DIAMOND HEAD Mainman Reminisces On ‘Am I Evil?’ Era - "If Only I Could Bottle It"
April 16, 2013, a year ago
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By Martin Popoff
DIAMOND HEAD... it's hard to wrap your head around it now, but back in the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal mania of the low '80s, Brian Tatler and Sean Harris were touted as the Page and Plant of the new LED ZEPPELIN.
It didn't quite turn out, but that's all in the past. For if you want to catch a glimpse of why all the crazy talk, Tatler's bringing his long stable new lineup of the band to stages all over North America right now.
"We always try to change it a little bit from the last tour," says Brian asked about the issue most at the forefront, namely what we see when METALLICA's favourite band comes to your town. "There were a couple songs we didn't play the last time, when we came to America in 2011. We've added some old songs and put some new ones in. We've been doing 'Shoot Out The Lights' recently, and we've been doing 'Dead Reckoning'. 'Shoot Out The Lights' was the first single, but it got moved out of the set probably in the early '80s. But I thought we would revisit it. And it's such a big, strong chorus, that people seem to like that one straightaway. So that stays in the set. Some songs, you know, just work better live than others. So we want to vary it, really."
Capably handling Sean Harris' oeuvre, as well as his own songs from the last two albums All Will Be Revealed and What's In Your Head?, is singer Nick Tart.
"This has been a good strong lineup," reflects Tatler. "We've been together since 2006, and it's great. Everyone gets on really well. So it's a real pleasure to tour; I'm loving it.
I was talking to Nick last night, saying that he's been in the band ten years now. Which he couldn't believe either. 'No, it's not that long.' And I proved it to him, that we started getting together at the end of 2003. Because we wrote the album All Will Been Revealed in 2004, and he did his first gig December 2004, so it's been ten years now. So of course, he's been in the band so long now that he's got all the details and the complexity down, and he's very comfortable. And it all feels comfortable, you know? We know what people are gonna do, and it's great."
"That's a very good question," begins Tatler, asked about why these songs, particularly the ones from seminal debut Lightning To The Nations, have endured so well. "If only I could bottle it. I would only think that the songs that were written back in '78, '79, '80, were the peak of what… writers, you know, you probably get your best ideas when you're a teenager into your early 20s, and I think we just learned a lot by then, and we experimented. We were trying to kind of push forward the boundaries, and give something back. I always felt like we weren't just copying people. We were almost trying to do our own thing, find something new and creative, within the style of heavy rock or heavy metal. And I don't know, there is definitely a magic about those songs. Playing them, rehearsing them or playing them live, they do have something about them that connects with an audience. I'm very grateful for it."
"'Am I Evil?' is always great live," continues Tatler. "You sometimes think, should we even bother rehearsing this one, because I've been playing it for over 30 years. But it still sounds great. And of course, when there is an audience there, you know this beast is coming up in the set someplace. So if you're going crazy now, wait until 'Am I Evil?'. That runs through my mind sometimes. So I don't know, there's something about the dynamics of that song and the riff and the relentlessness of it, that it definitely just works. You don't have to worry about certain songs (laughs)."