Legendary New Wave Of British Heavy Metal guitarist Brian Tatler sat down with Robb Flynn from Machine Head for an in-depth chat.
The first 20 minutes, Flynn talks about his friendship with vocalist LG Petrov, the frontman for Swedish metal bands Entombed, Entombed A.D. and Firespawn who had just passed away. LG was diagnosed with bile duct cancer and doctors couldn’t remove it. They tried to treat it with “chemotherapy” to prolong his life.
Flynn mentions how he got turned on to Diamond Head by Metallica covering their songs. Before Metallica got signed, people even thought the Diamond Head covers were Metallica originals.
Their debut album in 1980 was called “Lightning To The Nations”. There are seven songs on the album and Metallica covered five of em, throughout their career.
Diamond Head re-recorded their debut album a few years ago and in a great twist, covered a Metallica track, “No Remorse” for the album as it had “DH qualities” according to Tatler.
There is an awesome cover of “Sinner” from Judas Priest as well and Tatler talks about how Priest was a band they looked up to, how Priest influenced em and how he’s “pretty sure” he nicked bits from “Sinner” and “Victims Of Changes” for Diamond Head songs.
He stole the name from a Roxy Music album called “Diamond Head”. Funny how Robb Flynn also took the name “Machine Head” from Deep Purple.
For one weeks studio time, they signed away 15 years of publishing. They were young and they had no idea what publishing was. So when Metallica covered their songs, the publishing was going elsewhere and finally in the late 80’s Tatler went all legal, to get the publishing back.
They didn’t know about the other young bands in the UK at the time like Def Lep, Saxon, Maiden, Angelwitch until Sounds started writing about em. And then so many other bands started coming out, all looking for a record deal.
Geoff Barton from Kerrang was a massive fan of the band and he did a massive write up in Kerrang. They saw that Maiden, Leppard, Saxon and Angelwitch got signed and people wondered why no one signed Diamond Head. So they went the independent route.
Sean Harris (their singer) mom managed the band, which ended up being a bad idea.
Diamond Head never toured the US in the 80s and Robb mentioned how he just presumed that Diamond Head was super huge and that they toured relentlessly in the US.
They finally got a deal with MCA, did two albums, did one tour of Europe and got dropped.
He talks about writing a pop rock song for their first MCA album “Borrowed Time” called “Call Me” because of label pressure, so they could get on to “Top Of The Pops” and they’ll sell a lot of records because of it. But they didn’t. And MCA was not the label for metal bands to be on.
They started touring the US in the 2000s and it was Dave Mustaine from Megadeth that made it happen. Mustaine offered them his crew to help em with set up, sound checks and everything else.
Because Tatler mentioned that DH doesn’t have the pulling power to get crew and buses, so they do their own set up, pack up and their own driving in a van.
He talks about how a 17 year old Lars Ulrich heard “It’s Electric” from a magazine sampler and he then wrote to the fan club, and he said he’s coming over to the UK to watch em play live. And Lars Ulrich ended up sleeping on Tatler’s floor in a sleeping bag in Tatler’s parents house. Lars slept for a week at the Tatler’s and three weeks at vocalist Sean Harris’s parents place.
And my favorite quote from Tatler is “Not everyone gets to make it.”
But he’s okay with it and where he’s at. He’s still doing what he loves. Playing guitar in a band.