Featured Band for
Band Name: The Diamondheads
Genre: "We don't just play surf!"
Geographical Area: Mid-atlantic, Baltimore MD
Interview with Brian Lavelle on May 31, 2004
1. What is the current line-up of your band?
Dave Grauer - Guitar; Brian Lavelle - Guitar; Dave Bradley - Drums and Percussion; Mark Harp - Bass, Guitar, Keys
2. How and when did you get started with your band?
Three of us have been together since the Summer of 2000 when we started The Diamondheads as a side project for the Roots/Rockabilly band we were in. The current line-up has been intact since February of 2001.
3. What bands or music have influenced you most?
We're huge fans of The Ventures, The Shadows, Link Wray, and the guys that have done the most to bring some attention to the music we love - Los Straitjackets.
4. What is the break down of cover vs. original material in your live shows and/or recordings?
Our recording is almost all original, we'll only record a cover if we feel we have done something to it that both respects the original song and sheds a little new light on it. Our live shows are about two thirds to three quarters original material.
5. What recording have you done?
Our first CD, "The Diamondheads" was released on Single Coil Records in 2003 and our second should be available by the end of the Summer of 2004. We have contributed songs to two Golly Gee compilations, a Supertones tribute released in 2003 and a Richie Polodor release due in 2004. Recently we contributed a song to a Frank Zappa surf instrumental compilation on Cordelia Records that has been really well received.
6. What is your band's favorite food/beverage?
We're all big eaters who enjoy a nice cold adult beverage from time to time.
7. How do you get gigs?
We've established a pretty good reputation around Baltimore, so most of our gigs come through word of mouth.
8. What are the difficulties you find playing your kind of music in your area?
We've stopped trying to get gigs where we know we'll be paired with bands playing "comtemporary" music. While the musicians in those bands will more often than not be excited by what we do, the club owners just put too much pressure on us to draw crowds. We're happy to do our fair share of outdoor events and to wait for a call from a club owner who thinks we would make a good opening act for a touring band. Our true fan base is mostly older people with families that look forward to a night out with The Diamondheads every now and then. Those same people will bring their kids to see us during a daytime show.
9. What positive attributes does your band have that sets you apart from other bands (of any genre)?
People seem to appreciate us because we are a tight band that works hard at writing good songs and arranging them well. We like to think we are viewed as serious surf/instro musicians who avoid doing campy stuff but still try to keep things fun and not too serious.
10. What have you found to be the single most effective promotional tool you've used to further your band's musical path?
We like to keep our website as up to date as possible and change things pretty regularly. There's no money to spend on promoting the band, so we point people to the site whenever we can.
11. What's the most interesting performance experience you've had?
We did a show for about 200 girl scouts and their families that we would have loved to get a recording of. The crowd sounded amazing like "Live at Budakon". We're dying to get back out to California to play again. We did a few shows in the Bay area last summer and the crowds were great and very knowledgable.
12. What do you hope to get out of being a NESMA member?
It's great that the NESMA group has seemed to foster tons of opportunities for several surf bands to share stages up and down the East Coast. We'd love to help set up something here in the Baltimore/DC area with our good friend The Atomic Mosquitos. I also think it's time we got to work on some sort of a NESMA compilation record featuring new material by as many of the bands as possible. Maybe a concept or tribute CD? Maybe a Holiday CD?