Tyketto frontman Danny Vaughn recalls experience singing backing vocals on Yes’ “Union” album
Tyketto lead vocalist Danny Vaughn was recently interviewed by Radio Exile keyboardist Charlie Calv for Totally Driven Entertainment and spoke about the time that he was called into duty to sing background vocals on Yes‘ album Union in 1990.
In terms of how he wound up singing on a Yes record, Vaughn stated: “I was in Los Angeles, just finishing up recording the first Tyketto album when I got a call from our A&R rep’ at Geffen, Mary Gormley. She said that her good friend, Jonathan Elias, was working on the newest Yes album in L.A. and they were in need of some outside backing vocalists and would I be into getting involved with that? I jumped at the chance!”
With respect to the difficult task that producer Jonathan Elias had to make the entire thing work and make it cohesive, Calv asked Vaughn how it was working with Elias and if he could sense any of the frustration from the producer. Vaughn replied: “Absolutely. Rather than recount to you all the madness, rumors and egos you may have heard, I suggest anyone interested, look up the Wikipedia page on the Union album. It tells the story better than I could. Suffice to say that “Union” is possibly the most mis-named album title in history!! I’m told that the band all hated one another and would almost never record in the same studio, or even the same country together! Money was hemorrhaging everywhere. Jonathan was left in the wake of Spinal Tap level absurdities (band members walking up to him and handing him a couple of words of lyric on a scrap of paper saying, “Work this into the song”, Jonathan would reply, “Which one?” and would be told, “doesn’t matter, any of them”) trying to just get the damned thing finished. I had heard that Steve Howe spent days at the studio (at the cost of thousands of dollars a day) in France re-arranging the furniture in order to get the “best possible vibe for recording”, without ever playing a note. It was chaos. Having said that, Jonathan is a joy to work with and taught me a tremendous amount about studio vocals and etiquette.”
In regard to whether any of the Yes guys were involved with his vocal session and whether they were around in the studio when he was doing his vocals, Vaughn stated: “I never met any of them. The vocalists were myself, Tommy Funderburk and Ian Lloyd. These guys were the top session vocalists in L.A. and were on almost every album to come out of that city at that time. Our job was to write and record “Yes-like” harmonies on several songs, which was loads of fun. When we were all done, Jon Anderson would come in, listen to what we had written and decide what he liked and wanted to keep. Then he would sing over our parts and, of course, put his voice up front, as it should be.”
You can read the rest of the interview with Danny Vaughn by Charlie Calv at Totally Driven Entertainment.