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Don’t Come Easy? For melodic rock heroes Tyketto, it never did.

The more things change, the more things stay the same. Danny Vaughn, enduring frontman of US survivors Tyketto, is more than familiar with a mantra ready made for a band that’s battled harder than most to keep the melodic rock flag flying.
More than 30 years after sparkling debut Don’t Come Easy emerged as an underground classic, that prophetic and compelling title continues to ring true. Where the unrelenting advanc e of grunge once stood between Tyketto and mainstream success, a global pandemic, plunging pound and war in Europe have all emerged as fresh barriers to the band’s latter - day progress.
Things still Don’t Come Easy to Danny Vaughn. Then again, they never d id. But where Tyketto’s concerned there’s a positive slant to the famous phrase coined by the French writer Jean - Baptiste Alphonse Karr. ‘Plus ça change, plus c’est le même chose’ has a far deeper resonance with Vaughn in the wake of two key departures fro m a band rebooted and refocused ahead of its biggest year yet.
“There’s a familial quality that’s always been key to Tyketto,” explained the band’s founder and driving force. “That’s something that’s never changed, whatever else is happening behind the sce nes. It’s reflected in the fact that there was no drama surrounding a decision that could have been very difficult.”
When Michael Clayton (drums) and Chris Green (guitar) contacted Vaughn to explain that they were stepping down from Tyketto to spend more t ime with their families, the singer’s immediate response was to draft a statement informing fans of the band’s impending demise. Clayton had been there from day one and Green for the best part of a decade. Vaughn simply didn’t feel comfortable carrying on.
“When Michael first told me he needed to step down, he admitted he just couldn’t commit the amount of time that Tyketto deserves and needs,” recalled Vaughn. “I said that I’d seen this coming and that we should work out a statement explaining that Tyketto was calling it a day.
“Both Michael and Chris told me I was being ridiculous — they couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t go on without them whereas I’d never imagined I could. They both told me that if I still wanted to sing Tyketto songs then I absolutely should.
“I feel very, very supported by both of them. Of course, there have been people suggesting that I should change the name to something like Danny Vaughn’s Tyketto but really? “As long as Michael and Chris are fine with it then Tyketto will contin ue with the same do or die attitude that’s got the band this far. I know the two new guys will fit right in with what we do live and I know they’re going to enjoy spending time with our fans.” Ah yes, the new guys.
Unsurprisingly, the duo handpicked to fi ll the sizeable shoes of Clayton and Green already boast those familial ties so integral to Tyketto and Vaughn.
Sticksman Johnny Dee made his name with glam metal heroes Britny Fox before becoming a key member of Doro Pesch’s band on and off the stage.
But before all of that, the Pennsylvania native became close friends with Vaughn as the pair navigated their way through a brief but colourful career with Waysted.
“Johnny and I started working together in 1985,” explained Vaughn. “We were the token Americans in a very British company when we joined Waysted.
“We helped each other get through some challenging stuff because life in Waysted wasn’t always easy. Some of the ways that Waysted did things were absurd by anyone’s standards and so Johnny and I needed each other for the sake of our own sanity! “We understood each other, got along great and stayed close over the years. I had no intention of lining him up for Ty ketto — only because he’s such a busy man.
He plays with and tour manages Doro and does that year in, year out. And he has loads of other stuff going on. “But then I thought that if I didn’t at least give him the courtesy of a call then he’d be straight o n to me saying ‘yo dude why didn’t you call me?’. I honestly thought he’d say that he didn’t have the time for Tyketto but he said ‘I’m in!’.
“Johnny’s been such a positive influence already and he said to me ‘this is going to be so much fun playing on st age together again’. I agree. And when I put together the 90 - minute set for the 2023 live shows I guess there’s an opportunity to play a couple of Waysted songs in there now. “It’s the first time that it’s made sense to do that in a Tyketto show.
People have always asked why I don’t play stuff from that period of my career but it’s never felt right...until now.” If Vaughn and Dee go back decades, then the Tyketto founder’s friendship with new guitarist Harry Scott Elliott is still in its infancy. Forged in W ales and, crucially, blessed by Green, it’s an alliance that looks set to supercharge the band ahead of a busy year of touring. “I met Harry when we did a few shows with Kane’d on the 25 th anniversary Strength In Numbers tour,” added Vaughn. “But I really got to know him when we recorded the We’ve Got Tomorrow, We’ve Got Tonight DVD in Wales.
“Kane’d did the backing vocals for those shows and they were the opening act. Harry really threw himself into things on our behalf — he realised that we needed some h elp and, as things became more difficult, he offered to tech for the band after Kane’d had finished their set.
“That offer was then extended to help with whatever we needed. Of course, I’d heard him play and I was already massively impressed with what he brought to the table as a musician.
“But he took me out to get some strings and it was then that Harry very quietly admitted that Tyketto was one of his favourite bands of all time and he used to listen to the music constantly when he was at school.
I nev er saw that coming!
“But, of course, it was nice to hear. Chris [Green] took an instant shine to Harry and that was a big factor for me. Straight away there was that familial quality I keep coming back to with this band. When Chris decided to leave, Harry was my only call. I had a short list of guys who I knew could play the songs but Harry can play the songs and he’s the right fit personality - wise.
“Chris has been lending Harry a hand and getting him up to speed with how we do things live. And Harry has shown himself to be absurdly keen. We don’t go out on tour until next spring and he already knows the set inside out!” That set will lean heavily on seminal debut Don’t Come Easy — replete with fan favourites Forever Young, Standing Alone and Wings — 31 years after a record pitched firmly at the Bon Jovi crowd offered a compelling snapshot of Tyketto’s obvious chart potential.
Produced by Ritchie Zito (Bad English, Cheap Trick, Heart, Cher), a collection of radio - friendly melodic rock anthems should have catapulted Vaughn and co. into the big leagues.
Instead, Tyketto felt the full force of grunge’s merciless advance and by the time stirring follow up S trength In Numbers dropped in 1994 even the band’s record company had lost faith — Geffen ceding the global release to Music For Nations. Vaughn left the band before the release of 1995’s Shine but returned in 2004 to front a reunion tour featuring the ful l original line - up. For the last 14 years Tyketto have been touring constantly — even finding the time to release the critically acclaimed albums Dig In Deep and Reach.
“2023 will be a big year for Tyketto,” added Vaughn. “Our hands have always been tied t o an extent due to the fact that external factors have limited the number of weeks we could play live in any one year.
“But the new line - up is able to commit to some seriously solid touring.
“I don’t, for one minute, expect Tyketto to be out on the road for six months of the year. But if we could play live for three months of the year that would be progress. We’d be able to make the most of all of the fantastic opportunities that we’re offered.
“The gate has opened. It’s suddenly much more viable for Tyk etto to get out there and play shows at different times of the year.”
Forever Young at heart, Vaughn is, in reality, embracing Tyketto’s brave new era in his seventh decade. And he admits the decision to embark on the band’s most ambitious touring schedule for years represents a trip into the unknown.
“Touring more extensively is both exciting and daunting,” he added. “I’m three years out of practice thanks to Covid and on top of all of that I’m 61! But I’ve always said that I never want to do this unless I ’m fully up to the job.
“If there ever comes a point when I don’t feel as if I’m on top of my game then that’s when I’ll call it a day. I just don’t know how my body will react to six solid weeks of touring — it’s not something I’ve done in a long, long t ime.”
For Danny Vaughn things don’t come easy. Never have. Never will. But there’s a refreshing optimism driving his desire to take Tyketto to the next level — a level the band’s aspired to since putting the finishing touches to that celebrated major label debut.
“The title Don’t Come Easy came from the fact that we knew how much we had to put into that record,” recalled Vaughn.
“It followed the disintegration of Waysted and my assumption that the calls would start coming in from bands looking for a new fr ontman.
“I’d toured with Iron Maiden and Status Quo and people seemed to like what I did so I just expected those calls to come. One or two did but they didn’t work out and after that there was nothing. “I realised at that point that if I wanted to succeed then the only way that was going to happen was if I picked up the ball and ran with it myself.
“Like any cottage industry things don’t come easy and it’s still difficult to this day! Nobody sees the work that goes on behind the scenes when you’re self - employed and to keep a band like Tyketto going requires a lot of work. But I wouldn’t be doing this if I wanted an easy life.”

Simon Rushworth

website : Tyketto

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