DIAMOND HEAD’s BRIAN TATLER: METALLICA Royalties Are My ‘Biggest Source Of Income’

Brian Tatler

In a new interview with RockSverige, DIAMOND HEAD guitarist Brian Tatler spoke about METALLICA covering their songs, and the first royalty payment he got from them.

“Yeah, and I think it was early ’90s — like, 1990. We were in the red at first with our publisher. DIAMOND HEAD didn’t sell any records so we never really recouped on our advance,” Tatler said. “We split in ’85 so there was nothing happening. There was a publishing issue where our old publisher had some of the songs, like ‘It’s Electric’‘Helpless’‘Sucking My Love’, etc., and it took me a bit of time to get away from him.

“When we signed to MCA, we also signed to Zomba Publishing, and they were saying all the money was coming in, but it’s going to our management, so it wasn’t coming to me,” he continued. “I had to get a solicitor involved and do the homework, and in the end, they had to get Zomba to split the payments so my share would come to me, which makes perfect sense, and Sean‘s [Harris, former DIAMOND HEAD singer] share to him.

“Then it went into the black and started creeping up. Of course, they [METALLICA] hadn’t sold that many records. In ’87, they did ‘Helpless’ on ‘Garage Days Re-Revisited’. At one point, Lars [Ulrich, METALLICA drummer] was helping me. He asked, ‘Are you getting your royalties?’ and I said, ‘No, not really.’ and he gave me a lawyer to contact and said, ‘Speak to this guy at Elektra.’

Brian added: He put me in touch with people and he was determined that I would get my due, and he did help in any way he could. It did take a bit of time, but it came eventually and it’s never stopped flowing ever since.”

When asked if he receives money when METALLICA perform their songs live, he responded: “That’s PRS [For Music], and at one point I wasn’t in PRS,” he said. “I think I joined in 1988 and I should’ve joined years ago, but nobody told me about it.

“Our management didn’t know what it was, so I had to find out for myself really. Maybe I spoke to a couple of people, possibly Lars, and they said, ‘Do you remember PRS?’ and in the end I joined myself, so the money did start flowing, yes. If METALLICA performed it live at the NEC or something, then I would notice and get a statement and it would say ‘live performance.’

“It took a little bit of time for it to come through. I made it my mission in the late ’80s when DIAMOND HEAD wasn’t happening and I didn’t have much of an income.”

“It’s my biggest source of income,” Brian noted.. “It’s great and I don’t know what I would do without it. It gives me the freedom to do what I like. I’m very grateful.”