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Diamond Head (Official Thread)

Discussion in 'Metal' started by opera races, Oct 7, 2011.

  1. opera races

    opera races Senior Member

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    Hi, ok ... I am going to attempt presenting the "Official Diamond Head" thread here if everyone is ok with that. :)

    [​IMG]

    Official Website

    Lightning to the Nations (1980) (also known as The White Album)
    Borrowed Time (1982)
    Canterbury (1983)
    Death and Progress (1993)
    All Will Be Revealed (2005)
    What's in Your Head (2007)


    I don't consider myself the biggest or most fanatical or most knowledgeable Diamond Head fan in the universe; however I do like this band and their music both past and present A LOT and I've been following them for about 8-10 years now. At this point they're probably my second favorite band (Queen still being my all time favorite always) which considering how many bands I'm into is saying a lot.

    I will cover the band from the beginning to the present and my main focus will be on the MUSIC. I know there's a lot of shoulda-woulda-coulda's, what could/should have been surrounding Diamond Head and the band hasn't been without a bit of *DRAMA* concerning certain issues but for the most part I am going to avoid all that and, again hope to take the members and lurkers on this forum on a wonderful musical journey called Diamond Head.

    The official Diamond Head web site is quite good and has lots of info so feel free to check it out!

    The Official Diamond Head Web Pages

    The web site also includes an excellent short bio of the band and info on the current band members.

    Diamond Head History

    I'm going to begin with how I got into Diamond Head. Like most Diamond Head fans or at least like most music fans in the USA who are aware of Diamond Head, I first heard of Diamond Head via the band Metallica.

    I was aware of Metallica in the late 80's and was certainly aware of the "Black Album" of 1991 but I didn't seriously begin getting into the band until about 1998-1999. When I began buying Metallica CD's I happened to pick up a fairly new release of theirs called Garage Inc. I'm usually not much for covers albums but this one turned out to be fairly good. I had heard and read about Metallica being inspired and influenced by the two 'heads - Motorhead and Diamond Head. I was familiar with Motorhead but the Diamond Head mention didn't hit my radar at first.

    [​IMG]

    After listening to Garage Inc. several times it became apparent which tracks were the four coolest songs on the album. Those four songs that got my attention the most all happened to be by Diamond Head!

    It's Electric
    Helpless
    Am I Evil?
    The Prince (my favorite at that point)

    One day I was at a store looking at used CD's and found one called Diamond Head Lightning To The Nations put out by Metal Blade in 1992. The CD still had the wrapping and a sticker that said something to the effect, the music that inspired Metallica. I looked at the track listing and saw some familiar sounding song names. I bought it. The first time I played the CD ... I don't know I must have been in one of my moods. I played it through once, thought, that's nice, and filed it away with the rest of my CD's.

    [​IMG]

    Lightning To The Nations has the same track listing as the "White Album" which I'll get to in a little bit.

    Some time later I got Lightning To The Nations out again to take with me to listen to driving to work. This time I was completely blown away by the music and hooked on Diamond Head.

    Diamond Head was formed in 1976 in Wollaston in the West Midlands of England. The original lineup was as follows:

    [​IMG]

    Initially, Diamond Head's records were self-produced and self-released. The first single, on Happy Face Records was Shoot Out The Lights b/w Helpless.



    In 1980, Diamond Head released their first album, the classic "White Album" or Lightning To The Nations (the name of the first track). The record came in a plain white cardboard cover.

    Lightning To The Nations
    The Prince
    Sucking My Love
    Am I Evil?
    Sweet and Innocent
    It's Electric
    Helpless

    Am I Evil? became Diamond Head's signature song.



    The Prince is still my favorite of the White Album songs.



    It's Electric is the other Diamond Head song covered by Metallica.



    to be continued ...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 12, 2013
  2. LOU/REALM

    LOU/REALM Senior Member

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    Great thread !:grinthumb Great band ! :bow:
    DIAMOND HEAD were to me one of the finest bands ever to grace the NWOBHM scene .....and like you say Opera thanks to METALLICA doing some pearler covers of their songs generated interest in the band to another generation.
    My first sounds of DIAMOND HEAD came from a compilation album with the excellent track" its electric". Thats it I was hooked and started to pick up their material on vinyl. I never did get "the white album" its always been extremely rare. My copy of "Lightning to the nations " is on German label Woolfe records...........its a hoot with probably the worst mispelt album cover clanger ever ! Is it just me or does it to you say DIAMOUD HEAD :bonk::heheh:
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2012
  3. opera races

    opera races Senior Member

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    Thanks, Lou!!! :D

    Yes, the "White Album" is the ultimate NWOBHM collectible. There was an initial pressing of 1,000 records and each copy was signed by one of the band members. Now there are variations of the signature bit as people sometimes had other band members sign the cover at gigs, etc. There was another pressing of 1,000 records with the track listing. ... and that was it! Last I heard, if you can get your hands on a copy of an original White Album, it will set you back at least £100 GBP.

    Is this the album you heard It's Electric?



    I've been wanting to get a copy of NWOBHM '79 Revisited, preferably on vinyl but wouldn't mind getting the CD too!

    I almost never tire of listening to Diamond Head. I admit that Am I Evil? is getting to be a bit like Freebird or Stairway To Heaven lol and that seems to be the song everyone records at Diamond Head shows and uploads to You Tube. I try to pace myself when it comes to that song so as not to get burned out on it. I admit it was quite awesome so see Am I Evil? performed live three times in four days and the current band plays it great as ever!!! Brian came up with some great classic solos and riffs on that song and sticks with them!

    Unfortunately many dodgy deals were made with the original White Album recordings and Woolfe Records is a big part of that story ... but that is part of the *DRAMA* I said I wasn't going to go into here lol!

    Brian Tatler wrote an excellent, excellent autobiography which was published in 2009. The book explains just about everything you would want to know about Diamond Head including the *DRAMA* stuff. I very highly recommend it.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 12, 2013
  4. LOU/REALM

    LOU/REALM Senior Member

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    Wow ! Never knew of that book Opera......bet its a good read. Must look out for it!
    No I first heard DIAMOND HEAD on the" Brute Force " MCA compilation album 1980 , then purchased the "waited too long " single, Four Cuts 12in e.p [inc Call me ] etc . They also sessioned on THE FRIDAY ROCK SHOW with their impressive style
    Yep I love DIAMOND HEAD !!! The first thing to hit you is the terrific vocal style and range of SEAN HARRIS :bow:
    The music press were slowly building this band up......Natural successors to Led ZEP ? Who said that? It was a very hard thing to live up to. They started to appear in SOUNDS and early KERRANG magazine......they should have been huge
    I think one observation at the time was it seemed like eternity for DIAMOND HEAD to finally get a big record deal.....but in the end it was worth it IMO with a quality debut on MCA :grinthumb

     
  5. opera races

    opera races Senior Member

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    Time for some more Diamond Head! :D

    As I work on this thread I'm attempting to keep the songs within the timeline; i.e. post videos and audio tracks from around the time of their original release, NOT e.g. a clip of the band performing Am I Evil? in 2011 while I am still back in 1981. ;)

    Here are the rest of the songs from Diamond Head's classic White Album:

    Lightning To The Nations:



    Sucking My Love (Me, I love the music but could just about shoot Mr. Harris for the lyrics. :blush: Well, as I mentioned in my concert report about all one can do is have a sense of humor about it ... and I think the band and I do ;))



    Sweet and Innocent

     
  6. opera races

    opera races Senior Member

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    Brian's book is EXCELLENT! It is among the best music biographies I've read. I guess it wouldn't do any harm to post a review ... erm ... report I did of it on this forum. :D

    = = =

    I got my copy of Brian’s book at the end of November. When I finished reading the book I loaned it to a friend to read (though she might wind up buying a copy for herself anyway) so this post is mostly off the top of my head!

    I had a good feeling and hoped, going by interviews I’d read and heard with Brian in the past, that the book was likely going to be honest, accurate, straight-forward and perhaps incorporate Brian’s interesting sense of humor. I wasn’t disappointed. Yes I get it that it is all these things from Brian’s point of view but what I also appreciated was the book is unlike a lot of the sensationalized, self-serving, self-righteous, highly biased kiss and tell biographies with an obvious agenda. Brian tells it like it is/was and one can’t help drawing the obvious conclusions on their own.

    One more thing I want to mention before discussing the book is I think whoever did the editing and proofreading did a really good job. I noticed very few if any howling spelling mistakes, typos, or extreme errors in grammar. Also Brian mentions an effort was made to check the facts and be accurate and I think it really shows! I get a feeling there was almost nothing stated a die-hard fan could call the writers out on or quarrel with! About the only things I did notice that seemed slightly off were a couple of malapropisms early in the book ... but that is extremely minor in comparison to everything else above.

    I think another subtitle for Brian’s book could very well be “All Will Be Revealed”. The book explains a lot of events and in detail, from where I sit at least, that had not been fully explained publicly in the past including the gross mismanagement of the band, why the original band lineup fell apart, what happened with Sean (Ouch!) and what happened to Mills. Again, these events are related in a very straight forward way and quite believable even if, in my opinion, I don’t have an opportunity to read the other two or three sides of the stories.

    What I personally enjoyed most about the book was a feeling of being privy to the creative process and the stories behind the songs/music. I just love hearing and reading about things like that. I usually read most books fairly quickly but Brian’s book I went through much more slowly, almost hanging on to every word. When I first started reading the book, due to what I had going on (mainly working and Thanksgiving lol) I was only able to read a couple chapters a night. The next day I would get out whatever DH album (CD though I have vinyl too including the unfortunate pressing of Canterbury) corresponded to what I had just read, and listen for things I had read about the night before. - lessons in Diamond Head music appreciation :) I gained a better understanding of how Diamond Head’s music evolved and how the band principals wanted the music to evolve, even if it wasn’t exactly what their public had in mind.

    The book also drove home the point for me for the first time (even after reading about other bands going through similar processes) the differences between a band playing live and what songs work better live and a band recording songs for an album - very enlightening.

    What was also interesting though probably more helpful to others who unlike me are not guitar illiterate and half tone deaf was the “gear talk” in the book. I have a sort of understanding when I read the words “Gibson” and “Marshall” but beyond that, frankly, it’s all Greek to me. Still, I couldn’t help being impressed with a sense of musicians often having to make do with what they have in both live and studio situations. I also have a feeling that the “gear talk” information would be very helpful to the enquiring minds who understand such things, are fans of Diamond Head, and are wanting to know what instruments and equipment Diamond Head used and uses in making their music.

    All in all I really enjoyed reading Brian’s book. I feel there’s not only a lot in it for Diamond Head fans but also metal and music fans in general and even for people who simply enjoy reading a well put together and thoughtful biography.

    = = =

    Getting Diamond Head articles was among the reasons why I started buying up old Kerrang! magazines about 6-8 years ago. I have a bunch ... still have some blanks I could fill in but have been preoccupied with other stuff lately so the K! collection hasn't been high on the priority list.

    Yes, I'll be getting to the "MCA years" in a post or two :D ...
     
  7. opera races

    opera races Senior Member

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    Diamond Head continued self-producing and self-releasing their own records, much like the punk DIY ethic of the day.

    [​IMG]

    Another single Diamond Head put out in 1980 was Sweet and Innocent b/w Streets of Gold.



    Ooops ... backing up a bit let's not forget Shoot Out The Lights!



    Waited Too Long b/w Play It Loud was another early single.





    to be continued ... :D
     
  8. opera races

    opera races Senior Member

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    Hi again, sorry to have neglected the DIAMOND HEAD :bow: thread! There is no excuse for that!

    I've been going back and listening to the old stuff and yes, Sean Harris sounds amazing. To me that is a big plus when a rock band has at least a decent vocalist to go along with great music. Lou, since you are a vocalist yourself are vocals the first thing you notice when listening to music? As I mentioned above what initially got my attention about Diamond Head was the music, especially Brian Tatler's great guitar playing including all those riffs ("more riffs in one Diamond head song than on an entire Black Sabbath album") and wonderfully amazing guitar solos (and it was ... I can't even begin to explain what it was like to actually watch Brian playing all those classic riffs and solos up close and in person!). :bow:

    That might have been a rhetorical question .. but I'll answer it anyway! It was one of those cases of the interviewer egging a band on ... and the readers taking it wrong or not too well. Brian explains in his book that the band was basically trying to say that they were aiming high. Certainly Diamond Head could have succeeded the mighty Led Zeppelin ... ah but that goes back to the shoulda/woulda/coulda stuff I'm trying to avoid! I do get annoyed when an interviewer makes a daft comment that gets taken the wrong way and/or the band/musician gets blamed and even brought down for it.

    In 1981 Diamond Head put out a 12" EP called Diamond Lights:

    A. Diamond Lights/We Won't Be Back
    B. I Don't Got/It's Electric (Remix)

    Honestly, I'm amazed at what I'm finding on You Tube as far as the old DH self-released singles.

    Diamond Lights



    We Won't Be Back



    I Don't Got



    It's Electric (Remix)



    to be continued ...
     
  9. opera races

    opera races Senior Member

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    Before I get to the MCA deal, a couple odds and sods ...

    Backing up again slightly, I wanted to note that the intro to "Am I Evil?" is based on a classical work by Gustav Holst - The Planets Opus 32 - Mars The Bringer of War. I think you only hear the part used in Am I Evil? for about the first minute then is briefly repeated later in the piece.



    In July 1981 a young Danish lad living in the USA traveled to England to see his favorite band, Diamond Head. Young Lars Ulrich wound up spending over a month living with and hanging out with Diamond Head. After returning to the USA, Lars started his own band ... and us metal heads know what happened next ...

    This will probably be (almost) the only Metallica video I post in this thread; of course Diamond Head stands well on their own. But I thought this one was interesting because it's an early performance of Metallica covering Am I Evil, with Cliff Burton and Dave Mustaine in the band, and I think Dave does a nice job with the guitar parts. (That audience didn't know what they were missing out on as far as the real thing!) Dave also became a huge Diamond Head fan and has a lot of respect for the band. In 2005, Dave had Diamond Head as the opening band on Megadeth's tour of Europe.

     
  10. LOU/REALM

    LOU/REALM Senior Member

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    Great thread about a great band Opera......keep it coming.You are mentioning lots of interesting details about DIAMOND HEAD :cheers2
     

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