Interview mit Gitarrist und Gründungsmitglied Brian Tatler

Mit ihrem selbstbetitelten neuen Album haben DIAMOND HEAD für die wohl größte Überraschung des noch jungen Jahres gesorgt. So frisch und inspiriert klang die NWoBHM-Legende um Bandkopf Brian Tatler seit ihren Hochzeiten Anfang der Achtziger nicht mehr. Grund genug, Kontakt zu Meister Tatler aufzunehmen, der gerne bereit war, sämtliche Streetclip-Fragen zu beantworten. Viel Spaß mit unserem Interview im Original-Wortlaut:

Congratulations, Brian, for the new DIAMOND HEAD-Album! How are the reactions so far?

The reaction has been incredible. I knew the album was good, but I did not expect this. It’s getting some of the best press I have ever had since the band started in 1976.

In my opinion it’s the best DIAMOND HEAD-Album since ‚Borrowed Time‘ (1982). When did you feel that there was something really good in the making?

In the rehearsal room we hit on a few great ideas, I particularly remember when we were writing the album opener ‚Bones‘, I had the verse and bridge parts and Eddie (Moohan, b.) came up with a riff to compliment them. I immediately jumped on it and we thought ‘That can be the chorus’. We were literally jumping up and down with excitement. Also when I heard the guide vocals for the first time, I just thought they were brilliant, some of the best guide vocals I have ever heard.

How important was the new singer Ras Andersen for the new album? Would it exist without him?

We asked Ras to join Diamond Head whilst on tour in 2014. After that we had a conversation backstage about writing some new songs together. I thought we should at least try. Ras was pretty insistent that we should write the songs as a band just like Diamond Head did at the beginning of our career. There’s no substitute for writing together in the same room, we spark each other off and create something far bigger than we could have done individually.

Ras has given the band a kick up the arse, I was not that confident with the material I had, but Ras saw something in it. I gave him two CDs with 45 pieces of music and Ras picked the ones he liked and the ones that sounded the most like Diamond Head. Ras has come in fresh, he has been able to take an overview and pick out what was great about Diamond Head, almost like a producer would.

Is it okay to see ‚Silence‘ as a hommage to ‚Kashmir‘, your favourite Led Zeppelin-Song?

I guess it’s okay to say, it’s an homage though the songs are quite different. Ras did all the string and brass orchestration on the album and he hadn’t actually listened to much Zeppelin and had never heard the song ‚Kashmir‘!  While you might link similarities with the strings rhythm arrangement to ‚Kashmir‘, Ras said he just arranged them to follow and support the bridge guitar riff, which was written by Abbz (Andy Abberley, g.). The song was meant to send a nod the eastern flavours that the ‚Canterbury‘-Album had introduced on songs like ‚Ishmael‘ and ‚To The Devil His Due‘.

The lyrics sound very depressing. Is it a song about the destruction of our planet or also a metaphor for our inner alienation?

The ‚Silence‘ lyrics are depressing, but so is the current state of the world. The songs imagery gives the listener or reader a story of what could happen and should provoke them to feel the emotion of that situation. The idea is if you can imagine the end of our existence and the understanding that we are to blame for our own destruction, then you will be presented with the emotional choice of being sad and giving in to destruction or get angry at the notion that you/we could have made a change for the better.

The first album track ‚Bones‘ opens up this topic as we are on the edge and silence encapsulates the consequences of not reacting and turning a blind eye.

How do you judge the two albums ‚All Will Be Revealed‘ and ‚What’s In Your Head?‘ in retrospective?

I think they were the best we could do at the time with what we had. There are some great songs on both albums, they were not expensive to make and were both funded by either Diamond Head or me. We made all our money back and they enabled us to keep touring whilst introducing our singer Nick to the world.

Do you think the new material is able to compete with the classic stuff on stage?

I don’t really know yet as so far we have only played seven shows, none of the punters had heard the songs before so it’s too soon to judge their effectiveness live and compare it to the 35 year old ‘classics’ that have been covered by Metallica and sold over 5,000,000 copies.

Which songs are you looking forward to playing the most?

I am really looking forward to playing ‚All The Reasons You Live‘ onstage, I think it will sound great. ‚Wizard Sleeve‘ should be go too. So far we have only played ‚Bones‘, ‚Shout At The Devil‘ and ‚Speed‘ in front of audiences.

What are your plans for this year? What will be the highlights?

We have a tour lined up from April to Sept so far. I am really looking forward to playing Bloodstock in Derby UK again as it’s been 14 years since we were last there. We also hope to get over to the US by the end of the year and Canada in early 2017.

Diamond Head 2016 tour dates

Apr 22: Swindon Level 3, UK
Apr 23: Crumlin The Patriot, UK
Apr 30: Northwich Memorial Court, UK
May 01: Telford The Haygate, UK
May 07: Razzet L-Ahmar, Malta
May 11: Ibiza Hard Rock Hell Road Trip, Spain
Jun 05: Alvesta Muskelrock Tyrolen, Sweden
Jun 08: Solvesborg Rock Festival, Sweden
Jun 18: Daun Der Detze Rockt, Germany
Jul 30: Barnet Rugby Club, UK
Aug 12: Bloodstock Open Air, UK
Aug 18: Bilston The Robin 2, UK
Aug 27: Andalusia Skull Of Metal Fest, Spain
Sep 17: Puchersreuth Storm Crusher Festival, Germany

A question which might annoy you: Looking back on the career of Diamond Head – what was the biggest mistake you made?

I guess our 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’s mother. This gave all the power to the Sean household and it completely fucked Diamond Head’s chances of making it big up.

And the second biggest?

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.

How big could Diamond Head be now if you would have made the right decisions?

It’s a hypothetical question and I don’t know the answer, there is more to it than making the right decisions. For example it may be argued that Sean Harris was the best and worst thing about Diamond Head. Over the years I have come to realise that although I was happy that Diamond Head were considered a heavy metal band Sean wasn’t, if you listen to his album with Robin George (Notorious) you can see that his musical preference was a long way from Metal. It may be that he was never going to play ball. Even if Diamond Head had been managed by Peter Mensch there is a good chance that Sean would not have been happy with the confines of the genre or being told what to do.

Where would you be without Metallica?

An obscure foot note in books about NWoBHM, there is no way Diamond Head would still be going now without Metallica. They paid for my house and gave me a comfortable lifestyle. Not to mentions oodles of credibility.

What do you expect of their new album?

It’s going to be very well recorded and powerful, James and Kirk usually come up with some great riffs, it’s going to be heavy! I really liked Cyanide of the last album.

Which song off the new record would you recommend they cover and why?

It’s not going to happen but any of them please. I reckon ‚Speed‘ or ‚See You Rise‘ might suit them.

It would be great if they covered another Diamond Head song but I cannot see it happening, FOUR is quite enough. I always think that some of the other NWoBHM bands are really jealous of Diamond Head for having FOUR songs covered by Metallica (‚Am I evil?‘, ‚Helpless‘, ‚It’s electric‘, ‚The Prince‘, lk). I bet they think “That’s not fair, I wish they would cover one of ours”.

Thanks very much and all the best to you and DIAMOND HEAD, Brian!