Imagine you are playing in a Pub one week and then your next gig is the Wacken Festival as the New Guitarist in NWOBHM Icons “Diamond Head”. Keeping company with the likes of Megadeth and Living a dream. Rob Mills did it and is about to explain in this article and much much more. He is an adventurer Musically and Physically when this interview was conducted Rob was Hanging out in Acapulco. Must have been just awful. Terrible. Unbearable!
So Rob tell us about your background?
I was born in Walsall in the West Midlands not too far from Birmingham.
The Midlands where I’m from is a hotbed of greats such as Ozzy, Robert Plant, Judas Preist, and others” I started playing aged 14, I was inspired by watching Slash on the TV program here in the U.K called Heavy Metal Heaven with its host the Queen of darkness Elvira! It was their famous Ritz show that was being broadcast and I was just bowled over watching Slash and Izzy, mainly Slash though is who I wanted to be!” Who were your first influences?“Early influences apart from GnR were stuff like AC/DC, Iron Maiden, and then further down the line is exposed to guitar greats such as Satriani and Vai through reading Guitar for the practicing musician magazine every month.
We didn’t have YouTube in those days!!!” Tell us about your First Guitar….. My first guitar was actually a strat copy by Encore, got it on Christmas day and just flung my fingers in a diagonal chord pattern around the 12th fret and exclaimed “that’s Sweet Child o Mine! I’m playing it!” only to get the tab book later on and realize it wasn’t quite played that way.
Over time I became more of a Gibson Les Paul fan as per the Slash influence! I had a nice black one during my DH days which you can see on the live DVD To the Devil His Due! I love the thick tone of the Les Paul but later I also owned a proper American Strat and appreciated the difference in the tone of a guitar of that quality compared with the inexpensive starter guitar I had!” Early Band’s Leading up to the Big Time? “Early college bands included a band called Hysteric.
Then with the same singer/bassist, I was in a band called Loverock in the late 90s trying but ultimately failing to get the big record deal! Karl Brazil the drummer of that band, is now playing all over with artists such as James Blunt and Robbie Williams to name a few!” What Brought you to Spend a few years in Diamond Head?“So how I came to join Diamond Head was a little fortuitous, it has to be said.
The guy who I was in that band Loverock I mentioned, his name is Ray Loverock (real name btw!) well he was in another band called Spider Simpson and their guitarist was also playing in DH. They were contacted by the record company they had been talking with and told that they had an opportunity to do a record company showcase gig to show their potential, the only thing is that the date was the same day that DH was due to play Wacken open air! Possibly the biggest metal festival in Europe if not the world! Floyd, the guitarist, told DH he couldn’t do the show because of his commitments with the showcase, so they asked Ray if he knew anyone who could fill in with literally days to go and Ray suggested me because he knew I was a fast learner
I had a week to nail ten songs and went from playing in front of hundreds to playing in front of tens of thousands! So it was a little luck but when you work hard to become a great player and also a fast learner then things come your way!!!” Diamond Head – Helpless- Live at London Astoria 2005 So any things while in this Life particularly Funny or Remarkable?“ Whilst on tour with Megadeth, it was the 4th or 5th night at the London Astoria (another great venue which has since closed) one of Megadeth’s crew came into our dressing room with a big bottle of champagne and a note which read- We really love having you guys on tour with us, you are an amazing band and we are so looking forward to the rest of the tour! from Dave & the boys!
Later that tour we were in Stockholm Sweden and it was very snowy (February.) Myself, Nick Tart then singer and Eddie Moohan then Bassist decided to go out for a look around the city as we had 2-3 hours to kill before showtime, but things got a little hairy when we realized that we couldn’t recall the name of the venue and we didn’t speak the language so we nearly didn’t make it back in time to play the show!! Also, it was great jamming with Dave Mustaine backstage and learning some really cool things including great technical exercises and warm-ups that I show my students now. Real nuggets of guitar wisdom!!”
RIPPIN GUITAR SOLO.Diamond Head. Streets of Gold.
So Rob Mills, What are you involved in Now musically?
So the music that I write isn’t really as heavy as the music of some of the bands I have featured in, but it just comes out that way! My latest song Mexico! was actually written just after I got here to Mexico last October! Then fortunately enough I was lucky enough to meet some amazingly talented people in Mexico City that helped me record the song and music video on location in CDMX! My current preferred guitar is the one I travel with my beautiful Taylor acoustic!”
Mexico! 🇲🇽 Song by Enigmatico.
What do your future plans entail?
Right now I am dedicating myself to teaching the next generation of rising guitar stars! I have been teaching online since I left England in December 2019! I was in Vietnam and now Mexico, I now consider myself to be a digital nomad with no fixed location as such!
I have helped many guitarists to become amazing players of the years just by studying the protocols I bring to them. Guitar players such as Adam Zindani of the famous Welsh rock band “Stereophonics“have made great strides in their development following my plan! So I am fulfilled in that I know I am helping my fellow guitarists reach their potential and this will be my thing for the next couple of years at least! I have the bug for traveling and as long as I have a good wifi connection I’m good to go!!”
Any advice to a New Player starting out now?
Definitely try to find a great teacher- this is invaluable- I credit 3 teachers from my formative years that really helped me, inspired me, made sure I didn’t pick up any bad habits, etc!” “Having a teacher is also having a mentor, someone who can drive you on, all too much these days people rely on videos from YouTube, etc, not saying you can’t learn from this source but I would say this has to be a bonus rather than the main source of learning!
Make sure you split your practice time accordingly so you can cover the main areas of musicianship- I consider them to be Technique, Theory, Ear Training, and Improvisation!” Rob Mills is a Fellow who seems to find equal excitement and joy in everything he does.
He is now Heading up “Rockstar Guitar School” linked below. I certainly recommend him as He has such a life of trial by fire experience as well as knowledge of the instrument. Be it simple economical acoustic work or ripping Metal and I’ve no doubt anything in between This is the Man https://rockstarguitarschool.co.uk/
We here at Guitardoor look forward to seeing what Mr. Mills is up to it in the years ahead. Stay in Touch Rob, I know there shall be nothing boring in the book of your life!