The Dogs D'Amour are a rock band formed during 1983 in London, England. Over the years the band has had various line-ups, the longest serving band member being vocalist Tyla, followed by original drummer Bam.
The band found a measure of success in the United Kingdom during the latter part of the 1980s and the early 1990s. In terms of chart positions, their highest charting album was their 1989 release, A Graveyard of Empty Bottles, which reached #16 on the UK chart. Their most successful single was "Satellite Kid" which reached #26.
In 1991, the band broke up onstage, before reforming briefly in the early 1990s for the release of their sixth studio album More Unchartered Heights of Disgrace. After this, however, the most famous incarnation of the band ceased to exist. There was another brief reunion in 2000 and an album, but, since 2002, Tyla has been touring and releasing albums under the band name, which is vastly different from their older material.
The music of The Dogs D'Amour can be described as a mixture of The Rolling Stones and Faces style roots rock and Hanoi Rocks style glam punk. Unlike popular bands of the time, who often had misogynistic themes, The Dogs D'Amour relied more on romantic themes and poetic style lyrics. Tyla was also a huge fan of Charles Bukowski, and many of his lyrics, delivered with an impelling throaty rasp, were tinged with humorous irony and pathos, reflecting Bukowski's prosaic style.
The Dogs' sound was firmly rooted in American blues music, and Jo Almeida's unique and distinctive slide guitar was reminiscent of blues masters like Lightnin' Hopkins and Charlie Patton. The Dogs began to show a strong country & western side on 1989's Errol Flynn (released as King Of The Thieves in the United States), a few years before alt-country came into vogue.
Tyla is also an accomplished artist and his distinctive artwork graced the covers of all The Dogs D'Amour albums and singles. Tyla's artistic style has evolved with every release, progressing from pure comic strip caricatures to elegant semi-abstract depictions in pastel and watercolour.
The origins of the band can be traced to The Bordello Boys, formed in late 1982 by Tyla (born Timothy Taylor). An American vocalist who was staying in England at the time, Ned Christie (real name Robert Stoddard), was brought into the project and he gave the band the name, The Dogs D'Amour, and co-wrote many early songs with Tyla. Guitarist Nick Halls, bass gutarist Karl Watson and drummer Bam completed the line-up.
The Dogs D'Amour played around fifty live shows during this era and recorded on two separate sessions. On the strength on the second, the band was signed to a record deal with Kumibeat Records from Finland. However, shortly before the band was scheduled to record its first album, problems began to spring up and Christie left the band in late 1983 because of musical differences with guitarist Tyla.
Another reason for the split was that Christie had recently started another band with Bam called On The Wire and had his own recording commitments scheduled with that band, around the same time that The Dogs D'Amour were due to record their own first album. The entire line-up with the exception of Tyla and Watson left the band during this time.
The State We're In: Tyla rebuilds the band
Tyla took over on lead vocals (while still playing guitar) to replace Ned Christie and recorded the band's first album, The State We're In, in early 1984. Dave Kusworth and Paul Hornby were brought in on guitar and drums respectively. Hornby had been a founding member of another London band, The Quireboys, earlier in the year.
The following year, the band returned from Finland to England and supported Johnny Thunders who was touring for the Que Sera, Sera album at the time. Original Dogs' drummer Bam came back to replace Hornby, and Jo "Dog" Almeida took over from Kusworth on guitar when he left to form The Jacobites with Nikki Sudden.
The Dogs D'Amour then signed a contract with a Japanese label Watanabe, but did not release any material with them. More changes came during this period when, bass guitarist Karl Watson left and was replaced by Mark Duncan. However, Duncan's stay in the band was only very brief and he gave way for Swiss bass guitarist Mark Drax for a tour in Paris, France.
The classic era: late 1980s, early 1990s
A more permanent bass guitarist was recruited by 1987. Steve James was part of what would be known as the "classic" Dogs line-up which also included Tyla, Jo "Dog" Almeida and Bam. This line-up signed a record deal with China Records in 1988.
The band released its second album In The Dynamite Jet Saloon in 1988. Essentially, this is the album which first introduced the British general public to the band. It contained singles such as "The Kid From Kensington", "I Don't Want You To Go" and "How Come It Never Rains?", all of which reached the UK Singles Chart top 100.
Unlike the four year gap between their first and second albums, the Dogs became more prolific, releasing their third studio album A Graveyard of Empty Bottles in 1989. This album proved to be the highest charting recording of their career, reaching #16 on the UK Albums Chart. During this year, the band toured with Mick Ronson and Ian Hunter.
Also in 1989, the Dogs released their fourth album, known as Errol Flynn in the United Kingdom, but King of the Thieves" in the United States. Again, this album charted well in the Dogs' home country, reaching #22. It included what is their most successful single, and perhaps best-known song, "Satellite Kid".
Another album appeared in 1990 named Straight??!!, but around this time the Dogs had started to fall apart. Tyla had recently split with his wife and the band imploded, live onstage, in Los Angeles. Tyla slashed his own body with a broken glass bottle and brought an end to the band. He needed 30 stiches for the wound.
With the group disbanded, Bam Bam joined The Wildhearts and Tyla wrote a poetry book. A year later, The Dogs D'Amour reunited with a new line-up. Jo Almeida, however, decided not to return to the band as guitarist and so Darrell Bath was brought in to replace him. In 1993, the band recorded a new album, ...More Unchartered Heights of Disgrace. It charted well and received favourable reviews. One of the singles from the album was a cover of the Small Faces song "All or Nothing".
By 1994, The Dogs D'Amour had broken up again. The final act of this line-up was the recording of Tyla's solo album The Life And Times Of A Ballad Monger. Although this album was released in the name of Tyla, it includes all of The Dogs D'Amour members from the 1992 line-up.
Activity in the 2000s
In 2000, The Dogs D'Amour reunited for a short time with a line-up of Tyla, Jo "Dog" Almeida, Bam and Share Pedersen (Bam's wife). They released an album Happy Ever After that year, along with a special fan club only release Seconds.
Since the short lived reunion, frontman Tyla has moved to Barcelona, Spain, and has focused on his solo career, releasing a number of albums in the 2000s under his own name. He also released two albums under the name The Dogs D'Amour, When Bastards Go To Hell and Let Sleeping Dogs..., in 2004 and 2005 respectively. These, however, are essentially solo albums under a different title, as for the most part they just feature Tyla playing all instruments and his wife Yella on backing vocals with none of the past Dogs D'Amour members.
Tyla has toured the United States and the United Kingdom under the name Tyla and The Dogs D'Amour in recent times. The United Kingdom tour saw the The Yo-Yos (the band of a former member of The Wildhearts) as his backing band.