Following my review of the remastered Lightning To The Nations album i put a few questions to Diamond Head’s guitarist Brian Tatler which he graciously answered.
My 1st Diamond Head gig was at Donington 1983,they opened the show followed by Dio,Twisted Sister,ZZ Top,Meatloaf and Whitesnake.Does Brian have any memories from this day?
We had to be up and away early on the morning of the festival. Vicky picked me up and then we went back to Sean’s to wait for him. Every sign for Donington we passed made me a little more nervous. I had my Les Paul in the car with me and was still trying to get used to it and warm up. There was no sound check so we had to trust our crew had got everything right.
Unlike our Reading appearance the previous August which was at night with all the lights and atmosphere, at Donington we were onstage at about 1pm in the cold light of day. All eyes were on us with this new line-up and we had to prove ourselves all over again. I felt like I had to fight my way through it, and it seemed a lot more shaky, less confident, than before. I can’t remember the set and I have never heard a recording of it either, it was all over in a flash. The reaction from the 35,000 people watching us was pretty good, better than we had expected as there is always the worry that you’ll get bottled off. Sean did get some clumps of mud thrown at him which may have been as a result of his very un-metal stage gear (light blue baggy trousers and a cut-off t-shirt showing his midriff).
I was encouraged to wear some awful white legwarmers which I was told were all the fashion! There I was, playing the biggest rock gig in the UK, on £25 a week; I bet the majority of the audience was earning more than me.
I saw Diamond Head play at the Hard Rock Hell festival last December. Fantastic set which included the Lightning To The Nations album in full. In the future, would Brian do the same thing with either Borrowed Time, Canterbury or even both on the same night?
I very much doubt it but hey I never thought Diamond Head would get to tour the States and we did so anything is possible. It would be great if we got the opportunity to do that so let’s see?
I attended the “Home Of Metal” exhibition at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery in July.It contained memorabilia, stage costumes,instruments,stage props etc from Black Sabbath,Judas Priest,Cathedral,Napalm Death,Diamond Head etc.Did Brian get chance to visit it while it was on?If so what did he think? I saw an original pressing of Sweet And Innocent there which i used to have back in the day from one of many train journeys to Reddingtons Rare Records in Birmingham many years ago.
I was asked to participate in the exhibition, I supplied them with one of my guitars, some old posters scrap books, a first pressing of Lightning To The nations on vinyl and a copy of Lars Ulrich’s letter to me where he says he has formed a band etc! I also attended the opening and met up with rock aristocracy like Tony Iommi,K.K. Downing and Noddy Holder. It was a very enjoyable evening and I thought a fabulous exhibition.
I have read that one of Brian’s early influences was Ritchie Blackmore. Would you say he was the best guitarist you have seen in concert? If not, then who?
The best guitarist I have seen in concert is probably Michael Schenker, when he is good he is really good. I have also enjoyed witnessing Ritchie Blackmore, Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen, Uli Jon Roth. Nuno Bettencourt, Francis Dunnery Alex Lifeson & Ty Tabor. All those players have impressed and inspired me.
What would be your favourite studio album and live album of all time?
My favourite studio album is Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffitti. My favourite live album would be Deep Purple’s Made In Japan, and my second choice would be AC/DC live at Donington 1991.
If you had chance to play guitar in a supergroup,who would be your dream colleagues albeit alive or deceased.Vocals,rhythm guitar,bass,drums and keyboards.
I would like Omar Hakim on drums, Geddy Lee on bass, Pete Townsend on rhythm guitar. Freddie Mercury on vocals and Tony Banks on Keyboards please. Where are we going to rehearse? Is it an album project or a tour?