BRIAN TATLER: 'If METALLICA Hadn't Covered DIAMOND HEAD, I May Have Looked Elsewhere For Employment'
September 6, 2022
DIAMOND HEAD influenced a slew of early '80s thrash metal bands, in particular METALLICA, which recorded "Am I Evil?" as a B-side to their 1984 "Creeping Death" single and again included on the band's multi-platinum 1998 covers album "Garage Inc."METALLICA would record three additional DIAMOND HEAD songs: "Helpless" ("Garage Days", 1987),"The Prince" ("One" single B-side, 1989) and "It's Electric" ("Garage Inc.", 1998).
In a new interview with Metal Pilgrim, DIAMOND HEAD guitarist Brian Tatler was asked if he thinks his band would not have been able to continue as a viable business entity had METALLICA covered any of his songs. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I think if METALLICA hadn't covered DIAMOND HEAD — the first cover was '84 when they did 'Am I Evil?' on the B-side of 'Creeping Death' — so I think if they hadn't, I may have looked elsewhere for employment. I think it would have been harder to keep DIAMOND HEAD going without that introduction to their fanbase. 'Cause that record sold millions of copies — versions of 'Am I Evil?' have sold millions of copies through METALLICA — and so so many more people know DIAMOND HEAD thanks to Lars [Ulrich] and Co. And it may be that a lot of the opportunities that we get now would not be there without that METALLICA connection. So I'm eternally grateful. Obviously, myself and Sean [Harris, original DIAMOND HEAD singer] still get writers' royalties, but even so, I just think it's helped DIAMOND HEAD as a name and a brand to get on more and more opportunities — get festivals and supports. Because they link it with METALLICA; they think, 'Okay, well, you're potentially tapping into a huge market.'"
Two years ago, Tatler said during an episode of "Tatler's Tales" about METALLICA's cover versions of his band's classic songs: "They're great. They're always more powerful and a little faster than the DIAMOND HEAD versions. I mean, they're a great band. They [have] their own sound. Of course, it was very flattering. The first song they covered was 'Am I Evil' They were the first band that ever covered a DIAMOND HEAD song. And it came out in 1984; it was on the 'Creeping Death' 12-inch single, which was on Music For Nations. And I was just really flattered that 'Lars's band' had covered one of our songs and done such a respectful job and worked out the guitar solo. Everything was really good — really close to our version, but a bit more modern, a bit tougher, [with] more attitude."
He added: "More power to them. Fantastic. It's done the band a huge favor."
According to Brian, the royalties that he receives from the DIAMOND HEAD back catalog, including the METALLICA recordings of his songs, are enough for him to live on. "It's my biggest source of income," he revealed in a 2019 interview. "It's great and I don't know what I would do without it. It gives me the freedom to do what I like. I'm very grateful."
A reimagined and re-recorded version of DIAMOND HEAD's "Lightning To The Nations" album was released in 2020 via Silver Lining Music. "Lightning To The Nations 2020" included four cover tracks, including METALLICA's "No Remorse".
"I wanted to cover a song from METALLICA's debut album, 'Kill 'Em All'," Tatler explained, "partly because METALLICA covered songs from DIAMOND HEAD's debut album 'Lightning To The Nations' and it felt like things have come full circle to me. None of the band members knew how to play any of the songs from 'Kill 'Em All', and I eventually decided we should all learn 'No Remorse'. Then when we got into the rehearsal room, we played 'No Remorse' and immediately it just sounded great; it was very 'DIAMOND HEAD' and it really suited us as a band. Of the four covers we ended up doing, 'No Remorse' sounded the best straight away. I've seen METALLICA live over twenty times and they don't play 'No Remorse' very often, but it's always great when they do!"
DIAMOND HEAD's latest collection of all-new material, "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.
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