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Brian Tatler is a guitarist and co-founder of the Stourbridgemarker based band Diamond Head, who are best known for their influence on Metallica and Megadeth.

Diamond Head

For the history of Diamond Head see: Diamond Head

Formation

Originally trained as a mechanic Brian Tatler is most famous for his first band, the Stourbridgemarker based band Diamond Head. Tatler founded the band along with schoolmate Duncan Scott, he playing on a cheap fuzz guitar and Duncan on some biscuit tins. They later enrolled the help of Sean Harris and Colin Kimberley on vocals and bass guitar respectively.

The band recorded and released self-financed demo tapes in 1977 and 1979. Although only recorded within six hours on a four-track, their unique sound and quality of song writing gained enough attention to tour as support with AC/DC and Iron Maiden. Although many record companies fought to sign the band, none were willing to commit fully. The band grew impatient and decided that they would release their material through their own label Happy Face Records. The band released their debut album on this label most commonly known as Lightning to the Nations, although it has never officially had a title. This album came in a plain sleeve with no title, having on it only a signature of one of the band members and no track listings. Amongst the stand out features of this album were the epic riffs created by Tatler, which prompted Sounds magazine to claim that "one Diamond Head song contains more riffs than an entire Black Sabbath album."

Influence

Tatler has cited early influences to be bands such as Scorpions, UFO and Rainbow. Tatler has stated that some of the first albums he bought were Led Zeppelin's second album and Deep Purple's Machine Head, and that his favourite album is Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti as it contains his favourite song Kashmir. He has said that although most of his guitar work was inspired by Ritchie Blackmore, it was the punk rock movement that showed him that anyone could form a band., although these days Tatler tries not to be influenced by more modern bands in order to keep his traditional sound, although he imagines that "little bits creep into the writing process."

MCA Years

The success of the first album led to a record deal with MCA Records in 1981, and they released the Four Cuts EP, which contained classics such as Call Me and Dead Reckoning. Their 'major label' status afforded them a slot on the Reading festival bill in 1982. They played a stunning set which was recorded by the BBC and later released in 1992 through Raw Fruit Records as the 'Friday Rock Show Sessions'.

Their first MCA LP released was entitled Borrowed Time, and things seemed to be going very well for Diamond Head, with the album managing to get to #24 in the UK album charts, enabling the band to perform a full scale UK arena tour, including large venues such as Londonmarker's Hammersmith Apollomarker. In many interviews Tatler has stated that 1982 was his favourate year and found the era to be extremely exciting, trying to guess who is going to be the first NWOBHM band to make it big.

Unfortunately success was short lived, as Diamond Head tried a more experimental follow-up to Borrowed Time, tentatively titled Making Music, and which later became Canterbury, in 1983. The success of this album was initially stalled by the fact that the first 20,000 copies suffered vinyl-pressing problems, causing the LP to jump. Secondly, many people did not like the progressive direction; most fans were expecting a second Borrowed Time. Tatler has expressed since that making this album was one of the most stressful periods of his life and the entire process almost caused him to have a nervous breakdown. He also said that having to fire his best friends from the band was one of the hardest things he has had to do.

Diamond Head opened the 1983 Monsters of Rock festival; however, MCA did not like the new direction the band was taking and they were dropped. The band produced a demo for a fourth studio album (entitled Flight East), however, no label seemed interested in releasing it. The bands manager, Reg Fellows, tried to relaunch the band with a different vocalist and changed the name to the Dirty Box Band, although this bore no fruit. Tatler decided to call it a day, thinking that Diamond Head no longer fit into the metal scene that was blooming with the likes of Metallica and Anthrax. So the band split up for the first time in 1985. Around the same time Tatler also decided that it was time to get rid of his signature white Flying V and convert to a Gibson Les Paul, saying that "I think the Les Paul's better, the V's more of a metal guitar. At one stage it was just me and Schenker with them, now the guy in Saxons got one and all the European metal bands like Accept have them."

1990s

Radio Moscow

After Diamond Head split Tatler went on to run RPK 24track studio, in Lyemarker, recording and producing local bands. He also formed the band Radio Moscow (not to be confused with the modern American blues-rock band of the same name), which drummer Karl Wilcox, who later went on to be a part of a reformed Diamond Head. The band recorded an LP and EP, which can be heard on Diamond Head's official site.

Radio Moscow recorded 2 albums, (World Service & Get A New Life) both of which featured Ritch Battersby on Drums who later went on to perform with G.T.A and also The Wildhearts.

First Diamond Head Reunion

Whilst Diamond Head had ceased to be, American Thrash metal band Metallica had been increasing public interest in Diamond Head by using their songs as B-sides on their singles and regularly playing Diamond Head's flagship song Am I Evil at their live shows. This prompted Tatler and Sean Harris to get back together in 1990 and reform Diamond Head. The band signed to Warner/Chappell and released their fourth album Death and Progress in 1991, featuring Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi and Megadeth's Dave Mustaine. However, the band's reunion was short lived, as they were on the verge of splitting up as soon as the record was released. One notable event on the Death and Progress tour was when the band opened for Metallica and Megadeth at the National Bowlmarker in Milton Keynesmarker. Harris came out dressed as the Grim Reaper, which Brian Tatler reported in the British rock magazine Classic Rock, was Harris' way of saying that NWOBHM was over. Their performance was very under par, which was due to the pressure of playing live on MTV, the fact Tatler was suffering from shingles at the time and they had very little rehearsal time prior to the gig.

Modern Day

Quill

After the spilt Tatler joined Thin Lizzy tribute act Dizzy Lizzy before joining up with Celtic rock band Quill, whom he stated he joined for monetary reasons, and toured extensively with them. During his time with Quill Tatler recorded three albums with the band (Out of the hat, Privileged and Back Intact).

Diamond Head's Acoustic Years and Nick Tart Era

Andy Abberley & Brian Tatler 2008
played his last show with Quill in November 2000 and rejoined Sean Harris to perform and record an acoustic version of Diamond Head, along with guitarist Floyd Brennan. Tatler and Harris recorded and toured new material and played their first gig in North America, playing the Metal Meltdown festival in New Jerseymarker. However, the new album was never released. Harris' reluctance to tour and only concentrate on releasing further albums prompted Tatler to consider his options away from Harris.

Also During this time, Tatler collaborated with Dave Mustaine of Megadeth on an album together. However, after Mustaine decided to reform Megadeth this project was shelved and never released.

Meanwhile, Tatler had decided that it was time to get Diamond Head back on the road and had teamed up with new vocalist Nick Tart to work on Diamond Head's fifth studio album All Will Be Revealed, which was released through Cargo Records in 2005. Tatler stated that his aim was just to try and release a solid rock album with "punchy" riffs and no fillers. After a successful tour supporting Megadeth Diamond Head seems to be going from strength to strength and in 2007 released their latest album What's In Your Head, which has been widely acclaimed.

Discography



References


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