NWOBHM was represented by huge names more or less giving their own meaning in this music scene. and one of those, pioneers of the movement, a name that stood out among so many groups were the Diamond Head from 1976 until nowadays.
What they had and still have, is that impulsivity in music that draws you immediately, the voice set on rouse with electric melodies sometimes vigorously and sometimes with a gentle tempo, a beautiful harmony and deservingly name them as the Led ‘’new Zeppelin’’. Despite difficulties and line-up changes that occurred in their career they are still here with great pleasure for us headlong, still beam music and show that their talent has not dried up. The cooperation with Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath and Dave Mustaine from Megadeth, along with the adaptations made by Metallica on their Hit ‘Am I Evil?’, simply show their respect & impact for/of the band. Great honor for Last Day Deaf, talking with Diamond Head’s mastermind mind and guitarist Mr. Brian Tatler.
Hey Brian, what are you up to regarding Diamond Head this period?
Hi there, Diamond Head have dates coming up throughout 2017 right up to December. Including Rocklahoma in the US and dates in Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, Norway and the UK. Any down time I have had has been spent working on new material, nothing has vocals on but I have amassed a lot of new musical ideas. I teach guitar from home and I recently bought a 2002 Gibson Les Paul Standard and an Orange Rockerverb 50 Mk II amp.
2016 was a year marked by ugly and unfortunate events. A good one was the release of your homonym album, which was in my Top-2016 list! Please, share a few words about your latest work with our readers…
The new self titled album has been so well received it’s been amazing. It’s given me a lot of confidence to continue to write, it’s great to know that we have an audience out there who are interested in new Diamond Head music. I keep going as long as I can and as long as I want to do it. There are a lot of behind the scenes problems that we have to take care of but that is the price you pay, every band has problems it’s just that the audience don’t see it. They just want the show or the finished product. I am proud of all the Diamond Head albums and it’s great that we can still do it.
I have noticed that within the next months you are getting ready for a tour. How do you feel and how do you see the response of the audience?
I am looking forward to playing live with Diamond Head again; our last date was 4th December 2016. I try and practice every day do I am well prepared. The first dates are in the US so we will have a little rehearsal when we meet up over there, even if it’s just in a hotel room. I have found the audiences have been enjoying the new material very much. It fits in extremely well with the older songs. There are some big shows coming up and I am excited to be doing them.
What’s your opinion on the current hard rock/metal music scene? Things you like and dislike?
I have been watching bands and listening to albums since I was about 13 so I am very jaded by the rock music industry, I often feel like I have seen and heard it all before. I really do appreciate how hard it is to be original and like many others I love to find something that I have not heard before. I occasionally trawl Spotify to see what is out there. Recently I have been listening to Mastodon, Muse, Porcupine Tree/ Steven Wilson, Biffy Clyro, Joe Bonamassa, Eric Clapton, Gojira and Ghost BC. I am mainly a 70s guy and have recently become fascinated with Pink Floyd, I have loved them since 1973 but they are having a revival in my house. IMO too many new band’s sound like Metallica, that’s been done, do something new and original.
Which was the original vision you had when you first formed Diamond Head? Is there anything you miss from the old days?
I just wanted to make music, be in a band and find out what it was like. I was emulating my heroes of the 1970s like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple etc. I had no idea how to become successful but I figured if you could play the guitar and write good songs that would help. I was lucky to find Sean Harris, he was a great singer but unfortunately we split in 1985 and it was never the same again. There is more of everything now so I cannot think of anything I miss because we have so much choice. OK I miss being 18 years old.
I guess that as a band and. as people face difficulties, do you believe that music is the driving force to reverse the situation?
Music is a powerful thing, I would be lost without it, and it touches everything I do. It’s been a huge driving force for good in my life since I was young. I can draw different emotions from different bands and pieces of music. It can bring people together from all walks of life. Very often a concert is a celebration of music that you love and you share that feeling with everyone there. It can be unforgettable.
It is something that you have regretted in your music career?
I guess Diamond Head’s main problem was we were managed by Reg Fellow, a guy who had never done anything in the music business before and had to learn on the job and Sean Harris’ mother. This gave all the power to the Sean household and it completely fucked up Diamond Head’s chances of making it big. I was not savvy enough to lead the band to the top; you need a strong business man. We got dropped by MCA after only two albums because Sean would not agree to a change of management.
2nd biggest regret is making the ‘Host’ album in 2002/2003, this was a self-funded album that has never been released, a complete waste of time, talent and money that we will never get back.
What is your favorite Diamond Head album?
Cliché alert! I really like the new self titled album, I think we have found a great new singer with lots of fresh ideas. A few years ago I did not think we would make a new album but once Rasmus was on board that all changed. We started writing just to see if we could and within a few weeks it was obvious that we could make a good album. I still like ‘Lightning To The Nations’ and ‘Death & Progress’ but I have not heard either in a while, I am focus on creating something new.
A personal one! Who were your favorite musicians and heroes? As a musician what influences did you have? Artists, bands that led you become a guitarist?
As I said earlier I am mainly a 70s guy, I would buy albums and go see bands like Zeppelin, Sabbath, Purple, AC/DC, Rush, Rainbow, UFO, Van Halen, Queen, Steely Dan, Free, Thin Lizzy etc. My bolder brother David plays the guitar and that was a big influence because there was one lying around the house that I could use and I would ask him to teach me little things now and again. I did not take it up seriously until I was 15 years old though which is a shame because I could have started much earlier if I had had the patience. I wanted to be able to play the guitar solo in ‘Highway Star’ which was a big song for me and one of the reasons I knuckled down and began to practice every day. I saw Blackmore with Rainbow a few times and I saw Schenker with UFO in 1979, he is inspirational as a player.
For current bands/artists what advice would you give?
For a band recording for the first time I would say, make sure the songs are as complete as possible before you go into the studio. Have plenty of rehearsals and make sure everyone knows all their parts including solos and lyrics, all lyrics should be completed before you set foot in a studio (ideally) Take all your gear and borrow any good equipment you can, it’s nice to have a selection of amplifiers and guitars. Make sure you have changed strings and drum heads if possible. Don’t leave anything to chance as it all costs money. Everything will be recorded to a click so settle on tempos and make sure your drummer is good at recording to a click. Listen to playback quietly, it’s easy to think it sounds great loud. It should sound great on tiny speakers quietly, check mixes on equipment you are familiar with. Other than that I would say use Social Media as much as possible, delegate the job to one member of the band and work the technology to your benefit. It’s always healthy if each band member has a clear role to spread the workload.
What do you like doing in your spare time?
Reading, walking, cycling, watching TV especially films and documentaries about bands and music, it seems I am still obsessed with music after over 40 years.
What can we expect from Diamond Head in the future?
I would like to make another album this year or maybe next year and there are still lots of places around the world that Diamond Head have never played. It’s always interesting to go to new countries and meet the locals. We have several festivals coming up including Rocklahoma, Bang Your Head, Amplified, Leyendes Del Rock, Psycho Circus, Hard Rock Hell & Blast From The Past Festival so we are all excited about these.
I do not have anything else to add, the last words are yours Brian something you want to share with your fans and the readers of Last Day Deaf?
Hi Guys, I hope you have checked out the new Diamond Head album, come and see the band on tour and say hello.
Photo credits: Lorenzo Guerrieri Photography (1st one)