Tatler live at The Twist, Colchester in 2008
|Birth name||Brian Andrew Tatler|
|Born||25 April 1960|
|Origin||Stourbridge, Worcestershire, England|
|Genres||Heavy metal, hard rock|
|Labels||Happy Face, MCA, Castle, Metal Mind Productions, Geffen|
|Associated acts||Diamond Head, Quill, Radio Moscow|
Originally trained as a mechanic, Tatler is most famous for his first band, Diamond Head. Tatler founded the band along with schoolmate Duncan Scott, playing on a cheap fuzz guitar and Scott on some biscuit tins. They later enrolled the help of Sean Harris and Colin Kimberley on vocals and bass guitar respectively.
The band recorded and released self-financed demo tapes in 1977 and 1979. Although only recorded within six hours on a four-track, they gained enough attention to tour as support with AC/DC and Iron Maiden. Although many record companies fought to sign the band, none were willing to commit fully. The band grew impatient and decided that they would release their material through Happy Face Records, a label owned by the producer Muff Murfin of The Old Smithy studio of Worcester. The band released their debut album on this label most commonly known as Lightning to the Nations, although it has never officially had a title. This album came in a plain sleeve with no title, having on it only a signature of one of the band members and no track listings. Amongst the stand out features of this album were the epic riffs created by Tatler, which prompted Sounds magazine to claim that "one Diamond Head song contains more Chords than an entire Black Sabbath album".
Tatler has cited early influences to be bands such as Scorpions, UFO, and Rainbow. Tatler has stated that some of the first albums he bought were Led Zeppelin's second album and Deep Purple's Machine Head, and that his favourite album is Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti, as it contains his favourite song "Kashmir". He has said that although most of his guitar work was inspired by Ritchie Blackmore, it was the punk rock movement that showed him that anyone could form a band. Nowadays, Tatler tries not to be influenced by more modern bands to keep his traditional sound, although he imagines that "little bits creep into the writing process". Black Sabbath was also a big influence on Tatler. "Am I Evil?", the band's best known and most influential song, was directly inspired by the Sabbath song "Symptom of the Universe".
The success of the first album led to a record deal with MCA Records in 1981, and they released the Four Cuts EP. Their "major label" status afforded them a slot on the Reading Festival bill in 1982. Their set was recorded by the BBC, and later released in 1992 through Raw Fruit Records as the Friday Rock Show Sessions.
Their first MCA LP was Borrowed Time, which reached No. 24 in the UK Albums Chart. In many interviews Tatler has stated that 1982 was his favourite year, and found the era to be extremely exciting, trying to guess who is going to be the first NWOBHM band to make it big.
Their follow-up, Canterbury, was released in 1983. Tatler has expressed since that making this album was one of the most stressful periods of his life, and the entire process almost caused him to have a nervous breakdown. He also said that having to fire his best friends from the band was one of the hardest things he has had to do.
The band split up for the first time in 1985. Around the same time, Tatler also decided that it was time to get rid of his signature white Flying V and convert to a Gibson Les Paul, saying, "I think the Les Paul's better, the V's more of a metal guitar. At one stage it was just me and Schenker with them, now the guy in Saxon's got one and all the European metal bands like Accept have them." In the 1980s he also used a one-off Jaydee (JD) black Explorer-style guitar with cut-diamond shaped fretboard inlays.
After Diamond Head split, Tatler went on to run RPK 24track studio, in Lye, recording and producing local bands. He also formed the band Radio Moscow (not to be confused with the modern American blues-rock band of the same name), which drummer Karl Wilcox, who later went on to be a part of a reformed Diamond Head. Radio Moscow recorded two albums, (World Service and Get A New Life) both of which featured Ritch Battersby on drums, who later went on to perform with G.T.A and also The Wildhearts.
First Diamond Head reunion
Tatler and Sean Harris reformed Diamond Head in 1990. The band signed to Warner/Chappell and released their fourth album Death and Progress in 1993, but the reunion was short lived.
After the split, Tatler joined Thin Lizzy tribute act, Dizzy Lizzy, before joining up with the Celtic rock band, Quill. During his time with Quill, Tatler recorded three albums (Out of the hat, Privileged and Back Intact).
Diamond Head's acoustic years and Nick Tart era
Tatler played his last show with Quill in November 2000, and rejoined Harris to perform and record an acoustic version of Diamond Head, along with guitarist Floyd Brennan. Tatler and Harris recorded and toured new material and played their first gig in North America, playing the Metal Meltdown festival in New Jersey. However, the new album was never released. Harris' reluctance to tour and only concentrate on releasing further albums prompted Tatler to consider his options away from Harris.
Meanwhile, Tatler decided to resurrect Diamond Head with new vocalist Nick Tart who worked on Diamond Head's fifth studio album, All Will Be Revealed, which was released through Cargo Records in 2005. Tatler stated that his aim was just to try to release a solid rock album, with "punchy" riffs and no fillers. Diamond Head supported Megadeth on their tour at this time, as a favor from Dave Mustaine. In 2007 Diamond Head released their last album with Nick Tart, What's in Your Head?.
In 2009, Tatler released his autobiography, Am I Evil?. "It all started in a bedroom with a biscuit tin drum kit and a cheap fuzzy guitar, and went on to create some of the most exciting music ever written and inspire the biggest heavy metal band on the planet". The book contained forewords by Lars Ulrich and Dave Mustaine.
In 2016, Brain Tatler re-released the book, with it being updated all the way to their most recent albums completion, Diamond Head
- Lightning to the Nations also known as The White Album (1980) – Diamond Head
- Borrowed Time (1982) – Diamond Head
- Canterbury (1983) – Diamond Head
- Death and Progress (1993) – Diamond Head
- All Will Be Revealed (2005) – Diamond Head
- What's in Your Head? (2007) – Diamond Head
- Diamond Head (2016) – Diamond Head
- Survivors Classic Rock vol.124, pg59
- "Diamond Geezer!". Diamond-head.net. Archived from the original on 12 February 2012. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
- "Diamond Head's diamond legacy to heavy metal". Diamond-head.net. Archived from the original on 7 November 2011. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
- "getreadytoroll.com". getreadytoroll.com. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
- "Riffs That Changed The World: Am I Evil" – Diamond Head (1979)". Diamond-head.net. Archived from the original on 25 August 2012. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
- "Interview with Brian Tatler, by Vincenzo Ferrara". Diamond-head.net. Archived from the original on 12 February 2012. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
- 1983 interview with Steve Hammonds
- "Diamond Head interview". Diamond-head.net. Spring 2007. Archived from the original on 12 February 2012. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
- Dome, Malcolm. "Classic Rock Magazine". Classic Rock Magazine. Future Publishing. Archived from the original on 27 April 2011. Retrieved 11 May 2012.