Few artists have had as much of an influence on me as Tyla J. Pallas. It wouldn’t be too far of a stretch to say that I learned to sing by listening to this man.
I first discovered Tyla when I saw an ad for his band the Dog’s D’Amour and their album release In the Dynamite Jet Saloon in Hit Parader Magazine in 1988. I acquired the album through some means after that, and was fairly pleased by the record. Though you couldn’t tell by looking at the album cover, the Dogs D’Amour were doing something in strong contrast to all the other hard rock bands that were making a name in the mid and late 80s. The songwriting was a striking and refreshing twist on the blues-infused rock and roll pioneered by classic bands such like the Rolling Stones, and Aerosmith.
On top of guitarist Jo Dog’s phenomenal slide guitar work on In the Dynamite Jet Saloon, Tyla’s gritty, bourbon-wrecked vocals defined the sound and personality of the Dogs D’Amour. His fluctuation between growling, mumbling, and quirky melodic deliveries helped create a dynamic and distinct sound. As the primary songwriter, Tyla’s lyrical approach was infused with the dark poeticism of Charles Bukoski, romantic and desperate. It was quite a departure from the party-anthem bands that defined the decade. Tunes like the ballad “How Come It Never Rains” and the acoustic “Billy Two Rivers” stand out the most.
While Dynamite Jet Saloon is a great album, it was only a couple years later when a friend moved to my hometown from England and brought with him the follow up and mostly acoustic albums Errol Flynn and A Graveyard of Empty Bottles that I really became the die-hard fan I still am to this day. These albums were amazingly written. Everything that was good about Dynamite Jest Saloon was doubled-down on and made great. To me, these albums are what the Dogs D’Amour were all about.
Each song on those records is so good it’s difficult to shine a light on any of them over the others, but “Comfort of the Devil” and “Ballad of Jack” probably stand out the most. Both exemplify the mixed styles of blues-rock and country with a distinctly recognizable English interpretation that defined the Dogs. Not only did these acoustically dominated albums convince me of the viability of the approach in an era defined by electric guitar, it reacquainted me with my native County and Western music and put a mark on my musical delivery that is still with me to this day.
Second to the music, or course were the album covers featuring Tyla’s distinctive artwork, mostly paintings. They were personal interpretations of the band in a style that was a mix of naïve and almost comic art, and expressionism. As an aspiring singer and visual artist myself, I found this approach inspiring..
Over the years since these early Dog days, Tyla has produced a host of solo projects and collaborations, while his artistic abilities have developed into a well-crafted, distinct and recognizable style that is the natural visual counterpart to the wicked western blues rock that is Tyla’s legacy.
The Dog’s D’Amour, Errol Flynn, 1989