1983 – 1986 Cover Band
1990 – 1994 Alternative Original Band
2010 - ???? Eternal Spiritus
Eternal Spiritus is a brother and sister recording project based in Texas consisting of Johnny Diamond and Aquarius. Their roots go back to 1983 when they initially started a cover band under a different name with their little sister. Johnny Diamond, 18 years old, played guitar, keyboard and sang some lead on a few songs. Aquarius, 14 years old, played drums and also sang lead on a few songs. Their little sister played bass guitar and was only 12 years old. Their first live performance occurred on November 4, 1983. The location of the gig was just across the street from where they lived at a neighborhood pool hall which was converted from an early 1900’s wooden frame building which used to be a grocery store.
The audience consisted mostly of drunk printers from a local print shop that were business associates of their father. Johnny Diamond and Aquarius’ father took over 100 pictures of the gig. It was their first one and he was going to capture the event on film. Unfortunately the photo processing center damaged the film roll and was unable to make any prints. A once in a lifetime event was lost forever due to some clerk’s mistake. However they did try to make amends by offering a free roll of film. Johnny Diamond silently felt that this was a bad omen signifying that they were not going to make it in the music business.
The band’s early set lists included songs from popular artists such as The Who, Golden Earring, Rainbow, The Animals, David Bowie, The Doors, The Kinks, Go Go’s, Soft Cell, Eagles and U2 just to name a few. For the next 3 years they performed mostly in the Oak Cliff area of Dallas. Some notable gigs during that time period included gigs at Kidd Springs Park, Lake Cliff Park, Westcliff Mall, The Azalea Art Festival, Duncanville Art Festival, a campaign party for the then sheriff of Dallas and the Dallas Zoo. The Dallas Zoo was giving a birthday party for a gorilla that became famous for picking the outcome of Dallas Cowboys football games. Johnny Diamond and Aquarius performed with their cover band inside the zoo. As they played the sound of the music began to make the zoo animals restless. A local TV station covered the event, KXAS Channel 5, and later that evening the band was part of a news segment that featured the gorilla’s birthday party.
One of the scariest gigs during this time was a gig at Sunset High School. It was for a dance in the school cafeteria on a Friday night. The students were a mixed ethnic crowd and right away some of them made it known that they did not care for a live cover band at all. After each song you could hear heckling and insults. Johnny Diamond and Aquarius’ father just happened to be at this gig. He was on guard ready to fight if needed. His state of mind was that no one was going to insult his kids!
By 1986 the cover band era came to an end when their little sister quit the band and refused to play anymore due to Johnny Diamond’s militant attitude towards rehearsals. Johnny Diamond soon began jamming with a buddy from college on original material. Upon hearing the new material Aquarius decided it didn’t suit her taste and left the group. In a fit of rage Johnny Diamond sold all of the bands equipment at a local pawn shop. Aquarius went off out of town to college and Johnny Diamond resorted to getting a real job. Their last official gig as a cover band was July 4, 1986 at White Rock Lake Park in Dallas.
During late 1986 to 1989 while Aquarius was away at college Johnny Diamond acquired new music equipment and began jamming with other people but nothing seemed to take off. There was the odd gig here and there playing cover tunes with guest drummers. Little sister had a change of heart and played on 3 gigs during this time. Aquarius who was attending college in the Austin area called her brother and said that “you know what there is a real music scene down here.” There was a brand new festival in Austin just starting up going by the name of South by Southwest. She suggested that Johnny Diamond move down to give luck a try but he was too afraid to leave the security of his hometown. Who knows how events might have transpired had he decided to take a chance and move to Austin.
Johnny Diamond did make a trek twice to the Austin area with Aquarius to play at a festival in Georgetown Texas in 1989 and 1990. In the 1989 gig their little sister joined them at the festival. No original material was ready to perform so they resorted to playing the usual classic rock cover tunes. The Georgetown Festival in 1990 featured a battle of the bands in which they participated. They were up against mostly Country and Tejano music acts. First prize was for some recording studio time with Freddy Records out of San Antonio. Johnny Diamond and Aquarius did manage to take third place in the contest. The set list included some original material and a blues-rock version of Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash. Instead of singing “I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die” Johnny Diamond sang “I shot a man in Georgetown just to watch him die. This did not sit well with the Georgetown crowd as they gazed with horrified looks on their faces. This probably threw them out of the running for 1st place.
After Aquarius graduated from college in the summer of 1990 Johnny Diamond and Aquarius had a meeting and decided to start up a band again. This time instead of performing cover songs they were going to write their own material and make an effort to get discovered by a major record label. Original lyrics and music that were put on the back burner during the cover band days were brought out and showcased during rehearsals. The subject matter of the lyrical content took an interesting turn as their songwriting took a serious turn which focused on themes such as domestic abuse, family conflict, immortality, spirituality and heartbreak.
They initially wanted to perform as a trio but after several failed attempts in securing a bass player they decided to remain a duo. Johnny Diamond and Aquarius were ahead of their time because they were the first act to perform with a female drummer and guitarist much like current artists The White Stripes and The Black Keys (sans the female drummer). When Aquarius noticed The White Stripes at the turn of the century she commented “Hey we were doing that way before they were.” To compensate for the lack of a bass player Johnny Diamond came up with an ingenious solution. During live gigs Johnny Diamond used a headphone splitter cable to connect to a Sears Silvertone guitar amplifier and to a Yamaha Bass amplifier. A guitar equalizer was then connected to the bass amp with the low frequencies on the equalizer boosted high. People who heard them play live commented that even though they were only two people playing it sounded as if there was a bass player due to the low frequency rumbling coming from the Yamaha bass amp.
From 1989 to 1994 Johnny Diamond and Aquarius primarily performed in the Deep Ellum section of downtown Dallas and the Greenville area which was just north of downtown. Some notable appearances included Tom Prejean’s open mic night at Club Dada, The Rhythm Room open mic hosted by Cary Pierce of Jackopierce, Across the Street Bar and other hole in the wall clubs. They even played on the streets of Deep Ellum for tips.
In late 1991 Johnny Diamond noticed an ad in the Dallas Observer advertising a free 30 minute session at an up and coming recording studio. Johnny Diamond and Aquarius went to Music World Productions in December of 1991 to start the sessions for the song For All I Know. In 1992 the song For All I Know was featured on KTXQ-FM (Q102) on a show called Texas Tapes which featured unsigned acts. Johnny Diamond and Aquarius recorded their original songs during the next several years at Music World Productions and Pentagon Studios in Dallas. They received minor radio airplay at underground radio stations in Eastern Europe and at college stations in California, Ohio, Illinois, New York, Alabama, Pennsylvania and Kansas.
By May of 1994 the strain of endless late-night gigs, unaccepted demo packages from major record labels and criticisms from various people began to take a toll on Johnny Diamond. Aquarius had told Johnny Diamond that she was going to quit music altogether. She had started a career in a major industry and was working her way up the corporate ladder and would not have time to devote to music anymore. Johnny Diamond was stunned. He never saw this day coming and thought that it would never happen.
May 17, 1994 at the Across the Street Bar was the last gig that Johnny Diamond and Aquarius played together. It was an off night, the crowd was small and no one seemed to be responding to the music. During three-quarters of the way through the set Johnny Diamond stopped during the middle of the song, unplugged his guitar and began loading up equipment.
During the mid 1990’s to the 2000’s Aquarius progressed through a successful career, got married and started a family. Johnny Diamond on the other hand nosed-dived into a depression became involved in a bad relationship and felt lost. Slowly Johnny Diamond got his life together and by 2001 was starting to get on the right track. His new found Faith led him to a wonderful wife, job and children.
The year 2010 saw Johnny Diamond and Aquarius getting together again to write some new songs. What prompted Johnny Diamond and Aquarius to start recording and writing again? That answer is only known to Johnny Diamond, Aquarius and The Almighty. Eternalspiritus.com is currently being constructed to feature the music of Johnny Diamond and Aquarius from the early 1990’s. The recordings will be re-released under the title Let There Be Sound. The music will be available from Amazon.com as well as other sources. Keep an eye out on YouTube for videos as well. The website should be up and running by the end of Summer 2010. Eternal Spiritus is currently writing and recording new material for a project to be tentatively released on December 21, 2012. The current working title is THE ENIGMA.