Thrash Hits

November 17th, 2011

Interview: Brian Tatler of Diamond Head on Metallica, Sonisphere and GOJIRAMAZING

diamondhead band promo photo old thrash hits

Diamond Head are one of the leading bands from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal and inspired the likes of Megadeth and Metallica to do what they’ve been doing for so long. Diamond Head are from Stourbridge in the West Midlands and were the only support band to The Big 4 at Sonisphere Festival 2011. If that doesn’t say enough, here’s an interview we just did with lead guitarist, Brian Tatler.

You just finished your first ever US tour. How was that?
In a word, fantastic! It was something I had been wanting to do for 30 years and it’s such a shame it took us so long to actually do it. The band played well and the crowds were very enthusiastic. Some people I spoke to said they had been waiting 20 or 25 years to see Diamond Head. I was very impressed that our singer Nick was able to complete 17 dates in a row with only one day off, which was a travel day. Hardcore.

Did you meet many really old time fans?
Yes, lots of them, there was even a guy from Stourbridge who now lives in San Francisco and another uber fan from Liverpool who was waiting for me with about 50 albums and CDs to sign in Santa Ana, Mike & Julie Lace from Macclesfield flew out to see Diamond Head in Las Vegas. Even Lars Ulrich’s first wife Debbie came to see us in Ramona.

Diamond Head @ Sonisphere Festival - 08 July 2011 c/o Gary Wolstenholme

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Why did it take you so long to get out there?
I can only think money was always the issue, when Diamond head were signed to MCA a tour of the US was proposed but as far as I can remember Sean wanted to take his entourage and it would have been too expensive so we did not go. I think they thought we would do a tour on the cheap like The Police did in 1980 with the three band members and one crew guy. But now being more realistic, an agent named Dean Swett from the Paramour Group got in touch with Karl, (a Brit who lives in New York) a tour was proposed and we did the sums and found we could do it but we may not make any money because of the cost of flights, work visas, hotels, van hire, backline hire, diesel etc but we all decided it may be now or never and made the necessary arrangements to pull it off. I am so glad we did.
It must have been pretty amazing playing Sonisphere considering the headline band cite you as one of their biggest influences.
The whole thing was magnificent, I was asked in January if Diamond Head would like to open for The Big 4 at Sonisphere and of course I said yes, then all the other things came on the back of that. It felt like justification for all the little clubs we have done in the past. Playing Sonisphere has definitely raised our profile. Who knows what will come Diamond Head’s way next year? And of course it was awesome to play ‘Am I Evil?’ at the end with The Big 4, such an honour.

You were working on a project with Dave Mustaine at one point. Will that music ever see the light of day?
No, I don’t think so, we had only gotten to the stage of putting song ideas together, I was doing demos of music here in the UK and sending them to Dave in the US (who was out on tour a lot of the time or in the studio) he would them let me know what he did and didn’t like and then after about a year he suddenly called it off when he had his left arm injury. Ce’st la vie.

We read that you trained as a mechanic. Do you still work with cars?
No, I can check the oil and water or change a wheel or light bulb but that’s about it. I was not really cut out to be a mechanic, the whole time I was doing my job I was thinking about music, I have been obsessed with music since I was about 13. I only did the job because my dad said I needed to get an apprenticeship like he did, and I guess the money came in handy to buy equipment and my first car.
Metallica have just collaborated with Lou Reed. Who would you like to collaborate with if you had the same kind of freedom?
I would like to collaborate with Metallica.

Out of the new young British metal bands out there, who do you like the most and who do think has the most potential to be huge?
Black Spiders, Bring Me The Horizon, The Treatment, Voodoo Johnson.

And what about American ones?
Avenged Sevenfold, Black Stone Cherry.

Which country is producing the best metal?
I really like Gojira from France.

Gojiramazing. A re-release of Lightning To The Nations is out NOW and hopefully Diamond Head will become massive in 2012 if you buy it.


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