Mark Strigl of the "Talking Metal" podcast recently conducted an interview with guitarist Brian Tatler of British metal veterans DIAMOND HEAD. You can listen to the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the diversity of sounds found on their latest studio album, last year's "The Coffin Train":
Brian: "I think we were a bit more bold, a bit more confident. Because the 2016 album, there had been a long gap between that one and the previous album, which was 2007 ['What's In Your Head?'], and we had this new singer, Rasmus [Bom Andersen]. So I think the general idea was not to lose any of our fans and sort of the make the kind of album that a DIAMOND HEAD fan might like, but also Ras, I think, wanted, in a way ingratiate himself with the fans. The last thing he wanted to do was ruin the legacy and have the DIAMOND HEAD fans that we've got say, 'I don't like the new singer. I don't like the new album.' It was coming from that kind of angle, to try and just make the right sort of album, go back to the classic DIAMOND HEAD that people obviously liked with 'Lightning To The Nations' and 'Borrowed Time', and sort of make that kind of record rather just experiment and be now and be modern. You can do that, but we thought, 'Let's sort of tailor the record so it sounds very DIAMOND HEAD and see how it's received.' It was received very well and so I think that gave us the confidence to 'Okay, we can branch out a little more. We can be a tiny bit more modern.' Some of that stuff I was writing in 2016, so it's a bit more up to date. I think you're right, there's a bit of SOUNDGARDEN influence coming in vocally and it just became a bit more epic and we're not afraid to do a few more slower songs and things like that. I'm just really, really pleased that people like both the records. Ras has been so well accepted by the fans."
On DIAMOND HEAD having to contend with punk music during their early days in the 1970s:
Brian: "DIAMOND HEAD formed in 1976. We only wanted to be a rock band. We were kind of wanting to emulate our heroes as you mentioned, [LED] ZEPPELIN, [BLACK] SABBATH, [DEEP] PURPLE, then in '77, the following year along comes punk rock in the U.K. So, suddenly there's these bands on the TV. I remember watching SEX PISTOLS and THE JAM and THE ADVERTS and all these bands. I really liked the punk scene. I thought the energy was amazing. I'd had enough of big, long almost pretentious tracks from some of these bands like EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER, GENESIS and stuff like that. I'm a big GENESIS fan, but I think there comes a time when I can't play anything like GENESIS or YES or PINK FLOYD, but, I thought, 'Oh I could play like the SEX PISTOLS. I can play like the RAMONES, I can do what he's doing, this guy.' That was quite inspirational. It was almost like a kick in the pants just a do it yourself vibe, go and do it, book a gig, play at your local pub up the road. Don't worry about becoming virtuoso on the guitar, a Ritchie Blackmore [DEEP PURPLE] or a Steve Howe [YES]. Just go, just play three chords and riff out. I didn't want to be a punk, but our music was pretty fast and raw and exciting. We learned pretty quickly that if you play fast songs and shake your head, go for it, put a lot of work into the show, then the audience would respond. We weren't just going to stand there and play slow, boring 20-minute songs, we wanted to power through and whip the crowd up. I think we took some of the punk energy and added it to our own kind of style where we wanted to be the greatest band of all-time, but we were kind, we didn't know how to get there. When you're going to play a small gig in front of maybe 20, 30 people who don't know any of your songs, you want a result right there and then, you want them to go away saying 'That was brilliant.' I think we borrowed some of the energy from the punk movement."
On the status of original singer Sean Harris, who left DIAMOND HEAD in 2004:
Brian: "We keep our own company. I haven't seen him even for a few years. We both went to the METALLICA 30th-anniversary [shows] in San Francisco and we got up and played the four covers that they've done with METALLICA, so that was fantastic, but that was 2011. I've seen him once or twice since then. We sort of don't…all I know is that he just continues to write songs for himself, really; he doesn't write for anyone else. But strangely enough, he doesn't make records and he doesn't do any gigs. He just seems to be constantly writing. I don't know what for. I don't what he's waiting for or he's expecting to happen with these songs. We're not getting any younger. I think it's better to just get on with it and release stuff. We've released four albums without Sean, DIAMOND HEAD has. Sean hasn't released anything. The last thing he released, I think, was 1993, which was the 'Death And Progress' album, the fourth DIAMOND HEAD album. I've not heard anything he's done since then."
"The Coffin Train" was released in May 2019 via Silver Lining Music. The album was recorded at Vigo Studios in Walsall, Circle Studios in Birmingham and Raw Sound Studio in London.