never made it to the mainland? ,,We are still working on that because we really want to. I actually hope we can do that next year. We’ve done England twice now and reactions are great.’’ My advice to a kid who has the ambition to become a musician would be … ,,Difficult question. Most important thing telling somebody who’s asking me this question now is please believe in the music you’re making. Don’t go out and make something because you think it’s fashionable or it’s what’s on the radio right now because that will be gone. If you’re going through some of the shit we have gone through, and we’ve gone through a lot, the moments you make your music must make you happy and if they do, it doesn’t matter what it is, people will come to it. I don’t mean you’ll be the next Bon Jovi or the next Bruce Springsteen but people want to hear what you’re doing because you are loving what you’re doing and you want to be there and don’t follow what might be successful because then you will only always be following.''
--- Danny Vaughn photos by Lina Bodis, Tyketto band photos by Marty Moffatt