DIAMOND HEAD's BRIAN TATLER On Joining SAXON's Touring Lineup: 'I Was Happy To Accept The Offer'

May 15, 2023

In a new interview with Ernest Skinner of Border City Rock Talk, DIAMOND HEAD guitarist Brian Tatler spoke about the recent announcement that he was joining SAXON as the replacement for recently departed founding guitarist Paul Quinn.

"Paul Quinn has stepped down from touring because — I think partly it's his age," Brian said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). "I mean, he's been doing it for so long — 45, 47 years or something. And all respect due; I mean, he's a fantastic player. So I was happy to accept the offer. And I'm looking forward to it. I'm at home busy learning the set."

In addition to a dozen or so already-announced festival appearances in 2023, SAXON has revealed that it will support JUDAS PRIEST on a U.K. tour in early 2024. "We're playing really big venues," Brian said. "And it's JUDAS PRIEST, SAXON and URIAH HEEP. And I'm amazed to be… I've never been on a tour with JUDAS PRIEST before. The closest DIAMOND HEAD's come in the past is we've been on the same festival bill. I'm a big PRIEST fan and have been since maybe 1975. So to be on tour with them where we can watch them every night and get to know 'em a little bit and chat will be fantastic. I'm stoked about that. That's only come in a couple of weeks ago, and I'm excited for that already. It's not till March 2024, but I'm already looking forward to that."

Brian joins fellow guitarist Doug Scarratt, bassist Nibs Carter, drummer Nigel Glockler and Byford for shows starting July 7 in Athens, Greece but will continue to be a member of DIAMOND HEAD.

In March, Quinn thanked fans for their "outpouring of love and respect" after his announcement that he was "stepping back from touring".

As a result of Quinn's decision, SAXON canceled its April 2023 South American tour as well as the appearance at the Monsters Of Rock cruise.

On March 25, Quinn took to his social media to write: "Dear all, seeing the tremendous outpourings of love and respect worldwide, I am deeply grateful. It was an honour sharing this life-enhancing experience with you, our loyal fans.

"I agreed to perform the confirmed shows until autumn, but due to other circumstances the band need time to regroup sooner.

"After 50 years of being on the road, I look forward to trying some new things that this battered body still allows, so our paths might cross again.
"I will always be proud of what we created with SAXON, so it will remain in my DNA. Finishing these last gigs for you and recording music when required is part of the plan.

"I wish all the best to the band for their new chapter and I hope you will join me on mine, whether it is with THE CARDS or other projects.

"Play it Loud and keep the Wheels of Steel rolling.

"All my best, Paul Quinn".

In a recent interview with Robert Cavuoto of Myglobalmind, Byford spoke about Quinn's decision to retire from the road. The singer said: "Yeah, it's gonna be a change. The thing is it wasn't a surprise. It was talked about for a few years now that he might retire. And the thing is the band are getting bigger, and we're busy and we're doing longer tours and bigger venues. I just think he wants to rest now. So it wasn't really a shock. We talked about it a few times, the fact that he gets very tired quite quickly. There's a lot of pressure on you when you're touring in a band. So, he's gonna be around. He's gonna be doing show till the end of the year with us, and he's gonna doing the new album with us. So pretty much he will be there, but not there, if you know what I mean."

Asked if SAXON is "actively auditioning" guitarists to replace Quinn on the road, Byford responded: "No, not at the moment. We're gonna put somebody in who's been around for a long time and can play great guitar. We want somebody who's from that same era — the '80s era — so I'm gonna let people guess on that."

When Paul's departure was first announced on March 10, SAXON said in a statement: "After much soul searching our great friend and fellow warrior Paul Quinn has decided to step back from touring with SAXON. After many years on the road, with the subsequent stress and tiredness that accompany long tour schedules, Paul doesn't want his performance to suffer and let his fellow band mates and fans down. Paul will continue to record with the band and may play select special shows in the future.

"SAXON stand by Paul's decision and will keep you all informed regarding our next journey.

"The current run of March shows in Europe will continue as is but the band will be cancelling their April dates in South America and the MOR Cruise to give time to re-group. These territories will be re-booked as soon as time permits. All summer festivals will continue as booked."

Quinn alluded to his decision on March 9 in a since-deleted Facebook post. He wrote: "You need to know I will miss you & my SAXON co-workers for the great times on and off stage, so with regret I will leave while I can still hold my head high and not worry about my fingers or brain forgetting riffs, keys or stumbling over licks, as they do occasionally. I am not taking this lightly, and I want to do SAXON proud, whilst continuing to love and play music with THE CARDS and other projects."

THE CARDS is a classic rock trio which Quinn founded in 2016 with DORO/U.D.O. alumnus Harrison Young, and VANDENBERG drummer Koen Herfst. They are currently poised to release their second album this year.

Four years ago, the now-71-year-old Quinn reflected on over four decades of being in the group in an interview with HeadBangers LifeStyle. He said: "Lots of road miles and air miles. It feels great to be relevant still. We always have a blast and I think the audience know that we are one of them. We are one of those party bands that they like. That always helped to get the message across, and Biff shouting at them occasionally. We've always had good members and good songwriters. The present band is included, and we’ve made some good stuff together, I think."

SAXON's new album, "More Inspirations", arrived on March 24 via Silver Lining Music. Following the release of "Inspirations" in 2021, "More Inspirations" is the second "deep dish" serving of the influences which have fed SAXON's immensely successful 40-plus-year career.

Produced by Biff, with Seb Byford helping record the music alongside mixing engineer Jacky Lehmann, "More Inspirations" includes takes on RAINBOW, ZZ TOP and CREAM, as well as "Razamanaz" by NAZARETH, THE WHO's "Substitute", and URIAH HEEP's "Gypsy".

Byford and Quinn are the sole remaining original members in SAXON's current lineup.

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