His adopted surname was in tribute to the jazz pianist McCoy Tyner. lieutenant was Tyner who issued the rallying cry of "kick out the jams, motherfuckers" at the MC5"s live concerts. Tyner had originally auditioned as the bass player, but the band felt his talents would be best used as a lead vocalist.
In 1977, Tyner collaborated with Eddie & the Hot Rods for a 7-inch release coinciding with a promotional United Kingdom tour to promote MC5 vinyl reissues.
Simultaneously back in the United States, Tyner had launched "the New MC5" which later operated as the Rob Tyner Band and laid the foundation for "Rob Tyner & the National Rock Group", a project which was prolific but issued no recordings. In 1985, Tyner donated his talents to a benefit LP for Vietnam Veterans.
On September 17, 1991, Tyner suffered a heart attack in the seat of his parked car close to his home town of Berkley, Michigan.