heavy metal band
brought us many gems including
Lightning To The Nations
jewel in the crown, Am I Evil?
Now, with Nick Tart on vocals, they continue
to come up with a treasure trove of hard rock
spoke to founder member
about the many facets of
makin' music, Megadeth, and progress
Want to find out what's in Brian's head?
All will be revealed...
turned out to be a phenomenal year for Diamond Head,
and especially a very exciting time for the fans as
the tours with Tesla and Thin Lizzy seemed to pop
up out of nowhere. How did these tours come about,
and what have been the highlights of the last twelve
months for you?
We were in the right place at the right time, and
of course able to say yes. You have to be on the radar
to get gigs like this and we have been working hard
for a number of years now to get to this posistion.
The highlight was the Thin Lizzy tour - it was a great
opportunity for Diamond Head and we all enjoyed it.
It has been Ab's [guitarist Andy Abberley's] ambition
to play Hammersmith Apollo and we did that so that's
one off the list!
how does this compare with 1982/83 for you?
1982 was my favourite year. Diamond Head seemed to
be getting somewhere after six years of building.
We had Borrowed Time out and in the charts, we did
Reading Festival. It was a great time, so the comparison
is that this is much harder - no record company support,
no agency, no tour bus, no roadies... touring and
getting gigs 2007 style is all about do it yourself.
February you're off to Japan. What are you most looking
forward to about the trip?
Seeing what it's like in Japan. I have never been
there, and I'm looking forward to meeting some new
people and spreading the word.
reviews of What's In Your Head (great artwork by the
way!) have been very encouraging. How did that album
Nick and I started writing songs back in March 2005
and continued until we went into the studio September
2006. We had about thirteen days when we could use
Dave 'Shirt' Nicholls as he was on tour with Stone
Sour, and then we had November and December to finish
writing the last few songs before Shirt came back
at the end of January to record and mix the rest of
the album. It took about 19 days to record and five
days to mix, not including Karl's drums. He recorded
the drums himself in San Francisco and sent them over
guitars and effects etc did you use to record the
What's In Your Head album?
I use my two Gibson Les Paul Standards, a PRS, and
a Taylor acoustic. I used a Whammy pedal and some
of the effects in the Pod Pro. Most of the sounds
are a combination of different amps - ENGL, Marshall,
Mesa Boogie & Pod.
been playing This Planet And Me, Skin On Skin, I Feel
No Pain, and Killing Me in your set. Why these four?
We did rehearse all the songs from the album but these
sounded the best. We also liked Victim and Pray For
Me but the other four were the stongest. Any
plans to include others from this album? We
may add more as time goes on, but not yet as we still
want to add some different old songs like Makin' Music
and Sweet And Innocent.
Head albums have always shown progression - Canterbury
was a massive departure from Borrowed Time, your 1993
album Death & Progress was contemporary with the
time, as are All Will Be Revealed and What's In Your
Head - they all retain characteristic Diamond Head
trademarks without sounding dated. How far are you
influenced by current bands when you write?
I try not to be influenced by current bands but little
bits do creep into the writing process, and sometimes
you need a point of reference when you're trying a
new song out. It's a bit like...so that others can
get a handle on it. It's interesting that I can take
a snippet of an idea from another band and once the
song is finished no one can spot where the original
idea came from.
did you feel when you realised that the entire first
vinyl pressing of Canterbury had a glitch in it?
I dont know, that was 25 years ago. Depressed, I suppose.
I know it didn't help us get into the charts... and
I got sick of people telling me their copy of Canterbury
jumped, like there was something I could do about
magazine reviews and articles are restricted to a
set number of words and they use up so many of them
talking about Sean Harris and the past, rather than
the present or the future, how does that make you
Any publicity is good publicity so I don't mind. The
main thing is that people have accepted Nick in the
role as lead singer. Lots of bands have replaced their
lead singer like Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Van Halen, Deep
Purple, Genesis, Black Sabbath, Uriah Heep etc.Sometimes
it has to be done. We can only do our best with what
we have. The future is unwritten.
how about all the comparisons to Metallica/Megadeth
eating into those fixed number of words?
It's great to be associated with such huge bands and
we have gained a lot of fans through them.
debut album Lightning To The Nations was recently
voted the 3rd best album for riffs in Burrrn! magazine
just behind Sabbath's Master Of Reality and Slayer's
Reign In Blood - and ahead of Iron Maiden, Deep Purple,
Motorhead and Led Zeppelin. How do you feel about
that and what sort of feedback have you had about
Not much feedback yet, but obviously I am very flattered
to be nominated amongst such wonderful albums. 3rd
in the world is pretty cool for an album that was
a do-it-yourself job with only 2000 pressings. Riffs
toured with AC/DC, Megadeth etc, and more recently
Thin Lizzy, which bands would you still like to go
on tour with?
AC/DC any day! That was my favourite, and Megadeth
was brilliant too - they were so nice to Diamond Head.
As to touring in the future, I'm not fussy, I'll support
us some of your funniest Spinal Tap moments.
We have had a few where we cannot find the stage from
the dressing room. I remember once we played a gig
up north in some cinema type place and there were
loads of plant pots round the front of the stage so
one of us said "You will have to move these"
to which the theatre manager replied "It was
good enough for Roy Castle".... And one time
the intro tape came on while we were still getting
ready and we all panicked and quickly pulled on our
trousers and ran onstage and played an awful gig.
We would sleep in the back of the van sometimes when
we could not find a B+B, and after one cold night
Duncan was stuck to the steel floor - his sweat had
frozen him to the floor of the van!
with many bands who are experiencing a renaissance,
this time around you've got Myspace, YouTube etc. How
do you feel about the way some of the control is taken
out of what turns up online, e.g. cellphone footage
on YouTube before you've even got home from the gig?
I don't mind. It's important not to do a bad gig though,
because it will end up on YouTube. Hopefully people
will get sick of the poor quality ones and the good
stuff will remain. Without the Internet a lot of bands
would struggle to get heard. It's been our fan club
and contact point since 1999.
due to MySpace and the renewed interest in 'classic'
rock bands, do you find that your audiences are including
more Diamond Head virgins (that's fans who've never
been to a DH gig before, of course!). If so, what's
the reaction from them? Usually
great! We have met a
lot of first-timers, and any band needs that - we
cannot rely just on the old faithful! I even met people
on the Thin Lizzy tour who said to me "I have
never heard of you before but you were brilliant!"
So after thirty years there are still plenty of people
who have never even heard of us, let alone seen us
or bought the albums. It makes you think...!
of the music business, who are your heroes? Please
suggest up to five heroes, living or dead, and tell
Richard Branson - because I admire his balls and the
way he uses his energy to make things happen.
Peter Sellers - for all the funny moments he has created
Charlie Chaplin - again, for all the funny moments
he has created on screen.
My brother Dave - for getting me started on the guitar
and never losing faith in me.
Steven Spielberg - visionary director.
After the Japan trip, what else
is coming up for Diamond Head in 2008? We are
2008 festival in Holland and we have some more
UK dates, and possibly Ireland.
And finally... are you evil?
Yes I'm afraid so. Keep rockin baby! Give it the berries!
© Get Ready To Roll - 16th January 2008
thanks to Rich Ward for help with this interview