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Rock Hard: Weathering the storm

diamonds hadder deaf forever magazine germany interview

Image: One of a few mock ups I did in prep for the Rock Hard interview.

Good morning from under the oaks.

Well, I’m almost settled in the new tower. Not quite, but almost. Last night I could hear frogs in the woods as it rained all night. I know Klipso is out there… inching closer to me. It’s a dear sound I remember when I started this record. I hadn’t heard it in a long time. Let me be honest this morning, I still struggle with depression and grief. As much as I strive to climb the mountain day in and day out, at times, it still feels like I’m forever crawling in the river of the canyons. Regardless of my surroundings, there is this veil over me, like a storm. I do believe it will pass, which is a good thing. It’s in those moments of spotty sunshine and clearings that I create some of my best work, it’s where I feed of little moments of hope and infuse them into the art I create. I think I can see signs of this process all throughout the breakers record. Light and dark, light, and dark. I have several friends who also seem to dwell under these same skies the last few years and we discuss the storms now and then, sharing stories and struggles. Your welcome to reach out anytime if you find yourself weathering the same storms. I do notice that it helps me at times to know that I’m not the only one battling these unknown ghosts. I often remind my friends that I’m out there in the dark with them, unseen, but often within arm’s reach. I do notice a little shift in the storms these last few weeks, perhaps a result of midnight Owl hoots, underground oak roots and frog songs, but it’s too early to tell. Each night I’m praying for a kind winter, knowing that spring is marching towards me. Ok, enough of that, let’s discuss Diamonds Hadder a bit.

Rock Hard: The recent interview I did with Rock Hard magazine came out last week. The online version came out 2 weeks ago and I think the printed version dropped last week. I thought I would share it today. I’m very grateful that they would reach out to me and ask the questions they did. When I think about all the bands and heroes of mine who have been featured in this magazine over the years, I cant help but be overwhelmingly grateful and appreciative that they offered to share the story of my dear “Breakers” record. Thank you Ludwig Krammer and all at Rock Hard. I’ve included the English translated interview below.

Returning to the ashes, Breakers Vinyl Update: Back in late 2023, just before the holidays and Bella’s passing... I was fully engulfed in music videos for the Breakers record. I had a master plan. I had just completed all the filming for Long is the Road and was just beginning the final video edits when I was suddenly rerouted to Vinyl artwork layouts for the “Breakers” record. I suppose I could have whipped something together quick and that would have been ok for most people, but not me. Instead I had this notion to scour the images I collected over the years making the record. I thought it was important to include it all, the days before the fire… that magical home above the pacific… that man who first had the dream… the fire… the birth of John Evermore.. the old paint factory, my 200 north possession… the arrival of John Hadder, the tower at 408 and my little door at the LEX where I finished it all. I started this image collage at the LEX and worked backwards, arriving at the burned out images of my home in the pacific last week. Of course this was difficult for me. I won’t lie, I shed some tears last week. Bella looked so happy back then. When I see the man in those pictures, I can’t help but think about what he’s thinking and feeling at that time. During my visit of old hard drives, returning to the ashes of that home, I was reminded of why I started this record in the first place. I’m a man who usually looks ahead, perhaps because I don’t like how I feel looking in the rear-view mirror. Having said all this, I’m done sifting through hard drives and I’m closing out the layout. I’m sure the Lords at “No Remorse” will be happy to get artwork so they can start manufacturing the Vinyl. Soon enough I suppose. Sometime this spring, maybe late spring, I can see that vinyl on my desk here at the oaks with the music and words and images and memories of my time staring out at the breakers. It might just be the thing I need to keep the storms at bay.

Gone: There was a song I wrote during my time at 200 north, it was written for the first breakers record. It was called Gone. It’s a shame that it didn’t find it’s way on this first record, but I’m fairly certain it will show up on Breakers II, or whatever the next chapter is called. I image both records will fit together in a rather seamless way as half of the songs I’m working on for breakers II were conceived during the time of the first record. Songs like “Child of the Sun”  “The Rock King”, “Hiding in the Dark” and “Gone”.  I remember writing and tracking these fateful words below, staring out at the pacific. Much like some of the other words on the breakers record, these really did sum up my feelings about life and loss. In a world so surrounded with fleeting moments, quick things, and changing times… I felt the only real chance I had at that time was to document these days of my life and capture them in words and songs before I’m gone. Using some of the tools I’ve spent my life learning and wielding. That’s what “Beyond the Breakers” is to me.


“All I see is the silver

and the waves out beyond the break

past the fields of the dream we make.

And though it feels like the end

of the things that could have been

out beyond those golden lights… it’s never gone.

Never gone.”

Well that’s all for today. I recently purchased a “13 printer so that I can do some “Test” prints of the Vinyl layout for the record. I’ll be printing this weekend and talking to frogs by firelight. I also plan on actually firing up the war room this week, it’s about that time. I’ve decided to name the owl outside my windows, Jupiter… or Jups for short. The guardian of the doorway to Evermore. At least one of them anyway, as there is more than one. Why not. May your winters be kind. Reach out if ya need a hand. It might seem dark, but your not really alone out there. Trust me, I know.



Rock Hard Interview #1 - January Issue 2024


Built on Steel

Hardly any other album has made the underground 2023 as fuzzy as “Beyond The Breakers”, the debut from DIAMONDS HADDER, which was released digitally for free. There was talk of the best Dio work that the immortal had never sung; No Remorse Records, where the jewel will be released on CD and double vinyl this spring, added Savatage and Queensrÿche as noble references. We zoomed to Los Angeles to meet singer and mastermind John Evermore, who guided us through his world while sitting at the piano.


John, for anyone reading about DIAMONDS HADDER for the first time, how would you describe your music in two or three sentences?

It is the very personal essence of everything I love about hard rock and metal. For me, the focus was always on singing. I came into contact with metal in the mid-80s and fell head over heels in love with bands like Rainbow, Iron Maiden, Savatage, Fates Warning, Riot, Manowar, Virgin Steele, Queensrÿche and Black Sabbath with Dio and Tony Martin. I still listen to the albums from that time to this day, they are burned into my DNA (looks with a smile at the vinyl covers of Fates Warning's "Awaken The Guardian" and Queensrÿche's "The Warning" that are on the piano - lk). My music is built on this foundation.


A friend told me with a wink that the album sounded almost too good to be true. His biggest concern is that it could be AI-generated music that has been fed with Dio ingredients.

He laughs: »I can calm your buddy down. Everything about the music is homemade. I recorded the vocals and instruments for all the songs myself. No AI was used in the making of this record, just blood, sweat and tears. I wanted the album to exude timelessness.


Mission accomplished! What can you tell us about the process of creating “Beyond The Breakers”? You actually wanted to start with a band called Tor...

I have to digress a bit: the album was created over several years – in three different places. I recorded the first tracks in the basement of my old house in the Santa Monica Mountains. The house was destroyed by the California wildfires in November 2018. The second part of the album was recorded at 220 North, a former paint factory in East Los Angeles that I moved to after the fire. I finished the album in Lex, a small studio in the city. But you asked me about Tor…



I met the boys in L.A. right after the fire. While I was making the Hadder record, we formed Tor. We rehearsed several times a week and recorded a full album, but shortly before it was due to come out we split up because some members didn't like the way I wanted to portray myself visually. I committed myself wholeheartedly to my cause - without success. In the end only the video for our cover version of Rainbow's 'Stargazer' was released. Three songs on the “...Breakers” record come from this time. I reinterpreted and recorded them with my original vocals and keyboard tracks.


The origin of DIAMONDS HADDER lies in a dream, as you write on your website.

It was a dream I had before the big fire and in which Mr. Evermore appeared to me - that's how it all began. The name DIAMONDS HADDER also comes from a dream I had after the fire. It was written in the roots of a large cypress tree and gradually a story about loss, grief and redemption developed. It is complex and contains traces of reality... To date I have written, set to music and published 16 short stories both on my website and on YouTube. There should be a novel at the end. Then I want to make an album out of it. “Phantom of the Opera” meets “Awaken The Guardian” and “Streets” by Savatage. But maybe I'll make a classic metal album first, otherwise I'll get lost.


Now let’s talk about “Beyond The Breakers”. The album tells the story of its own creation, right?

That's the way it is. I turned my soul outside and processed all the melancholy and sadness from that time in metaphors. 'Evermore' was the first song - it came from a poem and the dream in front of the fire. The most important song, the staple of the album, is 'Ballad Of The Dead Rabbit'. This also contains the core message of the record: hope. Our memories are like the light of the stars that shines out there forever. This thought has brought me peace in the darkest times.


You are a very visual artist who spends a lot of time in nature, as can be seen from your website diaries. Is that the source of your inspiration?

Yes, I could never live in the city long-term and have now found a house in the canyons again. I simply love this area and was a landscape photographer for many years. Most of the lyrics came to me while I was sitting by the Pacific, near the house that burned down.


The graphics for the album are all yours too?

»Yes, I actually wanted to become a fantasy artist, Frank Frazetta was my role model, but I just didn't have the necessary talent. That's why I dropped out of art school, concentrated on music and later took singing and guitar lessons. At the same time, I have always been fascinated by computer technology. Thanks to photography, I have mastered Photoshop and have gradually developed my own technique with the help of some new AI tools. Lord Jules or Julius Ströhlein, a Hamburg artist friend, contributed a lot to the graphics for the novel, which can be seen on the website.


You put the album on your homepage for free download last summer. Isn't the financial aspect important to you?

Money was never the motivation, I just wanted to share the album and I'm grateful for how it was received, especially by you in Europe. The best compliment of all came via email from a man who wrote that listening to the album and looking at the website artwork made him feel like a twelve-year-old child again. That’s more important to me than money could ever be.


A little digression: What is the Ramsay/Evermore project, which is featured on your website with three songs?

I met Scott Ramsay during the recording of “Beyond The Breakers” when I was looking for a guitarist through an ad. I liked the music he sent me so much that I decided to sing on it. After the third piece I had to make the decision to let it rest for the time being to finish “Beyond The Breakers”. I'm not sure what will happen to the Ramsey/Evermore songs, but I think we'll finish the record at some point. DIAMONDS HADDER currently have priority.


The remastered “Beyond The Breakers” album is scheduled to be released on double vinyl and CD by No Remorse in the spring, accompanied by two videos for “Long Is The Road” and “Ballad Of The Dead Rabbit”. What can we expect?

Art doesn't stop with music. The videos are elaborately produced and full of details. I also immortalized Doctor Metal Mike Gonsalves, my great DJ hero from the legendary radio show “Metal Zone” (who died in the fire at the nightclub “The Station” in Rhode Island in 2003 – lk). The recorded version of the album should be something valuable that you can lose yourself in, with a gatefold cover and lots of photos from my life - a complete package that you'll enjoy pulling out of the record shelf, listening to and looking at again and again, just like I used to I was immersed in the cover of “Awaken The Guardian” and Fates Warning singer John Arch’s lyrics.


There was always a certain amount of mystery surrounding Arch, even if he didn't wear a mask like you.

He is a magician for me, his lyrics and vocal melodies are unique. I grew up in New England, where Fates Warning are from, and bought "...Guardian" the day it was released, but never saw John on stage. That still bothers me to this day. You can count yourself lucky in Germany that you were able to experience these shows by Arch/Matheos and Fates Warning at Keep It True.


Unfortunately, the mystery has largely been lost in the music business.

Social media has demystified a lot of things, including in metal. I don't completely reject the channels, I'm also active on YouTube and a little on Instagram. But I would never want to see John Arch eating a hamburger, if you know what I mean. My home that will never burn down is my website.«


When can we see you live with DIAMONDS HADDER?

I'm currently in the process of putting a band together. There are currently two requests from German underground festivals for autumn 2024. I really want to make this possible and put on shows that do the album justice.


What is your idea of an appropriate live show? The album screams grandeur and opulence.

I have big ideas for Hadder's live show. And like the record, it's only a matter of time before I get it all together. We will see…



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