Dave Mustaine says he got to meet Diamond Head as “equals”, where as Lars Ulrich was a “fanboy” who would “follow them” around

Megadeth's Dave Mustaine and Metallica's Lars Ulrich
(Image credit: Carlos Santiago/ Eyepix Group/Future Publishing via Getty Images, Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images for P+ and MTV)

Dave Mustaine is never one to hold back when it comes to discussing moments of his past with Metallica, and his latest anecdote, which sees him reminiscence over meeting the influential NWOBHM band Diamond Head alongside his former band, makes for no exception. 

While in conversation with SiriusXM, the Megadeth leader recalls his first introduction  to the West Midland rockers, who were an early influence for Metallica.

"I thought they had a great singer and I thought the guitar riffs were amazing" he explains. "So, at the time, when I first heard them come through, my last band Metallica, the drummer, Lars—who was evidently touring with Diamond Head—he would be a fanboy and follow them and I got to meet them on a different level, you know, I met them as equals."

As Metal Injection reports, it might be a little cold of Mustaine to reduce Ulrich as being nothing more than a puppy-like "fanboy", due to the fact that many others on the scene viewed Diamond Head as a band worth holding to high regard, along with other keenly-celebrated NWOBHM groups like Iron Maiden and Venom, among others.

Elaborating on their influence, Mustaine continues: "I got a chance to really eyeball to eyeball meet this guy – Brian Tatler the guitar player from Diamond Head– just a sweet man, a tremendous talent on guitar.

"And the Diamond Head that I know and love was the Diamond Head in the beginning, and I tell ya: there were so many songs that we played in Metallica — Helpless, to The Prince and Am I Evil? –and people think those are original songs in Metallica and they’re not. They’re Diamond Head songs."

Speaking of the time he first heard Metallica's cover of Diamond Head classic Am I Evil?, co-founder/ guitarist Brian Tatler told Metal Hammer in a interview: “We were in the studio, and Sean [Harris, vocalist] had gotten a copy of [Metallica’s] Creeping Death, the 12-inch single, with Am I Evil on the B-side. We listened to it, and thought: ‘It’s heavier and tighter’, but we didn’t think it was any better than our version. Because, of course, we’re proud of our own recording.

“We had no idea that Metallica were going to become the biggest band in the world. At this stage, in 1984, they were on Music For Nations, and it didn’t look like they had the potential to conquer the world – to us. We knew Lars, and we knew how ambitious he was, but I don’t think any of us had a clue that they were going to take that style of metal and bring it to the masses in the way they did.

"I’m thankful that they did, because I don’t know what I’d do without the songwriter’s royalties of those four [Diamond Head] songs they’ve covered [Am I Evil, Helpless, The Prince and It’s Electric]. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so of course we’re flattered that they covered us. They could have covered Witchfinder General, couldn’t they? [laughs]”.

Listen to Dave Mustaine's interview with Sirius XM below:

Liz Scarlett

Liz works on keeping the Louder sites up to date with the latest news from the world of rock and metal. Prior to joining Louder as a full time staff writer, she completed a Diploma with the National Council for the Training of Journalists and received a First Class Honours Degree in Popular Music Journalism. She enjoys writing about anything from neo-glam rock to stoner, doom and progressive metal, and loves celebrating women in music.