By Mike Coles
This interview was a dream come true! In my last issue I had borrowed an interview of King Diamond from HM magazine, but when the opportunity came for me to interview him; I jumped at the moment, and what a moment it was.
Hereís a little chat with the King.
King D.: Hello, Mike, are you there?
The Outcast: Yeah, but itís really hard to hear. Can you talk a little louder?
King D.: Wow, Iíd have to scream.
The Outcast: Well, weíll see what happens after the interview. Hopefully Iíll be able to hear the tape alright. So how old are you, if you donít mind me asking?
King D.: Iím 43.
The Outcast: Wow. So, do you still play Mercyful Fate songs when you tour as King Diamond?
King D.: We did on a few shows on our last tour, but that was because Hank Sherman was vacationing out on the west cost. So he joined us on stage and we played a few songs.
The Outcast: Thatís cool, if you could change one thing in history, either in your life, someone elseís, or an event, what would you change and why?
King D.: Religion, because I think itís the root of all evil. Itís always there when you hear about the wars in the world. People canít accept other people just because they think they are here on earth for other reasons. They think differently about whatís going to happen to them when theyíre not here.
The Outcast: But do you think that there is a difference between being an actual Christian and trying to walk as Christ did and religion or do you think that they are both the same?
King D.: Well....you know, what Jesus Christ taught, you can say, who knows if he ever did that? Somebody wrote a bunch of stuff down in a book and picked a character and said, "this guy did this or that" and there could have been nobody like that on earth. There could have been a couple of healers that some people could have encountered and they magnified.... you know what itís like when you tell a story to a person and they have to retell it to a friend and they keep doing that for say just half an hour, that story gets pretty big. Those things could be what was happening there. I see that the bible has a mix between religion and life philosophy and I will say and always have said that in that book thatís called the bible, there is some very good sound moral in it. But then there are things that Iím like completely just shaking my head at and just canít comprehend at all how you can even get anything out of it, but thatís my view and Iím not saying that Iím right, to myself Iím right. But I have no means and neither does anyone else of proving to another person that you are right about what you believe in religion. There is no proof, itís that simple. Itís belief. We might know in our heart, and thatís all fine, but to convince someone else with a different heart, every single person on this earth is an individual, which means one of a kind. Thatís why in my book, religion could be fine if people would only respect each other for being different, and for being individuals and not try and force their beliefs on to someone else.
The Outcast: I remember reading in a lot of interviews where you said that things (ghosts) grabbed you and that you saw things levitate, etc. Is that where your beliefs and philosophies originated from?
King D.: Not the philosophies really, because Iíve always had kind of the same life philosophies of how to live your life respecting other people, but in a more religious way, yeah. What I believe in religiously, you wonít find in any book. Itís totally a thing of my own based very much on what Iíve experienced, yes.
The Outcast: Do you think that European countries have more of a spiritual type life and phenomenons than here in the U.S.?
King D.: No, but just because history goes further back, you can say documented history goes further back in Europe than in the U.S., I donít think you could even say civilized history, because what is civilized, the Indians that were here in the U.S. way before the British or the Spanish, or the Vikings maybe, who knows? But before they came, there was a lot of ancient history here. People will usually connect spirits or ghosts with old castles, old houses, cities, but these things occur everywhere, well in my book anyway. Itís just not something that usually happens in Europe.
The Outcast: Did you already have your beliefs before you experienced the things you experienced?
King D.: They certainly helped confirm certain things.
The Outcast: Do you think that the feeling humanity has inside to follow something or seek something out in life is the reason why people go from one extreme to another?
King D.: Absolutely, thatís one of the reasons. You donít find exactly what you want here, but there is another one over here so Iíll try that. One of the things that can really get me boiling is, and I do it sometimes, I turn on the Christian TV channel where you see all these TV preachers and to me they are actors like Tom Cruise or something. I canít believe they can actually make people believe in them and in what theyíre saying. Iím usually just waiting for them to say, "You will never receive from God until you start giving, you need to give to God and the church." I just donít get it. Robert Tilton (I think thatís what he said his name was.) here in Dallas, he was pretty much forced to leave town because he was found out what a crook he was. All the prayers, all the letters that were sent to him with money in them, all those letters were actually sent straight to a bank where they took out the checks and then they dumped out the letters in the trash. That is very distasteful in my book. But then there are other Christian churches Iím sure that are totally valid, good hearted people that are going in there with sound logic in their mind and they have a good fellowship together. They enjoy that just as much as say someone going to the movie theater or something. You canít just generalize when it comes to these things, and I wonít do that because that would be wrong to.
The Outcast: Well, letís talk about other things now. Before you got into metal, you played soccer, was it either one or the other?
King D.: Yeah, it took too much time. I was going to college at that time as well. I didnít know I was going to try playing music professionally, but something was really drawing me towards that direction.
The Outcast: This just popped into my head, you smoke right?
King D.: Yeah.
The Outcast: Does that hurt your throat?
King D.: Not the kind I smoke. Theyíre the only kind of cigarettes I can smoke.
The Outcast: Theyíre from Denmark, right?
King D.: Theyíre very genuine tobacco. Theyíre stronger than Camel or even Marlboro, but theyíre a lot smoother. Iíve tried smoking the others, but it really hurt my throat. If those were the only cigarettes, I wouldnít smoke.
The Outcast: Have you ever done drugs?
King D.: I have tried hashish twice, when I was extremely young, but thatís it my entire life.
The Outcast: Thatís really good to man, because a lot of people look up to you and a lot of people in society automatically assume just because you listen to metal or that youíre in a metal band, that you automatically do drugs.
King D.: And unfortunately it usually happens in most cases. We always try to make an extra effort to keep the band memberís drug free. In the early Mercyful Fate days, Kim Ruzz was smoking, you know? He was fired once from the band. He came back and had promised that he had dropped it and he obviously had because he got all his energy back. Later on it actually happened with King Diamond, I had noticed that the performance of two members had gone down and being reliable when they were supposed to appear in the studio. Then finally someone else told me that now that they were fired that they could now tell me that they were on coke. That they had done coke on tour and it had really affected them, so they were fired. I donít want to see it you know? Itís a thing that affects my life and my work, you know, and I canít have that. I need people that I can depend on when I work. There was a crew member that was doing coke on our last tour and when I found out one night, the next morning I got everyone off the bus and I didnít want to mention names, but I told them I knew who it was and that I didnít want to hear it again or that the person doing it was going to go home real quick. They donít realize what they are doing here. If there is one gram of that shit on the bus and we get pulled over and someone finds it, that bus will get impounded and then two or three shows go down the drain. Maybe even a weekís tour, or the tour stops? I mean donít you fuck with my tour, you know? Donít even try it.
The Outcast: Okay, well, now Iím going to tell you a story. A while back, I believe it was in 88 or 89 while I was living in Houston. This was when Gene Simmons was trying to sue you for the make-up bit and whatnot. Anyway, I had written you a letter concerning the whole bit. The letter also stated that even my little brother, who was three at the time, new the difference between you and Simmons. There was an episode on Head-Bangers Ball where you were asked about the whole ordeal and you stated that youíd even heard of a three year old kid being able to tell the difference, do you recall that?
King D.: I read that letter!
The Outcast: Really?
King D.: That was a few years ago, but I do remember that letter. I used that in quite a few interviews, actually.
The Outcast: Awesome! I feel special now. I used to lock my little sister up in my room and play the laugh over and over from "No Presents for Christmas." (Iím not proud of this looking back on it, but it was rather humorous at the time. - Mike - 2004)
King D.: Oh no.
The Outcast: My little brother and I used to scare my sister with your laugh quite a bit. Do you have any kids that you scare with your laugh?
King D.: I love kids so much, but I really donít have the time I need for fatherhood you know?
The Outcast: Yeah, I can understand that. What do you want your epitaph to say?
King D.: Oh god, I havenít thought of that.
The Outcast: Ha, ha, I usually get everyone with that question.
King D.: Iíll probably come back and see it myself.
The Outcast: Hey, before I forget, did Mercyful Fate tour with Metallica over in Europe?
King D.: We just got back from that tour. It was really great. We didnít get to play Russia though or Norway, and some other places.
The Outcast: Did the Metallica fans know who Mercyful Fate was?
King D.: Actually, those who came to the shows knew very well what we were doing. We have a very big following in Holland. Most of the Eastern countries, people just went nuts. Absolutely nuts! It was between 15,000 and 35,000 people at most of the big shows. It just seemed like we were playing in our hometown everyday, you know? Thatís just what it seemed like. We played in Milan, which was also headlined by Metallica. Later on that night Hank and I were invited on stage with Metallica to do a few Mercyful Fate songs.
The Outcast: Man, I bet that was awesome. Did you have your makeup on when you were with Metallica?
King D.: No, I had the cross-bone microphone and just a t-shirt and jeans on.
The Outcast: Man, that would have been really awesome to see. Is there going to be a new King Diamond album anytime soon?
King D.: Weíre writing at the moment, and itís going to be killer, I guarantee it! I can just see where itís going. Weíre scheduled to go into the studio the last week of November to start recording. Hopefully it will be released sometime in April, I hope.
The Outcast: Man, I bet time just flies when your busy all the time, huh?
King D.: It really does. We just did these two months over in Europe with Mercyful Fate and I got back a week ago, and then weíre going to go back and do two more festivals. Then we come back here and then we go off and do some shows in South America.
The Outcast: Youíve played Mexico City right?
King D.: Oh yeah.
The Outcast: Thatís where Iím from.
King D.: Really!?
The Outcast: Yeah, you just canít tell because I donít have an accent either way.
King D.: Not at all. Actually weíre going to be adding that at the end of the tour. Weíve played there before and it was killer man!
The Outcast: They love their metal down there.
King D.: I donít think that our albums are officially out down there because our label says itís a waste because before you can ever release anything down there itís already out on bootleg.
King D.: Oh yeah, you can find stuff down there that collectors would kill for. They bootleg everything down there, especially shirts.
King D.: It blew my brains away when right outside the entrance the hall we played; it was all our merchandise on bootleg. Some of it looked so cool that we went out there and bought some for ourselves. They had a killer glass with my face and makeup on it. It was amazing. We canít just chase them away you know, but how are we ever going to sell a shirt? But you know, thatís probably what they live off and made a living off of. It was like their whole family around the booth selling t-shirts and glasses.
The Outcast: So do you listen to any newer bands at all or just old stuff?
King D.: I still stick with the old stuff, but itís like, the newer stuff I listen to are bands that some of my friends are in, you know?
The Outcast: Right.
King D.: Like Dave Mustain and Megadeth, weíve been friends for a really long time. Itís not like we socialize and everything because we live so far away, but whenever we do meet, itís always a great experience. The Pantera guys are really great as well. They live real close from here. But those albums I always get and theyíre terrific. Solitude Aeturnus is from here as well. Theyíre really good friends as well.
The Outcast: If you could make up your own tour, who would you tour with?
King D.: Well, thatís several bands. Metallica was really great. But I could list several bands.
(Interruption saying King had to move on.)
The Outcast: Well King, I guess thatís my time then. It has been a great pleasure finally being able to talk to you man, I wish you the best in your life and in everything you do.
King D.: Thank you and take care.
The Outcast: See ya.