Bob Tyler is the singer/bassist for Bob Tyler & The Reckless Hearts, performing during Des Moines Music Coalition’s Backstage Ball, 7 p.m. Friday at the Val Air Ballroom, 301 Ashworth Road, West Des Moines.
Q: What drew you to rockabilly?
My parents bought Elvis and Johnny Cash records when I was little, and because I had nothing else to listen to, it drew me in. I liked the simple power of it; it’s a very straightforward, honest kind of music.
Q: How would you compare playing the upright bass to a bass guitar?
It’s a lot different. In the rockabilly style of upright bass, it’s a percussion instrument, too. You’re doing two things, fingering the notes while slapping and hitting the finger board. It’s kind of like playing drums and bass at the same time.
Q: Your set lists include covers by a lot of rockabilly acts, but also the Ramones. How did they get into the mix?
I started playing in punk bands in high school, so it’s the stuff I grew up with. Punk and rockabilly were both played by young people without a lot of experience who didn’t take lessons and just picked up what they could. There’s a simple chord progression and melody going on in both, so it didn’t take much to convert it to rockabilly.