Reality-TV fans might remember Ty Taylor as the spunky, mohawk-sporting contestant on the 2005 show “Rock Star: INXS,” in which the Australian outfit sought a replacement vocalist for late frontman Michael Hutchence. Others might recall him from his early R&B combo Dakota Moon, or even his stint with Dave Navarro’s Camp Freddy, or onstage in musical theater productions like “Chess” and “We Will Rock You.” But right now, the man has only one project on his mind – Vintage Trouble, his barroom-rowdy, old-school soul band, which is issuing its major-label bow “1 Hopeful Rd.,” and a current tour opening for AC/DC.
What did you learn from “Rock Star: INXS” and its host, Dave Navarro?
I was so thankful for that show, because the producers helped me so much with learning how to perform on television, and camera angles, and this kind of stuff. And just from being in the house itself, I got to learn how to exist with other musicians. But manly, I learned the technical elements of being a musician on camera. And from Dave, I learned about pushing yourself beyond what you think your spirit should allow you to feel, sometimes externally, sometimes internally. And also how to – on the outside – seem untouchable, but in person be completely reachable.
Have you hung out with the AC/DC guys yet?
Oh, yeah. We’ve had dinners, and sat at tables across from them. And we’ve gotten the most amazing advice from them. In Helsinki, of all places, Brian Johnson said to me, “Listen – no one cares what notes you play. No one. So watch one of your videos, and turn the volume down. And if you can watch it that way and you’re proud of your performance? That’s what the people get – they’ll get the energy and the connection and the fire.” And what Angus Young said to me was, “Simplicity and space are the key to good songs. Because that space allows people to feel.”
And you opened for The Who, too?
Yeah. And Pete Townshend told me that at the end of the day, there will be a lot of people watching you. And each person that’s watching you needs to feel like everything you’ve done was for them. And Roger Daltrey told me – while talking to a group of his friends and drinking wine with his shirt open – “Ty, I was just telling my friends that if I was not in The Who and if this was 40 years ago, I would leave my life and just follow Vintage Trouble on the road.” And to have one of the best voices in rock say that? My balls were huge that day!
IF YOU GO
opening for AC/DC
Where: AT & T Park, 24 Willie Mays Plaza, S.F.
When: 7:45 p.m. Sept. 25
Tickets: $59.50 to $110
Contact: (415) 972-2000, www.ticketmaster.com