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Mercyful Fate & Nevermore
mercyful fate and nevermore
October 8, 1999

It was a big metal night in Brooklyn last Friday, as Mercyful Fate and Nevermore packed the reborn L'Amour to make a little metal history of their own at the legendary venue. With a literally capacity crowd on hand, and, until 10:30, cheep enough beer prices to suitably prepare the throngs for the chaos that would later ensue, the stage was set for a night to remember.

However, in the weeks leading up to the event, the tour had garnered a bit of bad publicity. Cancellations in Milwaukee and San Francisco had left several unfortunate fans with only a sign on the door to greet them at the end of their long roadtrips. The net bulletin boards were ablaze: how could Mercyful Fate just refuse to play like that? Didn't they care about the fans? One thing I knew for sure: after the brutal shlep on the N train from Manhattan, there had better be some metal waiting for me on the side.

Not only was there metal, there was majesty. But before the night's real fireworks began, the Metal Update caught up with tour manager Ole Bang to discuss the recent cancellations and explain why the band felt it had to walk away in San Francisco.

METAL UPDATE: A lot of people are really upset about the cancellations you've had on this tour. What happened?

OLE BANG: Well, the band is very upset as well. The crew was very upset. The show didn't happen because the local promoter didn't provide what he was supposed to provide.

MU: We're talking about San Francisco, right?

OB: San Francisco. That's the only show that has been cancelled. Out of like fifty shows we've done for this album. Well, basically, there was no monitor equipment. Without monitor equipment, King can't hear, the band can't play, and no one can work onstage performing and sound like Mercyful Fate. It's just impossible.

MU: But a lot of people traveled hours to get there, only to find a sign on the door of the venue saying the show had been cancelled. Why can't these issues get worked out in advance?

OB: Well, they were straightened out in advance, and contracts were sent out with specific requirements. Our sound people speak to each club. And everything is supposed to be OK. And when we showed up, they actually had the gall to say our sound guy had said that we didn't need monitor equipment. We had flown equipment in from Europe - front monitor wedges, for King to be able to hear what he is supposed to. But there has to be a mixing console. We have a sound guy. We have a monitor technician. Two people doing the sound. And we don't bring them out and pay them a lot of money, and then turn around and say we don't really need the mixing console.


MU: So for the people who don't understand the technicalities of live sound production, the bottom line is that Mercyful Fate very much wanted to play those shows.

OB: Oh, absolutely. We were there at load-in time, and we stayed there until a quarter to seven, trying to -- in corroboration with the local people -- to find a monitor-mixing desk. And the necessary cables, and the outboard gear that comes with the whole setup of monitor for the band to be able to hear themselves on stage. And it wasn't possible to get it. At, like, a quarter to seven o'clock we had to say, "OK, if it's not possible to get it then we'll just have to leave." And the band was equally upset when we had to call back and tell them.

MU: And for those people who wonder why you couldn't just play the show without the monitor mix . . .

OB: When the band is onstage, each person onstage technically has to hear what the other guys are doing. Which means, King needs to hear a certain amount of guitar, and very little of bass maybe. The bass guitar needs to hear the drums and not too much vocals maybe. Everybody has a separate mix onstage of what everybody else is doing - which most bands do. Some bands can get away with less because they either are not that particular about how well they hear the stuff onstage or maybe they play a different style of music. But with King's high pitched vocals, and all the little fills and riffs and things happening with Mercyful Fate music, it would be like four people trying to play music without hearing each other in four separate rooms and the vocalist being on the top floor of the same building. It's just not possible to make it sound like a song.

Shortly after speaking with Ole, I turned to find none other than Fate bassist and metal utility man Sharlee D'Angelo ready talk a little metal . . .

METAL UPDATE: How's the tour going so far?

SHARLEE D'ANGELO: Pretty good, pretty good. A lot of travelling, though. Too much.

MU: You're in a lot of bands!

SD: Yeah, a few.

MU: Who are you playing with these days?

SD: These days, what am I doing? Uh . . . Mercyful Fate, Witchery, Arch Enemy, basically.

MU: Who will you be touring with? Will you be touring with Witchery or Arch Enemy this year?

SD: Right after this tour, I go to Japan with Arch Enemy. And maybe we'll go back to the states with them. I'm not sure yet, but nothing has been confirmed about that. And hopefully something in Europe with Witchery later on this year.

MU: Where do your loyalties lie? Are you a "gun for hire"?

SD: My loyalties lie with metal. (laughs) No, no I'm not a gun for hire, I'm not. Well, if you pay me well enough I might be, but then we'd be talking about big figures. (laughs) Otherwise, I mean I just do what I do.

MU: Would you play bass for the Rolling Stones if the money was right?

SD: I would do it if I could just stand back there and be like Bill. (laughs) But I could never be as cool as him. 'Cause he's one of the coolest ever.

MU: Do you get all these cool gigs 'cause you're friends with people, is it a work thing, or what?

SD: It usually starts out with being friends. Usually. And then, if the musical thing is right, if fits, then . . . It's like all of the things I've been involved with, was because they just made me an offer I couldn't refuse. Now we're not talking financially, we're talking musically. It's like, you know, people that I like to work with. You only see the things that I do. You don't see the things that I turn down.

MU: Is Mercyful Fate the most popular band you work with?

SD: Depending on what territory you're talking about.

MU: The United States.

SD: In the United States, yes.

MU: Worldwide?

SD: Well, I think worldwide altogether too.

MU: The Arch Enemy record is selling well.

SD: Yes, especially in Japan. I think its something like 25,000 in six days or something.

MU: You play on that record right?

SD: Yeah.

MU: So are you a member of these bands? Are you a member of Mercyful Fate?

SD: Yes. And yes.

MU: Did you grow up listening to Mercyful Fate?

SD: Yep, I did.

MU: What was it like when you first met King Diamond?

SD: By the time that I met him the first time, I mean, if I would have met him when I was fifteen or fourteen, it would probably have been a really, really big deal. I guess I half-way idolized him in a way. But by the time I got into the band, I mean I already knew so many people who had played with him before, and its like I'd grown up myself and started to play and all that so . . .

MU: It was demystified a bit for you . . .

SD: So yeah, I wasn't so like . . .

MU: So he really is just another human?

SD: Yeah, except for the fact that he sleeps in a coffin and eats babies for breakfast. (laughs)

MU: (laughs) You say that your loyalties lie with metal. As a fan, right now, what are you listening to?

SD: Lately I haven't been listening to so much, just because I've been involved with so much music, I don't really have time. Ah, but there are a few things. An album that's been spinning in my CD player, like I've never taken it out, is Defleshed 'Under the Blade', it's just a fantastic record. Otherwise, anything that's nice or hard basically . . .

MU: Are you into black metal?

SD: Yeah, little bit.

MU: Is Mercyful Fate a black metal band?

SD: They used to call it that. I don't know, maybe if it you take it to mean the image and the occult kind of thing . . .

MU: How do you feel about the occult and Satan and . . .

SD: I think it's just, you know, it's just nice and real. It's just something that I'm not real deeply into it, myself. But I think it's like a cool piece of imagery that you can use because it fits the music very well. And if you have someone in the band like we do who is actually doing it for real, and taking it seriously, then it, you know, it gets more real.

MU: Arch Enemy has toured Europe - and Japan is next - what are the chances of an Arch Enemy tour in the United States?

SD: There was actually . . . I got a fax from management a couple of days ago where they said that we might be doing something in the very near future. One of the things that it talked about was that San Antonio thing . . .

MU: The November to Dismember?

SD: Yeah, exactly.


MU: Cool. Any other tour rumors you can give us?

SD: Well, I don't know anything about this at all, but, there's been talk about a Nevermore, Arch Enemy, Dark Tranquility tour in the states.

MU: Awesome. That's the kinda tour we need here.

SD: Although, I don't think it would be very good for the health of everybody involved.

MU: Why not?

SD: Because I know all of these guys. (laughs)

MU: It would be good fun!

SD: It would be good fun, but bad for our livers!

MU: Have you ever played L'Amour [Brooklyn, NY] before?

SD: Actually I've never been here before. So I never saw the place.

MU: But you'd heard of it?

SD: Of course, I mean, everybody has heard of it.

MU: There havenít been shows here in a really long time.

SD: Yeah somebody told me that they split the room in two and all that. So now the gig place is really small. Somebody said it used to be a little bigger.

MU: I saw that poster on the wall advertising that Ratt is coming here later this month. What do you think of Ratt? Is that metal?

SD: I guess it is, in a way, as long as it is loud guitars and long hair, it's got to be metal. Well, not always, of course, but . . . I don't know what to call that but it is some sort of metal.

MU: Is this U.S. tour going better than some of your previous ones? People talk about the resurgence of metal and such . . .

SD: Nah, not really. We haven't seen anything like that. Although, if you look at other bands, newer bands, that are new to most of the American audience, you see that like with Emperor's tour, like the thing that they did . I think bands like that see it. The thing is we've always been around.

MU: Are people coming out pretty solid right across this whole tour?

SD: We do good, yes.

MU: What happened in San Francisco? People were upset.

SD: Of course. I can understand that. But I mean, there are certain limits to what we can do if there's like . . . we come in, and there is no monitor system, it's like what can we do? What people don't understand is that we don't cancel, well, sometimes. Like we did in Milwaukee just, not too long ago.

MU: What was the Milwaukee cancellation about?

SD: Milwaukee was about King's voice going down. But we postponed that show and we're doing it at the end of the tour instead. But where San Francisco was one of those things where the promoter just doesn't give a shit about anything.

MU: Was that at Maritime Hall?

SD: Yep.

MU: You've played there before?

SD: Yep. But back then I think it was a different promoter, because that time everything was fine when we did that last year, but this year's like -- we send out a technical rider that specifies everything that we need. And if they have a problem with that, well then, they have to contact us about that. They just didn't bring in anything that we needed, so we couldn't do the show with what was there. That's what we told them, exactly. "You've got to bring in this, this, and this in order for us to play the show." So it's not about, you know, not enough big lights, or not the right kind of M&M's back stage, it's nothing to do with that. It's that you have the right equipment to play.

MU: And what do you say to the fans who came from far away to check out the show?

SD: I am so sorry. I am so really sorry. Nobody was more disappointed than I was, that we couldn't play.

MU: That's why you got on the bus and drove there that day.

SD: Exactly. I wouldn't have been there at all. Because we lost a lot of money not doing the show. But there's no way we could have done it. We could have just done . . . it would have been just like getting up on a soapbox, basically.

MU: How are the Mercyful Fate fans taking to Nevermore on this tour?

SD: Great, I think. I mean, they have had a huge response every night too. They're a great live band. And when the revered Warrel Dane gets up on stage and preaches . . .

MU: You work for so many different bands. Each on different labels. Which is your favorite underground metal label? If you had a band right now that was looking to sign to a label, who would you go with?

SD: It's very hard to say, because different labels are good in different aspects. Metal Blade are really good, because if you are on Metal Blade, you're records will be out everywhere, because their distribution is just, like, unheard of within the independent metal scene. Nuclear Blast, they're really aggressive when it comes to marketing artists. That's one of the reasons why we've had so many successes the past year. The company has grown. Although they're not doing so well in the states right now, I think it's getting better, but they have a problem with distribution too. Century Media's great too, in a way, because they're really enthusiastic, but what I really want is a label like Necropolis. I mean they're just so wonderful to work with. Because they're, you know -- it just takes one phone call, and you reach the top man. So a Necropolis with more financial backing would be the best. But the thing is, even if, if you get the financial backing, you get more and more success. The company has to grow, and once the company grows, well, there you go again. Its hard to keep it underground.

-- LINKS --







Interview: Eric German [ ]
Editor: Brant Wintersteen [ ]
Photography: Cynthia Pelzner [ ]
Webmaster: WAR [ ]
Update Support: Laura German

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