U.S born singer Danny Vaughn is best known for his work with his former bands Waysted and Tyketto. Today he is fronting a band which is simply called Danny Vaughn band. Danny released a new album called TRAVELLER last spring and lately he has done an acoustic tour as a support act for Journey in The U.K as well as some more touring with his band across the Europe. I managed to catch up with Danny last April when he was doing a "mini tour" in Finland together with Terry Brock. Here are the results of our discussion about the current tour, the past and many other interesting topics…
INTERVIEW AND PICTURES BY MARKO SYRJALA
TRANCRIPTION BY ANDY OSBORN
How did this tour in Finland with Terry Brocks come about? It would call it ï¿½A tour in the middle of the woods ï¿½tourï¿½ because the places where you are now playing are not the most well known places even in hereï¿½
Oh, itï¿½s crazy isnï¿½t it? I think a lot of these things come up because someone says, ï¿½Want to try something youï¿½ve never done before?ï¿½ The answer is sure, unless itï¿½s cut your head off or heroin [laughs]. It was going to be a tour with Mark Mangold and he had called me because he was going to be doing a lot of Drive She Said stuff and Al Fritsch couldnï¿½t come so he asked me to come and sing and I said sure. Then he got the idea, the last time I played with him it was the same thing, I was a guest singer. Terry also sang and Terry and I had a great time so he said what if I get both you guys and I said sure. Without getting into all the details it eventually became just me and Terry and Mark wasnï¿½t coming. So instead of doing all his material we started talking to the Finnish band thatï¿½s playing and they said, ï¿½You got to learn all our songs now.ï¿½ These guys are amazing; itï¿½s a whole other level of musicianship. When Tony showed up to play drums, he charted everything; he knew the songs better than I had. I was like oh, thatï¿½s how the song goes? [laughs] The guitar player Patrick, this is basically his project along with Henry here and he basically told me, ï¿½Look if we go to the places in Helsinki where everybody goes, they donï¿½t pay. Itï¿½s a long way to go to maybe not make money.ï¿½ I said how about we go somewhere where people donï¿½t get a lot of rock nï¿½ roll" So weï¿½re trying it, weï¿½ll see. Itï¿½s not the same way to promote your self in here because itï¿½s hard to get the word out to the people who live out here.
To be honest it seems like there hasnï¿½t been too much promotion done for this tour?
Every time I play anywhere I hear the same thing. Apparently for tomorrow thereï¿½s been a lot of noise on it because one of the local radio stations in Lahti has been promoting it. Otherwise like I said, there hasnï¿½t been much word out there. But, thereï¿½s been a lot of promotion on MySpace. It’s been really good tools for letting people know where you are. They think we have a bunch of people flying in from Germany to the show tomorrow because they heard about it on MySpace. That kind of thing is very encouraging. Another reason to try thisï¿½our melodic rock thing is pretty small. There are a lot of American bands who are friends of mine who ask me how I tour over here. They donï¿½t know how to get booked or make money. You really have to be able to balance things. These guys think theyï¿½ll be riding around in tour buses. No, you have to be willing to do things to make it work. This is nothing new for me, if we have to scale down then we scale down and just keep playing. As weï¿½ve been going onï¿½ Firefest has been getting bigger each year and as weï¿½ve been meeting people who can book us shows, I know people in Spain and Holland not, itï¿½s been getting better. Itï¿½s not going be big shows but its people that know the music and hopefully know how to get in touch with the people who like the music and let them know whoï¿½s coming. As weï¿½re expanding, if this works out, we can add Scandinavia to that little network? I mean what could happen is a band like Danger Danger or someone like that could come over do a couple shows all over instead of just playing the UK and going home. It used to be Germany too but the German entertainment tax is making it almost impossible to play there.
Would you consider about doing tour like this in U.S?
The problem with the States has always been how big it is. I can play Chicago, and I can play Dallas but thereï¿½s a long space between the two, so what do you do for the three days in between? If youï¿½re with a bunch of people you have to eat, stay in a hotel, and pay for gas all that basic stuff so it just makes it impossible on a small scale. Unless you get lucky and get on a big tour itï¿½s not going to happen. Not in the States, no. Iï¿½m concentrating on here and I have for here. It started in Britain but going all over Europe I think fans have a longer attention span and they arenï¿½t as fashion conscious like in America. Over there, if the music is out, itï¿½s out. People donï¿½t want to pretend they used to like it. Here, somebody will wear a Journey patch on the same jacket as a Slayer patch, why not? I find that the audiences are a little less fashion conscious in that sense and they donï¿½t worry about what other people think.
I think that European fans are more loyal and they follow their favorite bands for a long time, do you agree with that?
Yeah, if you donï¿½t disappoint them and the key is being good live. If not, they wonï¿½t come back even for the big bands. I just finished doing an acoustic thing opening for Journey in the UK and that was massive. Yeah we had our fans there but we also had a whole lot of people that didnï¿½t know who we were. I sold so many CDs that I didnï¿½t know what to think? I sold twice as much as the record label bet me I would sell.
You did acoustic only show there??
Itï¿½s just me and the guitar player.
Whose idea that tour was?
Itï¿½s what they wanted. Journey doesnï¿½t need an opening act, the last time they toured they didnï¿½t have one. This was more because their singer Jeff Scott Soto is a friend and he pushed for it and said we just need about half an hour itï¿½s not hard. Letï¿½s just get someone who we wonï¿½t have to worry about and they said sure. It really led to a lot of things. Now we have summer shows booked in the UK, these are clubs but theyï¿½re almost all sold out. Itï¿½s a lot of people who saw the acoustic set and wanted to see the full band.
Speaking about your solo band, isnï¿½t it now called Danny Vaughn?
Thereï¿½s one really interesting member in your band, drummer Lee Morris, who used to play with Paradise Lost drummer before. Tell some more about how did ended up being in your band??
Lee had started playing a little bit with the guy who plays bass for me. Once he dropped out of Paradise Lost he was doing work with a bunch of people but he wasnï¿½t in any steady band. So Steve came to me and said I have to check this guy out and I was surprised because I thought Paradise Lost, I donï¿½t knowï¿½.but turns out heï¿½s the biggest melodic rock fan in the world. He knows all of it and heï¿½s got all kinds of DVDs and these massive collections. And heï¿½s a really good singer. Heï¿½s having a blast because he said ï¿½Iï¿½m having a blast because Iï¿½m in a band where I can really smile.ï¿½ You know drummers are always having fun back there and smiling and apparently Paradise Lost was like, stop that, thatï¿½s not part of our image. Ha ha thatï¿½s a little strict for me.
Has he told you about the reasons why he decided to leave Paradise Lost some years ago?
Yeah, I got the impression that it just became a very unhappy situation. Our band is at a level where itï¿½s full time and it can be hard. We have to work around peopleï¿½s work schedules and my guitar player is getting married in a couple a weeks. But, Iï¿½ve moved over to the European side of things now so if someone just proposed a weekend in Germany, hop on Ryan Air and off you go! [laughs]
I have heard that youï¿½re going to do some shows with your old band Tyketto on this fall?
Yep, one more time!
Is this going to be just series of shows and nothing more?
Well, I think weï¿½re going to do five or six shows total. Weï¿½re doing Firefest, then Belfast in Northern Ireland and I know weï¿½re doing one in Spain, one in Belgium and weï¿½re looking for Holland and two in Germany. So it’s going to be only six shows altogether. Families, jobs, businesses, we canï¿½t just leave those alone. People ask us if weï¿½re going to record again and I donï¿½t want to say no, but I just can’t see it happening. The way Tyketto wrote music, it was intensive. We lived in the same house and all we did was work on the band. I mean, the band was signed to Geffen records after twelve shows, thatï¿½s it. Thatï¿½s all the shows we played before we were signed and thatï¿½s because we did our homework and we were ready. To me, the most recognizable thing about Donï¿½t Come Easy is that it was so streamlined. Itï¿½s very much each song into the next and it sounds like the same band doing the same thing. Then we started branching out and trying new things. Some people didnï¿½t like that but that was because all of those songs were written during a very intense period of time.
Speaking more of Tyketto and the past, you left that band after first two albums. What caused the breakup between you and the rest of the guys back then?
We just started falling apart because the music scene changed so much.
You mean because of ï¿½grungeï¿½ and all that stuff?
Yeah, looking back I was very resentful of the whole thing. But any time that something becomes so fashionable like that, record labels say oh, Iï¿½ll have ten of those, and then thereï¿½s too many. There were too many bands in matching leather suits with the big poofy hair singing about fuck allï¿½basically singing about their dicks and it got old! There had to be more substance to it and I like to think that Tyketto had more substance than most of them. Then grunge came and it was so far away from that; you didnï¿½t have to be pretty, you didnï¿½t even have to be that good! It wasnï¿½t progressive rock, thatï¿½s for sure. To me, rock stars, I donï¿½t really like using that word, but they should be bigger than life. I like seeing David Coverdale and going ï¿½whoa, look at that guy!ï¿½ but there isnï¿½t anyone like that anymore, thatï¿½s what Iï¿½m missing from rock nï¿½ roll; thereï¿½s no one thatï¿½s bigger than life.
When you were gone they hired Steve Augeri who then did album ï¿½Shineï¿½ with them. What you like about that album and how did it felt when band decided to carry on without you?
Getting Steve Augeri in the band was my idea. When I left, initially okay, everyone was under standing. Then for about six months they were just angry. I told them about Steve who was working in a bar in Staten Island because the Tall Stories thing had fallen through which was unfortunate because I think itï¿½s one of the best melodic rock records ever made. I told them to get Steve and that worked out. Steve was a sweetheart of a guy; heï¿½s been a friend of mine for a long time. It was weird and then the album came out and my first reaction was ï¿½uh oh.ï¿½ Shine was a perfectly fine album, a great album. But, they shouldnï¿½t have called it Tyketto. People thought they would get similar stuff to what we did before or at least Tall Stories, but thatï¿½s not what they got and that disappointed a lot of people. Thatï¿½s my reaction as a music listener, nothing else. I did listen to it, listening to my friends play it sounded great. There was a lot of good bass and drum stuff that I loved on that album.
It kind of went a full circle when you did your current involvement with Journey. I mean that, as everybody knows, Steve Augeri later became a lead singer for Journeyï¿½
Itï¿½s a little weird, isnï¿½t it? There are a few circles like that. The reason Jeff thought of us for the whole thing was because I did him a favor in the past. This was during the last Tyketto reunion, he had happened to book shows in the same city two of the same nights that Tyketto had and he said, ï¿½Nobodyï¿½s going to come, what we are going to do?ï¿½ We said just condense the shows and they ended up playing with us. To me, that was like nothing, no big deal for someone that cool person. But he always remembered so this was his chance to show me how much he appreciated that. I think he paid me back [laughs].
How much did you talk with Jeff and Neil Schon about the old days?
No, with the guys we just kind of started with this is day one. We go back, we have mutual friends. Another thing that was a funny circle was their sound man is Kevin Olson, who produced Strength in Numbers so we were like hey, there you are. And we know some of the guys in the crew and some of the guys lived in Nashville and I lived in Nashville so it was easy to do. Tony and I we spent as much time as we could either hanging with the crew or being at the venues because we kept thinking we may never get to do this again. It was his first time and not only that, but he got to stand on the stage where he grew up going to see bands as a kid saying ï¿½one day Iï¿½m going to play there.ï¿½ This was the Manchester Apollo and it was so much fun just being able to watch him play on his favorite stage. We were just like little kids and thatï¿½s how it should be.
Speaking about old days thereï¿½s one really interesting band in your past and itï¿½s legendary Waysted. How did you ended up being their singer in the very beginning?
The story as I got it was I briefly met Paul Chapman and worked with him in Florida in one of his own projects. We did a quick demo and he said alright Iï¿½m going back to England and use the UFO name to sell this and get a record deal. I was just a kid so I was like great, and I was a huge UFO fan. So he would go to record labels and Say, ï¿½Hi, Iï¿½m Paul Chapman from UFO, would you like to hear my new band?ï¿½ People would answer, ï¿½Okay.ï¿½ And I thought this was going to be big time and at the time I was in a band that would just play covers. Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Journey, Accept all that stuff. Ha-ha, you should hear me sing Accept! Anyway, six months went by and I heard nothing. Then I saw a Kerrang magazine ï¿½Paul Chapman recording new albumï¿½ he did what he always did, and that was to do whatever what popular at the moment. Sometime later they would just have all these disagreements with him but I donï¿½t know about what. Then they had booked on to this music festival in Tel Aviv, Israel and he went, ï¿½Iï¿½m not going, I donï¿½t see why we should do this.ï¿½ So they went, okay, see you. I had been keeping in touch and the phone call came and said ï¿½Hereï¿½s twelve songs, learn themï¿½ Half of them were UFO songs so I knew them anyway. They said, ï¿½Weï¿½re going to fly you to Wales and rehearse and then youï¿½ll play this stadium in Israel and if youï¿½re good weï¿½ll keep you.ï¿½ And all of a sudden we do the gig and it was the strangest gig Iï¿½ve ever done. It was supposed to be a three day festival and it ended up being one because the promoter tried to steal the money and run. We were the only rock band in the end, as far as straight rock. The headliner was Marillion; they were really big at the time. Letï¿½s see who else played; Billy Cobble, jazz guitarist Al Dimula, Climax blues band. It was just all over the place and we were the only rock band. I came out in this god-awful Freddy Mercury red and white spandex with this little shirt because back then I was skinny as a rail. I started just jumping up and down and going nuts and being as we were the only rock band we really got the crowd. It was a great night and we got to see a lot of performers, got completely pissed that night, I think we almost got arrested. We woke up the next afternoon with a massive hangover and the keyboard player throws these newspapers on the bed with this huge grin and both major Newspapers in Tel Aviv have these huge pictures of me on the cover. I guess we did okay, and thatï¿½s how what that all started.
Pete Way, Johnny Dee, Paul Chapman and Danny Vaughn
So originally it was meant to be just one off gig for you?
Yeah, that was my audition.
So which year was that?
That would have been 1985 because "Save Your Prayers" came out in ï¿½86.
How much you actually did tour after the album was released?
We toured with Status Quo and Iron Maiden. This was in America and Canada and we also did a little bit of Eastern Europe as well. We were in Zagreb, Budapest, Belgrade and those were all communist at the time so that was a very different experience. It was fantastic though, 40,000 people at Budapest.
At that time it must have been quite strange to play in Eastern Europe?
Yeah, it was. And at the time none of those kids were legally allowed to have Iron Maiden albums [laughs] but they knew every word!
When you joined the band was Johnny Dee also in the band at that time?
He was there a little bit before me.
How was the recording session of "Save Your Prayers"?
It was my first album so I was a little bit dazzled all the time while seeing how this was done. You try to keep your cool but itï¿½s just another ball game. You can be good playing clubs all the time and then suddenly youï¿½re in the studio and youï¿½re under that microscope. It was very, very hard. Basically, I wrote 95% of all the words on that album and a lot of the melodies but you wonï¿½t see my name under the writing credits. That was my Spinal Tap moment. The album arrives and Iï¿½m like ï¿½Yes! My first album!ï¿½ and I pull it out of the box, weï¿½re in Norway at the time, Iï¿½m looking at it ï¿½All songs written by who ?ï¿½ [laughs] It was a mess. There was a huge fight, it was not good. I was just told by management, ï¿½Fuck you, weï¿½ll fly you home tonight.ï¿½
Yeah, they called my bluff. Looking back on it Iï¿½m like what was I thinking? They had six months of tours lined up around this album, and I donï¿½t mean any disrespect to Fin because I like the man a lot, but the record company liked my voice better. They werenï¿½t gonna give that away but they kept a real straight front. There will always be a little bit of that between us. Pete is definitely not the decision maker, but the manager in charge at the time was a real asshole and Pete just did what he said. Iï¿½m not even gonna tell you his name, itï¿½s not worth it, heï¿½s not worth it. Heï¿½s long out of it anyway.
How was Pete Way to write music with then?
He certainly was great then, yeah. Again thatï¿½s why the whole thing was a shock because I thought we were doing really well together?
Itï¿½s funny. When I talked with Pete some time ago and he said that ï¿½Save Your Prayersï¿½ lineup was one of the strongest in the bands history?
That depends on who he talks to. He doesnï¿½t say that to me [laughs]
Now afterwards, what were the best and worst things about being in Waysted?
The best thing was just the rock nï¿½ roll life day after day, it was the life I dreamed about since forever. I did my first record, my first video, touring with Iron Maiden. Six months before that I was in a band that covered Iron Maiden and now not only was I touring with them but Bruce Dickinson found out I used to fence so Iï¿½m fencing with him backstage, all that kind of stuff. For me, Madison Square Garden, that was my home town where I saw my first concert. All that was the best, it was real rock nï¿½ roll, it was what I dreamed about. The worst was how it died. A couple of the guys just got way too far into drugs and fell apart. I realized I needed to get out of here. We, me and Johnny, both left on the same day. We went to the airport, shook hands and said bye. Save Your Prayers was now over, we replaced Paul Chapman which was not a good move but he wasnï¿½t in good shape. There was just nothing going on. We said weï¿½ll meet for the next album even though we werenï¿½t sure they would let us do one.
You did have plans to do another album?
Yeah, it was like letï¿½s move on to the next thing but as we were shaking hands we all knew it was over. It ended very quietly and very poorly and thatï¿½s a shame.
Pete told me that band broke up because there was too many line up changes and it didnï¿½t work anymore. Do you agree with that?
Yeah, thatï¿½s probably true. If he said that the Save Your Prayers lineup was the strongest then Iï¿½m surprised because I know he liked the other line up better. He liked that type of music more. It was more straight ahead stuff. He doesnï¿½t even really think of me as a rock ï¿½n roll singer because he even said that to me on that night, he said ï¿½I always thought you were great, Dan; you arenï¿½t a rock and roll singer but youï¿½re a great singer.ï¿½
Despite the things what happened in the past it wasnï¿½t too long time ago when Pete joined you on stage in Birmingham?
Thatï¿½s an endorsement though [laughs] but he would know one if he saw one so thatï¿½s really nice. Thatï¿½s part of him too, thatï¿½s part of his charm. I do love Pete and most people do. When he came up and joined up in Birmingham and all that it was a lot of fun and all the guys enjoyed it.
That must have been a lot of fun. Whose idea it originally was?
I think it was through one of the websites. Iï¿½ve been in touch with him after his wife had passed away and I sent him a couple notes letting him know that I heard and how sorry I was. I just sent them out I didnï¿½t hear back from him and didnï¿½t expect to. But at one point, Johnny Dee called me and said, ï¿½Iï¿½ve just talked with Pete and he was talking about getting back together, would you like to get the old lineup back together?ï¿½ And I said ï¿½not with Chapmanï¿½. He said thatï¿½s okay because Pete is talking about using John Norum and I said that sounds good! But nothing ever happened. Yeah originally it was going to be John Norum for Waysted but it ended being John for UFO which actually never happened either. Yeah, but you never know? Johnny is living in Germany now so heï¿½s a lot easier to reach. Johnnyï¿½s a good person and a great drummer, he was great back then so I can only imagine how good he is now? I donï¿½t want to say never but I would never want to work with Paul Chapman again. Thatï¿½s just something personal. The funny thing is that when we wrote "Save Your Prayers", looking back on it I really liked the way it worked. Pete would walk in during the earlier part of the day, this was in Copenhagen, and he says, ï¿½Iï¿½ve got this idea!ï¿½ It was just a couple of chords but I would like that, it gives me an immediate idea and narrows down what I have to do. ï¿½Weï¿½re gonna do this kind of thing with an AC/DC kind of feelï¿½ and Pete was great with coming up with these phrases. He was good friends with Bonham and he was with him when he died so he had an idea for a song called ï¿½Heroes Die Youngï¿½ so that gives me all this to work with and wrote out a riff then he took off with his girlfriend and I sat there and wrote the basics of the song. Then he and Paul came in and made it better and shaped it. I liked writing with them because he knows right away what type of rock nï¿½ roll he wants.
Speaking of Paul Chapman, I heard he was doing some re-recordings of some old Waysted stuff?
Yeah, itï¿½s the same old story, it just never endsï¿½
In your own opinion, how is "Save Your Prayers" compared to earlier Waysted albums?
Itï¿½s definitely different. Iï¿½ll tell you a story; this is true and it was really nice. We played Birmingham and it was pretty packed, I think we were opening for Status Quo. But a little bit before the show Pete comes up to me and says, ï¿½Iï¿½ve just spoken with Fin, heï¿½s coming down is that a problem? What would you think about Fin coming on and doing a song?ï¿½ Most of the guys said itï¿½s a bad idea because heï¿½s the past. So everyone looks at me and I wasnï¿½t worried. I was a fan first. I thought ï¿½The Good The Bad The Waystedï¿½ was a great album, I loved it. Anyway, there was some uncertainty because I was his replacement and we had recorded some of his stuff. So Fin came in and he came over to me and I was like well, weï¿½ll see what happens now. He said ï¿½I heard your recording of "Heaven Tonight" and he says, you got me on the choruses but I like my verses better!ï¿½ I thought, thatï¿½s alright you canï¿½t really hope for a better compliment from a singer. That was the only time I ever really met him. Pete was telling me when he came out, heï¿½s like a old girlfriend watching my acts. Knowing Pete you would know he would just put a band together with me that night or something?
Yeah, it looks like that.
Exactly, and now Fastway is together again and heï¿½s not part of it.
Actually Fastway are playing in Swedenrock on next summer. In spring Pete told me he was thinking about calling Eddie Clark and doing some shows with the band but it never happened?
Yeah the door is always open with Pete I suppose?
He also has a new band called Damage Plan with Robin George, Spike and Chris Slade. He has so many projects going on all the timeï¿½
I know, the thing is that he has a decent hit and miss ratio. Some of that MOGG/WAY stuff is brilliant; Chocolate Box is an amazing album. That guy, Jeff Goldman, is one of the best guitarists Iï¿½ve ever heard.
Ok Danny, thanks for your time now and see you on the show!
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