Following DIAMOND HEAD's performance at the recent Stonedeaf festival in Coddington, United Kingdom, guitarist Brian Tatler spoke with Tony Heare of Midlands Metalheads Radio. The full conversation can be seen below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the band's early years:
Brian: "We were all at school, and my older brother played guitar in a band. I just thought it'd be good fun to form a band. We used to borrow his gear, and we made our own drum kit — Duncan [Scott, the group's original drummer] made a drum kit, between us, with biscuit tins and an old plastic tub. We used to practice in my bedroom and audition singers. Eventually, you've got four guys with the bass player, Colin [Kimberly], and just tried to write songs. I think that was the main thing that that band did, that lineup — we wrote some good songs. We didn't do many gigs. In the first three years, we probably only did four gigs or something. We hadn't got a clue, but we kept writing, and we got good at writing. In the end, that was probably not a bad thing."
On the group's early songwriting efforts:
Brian: "It was mainly me and Sean [Harris, the group's original vocalist]. I'd come up with riffs, and he'd... we complemented each other. I couldn't do lyrics, and he couldn't really play guitar when we started. I'd show him things, and he'd learn bit by bit, and eventually, came up with ideas. But in the beginning, it was me with the music and Sean was doing the lyrics, and it worked beautifully."
On the group's 1980 debut, "Lighting To The Nations":
Brian: "We had a manager called Reg [Fellows], and he figured if he'd get 1,000 copies pressed, we could sell them mail-order and at gigs. This is 1980, so we'd been [together] four years by this point. You'd sell them for £3.50 each, and they all sold, and then we ended up doing a second pressing, so we sold 2,000 copies ourselves. We were perfect for that New Wave Of British Heavy Metal that appeared in '79, and we were just ripe for that — we were 19 years old, and playing that kind of music. It was perfect timing for us."
On Tony Iommi and his other guitar influences:
Brian: "Iommi was kind enough to co-write a song with me and Sean [1993's 'Starcrossed (Lovers Of The Night)']. One of the master riff writers... [Jimmy] Page, [Michael] Schenker, [Eddie] Van Halen. Page was probably my favorite, [Ritchie] Blackmore as well. I have to give Blackmore credit, because he's an extraordinary player [and] a big influence."
On the group's current singer, Rasmus Bom Andersen:
Brian: "I found him through a friend. I was asking around for singers. The last singer [Nick Tart] had moved to Brisbane, [Australia], and it just became very complicated and expensive to fly him backwards and forwards for gigs... I asked around, and somebody suggested him. I'd never met him before... We sent him a track [to] do a vocal; [he] sent it back; [we thought,] 'He's great'... He's been in band five years already."
On the band's writing process today:
Brian: "I'm only really interested in music. Ras writes all the lyrics. I just do music. I haven't done all the music. I never want to do all of it — I'm happy to let people throw their ideas in. I'll just try to be quality control."
DIAMOND HEAD recently released a lyric video for "The Sleeper", a song from their the NWOBHM pioneers' latest album "The Coffin Train", which came out in May via Silver Lining Music.
Formed in 1976 under the riff-rolling leadership of Tatler, DIAMOND HEAD quickly established itself as a vanguard of the exploding New Wave Of British Heavy Metal scene. With its genre-defining debut album "Lightning To The Nations", DIAMOND HEAD has influenced and opened gates for many metal bands.