Tag Archives: Megadeth

Interview: Brian Tatler of Diamond Head

Diamond Head logo

Recently we got excited over the news that British NWOBHM legends, Diamond Head, are to embark on a European tour this autumn.  Never one to miss an opportunity, I managed to catch up with Brian Tatler,  guitarist and co-founder of the band to talk about how influential their music has been and what he is looking forward to the most about touring again.

Brian Tatler
Brian Tatler performing at Amplified Festival, 2017 –

 Picture courtesy of Chris White @ Dirty Rock Photography

Queen of Rock: How are you feeling about the upcoming UK/Europe tour?  Do you have any favourite venues or cities on the list?

Brian Tatler: It’s a very long tour, it will be the longest European tour I have ever done. There are about forty dates now. I am looking forward to it and looking forward to playing some new territories for Diamond Head like Zandaam, Flensburg, Bochum, Potsdam, Krakow, Poznan, Budapest, Turin, Zaragoza etc. My favourite venues on the list are a tie between The Robin – Bilston, La Belle Angelle – Edinburgh and The 1865 – Southampton. I like Barcelona and Madrid as vibrant cities.

QoR: What’s the most enjoyable thing about touring and making music now that you’re older and wiser?

BT: That’s a tough question. It’s not really more enjoyable now. In the beginning it’s all very exciting. My first gig, my first festival, my first tour, my first trip abroad, all super exciting. Now I have done all that some thirty-five years ago, it’s more a case of going to new countries and staying in nice hotels (with a pool, hopefully).  I have learnt many things about life on the road. I like to eat two to three hours before a show so I can digest the food. I have to warm up before I play, so often sit in the dressing room for up to an hour before show time. I like to mix the set up whenever possible as it’s easy to get stuck on a set that you know works; having a few different tunes in the set helps to keep it fresh. It’s nothing like as glamorous as I thought it would be.  It’s important to eat healthily, I like Italian food but sometimes on the road the only thing open at 2am is McDonald’s and I can only eat so many filet ‘o’ fish. Recording is much cheaper now than it used to be, we can do it all ourselves and pay for it ourselves. That takes a lot of pressure off and allows a freedom to create what we want with no outside influence. Also, we are better players now and can get ideas across and onto tape quicker.

QoR: What three things could you not live without whilst you’re on tour?

BT: I could not live without food or sleep so that’s two … sorry, I am being pedantic. A book, I like to read on tour it helps pass the longer hours spent in vans. I like to have music on in the van so [I] take CDs. I need my phone to call home and often it’s a lifeline to what’s going on, also very useful to send messages like ‘sound check is at 5.30pm’. I can do emails on my new phone so I try to keep up with press and guest lists, etc.

QoR: If someone had told you back in 1980, when ‘Lightning To The Nations’ was released, that you would still be touring and making music 38 years later, what would have been your reaction?

BT: Disbelief, I could not see myself still making albums and touring in my 50s. I remember in 1981 thinking we may only do four albums because we will run out of song ideas. I never saw Diamond Head as a long-term musical career, my perception was that bands are young and full of fire, that their time was short and sweet. The Rolling Stones really have set a precedent, in that rock and roll musicians can continue as long as they wish to. Rock till you drop!

Diamond Head band pic

QoR: Album number eight is on the way later this year; how was the writing and recording process? You’ve toured a lot recently – was it written on the road or did you lock yourselves away and just do it?

BT: I cannot write on the road. I like to be at home when working on ideas. I make home demos on my ProTools LE rig, I play them to Ras and he selects which ones we work on. He will filter out songs that he thinks he can get a vocal melody to and ones that have a certain Diamond Head style. For this album I went down to Ras’s home studio in Acton several times and we made new demos of many of the songs before going into rehearsal. Once in rehearsal we all learn the songs and do any re-arranging and adding new parts. Ras records all the rehearsals and listens to them at home, slowly working on lyrics.

QoR: What is your favourite DH album so far, and why? 

BT: I still like ‘Lightning To The Nations’, it’s full of good songs and has loads of ideas. Diamond Head play six songs live even now from that debut album. We play more songs from LTTN than from any of the others. I also like ‘Death & Progress’ from 1993; it’s very well produced and Sean is on great form. I also like our last release, ‘Diamond Head’ from 2016. It’s a re-birth for the band, everything came together quite painlessly and the album was very well received by both fans and press alike.  That was very satisfying after such a long spell away from the studio.

QoR: If you had to pick three DH songs to introduce a new fan to your music, which would you choose and why?

BT: I would pick 1) ‘Am I Evil?’ – it has great dynamics, it lasts 7 minutes 40 seconds and is an epic that takes the listener on a journey, that song took a long time to write and is still our biggest song.  2) ‘Bones‘ from the self-titled album. It has a great vocal from Ras and is an interesting song, we always play this one live. I remember when it came together in the rehearsal room, we were literally jumping up and down, it was very exciting, it felt like we had the lead track for the album.  3) ‘In The Heat Of The Night‘ is another live favourite that I always enjoy playing, it has a triplet groove and a different feel to a lot of the other faster songs. Unlike a lot of Diamond Head songs it does not rely on a riff, it’s just chords and a great melody.

QoR: Are you proud that Diamond Head was such a major influence on some of the biggest bands of our time, such as Metallica, Megadeth, etc?

BT: Of course, it’s a great feeling to know that you have been influential to the next generation of bands and players. The Diamond Head legacy was given huge credibility by both Metallica and Megadeth. They have helped spread the name to all four corners of the globe. It works both ways, Diamond Head inspired them and in return we have been able to continue making music and playing shows all over the world.

QoR: It’s unusual for a band to achieve such longevity with only seven albums released over such a long time span.  To what do you attribute your ongoing popularity?

BT: The songs still sound good now, whenever we play live the crowds respond to the songs. Diamond Head never sold that many records but the songs live on. Metallica have performed ‘Am I Evil?’ on stage more times than I have.

QoR: You’ve seen a lot of changes over the years, how do you feel about the current direction of the music industry and rock/metal genre specifically?

BT: Heavy metal is much more popular now than it used to be. Whole festivals, magazines and web sites [are] devoted to the genre. I feel a lot of the new bands sound the same or are trying to sound like whatever is popular. I hear lots of bands that sound like Metallica or Iron Maiden. I see lots of bands that are using image to get noticed rather than the music. Music is faster and darker than it used to be, guitars with eight strings tuned down to low A, drummers with double kick pedals using them in every song from the start of the show, I feel this leaves nowhere else to go. One of the many things I love about Led Zeppelin was their brilliant use of dynamics, not many bands do that now, they seem scared to go soft in case they lose the crowd. I see lots of metal fans who just want to mosh, as long as it’s fast, heavy and angry then they love it. Nothing wrong with that but that’s not how it used to be.

QoR: What does the future hold for Diamond Head?

BT: Right now the new album is mixed but we have to master it and finalise artwork. We have a forty date European tour starting at the end of September. We have to rehearse songs from the new album to play live, we have not really rehearsed the new songs since they were recorded, we have to learn how to play them live and then see if they work. We are still working on getting a record deal and expect the new album to be released early 2019 so more touring in support of that will be necessary.

QoR: Thanks very much for answering my questions – do you have anything else that you would like to say to readers?

BT: Come and see Diamond Head, all the dates are on the web site.

You can also see full tour dates on my Diamond Head tour preview post here

Link to the original Diamond Head version of ‘Am I Evil?’

Thank you to Brian Tatler and also to Natalie Conway of TAG Publicity.

 

All text is the property of Vikkie Richmond, Queen of Rock.  Photograph of Brian Tatler is the property of Chris White, Dirty Rock Photography.  No part of this interview must be reproduced, either in part or full, without the express and explicit permission to do so. Failure to observe this will result in you being reported to the relevant authorities for breach of intellectual property rights.

 

News: Diamond Head set for autumn European tour

Fans of the NWOBHM genre will be rejoicing at the news that legendary rockers, Diamond Head are due to unleash some heavy metal mayhem with a tour across Europe later this year.

Diamond Head logo

Organised by Agentur – EAM, the tour will cover eight countries and 22 cities across central and southern Europe, during October and November.

Diamond Head band pic

Diamond Head have been in existence for a whopping four decades and have already released seven albums; the band continues to write material and album number eight is already finished and scheduled for release later this year.

Following the release of their self-titled studio album in 2016, the band extensively toured the United States, Canada, UK and Europe, with festival appearances such as Bang Your Head, Bloodstock Open Air, Sweden Rock, Rock Hard, Storm Crusher, Psycho Las Vegas, Leyendas del Rock, Metal Days and Hard Rock Hell.

Back in the day, Diamond Head were a major influence on bands like Metallica and Megadeth, with the former covering four Diamond Head songs, including the classic, ‘Am I Evil?‘, selling around 10,000,000 copies and apparently available on eighteen different Metallica releases.  Over the years Diamond Head have toured with fellow legends AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Megadeth, Metallica, Thin Lizzy and most recently Saxon, back in February of this year.

Diamond Head UK tour poster

The UK leg of the tour will see support from up and coming band, Killit on most of the dates.  Gin Annie will be the main support on the European dates, with Statement and Blinding Sparks also featuring on the first half of the shows, with the remaining gigs featuring Junkyard Drive and Tomorrow Is Lost.

Diamond Head Europe tour poster

For more information on how to get tickets, follow Diamond Head on their social media feeds.

Album review – Dendera “Pillars of Creation”

Review – Dendera “Pillars of Creation”

It’s been an eventful couple of months for Hampshire-based hard rock band, Dendera.  They stepped up a stage from last year for a dark performance at Southampton Uni’s esteemed Takedown Festival in March; then they found themselves a man down as Tony Fuller, axe-man extraordinaire, left the band this month.

However, one good thing to come out of 2015 despite Tony’s departure, was a new album, “Pillars of Creation”, which the outgoing guitarist featured on before he left.  Anyone who may have written Dendera off as an Iron Maiden sound-a-like band can firmly shove their opinion where the sun doesn’t shine, for this new album is 100% Dendera – unique and heavy as hell.  It’s clichéd to say a band have matured, but with this album, Dendera really have stepped things up a gear or two.  Always cohesive as musicians, this is a tight, polished diamond of a record that will hopefully silence the critics once and for all.

Dendera Pillars of Creation artwork

“Pillars of Creation” is only eight tracks long, however each song is loaded with killer riffs, sweet vocals and 100% pure musicianship.  It’s clear that Dendera aren’t messing about with this record; they mean business and this could be the one that gets them the breakthrough that they deserve.

First track ‘Claim Our Throne’ could be a tongue in cheek homage to the place they’re hoping to take on the rock scene with this album.  Starting off with an intro that could have come straight from a Machine Head album, ‘Claim Our Throne’ is a bang up to date metal track that also screams overtones of more traditional metal … it’s a bruising, belter of a track.  I particularly like the backing vocals, which bring a new dimension to Ashley’s voice.

Second offering, ‘Bloodlust’ is brutal; a romp through some awesome guitar work with some dark vocals and superb drumming.  It’s more recognisable as Dendera, in my humble opinion, but that makes it even more exciting to listen to because it shows how much they’ve evolved since ‘The Killing Floor’.

Ever since I heard third track ‘In High Tide’ live back at the Joiners last year, I loved it.  It chugs along with some classic Ashley vocals thrown in, but the riff reminds me vaguely of 80’s Megadeth.  Anyway, it’s one of my favourite tracks and well worth repeated listening.

‘Disillusioned’ starts with a charming vocal, “Broken and bound by the pain that consumes you, eaten alive by the lies and deceit …”; you just know that this is going to be an epic track and it doesn’t disappoint.  Almost melodic in places (oh, how we hate that word, right?), this is a classic track with some awesome musical work.

Track number five, ‘The Daylight Ending’ is an aural delight that will make your ears bleed if it’s turned up high enough and there is more of the same with ‘The Chosen One’, which will be a firm hit with the stoner rockers out there who prefer a slightly slower pace.  Still epic, nonetheless.

Penultimate track ‘Unholy’ is the undoubted winner for cranking it all the way up to 11 … it whips along at a mad pace and with lyrics such as “All shall perish for my wrath” and “Unholy, my anger, I’ll take a chance upon the other side”, it’s a vitriolic, spitting creation that will go down well at your next party, when you want to upset the neighbours …

Final track, ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ ends the album exactly as it started.  Explosive, with crashing, manic riffs, thoughtful lyrics and some serious changes of pace, it’s an epic track that quite rightly finishes off one of the best local band records I’ve heard for some time.

With an album launch party planned for Thursday 18th June at the Garage in London, it’s clear that Dendera are fully prepared to come back stronger following Tony’s departure, and you better watch out if you’re not expecting them to melt your face off.  If you miss this one, you truly will miss out.  See you at the front!

Tickets can be bought here –  http://www.ticketweb.co.uk/checkout/event.php?eventId=AJI1806X&camefrom=TW_TICKETMASTER_TMLISTINGS

Pre-order Pillars of Creation –

http://denderauk.bigcartel.com/product/pillars-of-creation-cd

Track Listing: –

Claim Our Throne

Bloodlust

In High Tide

Disillusioned

The Daylight Ending

The Chosen One

Unholy

Edge of Tomorrow

www.dendera.co.uk

www.facebook.com/DenderaUK