The House That King Built
CoC talks to King Diamond
"Nobody does it better!" A cliche and well used, but one that aptly describes all that is King Diamond. Compared to him, no one writes more involved concepts or stories on their albums, no one else gets the best out of their musicians like he does, and maybe, just maybe, some have an equally entertaining live show (but King getting cremated on stage is tough to beat). It's now time for a new opus from the Great Dane, in the form of _House of God_, an involved story and album that continues to bear the Diamond seal of approval and will entertain his many fans. The following is the near hour long conversation that Chronicles of Chaos had with the King.

CoC: Only getting a promo copy of the album, I don't have a set of lyrics. Can you please tell me what the story is about?

King Diamond: Oh, great. That's not what you want to hear, right? That's not really your fault. They [the record label] need to do that kind of stuff. Anyway, the story itself, the scenario takes place in Southern France; I took it from real life. But that actual story that takes place in that scenario is, of course, my doing and has nothing to do with what really exists. But there really is a church in Southern France, upon a hill, that has this inscription over the door that says "This place is terrible". And at that very place it also has a devil that looks you right in the face as you walk inside the main entrance; very strange. I think it has up to about 20000 visitors a year, tourists they say, that come to look at it, and most of them don't actually go into the church because they feel appalled by the thing in the church, and they feel like something is wrong. The story goes about the church itself, and I kind of used that for just that short theory that you hear during the intro of the album, and that is that they talk about this priest that was in charge of this church. He supposedly found, like I said in the beginning, there's a foreword that talks about this story taking place 200 years ago, and the main character in the story has chosen to tell the story as if it happened to himself. But he's changed some names because he had to, and in the end just remember that this is just a story, and most stories are exactly that: something told by someone else without the actual facts to prove it. But there is a story about that church, that goes like this priest supposedly finding these four scrolls that talked about Jesus, if you believe in him for real and as having lived and all that stuff. It says, in those scrolls, that he actually lived at this church, with Mary Magdalene, having married her and founding a new dynasty, and that he never died on the cross. And this priest also found a secret grave that indicated that Jesus was buried there, but he brought these things to the Vatican and came back from there a filthy rich man, as if he had something that they did not want out. Later, when he died, he tried on his deathbed to tell these secrets to his housekeeper, but never managed to get to the actual secret before he did die. It's kind of shrouded in mystery and these weird theories about it. And I think, if that was really the case, it would be good for Christianity. The whole foundation that he died for our sins would be out the window, and that would not be very good. So that's kind of put into that intro. But from then on it is completely about my own story, dealing with this character who's out travelling in the mountain regions of Southern France, and suddenly finds himself lost. He's been there many times before, but now the roads look different, and he hears this distant howl, wolves howling, and suddenly finds himself surrounded by wolves ready to attack. And he's preparing himself to die when suddenly this big black and silvery white wolf steps forward with magically blue eyes, and all the others kind of step back scared of it. And this wolf talks to him; not verbally, but actually with its mind, and tells him to follow it. And he does that, and they travel up the mountainside to the top of the mountain where they get to this church that looks horrible from the outside; it's in complete decay. Once they get inside the church it completely changes before his eyes, and becomes this beautiful church, but there are some odd things in there that don't normally belong in a church. Like, there's two pulpits in there; one of them is decorated with these protective gargoyles, while the other one has these little figures of demons having fun. And there are all these mirrors with crucifixes, and there's also this little devil figure sitting by the altar. It's just like "whoa", it's a little chaotic because it doesn't seem to belong together. When he's inside that church, suddenly the wolf sheds its skin, right before his eyes, as the church is changing too. Out of it comes this beautiful lady; he's never seen anything like it. He immediately loves her sight, there's no doubt. He doesn't even care where she came from or what she was, or anything; it's just like "Wow, this is it!" He never experienced that feeling before. From that point on, for a couple of days, they have a lot of fun in this church. They have sex everywhere in this church; just having a really cool time. But somewhere along that line, one morning he sees this girl kiss the black devil figure as he wakes up, and he's like "What the hell was that?" And then he starts paying attention to these strange things that are in the church, and suddenly the girl approaches him and says: "There's something I have to tell you. I have to give you two choices now, because I have seven days left. I swore by signing a sacred pact to be a guardian of this church for a year. When this year is up I will either die, or you can sign this pact and take over the guardianship. By doing that you can set me free and I can walk out the door as a woman. Otherwise, I have only been able to leave this church as a wolf, as part of the pact. But I would be able to leave as a woman and continue my life, but the second I step outside my memory will be erased and I will not remember ever having seen you, and I will not be walking back into the church. It will be the last time you see me. The other way, I have seven days left, so we might have two more days of fun but then you will have to experience me dying in front of your eyes." And he simply can't handle that part, so he decides, unselfishly, to set her free. And he signs the pact, and she leaves, and suddenly he finds himself in this situation where he can only leave the church as a wolf, which gives him nothing. He becomes very lonely, and he feels a loss with her, and he starts drinking and he gets very, very frustrated about the whole thing; he doesn't even know why he's in the church. "What is it I'm guarding?" He's not been told anything. It turns into desperation, and then, finally almost insanity, where he goes crazy in that song "Help!!!", and starts smashing all the mirrors with crucifixes in them, because he can't stand looking at his own misery. Suddenly, when he smashes that last mirror, it triggers a mechanism that moves the altar, and that leaves a big black whole in the floor where there are stairs leading into the dark. And he knows that he has to go there; there's nothing else for him to do, so he does that. As he walks down there he finds himself, suddenly, with a candle in his hand and these long narrow hallways, and there are lots of little side chambers full of human bones. From one of these side chambers there's a light coming, and he walks in that side chamber, and in there finds this Virgin Mary statue and it's full size, big, carved in wood. And seeing another religious symbol, he starts smashing its head and realizes that it's hollow. There's something inside, and what he finds inside is a mummy that's wearing a crown of thorns; that's obviously Jesus. He starts to take the bandages off the head, and in through the eye sockets he can see a light, and this light starts coming out of the eye sockets and then he hears this scream from inside of it, and he turns around and starts running for his life. Then this light comes after him through these hallways, and he makes it back up into the church, and there, this light follows him into the church, and fill the entire church. There's all these faces and bodies floating around in it. Then the two have a confrontation, and of course the person asks the light "What are you?" And it says back to him that it's the highest there is. Then the guy says "Well, what do you mean?" And it's like "Well, there's nothing higher and you don't need to know what I really am. It doesn't matter. You have totally over stepped your boundaries, you were not supposed to have seen or found what you found. I will never explain to you why we kept him down there." He's referring to Jesus, the mummy. It says that "There could be a couple of different reasons, of course, it's obvious that we might have kept him away from God, so he would never find him and put him back on Earth again. Another reason would be to keep him safe from people like you", he says, "who could probably crucify him again, or try to. Or it could be something else. It's none of your business. All you need to know is what we are, not what we are about." And this guy says "Well, that's no good for me. I'm not going to serve some unknown god. If you really are the highest God there is you need to prove it to mankind, not just me. You need to prove it to everybody at the same time that you are the only one in existence. Then you need to explain to us why we are here; what is the meaning of life. None of us really know. We're only guessing, still today, we are still guessing about all the different gods there are. No one has the proof that their god is the right one. No one on this Earth has been able to prove to the rest of the Earth that what they're believing is the right thing. We'll avoid a lot of bad stuff; all the wars that are going on in today's society. Ninety per cent of those are based on religious differences. Because we have all these different gods, no one has ever been able to prove he's right." He says: "Tell us what the meaning of life is. Show us death, show us what's after death. Explain it to us and show it to us so that we know. Give us some guidelines to assist this Hell that we are sometimes going through on this Earth. And this god says: "It's not for you to know these things. You just live your life the best you can, and leave the rest to us." And this guy is like "I can't do that. I will not accept that. If you can't do that, it's probably because you don't know the truth yourself. You're probably just another puppet on someone else's higher strings. And you really don't know the truth, that's why you can't tell me. What effort would it really be for a big God to show itself to us on Earth for 20 minutes? Just 20 minutes man, that's all we ask. Is that really that much to ask? It could be that the real reason is that there may be no gods at all." So, they have this confrontation and this guy will not buy what this "god" says. So he says to the god: "You know what? I'm a man of logic, and I will prove to you that I can think for myself and I can take according action. What I am going to do is, I have nothing to live for in this church. I'm imprisoned in this church. I can't even leave the church as a human being, and you won't tell me why I am here? You give me no choice. I want to find out, and there's nothing else to do in this church anyway, so what I'm going to do is choose death over you, and you just try and stop me, because you can't." So he takes a rope in his hands, and throws himself off this high tower and he hangs himself. At last comes the instrumental "Peace of Mind", which is what he finally finds. It's a funny dilemma that we have here on Earth sometimes; we don't know why we're here, and we'll probably never find out until we're not here anymore. What I'm trying to say with the story is some of what I told you before; it blows my mind that we have all these wars based on religious differences, even today, even though people don't know whether they believe in the right god. Even though you think you have the right god you can't prove it to anyone else, for the very fact that you might not be right. And for the fact that we don't actually know why we're here on Earth; none of us do. I'm accepting that I don't know it, but at the same time I know that no one else knows, and I'm accepting that I don't know what death is and what's coming after death. I don't have any proof for that, but I also know that nobody else has that proof. But a lot of people spend their time worrying about that. Worrying about things?, you can worry about death and what it consists of for the next 20 years and you won't get the answer. You're wasting your time. Some people are even scared of death, they're fearing death. And when you ask: "What is it that you actually fear?", you don't know, because you don't know what death is about. I have chosen to be extremely logical about those things, and I'm telling myself that I'm not going to be afraid of something I don't even know. It could be the best thing ever; I don't know. But since I don't know I'm not going to waste my time worrying about it. I'm not going to waste my time here on Earth trying to figure out why I'm here, because I won't. Though these answers, maybe if there is this big god somewhere, and if it ever decides to give us a little time of day to show itself and explain it to us, then maybe I'll find the answers. But that might never happen in this lifetime, so why would I spend a lot of time trying to figure out what the reasons are? I'll never have that chance. Instead of wasting all that time I'm going to do things that I know make me feel good, and that way I'll live a better life here on Earth. And if more people did that we'd have a much better world. More people would feel better, and when you fell better you have a surplus of giving, that would be a much more positive environment to live in. At the same time it would stop those stupid, insane wars where people are trying to prove that they're right by fighting someone else. If I could meet Einstein and beat him up, it doesn't mean that his theory is wrong. To me, these wars and people trying to prove and shut others out, because they think they've found the right god, they can't prove it to anyone else, so how can they be so sure they're right? It's a guess, a theory. I can come up with a theory that's just as meaningful, which just goes to show how stupid that really is. I can tell you that I have a yellow flower in my yard, that's really big, and that's God. It speaks to me. <laughs> And people would say "That's really insane." But I can say: "What do you mean? You say your god speaks to you. You can't even see your god. At least I can see mine. This flower tells me that if you don't believe in the same thing that I do, then I should kill you." That's how crazy it really is. It blows my mind man, I can't get it through my little brain how people can act that way, and we still do. I certainly respect that people believe in different gods. If people would only use it for what it is, it's almost like, and I mean this in a positive way, a pacifier. It calms you down, in respect to the questions that you will never get the answers to. Human beings hate chaos; we want to put things in little drawers. They worry about death so much that they have a need to create a god that, in Christianity for instance, says there's a heaven. "That's where I'm going to go." Fine, if that soothes you that's great, but don't hold it against other people for not believing in the same thing that you do. That is what this album is very much about.

CoC: This album seems to have a lot of social issues involved in the story. Do you think that will surprise people?

KD: They all actually do. It's kind of like things that bother me for a year before I do an album, that's usually what I write a horror story around, so I can put those human issues into the story. Like _Voodoo_; it also deals with that kind of stuff. I'm not fearing other people's way of life. Instead of being scared of it, if you can research and you have a chance of finding out what it's about, do that first before you start taking drastic measures to get rid of it. You might find out that it's harmless, and you don't need to do anything at all. It would take you maybe a couple of days to read a book on it, and you'll find out that voodoo is harmless if you leave the people alone. But if you try to interfere and destroy their stuff, they will take into consideration that their life is being destroyed, and that's actually what you would do by trying to destroy a voodoo burial ground. There's so many things that people don't know about, that they don't want to take the time to find out about, if they actually can. But there's always social issues in all King Diamond albums; jealousy, greed, hate, love. There's a lot of these human issues woven into these stories, and the stories themselves may take place in another time period, but those human issues are the same, and very valid today. Some of them take place today. _The Graveyard_ was dealing with child abuse. There's always these issues, but this album, though, goes very deep because it actually goes in and touches on religious beliefs, in a very down to earth, logical way. It's deeper than anything else we've done.

CoC: _House of God_ is your first direct reference to Christianity since _The Eye_. Has this album been something that's been planned for a long time?

KD: No, actually not. And it's not directed at Christianity either. As soon as the word "God" is thrown in there most people take it for granted, but there are many gods in this world today. There are many different gods that people believe in, and that's why the church itself, that I use, is set up in a weird way. There are two pulpits; which one is the right one? There is God and Satan in this church; that's of course Christian gods -- both of them, which is something Christians sometimes forget, one of their gods is Satan, created by their own God that's supposed to be perfect. He created an imperfect angel and threw him out of Heaven and into Hell, which he also created. So therefore he created evil. But that doesn't matter. It's in a general sense that I talk about the "God", that no one has proof that their god is the right one. Christians have never been able to prove to Muslims that they have the only correct way to believe, because they can't, and probably because they don't have the right god. It's a guess, it's purely a guess. But maybe I could turn around and say that the Christians are right, but they can't prove it. Maybe the Muslims are right, but they can't prove it to the Christians. If there ever was one, or is one, he has never taken the time out to visit us here, and at the same time to show all of humanity; that would give the proof. That's what the guy asked for in the story; "Show yourself to mankind. Not just to me, I don't know if you're real or if you're not. You could be from the spiritual world and claiming to be the biggest god. If I were Christian I might think you're Satan trying to tempt me into following you."

CoC: All your stories have a lot of detail. In a past conversation for the _Voodoo_ record, you had mentioned that you performed a lot of research for the album. How important is it to research a topic so thoroughly?

KD: It's only important if it's a subject that I really want to write something about, and I don't know about. I didn't know anything about voodoo except what people get from watching movies. They chop the heads off chickens, drink the blood, and they dance crazily, and they stick needles in little dolls. That's pretty much what I knew. The reason for trying to find out, again it's often coincidence, but the music for the actual song "Voodoo" was written before I started writing that story. But it had those tribal drums in it that gave me the feel, I had all these visions in front of me with these voodoo dancers dancing crazily around the fire. I was like "Wow man. Maybe I should see if there's more to voodoo than just these two little things, because if there's only these two little things it's not interesting enough to write a story about." So I borrowed three books and started reading about it, and I found out how deep a religion it really is. I had no idea about the stuff that comes into it, and that it's actually a religion and not some kind of cult thing.

CoC: What about _House of God_?

KD: I read about this church from Southern France in the newspaper, but that didn't inspire my story. It inspired the place where I put the story, and the twist for the intro. It's like the same kind of theory, like what would be if suddenly we found out aliens are for real? Visitors from outer space; there are other populated planets in this universe, a universe that we can't even comprehend how big it is. To think that there would not be some kind of life in a universe that's bigger than we can ever imagine, I think is ignorant. I think it's ignorant to say that there could not be life anywhere else, just because we haven't found it yet. We can't even comprehend the beginning of time; we have no idea of how things started. Some scientists have a theory about a big boom, but it's pretty obvious that a bunch of molecules have to bump into each other to create a big boom. So where did they come from, and where did the space come from that they were in? We can keep going and we'll never hit that wall that says "here is the right space". We like to do that, we like to create order out of chaos, because it bothers us so much to have chaos. We can't exist in chaos, which is why we probably create all these gods and other things, to try and make sense of it. But we also know that if you have a rocket, eternal life, and eternal fuel, would you ever hit a wall out there, and what would be on the other side of that wall? It's just weird, and our minds go "This is -not- fun." Same thing with some of the other stuff that we mention in this album. It's not fun to think about not having a clue as to why you're alive; what are you supposed to achieve with life? And what's going to happen afterward? You don't have a clue about these things. I certainly would love to have these answers, but at the same time I know I'm not going to get them. Why would I waste my time on these things when it is a waste of time, really? It is fun to talk about, it's a good brain exercise, just as long as you know before you start to talk about it that you'll never get a result out of it; you're never going to a reach a conclusion because there is none. It's interesting to sit and talk about because you can throw all these theories around. That's fun stuff, as long as you don't take it more seriously than that.

CoC: When you were going into production for this record, I had seen and heard rumors that this album would be _Voodoo_ part two, much like a connection between _Them_ and _Conspiracy_. I'm wondering if that's sitting in a vault somewhere?

KD: No, actually not. I know that it's set up to go straight on into another one, and you could do that with several of our albums, actually, where there's room for continuing. Even though it's not the case, it would look like I had run out of ideas, so I just went on with the story I had started. Actually, before I went on with _House of God_, I had three different stories. I had written a lot of notes while I was out touring with Mercyful Fate, and when I came back home -- other people stay in my house taking care of it when I'm gone, they keep all the mail; I have to sort through it when I get back. All my notes got lost in that pile; I couldn't find them, and I had three stories that I could choose from, depending on the mood I was in. Then I read one day about the church in this newspaper. Then it was like "Wow. Could actually put some of those thoughts I've had in the past year, about how unbelievable it is that we have these religious wars even though people can't prove that they have the right god, and why we're alive." I think about that sometimes, you know, and then I grab myself and say "Don't waste your time on this stuff, because you won't find the answers." The same about death and fearing things that I don't know if they're good or bad. So I was like "Wow, maybe here's the opportunity to do that." So suddenly it got very deep and heavy and I had to have a talk with Andy [LaRocque, guitarist] about it and said: "This is really deep. I don't know if we should do this stuff at this point." And we discussed it a little bit, and a couple of days later I called him and said: "We're going for it. I don't give a shit, man, let's just do it." And we did it. Afterwards, probably not until after I came out of the studio, I actually found all those notes for those three other stories. I don't know. It's not like I was thinking "Oh, there was a purpose to that." No. I know why it happened. There was a big mess when I came home, and they got misplaced. <laughs> I'm actually glad now that they got misplaced, because it gave me the opportunity to do this other thing.

CoC: You welcome along two new band members on this album in Glen Drover and Dave Harpour. How did they wind up joining?

KD: Well, Glen started before we started the _Voodoo_ tour in '98. The guitarist, Herb Simenson, quit the band before the tour for family reasons; he wanted to spend more time with his family. And I respect that. People's lives change. I've been around so long, and you really have to be prepared to sacrifice a lot, specifically as long as I've been in this business. Some people can't; their values are different from mine. Their priorities are different, and like I said, life changes. But Glen I'd known six years before that; he actually sent me videotape of himself playing our songs a long time ago. I always kept him in mind because he has a very unique style and would fit perfectly in the band. Suddenly here was the chance. I called him up and said: "Do you want to go to tour?" He's like "What? You're kidding!" "No, I'm serious, man." And he prepared for it and he did it; he did a killer job on that tour. He fit in so perfectly that there was no doubt that he would work out in the studio too. And then going into the studio he really proved himself. Tons of ideas, he has killer technique, he works fast. He's there ready to sacrifice, and that was perfect. Then, coming off the tour, the same thing happened with the bass player. The family situation. He married his girlfriend, who has a ten year old daughter, and they bought a house and were talking about having another baby. I was like "Are you sure you can tour?" "Uh, no." "Well, we need an answer before we go into the studio, because I don't want to be in a situation where you record the album but I have to find another guy to go on tour. It's unfair to us, the new guy and everybody else. You need to notify us in good time." And that's what we did. John, actually, our drummer, suggested Dave, who lives here in Dallas too, because he played with him ten years ago in a band called Chastain, and he said he was amazing -- and he sure was. Now he's in the band, and he seems like one of those guys who would sacrifice anything for this. He's totally into it, and always was a King Diamond fan. None of us can wait to go out and tour for this. And we have a brand new production for _House of God_ that's been built in Sweden. When we hit the big stages we can put everything up; it's going to look awesome. We're bringing the coffin again so we can do the cremation trick. There's going to be a lot of stuff to watch, and the set we're going to play will be very interesting too, because if you saw us in '98, half the songs you see will be different. That's quite a big exchange of songs. Of course you'll hear the intro from the new album at some point, and then we'll play five songs from the new album, two from the _Voodoo_ album and then we completely jump over _The Graveyard_ and _Spider's Lullabye_ on this tour, for the very specific reason that we noticed on the '98 tour a lot of new young faces in the audience, and they have not seen us play quite a few of the older songs. So we're trying to emphasize more of the old set, compromising a little bit with the mid-time _Spider's Lullabye_ / _Graveyard_ area. There are songs in the set that Andy and I haven't played in ten years. We're playing "No Presents for Christmas" again, "Black Horsemen", "Dressed in White", and then there's one we've never played from _The Eye_, "Burn". Still, you'll get "Welcome Home", "The Invisible Guests", "Sleepless Nights", "Abigail", "Family Ghost". It's a long set, a lot of songs, and it's so much fun when we're playing it. It's going to be very cool and refreshing for those who come to see the show.

CoC: You mentioned having to sacrifice a lot to be where you are. Have you ever wanted a family?

KD: Well, I love kids, you know, but my marriage did not work out -- but there were different reasons. I'm not involved with anybody at this point. The past five months, before I started my share of the writing for this album, it was a crazy time -- I'm glad I wasn't involved with anybody at that time. The Mercyful Fate tour last year went on for a little longer than expected, and we had already booked time for the studio, for the third of January, for King Diamond, and when we came off the tour it was only two months until Christmas. So I had to change my whole writing habits around, and do it differently and actually spent maybe even double the time that I normally do on this album. I did that by actually -- and this literally -- spending every minute that I was awake in those two months in my music room, working on my songs and the lyrics. I didn't watch one movie for two months, I didn't listen to one CD for two months. I saw two human beings that I know, face-to-face, that I talk to, and that was the drummer, one time to give him the CDs of the album for him to give to the others, and I saw the studio owner once because sometimes we watch Monday Night Football together. That's it. Otherwise, I saw a couple of grocery clerks buying food, but that conversation only goes so far as "Paper or plastic." It was really strange afterwards, finally going into the studio, even though I know all the band members really well, it was still like "What is this strange feeling? There's human beings walking around me, talking. What is this?" It was when you kind of like stand there, and look at yourself, and think "What the hell, man. What did you just do? Isolating yourself for two months like that." And then going into the studio for three months. Andy was there for two months, the other guys a couple of weeks each, but me and the co-producer, Kol Marshall, we were there for three months. I mean three days off in that whole period of time, and working a schedule that is 12 to 14 hours every single day; in the end you're pretty burnt. And then you come out of the studio and it's almost Summer time -- it was about to become Winter in Dallas when I started to write. I mean, it was worth it, but five months just flew right over my head.

CoC: You hooked up with the Usurper guys for their album. How did that come about?

KD: It's not very much, you know. It's not like I'm featured on that album in any way. It's just a little guest appearance, doing one verse, and I think a bridge. They recorded at the same studio. They had booked time at Nomad Recording, in Dallas, and the problem was we were not done, and we spent a month more than we had scheduled. And they had booked time there and arranged for flight tickets, hotel and all that kind of stuff. And suddenly it's like "I wonder if they can change it or not?" I had to tell the studio owner: "I can't stop now. I'm not going to leave the set-up we have now and then try and get back to that and re-capture the sound; no way in hell. If you force me to do that you'll never see or hear me again, and that's a guarantee." And that's just from the business side, because we're the best of friends. And he said: "No, I know. You've got to call those guys and tell them what's going down." "I'd be willing to, if they find that interesting at all, if it means anything to them, I don't know what they think of King Diamond, but I would be willing to do a little guest appearance on one of their songs if they wanted me to. If that would make it attractive for them to hold off until we're done, and change their plans and everything." And they really loved that idea. Then we made everybody happy. The owner was not forced to say "You can't come in here and be an asshole", and not keep his word. It worked out very well that way, but it was strange to do, man. I mean in two hours I had to go in there and figure out what the riffs were. I'd never heard the music before in my life; and then sing someone else's words, of which there were too many for me. I don't sing in that way where I kind of growl a lot of words in a short time. It was suddenly "How do I do this?" I had to come up with vocal melody lines on the spot, and still get the feel for the music, do it right, and actually re-write some of the words so it didn't change the meaning that they were after, to give me fewer words so I could actually sing like I do; my style. That was definitely a challenge. I was suddenly realizing "This is so odd, man." In two hours it actually worked out. I found some cool melody lines, and I think I recorded up to eight vocals, actually, in some of the parts. It worked out well, and it was fun. It was a fun experience, but it was odd. I had never done that kind of thing before. I would certainly prefer, if I ever had anyone approach me wanting me to do a guest vocal appearance on a song, it would be like "Yeah, if you let me write my own words. Tell me what your story's about, but let me write my own stuff. That way I can better relate to it, and put more emotion into it." It would be much easier. Then have them give me stuff in advance, so I know what I'm going into.

CoC: I talked with Snowy Shaw recently about his band Notre Dame. He said he still gets along well with you, but there were things that bugged him about his time with you in the past.

KD: Oh, really? Maybe he is, I don't know. I never talk to him. I saw him once, in '97 when we toured and played Sweden, he came to the show. I have no relationship with him, really; I don't talk to him.

CoC: He didn't say anything negative, really, but he said he felt he wasn't given enough room for creativity in the drumming.

KD: You see, that's the danger sometimes for people if they don't see the big picture of what a band is trying to achieve. When we recorded _Time_ [Mercyful Fate], a thing you don't want to hear somebody say, just because they get a chance of recording an album and there's actually time to record it properly, you don't want to hear that person say "Oh great, now I finally get the chance to show what I can do, so I'm going to do everything on this album that I ever learned to do." It's like "No, no, it's not a solo project. We don't need drum solos everywhere, we need songs to work like they're meant to work. We don't need big drum breaks every time a verse goes into a bridge goes into a chorus." That's like stretching over five bars or so, and that breaks up the whole flow of the song. If that's your way of arranging a song then you have to be held back, you have to be told "That doesn't work. You're killing the song." The same goes for a bass player. The bass player we have now is so skilful, Dave, you know. He can do anything with a bass; it's unbelievable. But he has that sense for arrangement. He knows when to add some stuff, where he goes off into his own melodies, it still fits and enhances the music. That's a person that has a feel for arrangement. If you don't have that feel then you need to be told, because I'm certainly not going to be sitting there listening to somebody destroy an album just because they have to show every little thing they've ever learned, every little lick they've ever been able to play, but have not had the chance to play on an album. It's not going to be a compilation of Snowy Shaw tracks. <laughs> That's not the way it works in this business; we've been around for a little too long to let that happen to an album. It's always the song that comes first. The songwriters have a vision of what they want to come out of a song, a certain expression, a certain feel, and then you try to get that out of the music. There's always so much space in our music for you to show off anyway, as a musician; always. But you can't turn it around and suddenly turn it into that new guy's solo project. I have no outstanding things with Snowy at all. He's always been a very cool person. But I know exactly what he's referring to there, that he could have felt that he was being kept back a little bit, but that was a necessary evil, otherwise we would have ended up all over the place.

CoC: For my last question, I would like to know your thoughts on some of the King Diamond tribute records.

KD: I have not heard them. All I ever knew of that was that I saw an ad in a magazine. I have not heard it, or seen it or anything else. The first time I knew of it was when I saw an ad in a magazine, and the funny thing about it was that I don't mind that. It's not like I'm sitting here being pissed off or anything. But it did say something like "The only King Diamond tribute album endorsed by the King himself." The first time I saw the album I was like "Oh yeah? Really?" <laughs> In any way, fans or record labels, whether they make money or not, making an effort to pay tribute to someone that influenced them to maybe start becoming musicians themselves, or entertainers, it's a big honor, always. And it doesn't even matter what it sounds like. The most important thing is that they should not try to sound like us. It should sound like their own band sounds. It should be as if that band just plays one of our songs, which is what it really is. I have so much respect, and I'm honored, that people have taken time out to do that. But it's kind of funny when you see an ad in a magazine for something I've endorsed and I haven't even heard about it. <laughs>

CoC: Thanks very much, King. It was great to talk to you again.

KD: Vice-versa.

(article submitted 12/8/2000)

3/10/1998 A Bromley King Diamond: The Curse of the King
7/3/2002 A Wee 9 King Diamond - Abigail pt II: The Revenge
8/12/2001 A Wee 6 King Diamond - Decade of Horror
8/12/1996 G Filicetti 8 King Diamond - The Graveyard
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