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Diamond Head - Biography





Brian and Duncan first started writing music together in early 1976 with Brian on cheap fuzz guitar and Duncan on Biscuit tins. Brian had a poster of an album by Phil Manzanera called Diamond Head that was released in 1975 and he thought "that would be a good name for the band", but they needed a singer and auditioned several school chums until someone mentioned they had heard Sean Harris singing Be Bop a Lu La on a coach and so Brian asked Sean to try out and after one song he was asked to join. Colin Kimberley, an friend of Brian's from junior school completed the line up.

The first demo tape was cut in 1979 in a studio in Kidderminster. This was used to get gigs, and a copy was sent to Geoff Barton at Sounds, who was suitably impressed and put them on his play list, and arranged an interview. Continual gigging paid off when they were offered two prestigious opening slots for AC/DC (Bon Scott's last ever gigs) and Iron Maiden. At the beginning of 1980, the band formed Diamond Head Music as a means to putting out their own self financed material. Their first single was "Shoot Out The Lights" backed with "Helpless" on Happy Face Music.

In Mach 1980 Diamond Head entered the Old Smithy studio, Worcester to record their debut album Lightning To The Nations. A record deal failed to materialise and 1000 blank white label copies were pressed up to sell at gigs and mail order through Sounds music paper for £3.50 A further pressing of 1000 were made, which had the track listing on it. This contained 7 classic tracks including "Am I Evil?", "The Prince", "Helpless", and "It's Electric".

The next single was "Sweet And Innocent" from the White Album, backed with a new track, "Streets Of Gold". Two new tracks arrived in 1981 on DHM Records - the double A-side of "Waited Too Long" and "Plat It Loud". The Diamond Lights 12″ EP followed soon after giving us "It's Electric" and three new tracks, "We Won't Be Back", "Diamond Lights" and "I Don't Got".

Diamond Head were courted by A&R man Charlie Ayers who signed the band to MCA Records in 1982. Their first release being the Four Cuts EP containing "Call Me", "Trick Or Treat", "Dead Reckoning" and a new version of "Shoot Out The Lights". A second single; "In The Heat Of The Night" was released prior to the Borrowed Time album. A double single of this contained live versions of "Play It Loud" and "Sweet And Innocent" recorded at the Zig-Zag Club, together with a 14 minute interview with Tommy Vance recorded in June '82.

Diamond Head played a magnificent set at the Reading Festival playing new tracks and old. The live version of "Sucking My Love" would later be released as a 12″ with "Out Of Phase", and the whole set 10 years later as part of the BBC sessions series.

Living on...Borrowed Time was released in late September 1982, in a lavish gatefold sleeve with stunning artwork courtesy of Rodney Matthews and entered the UK charts at number 24.

A 12 date UK tour followed in October and November to promote their new album taking in Birmingham Odeon, Manchester Apollo and London's Hammersmith Odeon.

1983 saw the release of the "Makin' Music" single as a precursor to the album that was also intended to be called Makin' Music but was changed to Canterbury. During the recording both Dunc and Colin left the band. The first 20,000 copies of the album had pressing faults causing pressing faults. This consequently affected sales, with it eventually charting at number 32 and selling less than the previous album.

Diamond Head opened the Donington Monsters Of Rock Festival in the summer of 1983 with new drummer Robbie France and bass player Merv Goldsworthy. The band completed a European tour with Black Sabbath in September and an Odeon sized UK tour in October of that year to promote Canterbury. MCA Records suggested a change of management which was resisted and the label let Diamond Head go in January 1984. Work began on a self financed album but when their manager failed to get a deal at Midem music business convention, the lack of funds lead to the band falling apart.

In 1990 Pete Winkleman (who had been working with Sean on the Notorious project) called Brian to ask if he was interested in writing a new Diamond Head album with Sean. They quickly started writing new material and pulled in two new members; Karl Wilcox on drums and Eddie Moohan on bass to tour and record. A protracted series of recording sessions followed during which Pete Vuckovic replaced Eddie Moohan on bass. The album Death And Progress features two celebrity guests in the guise of Megadeth's Dave Mustaine who played on, and mixed the track "Truckin". Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi also guests on "Starcrossed", adding a very distinctive solo. Prior to its release, the band opened a show at Milton Keynes Bowl featuring Megadeth and Metallica on 5th June 1993. The album sold more than 50,000 copies to their ever loyal fan base. This show was later released as Evil Live in 1994 along with extra tracks from the Death And Progress sessions. This was to be Diamond Head's last show for 7 years.

In late 2000, Brian and Sean started working on an acoustic project, reworking some of their back catalogue in an acoustic style with new recruit Floyd Brennan. The trio performed some low key gigs before recording a four track EP and performing at the Rock Shield Festival in Burton On Trent.

The acoustic shows had revitalised interest in Diamond Head, and new songs had already started to be written. Early in 2002, an offer to headline the New Jersey Metal Meltdown IV Festival as an electric band was too good a chance to miss. This signified the return of Eddie Moohan and Karl Wilcox. A couple of weeks rehearsal and a short 4 date UK tour warmed the band up for their first trip to American soil. Their headline performance proved a massive success with many US fans getting their first chance to see the band live. More new material was written and fans got to hear new tracks such as "Shine On" and "Forever 16" on another UK club tour in September 2002, and a notable slot at the Derby Bloodstock Festival.

At the end of 2002 and the early part of 2003, Diamond Head ventured into the studio to record a new album with Andrew Scarth. Although Sean's reluctance to release it under the name of Diamond Head meant that it never saw the light of day.

In 2004 Diamond Head chose a new singer in Nick Tart and the release of a new album titled All Will Be Revealed. The end of the year saw them perform their first gig with Nick in front of an invitation only crowd at JBs in Dudley.

Harking back to the early days and the 'do it yourself' attitude, 1000 self financed copies of their new album were pressed. These quickly sold out at gigs and via their website. In February 2005, Diamond Head embarked on a massive European tour supporting Megadeth which turned out to be a massive success for the band, impressing long standing fans and picking up younger ones along the way.

In 2005 Diamond Head signed a licencing deal with Cargo Records giving the album a full commercial release allowing a much greater audience. The year culminated with another short tour and Diamond Head headlining a 25th Anniversary of the NWOBHM at London Astoria in November. The Astoria show was professionally recorded which resulted in a live album, It's Electric and Diamond Head's first ever official DVD.

On 30th July 2007 Diamond Head released What's In Your Head? on Livewire/Cargo and the band toured the UK and Europe including KIT Festival, Germany, Diamond Head's first headlining tour of Ireland and Hard Rock Hell. In December 2007, Diamond Head toured the UK as special guests to Thin Lizzy on their 30th anniversary tour of Live & Dangerous. 2008 saw Diamond Head's first trip to Japan to play at the prestigious Shibuya O-East and a UK club tour.

In August 2009, Universal Records released a triple Diamond Head CD. Titled The MCA Years, it contains re-mastered versions of Borrowed Time, Canterbury and Live At The Reading Festival. The release also includes some bonus material and demos, some of which have previously been unavailable. This is the first release of Borrowed Time and Canterbury on CD in the UK. Live At The Reading Festival set was previously released on Raw Fruit in 1992, but has long since been deleted and is a much sought after item by Diamond Head fans.

In 2010 Diamond Head tour the UK as the special guests to Europe on all dates in February. Also at this time, Brian Tatler's much anticipated autobiography; Am I Evil? was published as an exclusive hardback first edition print, available only at shows and through their website, the book received rave reviews and sold out quickly. It contains many unseen photos and has forewords by both Lars Ulrich and Dave Mustaine.

In 2011 Diamond Head were invited to open for the Big Four playing at both the UK and French Sonisphere festivals plus Heavy MTL and Heavy TO in Canada. For the first time in their career, Diamond Head undertook a 17 date headlining tour of USA.

In 2013 Diamond Head undertook two tours of the US starting with a 15 date East Coast tour in the Spring and later in the year a 14 date West Coast tour, plus a UK double bill tour with Uli Jon Roth.

Back in 2008 singer Nick Tart and his family emigrated to Brisbane, Australia. It became increasingly expensive and complicated to fly Nick back and forth for tours, and writing or rehearsing new material became almost impossible. During a band meeting at the beginning of 2014 it was decided that the only way forward was to look for a singer based in the UK. Through a friend of Eddie Moohan's we found Rasmus Bom Andersen, a Danish born singer living in London. Rasmus was invited to join Diamond Head on tour taking in Headbangers Open Air and Hard Rock Hell amongst other European dates.

Whilst on tour the subject of writing new material came up and Brian gave Rasmus 45 pieces of music he had been preparing since 2007 on two CDs. The band started writing together in January 2015 and on July 5th entered Vigo Studio, Walsall to begin recording their 7th album, Diamond Head.

(Source: Official website, 21.5.2016)