I had brought to Kings attention that the song
"Melissa' did not have vocals over a certain part of the song
when the album was released by Megaforce Records. But when
Roadrunner Records bought the rights to the album and released
it, suddenly there were new vocals over that same segment!
Also, the Megaforce version had a very thick reverb on the
voice, whereas the Roadrunner version had no such processing
on the voice. So I offered King a cassette with the two
receive the tape with the two versions of
How do you think that happened?
have absolutely no clue. It's like I told you, it's a physical
impossibility. It makes absolutely zero sense.
Yes. If you handed in the master to
Megaforce, how could they have erased
What I hear is that giant reverb that
you talk about... You talked about that too,
that I hear big-time. Wow, man! I do NOT understand how that
version do you prefer, the Roadrunner or the
Well, the Roadrunner is the
original.. I know that. I really cannot explain how that can
happen because it's impossible.
That 'Melissa' song is like the Bermuda
Did you hear the backwards message that I also
provided, where you are saying, "What message is
That I did not hear. No. Did you include
that on the tape?
Yes I did.
Perhaps I shall send another.
That is very
interesting. Maybe there are even more powers to that song.
That other stuff there is so strange because I remember the
first time we talked about it I was like, "No fucking way!
There's no way in hell that that can happen.' And I still
would say that there is no way in hell that that could have
happened. But I have now heard that it exists, which is
mind-blowing to me. You just can't add to vocals. We have the
24-track master. They could never have gotten a hold of that,
first of all. They get a finished master. They would never get
a 24-track tape. That remains in the studio. What they would
get could be a 1/2” master, which is everything mixed down.
It's what they master the album from. So the only thing they
could have done there, if somebody thought it was funny or
whatever, go in and add some extra reverb or something. But
then it would be through the entire thing. It would be
guitars, bass, drums... everything, because you can't divide
up tracks on a 1/2." It's not possible.
Someone was interpreting your
Yeah. But probably not humans because
it's physically impossible.
this is quite a mystery. It is so odd that,
backwards messages that could appear on his album, the one
that would result when the words ""Satan"s cross upon the
wall" are played backwards is "What message is this?' Let us
delve further. Could the backwards message be asking "What are
we telling you by wiping out vocals even though it is not
physically possible?" Is this evidence of the
I have been
discovering gold mines of old material when Kim Ruzz was in
the band, even video footage from Holland.
Is one show from Holland that nobody has which is EXTREMELY
It is coming to me
even as we speak.
Yeah, but it won't be that
one. Guaranteed. We have the only master tape of that
Maybe one day fans
worldwide will be able to have that.
even approached the record label about that. Why not compiling
all our video's that we have done so far? There is quite a few
by now. We do have some live stuff that we took from people
who were shooting it right there. So we have the only copies
ever made. There is some interesting footage
the earlier albums must be transcribed into sheet music and
tablature, not so much for the chords, but some of the guitar
is just so bizarre at some points.
That's very true
It would be
very interesting to find out what was in the composer’s
Of course, sometimes guitarists play
chords in a different way. Otherswould transcribe it in a
traditional way. You wouldn't get the right sound out of the
chord, you know. But you'd be very close. But the difficulty,
mainly, is more the memory. You need to have really good
memory to play all the way through that song (Satan’s Fall),
and to play all those riffs in the right sequence because it's
not logical at all. And that's the problem with playing that
song... very illogical build-up.
You have angered so many guitarist whom I've
approached, begging , 'Please, pick out the notes from these
solos.' They give up!
You would not want to
know the insults that were spoken against Hank Sherman and
Michael Denner by the frustrated guitarists whom I have sought
The funny thing about most of Hank's
solos... they're planned. He's the guy who plans his solos. He
does very little spontaneous solo-ing. Michael Denner is the
opposite. He does most of his solos spontaneously and then he
pretty much learns them afterwards.
That is so strange. There are a few very unusual
time changes. But they're more strange in that they are not
noticeable unless they are looked
you responsible for that?
Well, very much, yeah.
And also, Hank, definitely in the songs HE wrote. The thing
is, the longer we play this style, the more naturally things
come to us. It's not like we sit and plan to do anything
complicated at all. It doesn't seem complicated. That’s not a
thing that you pay attention to unless you sit there and try
to play along with it. The time changes are not something that
we sat down and said, "Let's do a time change.” We just write
straight from the heart like we've always done. That's why
it's tough for other band members to get involved in the
songwiiting. I've seen it before... several times, when Hal
Patino was playing with King Diamond... Tim Hansen tried
something with Mercyful Fate in the old days. Snowy Shaw, the
drummer, is a pretty good guitarist actually, and he used to
write a lot of songs when he was in the band Memento Mori.
Even Sharlee tried to write something for Mercyful Fate. But
it didn't belong there at all. Hank and I didn’t want to say
to them, "That stuff doesn’t cut it. It’s not Mercyful Fate
music.” But we actually sent it off to Brian Slagel. He heard
it and said that it’s got nothing to do with Mercyful Fate.
There has to come a certain feel from the music. It’s not
enough that you have skillful writers because they will force
putting something complicated into the music just to please
us. It doesn't work if it doesn't come in a natural way.
That's why it takes such a long time. Andy now is beginning to
write more and more songs for King Diamond. There is a certain
feel that needs to come from what's been written. When there
is complicated stuff, it's nothing that we’ve been planning.
It all seems natural for us.
Time changes usually attract attention, or they
disturb the listening experience. But the time changes on the
new album flow so well that it took a drummer to point out the
changes to me.
That's why it's so difficult to
write that way if you don't feel that way naturally. If you
just come in there and just write straight from your heart,
most people would not put the time changes into the music
where we do. We just feel a little different about these
The newer music seems to
be more melodic. That seems to give it a more up-beat feeling,
whereas in the old days it was more dark. Do you
I think that both things are in there
because there is some obscure shit that is in there. You know
that we were very straightforward in the old days on a lot of
songs. It might be the way that we arrange songs now. We
always had melody. The song "A Dangerous Meeting" has a lot of
breaks. But it has a lot of melody and choruses. “Nuns have No
Fun” is a very straight forward song. We had a lot of those.
"Evil" is very straightforward too, even vocal-wise. So THAT I
don't think has changed a whole lot. I know that on the new
album there are a couple of tones that I haven't used with my
voice before. It just felt right for those types of songs.
"Into the Unknown” really reminds me a lot of old stuff that
could have been from "Don't Break the Oath” very much because
of the intricacy and how I sometimes sing there. Some of the
stuff on that song you would have a very hard time hitting my
timing if you were singing along. If you had to stand there
and sing it on your own, with the band, you would have an
extremely hard time getting that specific time feel. Sometimes
you go in, not on the down beat, but a half beat later. If you
go straight in on the down beat it's much more aggressive. But
it's a matter of varying those things and finding what suits
It is so
strange that there are so many components to something that,
to an ear that is casually listening, sound
True. Yeah. There is a part in "Into the
Unknown” where I’m singing "Sin ... sin ... sin” The timing of
those extra words "sin"... if you try to hit it, it's a
feeling thing. It's kind of like Robert Plant... he has this
incredible ability and flair for timing. Very few people can
mimic his timing... the way he pronounces words, how he drags
them, how long he holds them, where he starts certain words.
He's very feeling-oriented and not so much technical oriented
like "Get in on the down beat there." It's very much like
coming a millisecond after.
Has there been an annoying producer involved on
the new albums?
We are completely responsible
these days for our stuff. We have Tim Kimsey, who is pretty
much one of us, who was hired as an engineer instead of
Roberto Falcao. But because of the killer job that he does, he
deserves to be credited as co-producer. But he was originally
hired as an engineer on the album "In the Shadows” because
Roberto Falcao was unable to leave Denmark and come to the
U.S.A. and record that album with us. When I talked to him he
said, “All you need now is a good first engineer, because you
can produce yourself.”
Texas is your home. Does living there influence your outlook
Not a bit. Not one bit.
How involved art you in the
Texan culture? Has it rubbed off on you in any
I don't think so. You won't hear me say
"ya’ll". I know what's going on now in the United States. But
I'm still 100% Danish. I'm aware now how things are done in
The reason I ask is,
your pronunciation and word usage in the past has been more
like that of classical literature. But now, your pronunciation
in phrases like “who’s gonna die” seem to be directly from the
Texan way of speaking.
You know, yeah... that's
a thing that has happened gradually. If you went back and took
it album by album, you could gradually hear it. In '88, when
we moved to the United States... you get stronger in the
language, and your vocabulary expands. You just know a whole
lot more words. I don't even think when I speak English. In
the early days, when doing interviews, I literally had to sit
and think. When someone asked me a question, I was thinking in
Danish and then I had to translate my Danish thoughts into
English. It was pretty tough explaining, because it was not
easy subjects that we were dealing with. There was a lot of
explaining to do. But these days, I even told my wife that I
dream in English now. When I write little notes for myself -
what I have to do - "remember this” and "call this guy” - it's
sometimes English, sometimes Danish... sometimes half and
half. Plus it's a benefit for me, writing in English feeling
more comfortable in the language, not to think for five
minutes before actually writing what I have to
There is a new kind of
singing... the best way
for me to describe is, your voice
is strained almost to the voice of breaking... but not being
lost. I know that many Southwestern vocalists employ such
Yeah. That's some of the new stuff
that I am completely aware of. You find a lot of old-fashioned
Mercyful Fate in there. But there are some new ways that I use
the tone of the voice. There are times in there when it would
just be easier to do a low falsetto. Then usually you would
have to multiply them by quite a few because we're not singing
Barry Manilow or something like that, where you could sing
with this bawdry soft voice. If I did that it wouldn't fit the
music at all. It has to be full power. Singing in a very low
falsetto - full power - that
makes that low falsetto crack.
But then you could get by and do something completely crazy.
But then you might get away from the original idea you have.
They are chosen there on some spots to go full blast, as high
as you can get with a normal voice - I can get pretty high
with a normal voice, even when I sing powerful. Most of the
vocalists you hear on albums today - they sing no louder than
I speak now. There you will see one hell of a difference
between what I do. I am full blast in the studio. I am full
blast live. That's one thing that I've been told by our sound
engineer. "God Damn man! Singing so much power into that
mike!' How can I have those emotions that I feel in me for
certain things if I didn't sing full blast and holding back
just to be clean?
father die recently?
No. That's a long time ago.
Eight years ago.
In the song,
"Daddy” remembering your father's death, did
Of course, you do think of your own dad.
But it's nothing like I saw him recently as a spirit or
something like that. It's a tool you use. You put that emotion
into the vocals. A lot of people would get very emotional from
listening to that song. I know for a fact, when we did record
it, that song was one of the very few songs that has been done
with no additional vocals. It's one lead vocal. That's all.
Most of the times I double the lead vocal - sing twice exactly
the same to create a certain sound of the voice. That's
extremely hard because of all the bent notes and crazy shit I
do. That one song, 'Daddy' was one lead vocal all the way
through. And it was done in only four takes. I had the lyrics
done in twenty minutes. It's the fastest song I've ever done
in my life. The second engineer, while I was recording it -
when I was halfway through, he walked out of the studio,
crying. It was pretty heavy. And Tim Kimsey, he went out and
called his dad in the middle of the night just to see if he
I knew there was
a special dynamic at work there. It had to have been an actual
loss. That emotion cannot be faked.
the second engineer, his father died two years ago, and it
brought up some memories when I was singing that stuff, that
he just broke out and left the studio.
I must admit that that song does work a potent
spell. No pun intended. Thou art the Pied
You can say so. Yeah. If you look at
other things that we talked about - putting full-blast emotion
into the vocals - the ending of the song, "I Am" where I'm
pretty much screaming at the top of my lungs, "Die!” - I
picture this guy, McEnzie, the mayor in this story, who's a
child molester - I picture this fictitious guy who I know
exactly what he looks like in my mind. But you have to be able
to get so deep into the story that you pretty much become who
you're singing about. I saw this guy. It was all clear when I
was recording the ending part of that, and just completely
freaked out. So everybody was laughing in the control room
To me, the
operatic vocals of earlier albums were operatic in a
“classical" sense. Does it have any meaning to you when I say
that, these days the operatic vocals are operatic in a “metal"
I don't think of it in those ways. I
don't plan that they have to have a certain classical feel to
it. It always comes down to what fits the music and the story
and the lyrics.
Your critics say
that new Mercyful Fate sounds no different from new King
Diamond. They disagree that new Mercyful Fate has any
relationship with old Mercyful Fate. The reason that I am
telling you this is that it is a sentiment that some fans
feel, and I think it would be good for you to address
O.K. I haven't heard that. With
regards to these two new albums, in over a hundred inter-views
in Europe, when Hank and I were over there. and everybody else
that wee talked to that has heard it so far, has been able to
hear probably the very clearest difference between the two
bands ever. The sound of the two bands, the musicians that are
involved, the whole concept, even my vocal style on the two -
there's a big difference. Of course, you should be able to
recognize my voice because it's so special that you would
always be able to. But the musical style and all that stuff,
the kind of feel that comes from one band compared to the
other... I have experienced from people's views, the extreme
I just wanted to
bring that up.
Oh yeah. But I have heard only
the opposite with regards to these new albums. There's a
bigger difference between the two of them than has ever been.
It's like one album could be Deep Purple and the other could
be Black Sabbath. That's how different they actually sound,
both production-wise and song-wise.
I did see something on the new Mercyful Fate
that I didn't think that I'd ever see. And that is the word,
But that was even on the last
But now there is an
actual track called, 'Lucifer.'
I thought that you were
trying to shy away from that in order not to scare away the
more narrow-minded fans.
No. I've never been
shying away from anything. I've been using different words to
describe things, to not be misunderstood. I don't think that
is the case anymore. I think that I have done so many
interviews that people know what I think. There might be
people out there that have never given us a chance to know
what we stand for. They might feel a little awkward. Then they
ARE narrow-minded. (laughs). If you have an open mind, that's
the only way you're ever going to learn in this world. That is
why you are here, in my opinion. If people don't have an open
mind, they probably won't listen to us anyway.
That Is true. But I was very relieved when I saw
The word "Satan' is even in
Tom Warrior, from Celtic
Frost, was so angry toward your earlier lyrics because he
thought that, by you not explaining anything in songs like
“Black Masses” that you were subverting children. I had to
laugh at him when he told me that. But he was an enemy of
yours in that regard. He did not approve of such demonic
words. I know that on that King Diamond album, there are a lot
of nasty things going on lyrically. But there is a warning
about the events not being glorified by the listener. Perhaps
you would like to talk about that.
First of all,
all King Diamond albums deal a lot with the human mind, and
what's going on in the present time. Even stories like
"Abigail" that took place in the I 8th century. This new story
does take place in the present time. But there's always been
that part in there. There's the story, for those that don't
want to get deeply involved in anything. That's fine, because
buying the album should be entertaining. But for those who do
want to go in deeper, there is always a question being asked,
trying to make people think... make up their own minds about
certain things. That's what I like to do - raise questions
about subjects that people might not always be thinking about
- not telling them what they should do or what's right and
wrong, because it's all individual - but definitely raising
questions. You're never going to solve problems if you don't
talk about them. I know that there is beginning to be, for
that very reason, some organizations speaking out a little bit
I know nothing about
the Danish prison system. But I heard that in Sweden,
murderers are given vacations from prison - maybe a weekend
out of the month, to go home or something.
don't think murders are allowed to go home. But I know that
they have some STRANGE rules. It's because everything has to
be so humanitarian. It goes for everything in this world. It's
always the bad guy that comes out on top. No matter what the
hell they do, they have to be treated with kids gloves. They
perform an action and they make a choice. They are aware of
the consequences. Give them those consequences. But you're
right. You hear about these crazy things. 'Open prison' it's
called. They don't put murderers in there. But there might be
a wife beater or something like that, in jail for four or five
years because he beat her into nothing. This guy will be
allowed to go visit his family maybe once a month, followed by
a prison guard or what do I know? They have TV's, stereos...
they have whatever it takes - “Well, they're in there in that
little room. They've got to have something.” They made the
choice to end up in that room.
Wouldst you assume that every human being has a
I have always been reading that psychopathic
people, or sociopaths, as they are called, are incurable. That
is a real blow to the concept that everyone is good. But
through studying the brains of criminals, it has been
discovered that the front part Is not really as active in
people who are impulsive killers. Do you think that punishing
them in prison is the right thing to do?
think that people are innocent because of a momentary
insanity. That can happen again. Should they just go free?
"Oh, I didn't know what I did. I'm so sorry. I wasn't in
control." "Oh sure. We'll let you go free because you didn't
know what you did. So there's nothing bad in you. You'll do it
again. And then we'll just talk to you again.” The problem is,
there are certain types of humans that are not fit to live in
This is true. My
question was more about the treatment of these particular
people in prison. The reason why I say that is, have you ever
been so angry at a person that you would want to beat that
But something stops you. There is a censor. You
are aware of the consequences, or perhaps it is just obvious
that it would be the wrong thing to do.
be the right thing to do as well. If some guy was kicking in
the door of my car. I think I know pretty much what I'd do to
But let us say it is
just an argument. Let us say you are disagreeing over the new
King Diamond album. What if some alien race, for one moment,
took away your ability to censor impulsive thoughts, and you
just went ahead and destroyed this other human being. Do you
think that you are accountable, since you had no censor to use
to stop yourself?
Of course I am. Who else would
be accountable? The alien that you don't have proof that
exists? You have to go by rules and you have to go by known
facts. That's all you can go by. I do believe that there are
other life in this universe. I think that it's narrow-minded
not to believe that there will be life somewhere out there in
this thing that we live in that is so big that our brains
can't even comprehend it. But that doesn't mean that people
should not be held responsible for their actions, no matter
what condition they're under. If you kill somebody, whether
you're insane or not, there's a good chance you'll do it
again, especially if people find out there is something wrong
with you. Then you need to be kept away from
I agree with you about
keeping the person away.
If you put them
back out there, the same thing's gonna happen
Why even keep a
person alive, if the person is kept alive in humiliating
conditions? Christians, who are most into the revenge against
criminals... I mean, there is no other word for it... I do not
see it as justice. I see it as revenge against the criminal. I
just think it is hypocritical of people who pretend to live by
the philosophy of "turn the other cheek” - when hit on one
cheek, they want to instead of turning the other, they
vengefully turn the person in. That might be one of the things
that make people crazy - it is the radical theory of
schizophrenia - that people just cannot accept the moral
contradictions of reality and go into their own
But see, that's a christian philosophy
about 'turn the other cheek.' But again, a lot of the
christian philosophy is not based at all on human instinct.
And human instinct you just cannot take away, no matter which
book you read or what movie you watch or whatever you do.
Human instinct is something that is just there. It will make
you react in a certain way to certain circumstances. Right? I
know exactly what you're saying, and this thing about some
people believing in turning the other cheek - that's fine. But
if you really believe that strongly in it as you pretend, then
live by it too. But they don't live by it in many cases,
only when it is convenient - then you bring that thing up. But
when it is a thing that suddenly affects you - it's a
different matter now.
want to make clear that I am not any kind of unrealistic
(laughs) Oh I know you're not. I
Do you think that a lot of
people who are that way, and who defend criminals to no end -
if they had a personal tragedy, if some person came into their
house and mutilated the entire family, would they still have
the same attitude?
You KNOW it's gonna change
ANYBOY's viewpoint. You know it is. It doesn't matter what god
you believe in, as soon as those things come into the picture
then things always get twisted out of proportion because
people can't teach a religion to themselves. They always have
to judge others by their own religion, not realizing that hey,
other people are different. That's why we are called
Individuals. If you can't respect that, then you don't even
have respect for yourself. I know that it's so easy that when
nothing bad has happened to you to put yourself on a pedestal.
You're up there and you're like, "Oh no, you're not doing this
right." I haven't experienced any of these really bad things,
Fortunately, knock on wood and all this stuff. But that
doesn't mean that I can't get emotional when I talk about all
these things, or when I see what's going on around the world.
That really affects me a lot. That's because I have an
extremely open mind. There's a lot of people that don't have
that. And seeing that is like, "God damn!' But that's the way
this world is.
Humanitarians need to temper their attitudes.
They should just act, FEELING that they are good instead of
needing to PROVE that they are good... it appears that we have
strayed quite far from music.
interesting shit to talk about, for sure. But it's also very
difficult to get around in the right way. It has a lot to do,
when you're talking about these things, with your spiritual
background - of how you see different things, of how you are
ALLOWED to see different things. There are ways of killing
too, right? You also kill in wars. You can, without being
prosecuted. How do you tackle that subject?
Would kill if you were a
You can't say until you know the
circumstances. It completely depends on that. If I were in my
dad's shoes during the second world war, when he was a freedom
fighter in Denmark and had to flee to Sweden because his group
was discovered by the SS, or somebody squealed who the SS had
gotten a hold of and talked under torture. I might have had to
escape to Sweden at the bottom of a fishing boat. That was
after he had been a freedom fighter for years. If I were in
his situation, yes, sure. I would have killed to preserve my
country. I'm sure that there were some Germans who felt like
they were in the right to do what they did. That's where we
get into another crazy thing. What is right and what is wrong?
They're so individual. That Husein thinks he's actually right
because something tells him in an old book that this and this
and this territory should belong to him. At least, that's how
he interprets an old book. He can't believe anybody else can't
see it. But that's this world. That's human beings. There are
no perfect solutions.
a spice of life?
Exactly. Without it, there
wouldn't be life. You can't describe a good day if you've
never had a bad day. All this stuff that we're talking about
has a lot to do with my personal spiritual beliefs. I don't
know where I've taken it from - I haven't seen it in any book.
But I have my own views. I do believe that it might take
several lives for the power that we all have in us - it might
take that power several lives in a human shell to have
experienced all possible feelings that you can experience
before you're ready to move on to a completely different life
form. That's the only reason I've ever been able to give
myself for why a two-year-old kid dies. But it does make sense
if that power, having lived eight lives, by that time - two
years old - that child has experienced what was needed to go
on to a new life form. You don't have to be on earth anymore.
There's no point for you to be here.
Or that child could have died so young to serve
as a lesson for other people going through their
That Is true. If you had to experience
all experiences that there are to experience, then there are a
lot of things that make sense when you think about good and
bad. It makes total sense to me that, if you imagine how many
powers are in people here on earth, I believe some of them are
first-timers, some of them may be fifth-timers. But a
fifth-timer that is here gaining experience and knowledge has
thoughts - four other lives - sometimes there are more of the
powers here to experience bad stuff because they already have
gone through some good experiences in other lives. Now it's
mainly bad stuff they need to experience. It's hard to explain
this. I could go on for hours. But those are a few of the
Because your beliefs and
attitudes are so non-traditional, you must have had contact
with judgmental people.
Yeah. If you don't have
an open mind, I can see it immediately. I don't even want to
associate with those people. You've got to have an open mind.
Otherwise you can't have a discussion. They will always feel
that, no matter what, they're always right. You've got to be
willing to listen to another person. That's the only way that
you will learn. I've learned SO much stuff by having an open
mind - things that I thought were like this or that - I found
out "Hey! Wait a minute. That guy was right.' I'm sure
everybody has to experience all powers. I'm not saying every
single human being on the earth right now has to experience
the killing of another human being. But I think that I
probably already have. Maybe I was even a witch hunter during
the Inquisition. Maybe that's why I've been writing some of
the stuff I have now.
for the past.
That is a possibility, yeah. I
might have killed too. It might have been in a war. It might
have been in self defense. It could be many ways because you
can get the same feeling from many different actions. You have
to go through every feeling - not every single action
possible. It's feelings we're talking about. That's my