I tried really hard to get an interview with King Diamond, but had no luck. I was going to use an interview that Bill Zebub conducted in one of his issues, but decided to use this instead. Even though I didn't get to ask King D. the questions I asked everyone else, this interview pretty much had everything I really wanted to hear.
(Reprinted by permission by HM Magazine. Thank you my brother.)
Live pictures by Mike Coles
Yikes! What would you do if you were face-to-face with the singer from one of the "most satanic bands" in metal? Cringe? Hold up a silver cross? Well, if you were face-to-face with Kim (King Diamond's real name), you'd probably respond with kindness to this nice guy. In fact, instead of threatening with curses and spells, the guy was all too eager to talk about down-to-earth things. Of course, since this isn't a football magazine, we got on to other subjects. Read on and enjoy...
HM: If you could boil down the message of your music into one theme, let's say King D., what would that be?
King D: The message in the music?
King D: I'm touching a lot on people's feelings on the inside. I deal a lot with people's minds, what's going on there. How we get along, how we don't get along, why we get along. I like very much to raise questions and make people think. You will never, in any of our lyrics, find me saying, "Don't do this and that, because that is wrong." That is something that goes very much with my philosophy and my beliefs-that nobody is right or wrong. Right and wrong is very individual. You've got to respect that, you know? There are laws that need to be followed, because that enables us to live in peace. And you know what's gonna happen if you break them. But, apart from that, pretty much live out your feelings. Do what you feel is right inside. But-right and wrong-you've got to respect that it's very individual. One person might feel that it's right to do this thing and another person might feel, "Oh, I can't do that" but you can't condemn other people for having a different opinion. That very much is also the thing when it comes to religious beliefs. I am very strong minded about respecting other people's religious beliefs. I always have been like that. If I did not do that, I would not be accepting human beings as individuals. We are all individuals. Individual means "unique; one of a kind." You have very different thoughts, feelings, needs, everything. You've got to respect that. I have always had high respect (for others) as long as people don't try to force their thoughts, or their ways on to other people-then I have no problem with them. The human race likes to judge other people by religious beliefs, unfortunately. I wish that was not the case; that people could start judging each other by our personalities, because it would be a much better world. If there is somebody whose being a real jerk to you, sure, treat him the same way. Maybe you can solve it, or maybe you just don't need to associate with that person. But if the person is great to be around, or puts you in a good mood, you should-if it seems to be a good thing for you. And it doesn't matter what that person believes in private, whether he's Christian, Buddhist, Catholic, Protestant, or whatever. It doesn't matter what they believe in private, because they are different from you, no matter what you say. And you are never going to make them believe whatever you believe in exactly the same way. It's impossible. You take ten people that believe in any kind of religion, and give them a hundred questions each about their religion and you will up with ten different religions. When you start talking religious beliefs, you are not talking a fact that you can prove and show to another person. Nobody can prove to another person that their god is the right one. Nobody can. That's always been my very strong philosophy, or standpoint. We are all different. Nobody can come to me and say," Hey, listen. It says so right here and here; therefore it's proof that this is right." Well, give me the proof. Let me see. Show it in your hand. Open your hand and let me see the proof right there. You can't do that, because it is a belief. Some people might be convinced that they're right, and can't believe others don't believe the same ways. But that is fine. If you feel good about your life; being a Protestant or whatever. Well, then stay a Protestant, you know? Why would you go and be something else? My religious beliefs are something that I have not found in any books whatsoever. I go by a philosophy that's got a label that is called "Satanism" because Anton La Vey wrote a book called the Satanic Bible, which is full of life philosophy, and doesn't really concern itself with any type of religious messages or religious guidelines. Actually, his book has a giant void when it comes to religious beliefs, and that's for one specific reason. You've got to respect other beings for being different, having different needs, and different feelings. Don't direct them into what they should believe. Let them pick and choose from whatever they feel is the right thing for them. Then you can start going into what actually I do believe, why I am here, have I been here before, and all those things. I don't believe in Heaven and Hell. I don't believe in the two Christian gods, personally. God and Satan, I don't believe in them, that way they're described by Christianity. It would be a very long monologue for me to tell you exactly what I believe. You get kind of that feeling now. The things that I believe in is something that I have not seen in any books. I've had quite a few long discussions with people about this stuff. They get very surprised. There are thongs that I've asked questions about, to myself. A typical example is like a two-year old kid getting run over by a truck. Why? Why did this have to happen? Who can give me a rational explanation? When it comes to a situation like this, you know, why on earth does a thing like this happen? I've been able to satisfy my own curiosity, and answer the question to myself in the way that I believe. I do believe that we all have a soul which we might take with us to several lives, actually. I believe very strongly, that for each power there is - call it a soul or whatever - that power or soul has to live several lives, to experience all kinds of feelings that exist before it's able to cross over to a higher plane of some kind, or a different type of world. What the content of that thing is, I have no idea. I very strongly believe that. I believe that when you've been on Earth through one lifetime, you go beyond, and there you leave all the knowledge, and everything you've experienced, all the things you've experienced. You leave it somewhere in kind of a storage around us. That's why sometimes we feel like, you know, there are spirits or ghosts around us. But I believe that you come back down with a very tiny part of that, and continue in another lifetime, gaining more experience and other feelings. And finally at some point, you go to a place beyond; you're ready to go on to this higher level. You've probably heard stories that a person has been able to describe being buried in great detail, and it's never been written in any books or anything. People describe things that they have no chance of knowing. I believe that the reason for that is they have had a very short, brief moment of connection to where all the former experiences are stored. And that way they suck some knowledge in, and they're able to describe something from their former life. And then you get to the point where, "Why did this two-year-old die, get run over by a truck, and not ever live a full life? Well, if you think of it this way, maybe that soul, after those two years, the whole experience of every feeling there is had been fulfilled. And there was no reason for this soul inside this two-year-old kid to go on any longer because now it's going on to this other type of world of existence. And that's the only way I've been able to explain to myself - to find some kind of meaning on that type of death, where it just seems like, "I can't believe this. Why did this happen? "And the same thing, where you might find a plane going down with 50 people on it, you know. And three people miraculously survived. It seems impossible. And it's kind of like, all of a sudden, 47 on this plane are so close to fulfilling all these kings of feelings. It is very convenient for this plane to go down, and they can all go on. But hey, wait a minute!!! There's three people here that are not quite ready yet. They haven't had all the experience. Well, we can make them survive.
HM: That's interesting. I agree with you in principle, in part, that each person is an individual. I think it's wonderful that we are all unique.
King D: You've got to accept other people. You can't say, "That's (bleep) and that makes sense and when it says that in that book you're believing, it contradicts that." Hey, you don't need to have those discussions. You don't actually have to talk about it. If that person is satisfied by whatever book that guides them in their spiritual life, fine. What's the problem? There are no problems. We can just be a little different as human beings, and accept ourselves as human beings.
HM: I happen to believe that there are absolutes, But I think It's far more effective to ask people questions, and make them question things, and make up their own choice, because you have to individualize your decisions.
King D: And you can't let other people live your life for you. I don't believe that is the meaning and purpose in life.
HM: Yeah, if your philosophy was built around me, what if something happened to me? Then where would your philosophy be? It's got to be something that you individualize, and come to your own conclusions.
King D: Absolutely, yeah.
HM: Well, what do you think of Jesus Christ?
King D: What do I think of Jesus Christ....? I'm not a Christian. I don't believe in either God or Satan, the way they are depicted. I don't believe in Jesus the way He's depicted either. I don't believe in the bible. I do see that there is a lot of good morale in the Bible. To me, it's a book that is way outdated. A thing that would make sense for Christians, I think, would be to update the Bible. That might actually bring more people into that type of belief. But you talk about Jesus... I think that this book must have been written by a lot of different people. At some point, all Scripture has been put into one by someone. If you look at that, He probably was, but I don't see the Jesus figure in the Bible as being just one person. I see that as being a lot of people that have been described. I see it almost as what was determined by witches and witchcraft in the fourteenth century. I see that as being a lot of different people who knew about medicine, and herbs, ointments, and how you can actually battle certain diseases with natural medicine. I believe that had a lot to do with that back then. Things that were being described.. I believe that, in medicine, somebody had ointments that were applied to this person, and it made the suffering less, and maybe covered up some of that stuff for awhile. And then that thing has been turned into something much bigger. And I think it's the same thing you would have known if you had taken rumors. For instance, I've died several times according to rumors. Once, my record label called me from New York to Copenhagen. It was right after Christmas. They said,"Is it really you? You're not dead?" I'm like, "What are you talking about? I hope not, I'm talking to you!" They said,"Oh, God! I thought you were dead!" What the (bleep) is this? What had happened was I had driven some friends home after New Year's Eve, actually. It was snowing, and it was in the middle of Copenhagen, where I dropped these people off. I was driving home by myself. I stopped at a red light. It was snowing heavily and I see the cab driver coming up behind me, and I noticed he was driving to fast. So I grabbed my steering wheel and really tightened up, you know, because I knew he was gonna hit me. He didn't hit me at a very big speed or anything. I got a little bend in my bumper. He pushed me halfway into the crossing that I was waiting at. Some people heard about that, you know, and from one mouth to the next, it was like,"Yeah, I heard he was in an accident - a car hit him" And the next thing was,"Yeah, I think he ended up in the hospital, too. It was pretty serious." And the next time it was like,"Yeah, I heard he died in a car crash in Denmark." You know what I'm saying?
King D: It gets blown out of proportion. You tell one guy one thing on the phone, and you say,"Please tell this other guy what I just told you." Then it comes back and you say,"What the (bleep)'s going on?" They're like, "Oh, I hear this and that..." I believe that Jesus in the bible is actually a lot of people who had certain gifts where they knew how to treat people, and then these things might have been told from person to person and blown out of proportion. But that's my personal view on that.
HM: I can't remember having heard that before. What led to your decision, or your opinion about the bible being changed as it was passed on? What led to you coming to that conclusion?
King D: I would say it's not a thing you just realize one day. It's a gradual thing that the more you experience as a human being, the more you are spiritually aware of what's going on. The thing is that when you come through life, the more you experience, the more you've got to look at these things. You grow up. I might change my mind down the road, too, you know? The main thing is, be open minded. That's the only way you'll learn. If you totally close down you mind, and don't open it to anybody else...well, good luck. Live in your little bubble and get stuck there. I am open minded. It comes to what we talked about before: human beings, if one person dresses this way or that way, I don't care. If that's their way, it's cool. It doesn't mean I don't want to be seen with them, or be around them. I live in a nice neighborhood; I might have a nice car. I might have a friend that drives an old piece of (bleep) Volkswagen that can barely stay together. See, some people might feel embarrassed for having a person like that over. "No, I don't want to be seen with that person, or have his car in the driveway." You're missing something. This person might have something for you that you could really benefit from just by talking to him. One thing you see often is people trying to lift themselves above other people. They think they're better than other people just because other people are different. You could learn a lot from them, you know? The guy that's driving the Volkswagen, you know, this person is nice. Who cares whether he's driving this or that? Who cares whether his jeans are holey and he can't afford anything else? There might be a lot of value inside that person that you could get something out of. And that goes for everything in this world. If you have an open mind, you will get a lot further than you would otherwise.
HM: One question about credibility, I wanted to ask if you've ever considered...I've been impressed with when I look at some of the credibility of Christ, and the claims he made that he actually had 500 witnesses at his resurrection according to the Bible. And that's like, if you were going to try and make a claim to something, having witnesses around sure helps your claim. I've searched out some claims that kind of contradict the validity of the bible, and I've come to the conclusion, personally, that contradictory claims don't hold a lot of water for me. I wondered if you've considered, like some of the claims of the resurrection, and some of the things like the roman stone that was placed over the grave and those 500 claims don't hold a lot of water for me. I wondered if you've considered, like some of the claims of the resurrection, and some of the things like the roman stone that was placed over the grave and those 500 people that saw Him at one time, and the lack of 500 books that said, "This is not true, this is a big lie."
King D: I know what you're saying exactly. It's just because of the way I believe that the Bible was written, I can't take anything there for granted-for being exact. Not to me anyway. Even when they crucified Christ, it could have been anybody they crucified, because they did do a lot of crucifixions, you know that. But the story about all this and that: It could've been anybody up there that somebody saw. And you feel very emotional seeing this guy actually giving this criminal/convict that he might have been, something to drink, hanging on the cross. It might have been something that had a big impact on him. So he wrote it down. About the stone, and him coming up, and all this. I do believe in ghosts. I do believe that these powers are stored beyond and are able to cross over into our world as well. I have been in a situation where I can say, I had some witnesses; how credible are my witnesses? My brother, and my old drummer from Mercyful Fate, we were sitting in my living room, and we did see a table rise into thin air. And we were not discussing these things. We were not drunk. We never did drugs. There was no way three people could see this thing happen, because of a mass psychosis or something-there was no way. You go talk to those two people; I guarantee they'll sat the same thing, because they were there. They saw it. But how much credibility does that have? It loses credibility if you have a different kind of spiritual belief. Then you will fall into that, you know. Since, I would say, that it's not proof to me that it's written in a book that's 2,000 years old, that there were 500 people there, that there were actually 500 people there. The thing today, David Copperfield can make anything happen. And you know, if he did an illusion like he does today, back then...oh man, you know? It's like, today, you know, it's tricks and stuff like that, but he can make buildings disappear. And these things are just like, in my book, when I look back at these things on what has happened and what is supposed to be right and wrong, and historically correct, or not...But, on the other hand, you know, there might have been 500 people there. There might have been a spirit rising from a grave. I believe that is possible. Whether it was the spirit of Jesus, or as I said, my belief in Jesus is that many different people who have walked the earth and done different things and then they have an impact on some people, and then they have told it to other people, and it might have been magnified that way. That is only my personal view. That does not mean that it's that way, or that it's not. Do you see what I'm saying about this?
King D: It's hard for me to take something as proof, you know? But I'm not saying, on the other hand, it didn't happen, because in my book, that would be a possibility-that a spirit would rise from a grave through a stone. I have a song on the next King Diamond album called, "The Grave Yard", where I want to show the society of the grave yard. We're not sure what's actually going on there and who's in control of that. If you're buried over there, then what are you're tasks in this grave yard? Hoe so you get accepted in this society and what will your duties be? You have a whole society in a grave yard, and try to describe the ways that they actually rise through that stone, and how they get up at night and do certain things. And I believe that these manifestations, ghosts, or powers, you know, definitely happen. So therefore, I would not say that I don't believe it, that it's not true. But I would, on the other hand, say that I would not believe that it was Jesus Christ the way He is depicted in the Bible. I'm not wanting to try to convince anybody that He's right or wrong. It always fascinates me so much, and I could talk for days with people about these things.
HM: I'd like to. Maybe if...are you coming to Austin on Halloween?
King D: On Halloween? I don't think so. We're gonna be touring, as you know, through January.
HM: Maybe we can continue the conversation sometime over dinner, or something. That would be great.
King D: Oh yeah. Absolutely, man! I'd also like to hear more on your side. I know you're...that is one thing, because of what I believe, and how I live my life, you know? One thing I've made a big issue out of is to try and talk as much as possible to our fans about our albums. That's the same thing I said about the guy in the Volkswagen, who you could learn a lot from. I have learned so much from our fans. A good critic, a lot of times, there might be stuff that they'll tell me that I will think about, and then I will decide if it does make sense to me. And sometimes, they have said stuff that, like, "Oh man, you've got a point." If they're buying the stuff out there, it's not like...I will not change my inner feelings and what I put into my music. But sometimes, they come up with stuff that makes very good sense, that I haven't thought about myself, you know? It helps to open your ears and mind, and listen.
HM: One more quick question: You told a story at Foundations Forum, where you mentioned some girl that kept bugging you to show her something tangible to see. And assuming from that story, that you've had some experience with what people might call spells, or with spirits, have you ever experienced the power of somebody saying the name of "Jesus?"
King D: No, I have seen several other, many stages of different things, like the rising glass, and the thing where the girl was pulled out by the hair, too. There was nobody there. Things started happening in my apartment one night when I got home. Many things: It's not just me, my brother, and the other band members who have been in my apartment, and have experienced some strange things. Not in a bad, violent way. Some people will assume its negative, because they're scared of it, you know? I'm not. I have a very comfortable feeling, in a strange way. It manifests to me, it has proven to me that there are things out there that have power. Things are going on. It kind of helped me in the way that I've looked at the spiritual life, and I've had many experiences like this. My wife too, and it's not like people get in a certain mode, or start thinking things, or anything. I would spend days trying to explain it in a logical way. That would mostly be if I'm alone. But even when I'm with someone else, and two, three, or four people see the same thing, we're just like, "Whoa, this is strange!" They'll try to explain it all kinds of ways, and they'll come to the conclusion, "Okay this was definitely something supernatural."