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King Diamond    
King Diamond
June 15, 2000

If there ever was an archetypal heavy metal character, it has to be King Diamond. How many metalheads have dreamed of belting out a well-placed King Diamond high note, or dressed up as the King for Halloween? Both as the frontman for Mercyful Fate and as a solo artist, King Diamond has attained legendary status. A mere five days before the latest release 'House of God' hit the streets, the Metal Update was able to catch up with King to get the lowdown on his latest concept album as well as some deep thoughts from the man behind the mask. We couldn't get a word in edgewise.

Metal Update: A few weeks ago, your video for "The Family Ghost" was shown on VH1 after the fans voted you "Most Spine-Chilling Vocalist". Did you know about it at the time it happened?

King Diamond: I didn't know about it, but I was told about it. I thought it was pretty cool. And then the circumstances of them playing it, I mean, that's pretty cool. That was a surprise for sure. That was some major company there.

MU: Do you look at it as a good opportunity for the fans to see an old King Diamond video?

KD: I wish there was more of that now because we're in a situation where it's not really worth it for the labels to actually put money into a video. They don't get the return of it, you know. When people say, "How do you feel about metal coming back now?" and talking about it like it was dead. I tell them it was never dead. It was still there, but it kinda died in the media. Radio stations started playing alternative and MTV would stop playing the heavy stuff and only go with what everybody thought was trendy, you know. The bands suffer, of course, and so do the labels because they don't get exposure to possible new bands. So that's awful. I know many of the bands that I've talked to, they're like, "Oh, yeah, I saw the "Welcome Home" video and that made me go out - I had to go out and check it out and get an album." How do you get people into your band, you know? We had to go by, for a long time, the old traditional word of mouth way. We had probably one of the most faithful type of fans we could get. They stuck through thick and thin with us. A whole new generation is getting into what we're doing, and we're seeing so many new faces at our concerts the last couple years. And that's a cool feeling, to see your big fans and they know all the words to even those old songs we play. We actually pay so much attention to that, part of the set that we're going to play on this tour we're starting the 20th of July is based on that fact. We're going to play like 5 songs off the new album, to feature that, then we're going to do two off the 'Voodoo' album, then we're skipping the two albums before that, 'Spider's Lullaby' and 'The Graveyard', specifically for that reason I just mentioned, and concentrate on getting more of the older songs in. There's songs this year that we're going to play that we - even Andy and I, who's been in the band forever - we have not played for ten years. We're going to play "No Presents for Christmas" the first King Diamond song ever, "Black Horseman" from the 'Abigail' album, and "Dressed in White" from 'Fatal Portrait'. We're going to play a song from 'The Eye' that we've never played live ever before called "Burn". Plus, you'll get all, you know, "Welcome Home", "The Invisible Guests", "Sleepless Nights", "The Eye of the Witch"... We did it this Sunday. Actually I was in Sweden this Sunday playing at a big festival where Alice Cooper headlined the first night, and Lynard Skynard headlined the second night. We played right before Skynard. And there was also Dio, and King's X was there, there was a bunch of different bands. It was really cool, and it was so much fun playing those old songs again. I just got back from there Monday at Midnight.

MU: It's fantastic for the longtime fans to hear you're going to be playing so many old songs.

KD: Oh yeah, they'll be able to see some to those songs that they probably wouldn't see under normal circumstances. We are so proud of our show production over there. We have been building in Demark and Sweden the main part of the huge rendition on the stage, and we got to rehearse on it. But, God, it looks so cool, it blew me away when I saw it. I really liked the new production. It's based around the new album. It's a brand new production set-up.

MU: Can't wait to see it. A minute ago, you mentioned that there are a lot of new fans at your shows, do you think that has any relationship to Metallica covering Mercyful Fate recently?

KD: Well, we saw it even before that happened, during the last tour we did with King Diamond in 1998. But I'm sure that it will have some impact because there must be people that have heard the Metallica medley who never paid attention to Mercyful Fate or King Diamond before then. I mean, thinking for myself, I would be like that. If I heard another band, they play a song of another band and I'm like, "wow, what a great song," I would want to go and find out what that band is about. So you would imagine it has some impact, but how much really remains to be seen.

MU: What about with Mercyful Fate? Did you see any immediate impact there?

KD: It kinda was a new, young audience. Not all new, because a lot of the faces that - some of them have been there since the first time we'd toured. So it's a very widespread age group.

MU: How was it when Metallica took Mercyful Fate on tour in Europe?

KD: We played about ten shows, or something like that. Big venues - it was really cool. I liked, for me, once when... They didn't play our medley because they couldn't work the time into a normal set. But they did suggest one day, to Hank Sherman and to myself, whether we should do the medley one night. The whole entire medley. So we rehearsed with them backstage two shows before we hit Milan. A big outdoor festival in Milan. And they exchanged their second to last encore with the whole medley. We played all twelve minutes of that medley, me and Hank, onstage with Metallica. And that was the best time.

MU: That sounds amazing. What are your personal feelings regarding Metallica?

KD: I've always enjoyed the band and the music. And then, of course, I know them as friends too. They are such nice personalities, you know. And it must be very hard, to actually deal with all the pressure they go through. I saw some of it close-up this time when we toured with them. Oh man, what they go through. It's not easy. But I know them personally very well and they are very, very nice people. They do so much. They try to be everywhere at the same time, you know, just trying to please everyone. I really admire what they're doing. And, then again, I just admire their whole package.

MU: So you even like their newer stuff?

KD: Yes, I do. I have different views on what people say is a sell out because, I mean, Metallica is a very hip band. Put them up against most other bands and they will be the heaviest of them. Still today. But if you compare them to themselves, they might sound a little less aggressive because they don't play as fast as they used to play. And then they used a different recording technique where they both, Kirk and James would play rhythm guitars, where it used to be just James. That's to get a more live feeling, and I have all the respect for that. But if you use the same guitars to do all rhythm guitars, it used to get a little more aggressive and tighter, you know. But it's a matter of what you want to do, what's in your heart. I don't feel like they sold out. They wanted to try something a little bit different and they go for it. To me, sell out is - if I have to explain it in terms of King Diamond for instance, that band. Some fans would say, "Oh man, I wish you'd do another 'Abigail' album." To me, that would be like selling out. Because that would be like a piece of cake, you know. I could write another 'Abigail' album in two weeks with Andy. And I could do another 'Don't Break the Oath' with Hank in two weeks. It would be so easy. That's not a challenge. And that would really, to me, be selling out. Just to give in, throw in the towel, say we have no more new ideas - we'll go back and cover ourselves again. I can't do that. Deep inside, I don't think the fans want that either. Why have a second 'Abigail'? Just go out and buy a second one if you want two on your shelf. So that's what I call selling out. If you really just start repeating yourself. One of the very reasons that you can't come up with something - fresh ideas or... And that's why we, I know Metallica has, but I don't mean to keep talking about them, but for us a big, big thing why we are here still and why we have the style we have is that the record label people all know to give us freedom with our production. They don't send an A&R guy to us to check with us - to see if they like the songs or not. It's like, don't come in here and tell me what King Diamond should sound like, and they don't. We go into the studio, we fix a demo, and we send it to them - this is the new King Diamond album. And that's a lot of trust that they put in us, you know. It's been that way ever since Roadrunner. So, that gives us the opportunity to put a hundred percent more effort behind our music. What comes out is not like a compromise between us and some unknown goal or some difficult producer that has been brought in to make us sound a certain way. No, we sound like we want to sound. We write the music that we feel our music should be like. That way we can write straight from the heart. You feel different from year to year, you know. The things you've experienced - you have new experiences all the time. And that comes out in our music every year. And so much, actually, that if I go back and listen to 'Abigail' or 'Them' or whatever, I can't really enjoy it as just an album because I was too involved and too close to it. But I can subtly recognize how I felt back then because I can hear my feelings in the music. Then that will bring back all of the people that I was associated with at the time. So it becomes more like photo albums almost to me.

King Diamond

MU: So how do you feel about 'House of God'?

KD: It turned out to be more pressure than there's been for awhile. More, and better, melodies we're making. That's a hard one to write sometimes, to actually get a little more aggressive without losing the melody. But I think we have that here, and I think the vocals are towards the old days. There is more of the high-pitched vocal in here than we've had in the couple of albums. Much bigger arrangements, you know with the choirs and stuff like that. And that's overall just more vocals going on. Then overall, it's - from what I hear from some other people, they tell me that they can easily absorb the songs on this album - that it's easier to understand the songs. But I know that these songs are much more complicated really than most any other thing we've done. Then that results in a positive thing because that means the complexity of the music does not interfere with the flow of the songs. That's real positive. 'Cause I know for a fact when Andy La Rocque - who is in my opinion one of the great guitarists in the world - when Andy comes to me and says, "Oh, I have such a hard time playing that piece, the timing is so off from the others" - from the rhythm guitars, what they're playing, you know. When you don't really notice it when you just listen to it, that's the good part because it should not be destructive in the song's flow. So we feel very, very strong about this album.

MU: Do you have any favorite tracks?

KD: I don't have any. No, and it's sort of strange because I've put everything I've got into every one of those songs, and they each represent something different to me. It's not just about how the vocals turned out, but it could be how the bass guitar sound turned out within a specific song which means something special to me. That doesn't really reflect that I should like the song or not. It's so hard when you're so close to it. I was in Sweden for three months for this new album - from beginning to end - where Andy La Rocque was co-producing with me and co-producer Kol Marshall, who also worked with me on '9'. Andy was there for almost two months. And the rest of the band was in and out for like two to three weeks. But I was there the whole way. So I know every little "ding-dong, ding-dong" that was caught on tape in there. And I was there mixing the whole thing with the co-producer. We fastened ourselves to this. So you know, you can have a very awkward view on the album. You know how it turned out. Just kick back and listen to it and let it just flow by you - I can't do that. Because I sit and listen for how we did this, and how we did that, all the little tricks and this and that. So I know everything that went on. I don't get the kind of view that you get, and I guess it's the same when I listen to other bands - Ozzy Osbourne, Sabbath, whatever. Those I can sit and just enjoy for what they are. But I bet that they can't do that themselves because they have that very close relationship too, where they're like, "uh...I don't know..." That's how you get better always, and you can always get a little better.

MU: Are you willing to divulge the story behind 'House of God'?

KD: It's a pretty different story than you'd normally get. It's much deeper than we've gone in years. First of all, I set the story in a scenario that actually exists, but the story that takes place there is totally mine. There is a church in southern France, that has this inscription across the door saying this place is terrible. When you walk inside there's a figure of a devil greeting you. And actually this place has up to 120,000 visitors or tourists come in there every year because there's a lot of mystery that surrounds this place. I mean, it's not common to have the devil greet you at a church. A lot of people don't want to go in there because they believe that Satan is there. A lot of secret coded messages are inscribed on the walls. These talk about secret graves and people still have not found all of them. The crazy part about it is - that fascinated me was - the theory that Jesus was there, living there, after he supposedly was crucified. And Mary Magdalene, after he died, was there. The saying that there is about this place is that he didn't die on the cross but was saved and smuggled across the Mediterranean to this place. The saying is that the priest that discovered something there was the head of this church for awhile, and he found, supposedly, four scrolls that indicated that Jesus was there after he was supposedly crucified. I mean, that's a pretty big theory or story. The facts are not there. Maybe this guy got the facts, because they also say, and this is the facts, the guy brought whatever it was he found to the Vatican, and he came back filthy rich, as if the Vatican paid for some secrets to be kept secret. I can understand if they found proof that Jesus did not die on the cross - it would completely turn over the rules of faith because suddenly the guy who supposedly died for our sins didn't die. Then what? They would be in deep shit. Those people that totally believe. So, I kinda used that a little bit. But I also say in the forward, remember that most stories are usually just exactly that - something told by someone else that usually is without the facts to prove it. This story, however, it makes me wonder.

Then the story starts and the intro explains the theory about this real place, and then starts the album and my story. It is a twisted journey about a person who gets thrown around from one twist to another. First of all, he's out traveling, and this takes place 200 years ago, and he's out traveling in some mountains. I'll make a short version of it, you can always catch up on it later. (laughs) But while he's out traveling, suddenly the road changes before his eyes, he knows he's been there many times before because he recognizes more and he has all these wolves suddenly howling around him and like, "Oh my god I've got to get out of here." Suddenly he's surrounded by them. He's literally prepared to die. Then this big black, gray, and white wolf steps out with these major blue eyes, and all the others kind of back off. It seems to speak in his mind, without actually speaking of course, and it wants him to follow it. He does and they end up at the top of this mountain where there is this completely decaying church. And he follows the wolf inside, and once they get inside, it changes before his eyes into this beautiful church. There's some strange things in there but he doesn't pay too much attention to that at this point. The wolf suddenly starts shedding its skin, you know, and turns into the most beautiful woman he's ever seen in his life. The perfect picture that he'd ever hoped of was right there and he instantaneously just falls in love with her. He doesn't care that she was a wolf or whatever, he doesn't' panic, he's just totally happy now. And then they start having fun. They actually have sex and everything else, you know, in the church, the most holy place. But they don't care, it's just totally free will.

Then suddenly one day she says that there's something that he needs to know. She has to give him two choices, and they're not very nice, either of them. Just when everything was great, perfect, she tells him that a year ago she signed a pact to be a guardian of this church, and she only had one year. If she doesn't find another one in this year, she cannot leave in the shape of a woman - only in the shape of a wolf. She says, you sign the pact and take over this guardian job. I don't know what I'm guarding, you just have to do it. If you do it, you will set me free and I can leave this church in the shape of a woman and continue my life. The second I step my foot outside the door, I will lose my memory so I'll never know that I ever met you, and we won't see each other again. The other option is, that we have one or two more days, I have seven days left, and you will see me die before your eyes. If you don't do it, we won't see each other again. And then he sets her free and takes over this job that he doesn't know what it consists of.

Then he notices how twisted this church is because there are mirrors and crosses and the result is like everything had two. The way I described it there's other things that are not in that real church. I describe it as two pulpits, this one with gargoyles, and the other pulpit has golden figures on the front. Just kind of creating chaos, 'cause it's two opposites going on that don't belong together. So now suddenly he starts feeling the loneliness, cause there's nothing he can do, he's confined to the church now. He can only leave in the shape of a wolf, and that doesn't give him much. So he gets more and more desperate. He first starts drinking, you know, and gets desperate, and he finally gets so desperate and mad that he goes all insane. He starts smashing anything he can find that has any relationship to the church and he ends up smashing all those mirrors, crosses, and everything. He smashes the last one and all of a sudden he moves and there's a big, black hole in the floor there, and he stares into the dark, and he knows he has to go there. Better he should go below the mountain, and he can't just stay in this church anymore either.

So he walks down there and he discovers that there's these long narrow halls down there with side chambers - it's a catacombs. And these side chambers are full of human bones, you know, and he just has this candle, and suddenly he sees this glow coming from one of the side chambers. He walks in there, and there he sees it's a life-sized statue of the Virgin Mary but it's carved in wood. He freaks out and he starts smashing it up. He breaks it, but it's hollow and there is something inside. What he finds is a mummy wearing a crown of thorns. He is finding Jesus' mummy down there. He starts unwinding the bandages and from inside this mummy's head, and out through the empty eye sockets because there's no eyes there anymore. There' s this light seeping out from the openings and suddenly he starts screaming and turns around and runs screaming for his life.

He runs through the catacombs and this light starts coming after him, follow ing him. He runs back up into the church trying to find some safety, you know, but the light comes straight up after him and fills the entire church, and then he sees inside the light all these different faces and bodies swaying around. This entity starts talking to him and says that, "I am the highest power there is, and you have gone where nobody should go, and now you will pay for this - nobody must ever know." This person is now starting to have a conversation, and kind of a confrontation but it's more like a conversation, with an entity that claims to be the highest god. The entity tells him that he will never know why they kept what he found down there. It could be that they were keeping his mummy away from god so that god could never make him walk on the earth again. It could also be to keep him safe from people like you who would probably crucify him or try to crucify him again, but we're not going to tell you exactly why. It's none of your business. All you need to know is not what we are about, us, the highest god - because it does refer to itself as, I am many, we are one, that way, I am kind - and it says that you shouldn't bother with what we are, you just need to know that we are, and that should be proof enough. This guy says, "Sorry pal, I can't deal with that kind of stuff. If you want to me to believe you're the highest god, you need to prove it the right way." Then the god says, "I created god's faith for people who wanted to be mine. They 're nothing but little puppets on my strings. I just created it for the minds who had conflict, that power, that conflict, I created it - I did all that." This guy was still not buying it. He says to this entity, or god, that "the only way you can prove that you're the only right god is if you show yourselves to mankind so that everybody sees you at the same time and they we'll all know that you're the only one that's real. Then you need to tell us, why we are here, what is the meaning of people and life, and tell us what happens when we die. Show us." And then the god - this entity - does not get back to him. And he says, "You know, I bet you cannot, because you don't know the truth because you are not the highest, you're just another cog in someone else's higher strings and that could go on for ever and ever." Then the guy says to the god, "You know what? I'm not going be a servant of some unknown god. I will prove and show to you something. I will show you that I can stand up for myself. I can make up my own mind and take according action. That's what I'm going to do now, I'm going to choose death. That way I'll know why I'm here sooner than else, and I will be out of this place." This guy has an actual goal, he walks up to the highest tower and he jumps out and hangs himself. He actually finds his piece of mind. The last song is an instrumental piece called, "Piece of Mind". I would never choose that solution myself. Unless I was in this scenario where he's cursed to this church - can't really leave this church. I have an opportunity to leave my house. This guy was kept a prisoner almost by something that won't let him go, by chance. So that's the story, right there.

The main things behind the story, and what I'm trying to say with that story, is first of all, that it makes me sick inside to see all these religious wars that are being fought today because of religious differences - which is the reason for 90% of those wars. I mean, basically, to think that people can fight because of a god that, I feel, I think that man has created a lot of different gods in his own image. Not the other way around. That's why we have so many different ones. No human being or no religion, let's put it that way, has ever proved to everybody on earth that they believe in the right god. Nobody's going to prove that, cause if they did then we'd all believe in the same god, right? If one person had to prove that his god was the right one, he would be able to show everyone else. And then why would anyone doubt it? If it'd been proved to them? But we do not believe in the same god because they're man-made. Since we don't have the proof of who's right and wrong, it makes absolutely no sense that people are killing each other in wars because they want to be the one that believes in the right god. It's kinda like ammunition. A big wrestler goes up against Einstein and beats him up. Because he can beat Einstein doesn't mean he can say that Einstein's theories were wrong and that he has a theory that's right, that two and two is three. Just because you beat someone up doesn't mean you're right.

Nobody has ever been able to prove to mankind that they believe in the right god. Maybe because there are no real gods. I don't know, I'm not claiming to know, but claiming with this album to know that nobody knows for sure. Nobody has got proof. The same goes for the reason for human life. Nobody has proven that. The actual experience of dying, and what happens afterwards. Nobody has proof of that. but we do walk around spending a lot of time fearing it, and feeling bad about it. Feeling bad about a thing we have no clue what it's all about. Another thing that doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me - well, I don't care about dying, really, because I don't know what that experience is about. Why would I fear it? I'm not going to hole up and spend all my time worrying about when I'm going to die, and why don't I understand, and why am I here. I've accepted that that's a fact. It is like that. As long as I am alive here on this earth, I probably will not know. The first chance I'll get to know why I was here on earth is probably when I'm not here anymore.

I've tried to say, can't people please take it a little more easy with their gods and their religion because we do not have proof, you know. So you have no reason to be so stuck on your high horse, and think you are right because you have no proof. So relax and keep it to yourself, please. It would be a much better world if you could do just that, give me that much. That's very much the message of the album - accepting that there are certain things we cannot comprehend, you know. So why do we waste all this time messing around with it, because we won't know. We simply won't know until we're not here anymore. I would much rather, and that's what I'm doing, instead of wasting my time thinking and worrying about things - I take that time and I use it for things that I have facts for. I know for a fact that I'm a human being on this planet we call Earth. I know that if I do certain things it makes me feel good inside. I would take all that time and use it to do all those things that make me feel good inside. When people feel good inside, they're usually having a easier time and giving other people a helping hand and smiling.

There is a positive at the end of the story, it's a moral. But it's a big accusing finger against that which we have been talking about that are the most evil. It makes absolutely no sense that people are trying to be the one that is right about their god, because none of us will ever prove, first of all, that they're right. That's kind of the main issue. Andy La Rocque and I actually had talks about continuity because if you don't go the whole way, if you don't make this to the end, you know, if you don't get into it and you know your work, don't be constantly thinking about it. You know some people say, "Yeah, I'm going to go to heaven." What's that? Do you really know what that that is? "Well, it's a great place." How do you know that? You've never been there, you've never met anyone who's been there. It's just something you read in a old book written two thousand years ago which nobody can ever go back on.

So why be so fixated on something, but I respect still, that some people need gods. As long as they keep it to themselves. It kinda represents to me - different gods represent pacifiers. It's kinda like, stick a pacifier in a baby's mouth and calm down. Things we don't know have been known to really upset us, worry us, fill us with fear, stuff like that. That's where sometimes, you know, a god for some people can work as a pacifier. In that world where people are fearing death and worrying all the time, they can comfort themselves by saying there is a Him that is all good - not needing to have the proof of that. That's fine, good for you, but unfortunately, when that day comes and death starts sneaking up behind them they will usually get those thoughts anyway because soon they will have to face their destiny and they know that inside they do not know what it's about. That's what it's about.

MU: So, in light of this conversation, it would seem the rumors that you are a Satanist have been greatly exaggerated.

KD: You know what is so funny about that whole thing, when people ask me, "Are you a Satanist?" I have to get back with another question, because what is that? I have to ask. You explain to me first what's a Satanist to you, then I'll tell you if I'm one of those kinds or not because most people completely misunderstand that. Satanism was never, ever any type of religion. It's a life philosophy described in that book of Anton Levay's called The Satanic Bible, which you might guess pretty wrong because usually if something's called the Bible it leads to a religion. But that doesn't deal with wicked things at all or spiritual things. It is the life philosophy down to earth. I had made points he described in his book, way before I ever read that book, so if that makes me a Satanist, than sure, whatever, it doesn't matter what people think I am. If you think I'm a Satanist drinking babies' blood or hurting other people, then you're dead wrong. So, it depends so much on how people look at that. People forget that the people that do commit these completely insane crimes like killing or sacrificing a baby... Why do they do it? Well, they do it because they heard that that's what Satanists do. Where would they get a thing like that? From the church usually because they're the ones saying Satanists do this and that. I would never say Satanists would do that, insane people might do that maybe, but never a person that believes the Satanic philosophy.

MU: What about the "black metal" church burnings in Norway?

KD: Thats another thing that's interesting 'cause most of the time it's presented - a little bit like you do, where you say "burning churches" - one church, got burned. Not a lot of churches. I don't know the facts, so I can't really speak my mind about it, but I know it's one church. I know another scenario, one guy killed another guy and they were both in a band. But with the church, I don't know the facts so it's hard for me to say. There might have been one or two guys, who were or weren't in the band, with 6-10 other young people. One of the murderers lights up and sets fire to a stick and throws it at this church, oops, it went inside, "Damn! Oh god, look at it, it's burning!" I don't know how it happened, or who was in there, I really don't know.

I do know another thing, 'cause it was brought up to me by people Norway by a journalist type. Let me tell you something, last year in Texas, where I live, there was 200 church burnings. No one has ever found out why or what. It seemed more like it was unsatisfied members of the congregation. It was maybe a pair - a couple - breaking up and there was one getting back during a divorce at another person in the church, and who knows what. But nobody found the reasons why. It had nothing to do with - when people do that with that intention, they paint crosses and crazy shit, you know. So that was never it. So, I said, you know, I can't relate to your thing. And then he said, but what about the one guy who was from this black metal band and killed the other guy. I don't know the background, do you know the background? He's like, well, no not really. Let me put it this way, if it was a scenario where the one that killed the other did it because the other one had raped his sister then I understand why he did it. It doesn't make it right because it is against the law, and there are consequences when you break that. But I can understand why he did it then. I might have done it myself, and not been able to control myself according to the law if that thing happened to one of my family members. But then it makes sense to do that. Then I don't think it matters whether he's in a band or not. I mean, what about all the other things that happened that week and were mentioned in the paper. Why do you bring up this stuff just because the guy was in a band? That's why it gets sensationalized. Then I told him, in Dallas yesterday, four people got murdered, and two of them over a hot cab, and another one over a jacket. I mean, talk about insanity. You're talking about two guys fighting for a knife, and one kills the other with the knife. We don't even know what their quarrel was about.

So it gets blown out of proportion big time, just because "it's black metal, it must be bad." Most of those black metal bands I have met - what they're about is shock effect. They want to shock people into thinking about things, which I kind of respect. They have their ways of doing it, and I wouldn't write the lyrics that way, but that doesn't mean I condemn their way of writing their lyrics. They do certainly create a stir and it make some people get bent out of shape. When I talk to them, they are just as down to earth as anyone else is and calm and very intelligent people. But that, you know, it's those songs, they create those facades.

I mean, the holiest priest, standing with his facade in church, nobody knows that he has been false, or what he has been doing. Nobody knows. My god, do we have a few scenarios like that. Where I'm like, oh my god, you put on a nice coat and people think you're a nice person; you put on rags and people take it to mean you're bad person. That's always bothered me. I hate that kind of stuff. It's kinda like, if I, for once, want to go to a nice restaurant, and get a nice expensive meal, once you step up there and they say like, "Ooh, no, you can't come in here without a tie." What? What does that have to do with it. I probably have much more money than you have, standing in the doorway with your tie on. Does that make you better than me? That is such a crutch. I don't own a tie, I never will, I hate wearing ties.

I can probably learn a lot more from speaking to a guy who lives under a bridge, than I could from this snobbish executive from some office, you know, who doesn't want to talk to me because I'm not wearing a tie. Now we' re in to talking about life philosophy, right? And how human beings act with such strange views. That's what King Diamond is all about. That's the underlying theme in all the King Diamond albums. Then those are molded into a horror story so that if you just want a story that hopefully interests you, it's there, if you want to dig a little deeper, it's there.

On 'Fatal Portrait', our first album, it deals with a lot of jealousy. 'Abigail' - it used to be if you were born outside of marriage, you're called a bastard - it was inspired by something my mom told me. 'Them' and 'Conspiracy' is about greed. You can get it on all kinds of stuff. I even dealt with child abuse because it made me sick to see how child abusers were being released from jail and go straight out the next day after being released and do the same thing again destroying another young kid's life.

But that's my point of view. I raise the questions in a story and I don't say in the stories what I think is right or wrong because I respect human beings' individuality. I want to be respected for being an individual and having my own thoughts and ideas, so therefore, I know that I have to respect others people's opinions and ideas about things too. What individual means is one of a kind. It's an interesting world to observe, you know. Different human beings are very interesting to observe. I don't think I'll ever run out of material to write about. (laughs) All I have to do is keep my eyes open and look around me.

MU: You're going to be headlining the Milwaukee Metalfest this year. This isn't your first time playing the festival. How do you feel going back this time around?

KD: It's a great big place, you know, and there's a lot of crazy metal bands there. It's a very good place to be. We played the first, very first, Metalfest ever, with King Diamond actually. And then we played last year with Mercyful Fate. That's the only two times we've been there. It will be cool. That's a big stage so we should be able to put up our entire production there so you can come and see me being cremated in a coffin in the end.

MU: Cool!

KD: You see! See how twisted it is, right? You come and see me being cremated, and "Cool!"

MU: It's the spirit of metal.

KD: That's what it is. And it makes people think, and that's what it's all about. Make people think about certain questions and messages and then let them make up their own minds.

MU: You mentioned the tour starts in July, that's in the U.S.?

KD: Yes, the tour starts the 20th of July in L.A. I think we have 32 or 35 shows scheduled. Then after that we go to Europe as quick as we can. There 'll be probably five weeks break while the containers are being shipped to Europe with the whole production. I think it will be a couple of weeks into October, when we start in Europe. That should probably take us up almost until Christmas. Then we still have South America to do as well. They're crazy down there. Brazil, Argentina, and Chile...

MU: Who will be supporting you on the tour?

KD: Shadows Fall, I think they're called, and then a band from Finland called Babylon Whores, and a new band on Century Media called Deep. That's the bill - those four bands. It's a lot of bands and all of them have different styles, and that's the way it should be.






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