Wolverhampton’s über-prolific rock star Tyla – Timothy Taylor, of Dogs D’Amour – has spurts of creativity that make The Beatles circa 1963-70 look like workshy fops.
So, for instance, in 2014, he released six records. The same number followed in 2015 while last year it was a measly three. Bah. Lazy bones, lazy bones.
“I’m always writing and always recording,” says Tyla, ever the master of understatement.
Though he moved away from Wolverhampton in 1978 and made a home in Edinburgh, his mother and sister still live in the Black Country. “I get back whenever I can,” he adds. “They let me sleep on the sofa.” How very rock‘n’roll.
The glam rock star emerged during the 1980s and by the end of that decade he’d worked his way into the top 40 with the hit single Satellite Kid. Channelling the spirit of The Rolling Stones, the Faces and glam punk, Tyla was Hanoi Rocks and Charles Bukowski wrapped up in a hard ball of rock.
“It’s been a bit of a roller coaster,” he says. “But that’s just like life. It’s someone asks you what it’s like to be alive for 50 years, it’s too big a question to answer. You just plod on. I’m not aware of how it should be. Being in the bands has just been a bit of an adventure. Sometimes it’s a nightmare, sometimes it’s brilliant, sometimes it’s tragic, you just get on with it.”
This year is the 35th anniversary of The Dogs D’Amour and despite a lifetime in the fast lane and mishaps aplenty the band’s main man, singer, songwriter, guitarist and front-man Tyla – is still alive and kicking.
With a world in meltdown, it’s the perfect time for his new album, In Vino Veritas, which was generously funded by fans through Pledge. The Dogs, it’s clear, remain very much in people’s hearts.
“Things have changed. The whole fact that I can contact straight to my fans now shows how different things are. With the changes in technology, I can no go on forever if I can just stay with it. But the fundamentals haven’t changed. It’s all down to people buying your records and digging what you do and new people coming along who pick up on it.”
Tyla started off just outside Wolverhampton, in Wall Heath. He played at the Kingfisher Club, following in the footsteps of Slade, before moving to London.
He was in a band with another Wolverhampton musician, the late Paul Raven, who played in Killing Joke. They were kicked out of their band for being ‘too rock‘n’roll’, which is a bit like a bus driver losing his job for doing too much driving or a football being sacked for scoring too many goals. “Even now, I find that hilarious. We were a rock band. I think they expected us to pass a drugs test before we went on stage. The next thing, me and Paul were starting a job. But then Paul was asked to join Killing Joke because one of their guys had gone mad and was walking up the King’s Road in just his underpants giving away his money.”
So Tyla found himself cut adrift and decided to start his own band. “I got a bunch of people together, some nutters, and ended up being singer. After a few years of slogging around, we got a deal.”
Things fell into place and the band ended up being signed by an Icelandic record label. Eventually, after more hard work, they hit paydirt and made the charts. For Tyla, it was vindication for his years of never giving up, of walking the walk and talking the talk.
“It’s what I love. You just have to stick to your guns. It’s what I believe in. I’ve always thought about what would happen if it all folded and I had to get a job. But I’m not bothered about that, I’d be a postman. Mind you, my missus says I’d fail at that because I don’t get out of bed until 4pm. I guess I’ve led a charmed life.”
He enjoyed the band’s period of commercial success and he’s immensely grateful that he still earns a crust by writing and playing music.
“We went from playing these manky little clubs everywhere where there was blood and sweat on the upholstery to going into big places. The idea is to get massive and sell loads of records and live happily ever after. But there aren’t many bands that do that.”
l In Vino Veritas was released last week and is available at www.tylasdogsdamour.com