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King Diamond

By Nate Denver

King Diamond is a Danish gentleman. His falsetto singing has captured the hearts of millions and terrified the parents of billions. He played guitar and panflute in his first band, Whitefish, and later played for a number of other bands before forming Mercyful Fate. Next he went solo, riding a wave of success that could drown Godzilla. Concept albums, theatrical stage shows, and near death experiences keep the King in his castle.

I’ve heard you’re a NASCAR fan

Oh yes. All racing practically—NASCAR, Formula One, I can’t resist it. Especially when you’re like me and you have a bad back and can’t do a whole lot of things but watch TV and heal, heal, heal.

Are you a fast driver?

I try to keep it five over speed limit. I like acceleration, I like power, I like handling big time.

Have you had any scary moments on the tour bus?

Lots of close calls. Busses, planes—I’ve been close many times. One time on a plane, the first time coming to the US with Mercyful Fate, they warned us there would be heavy turbulence, and this plane was huge. We were about to land and I could see the wing was not far from hitting the ground. It was like watching one of these catastrophe movies where everybody in the plane is screaming at the top of their lungs. You’re hearing these things you don’t want to hear in a plane, “I don’t want to die! AHHH!” You know? So I’m sitting there and saying, “Well, OK. Goodbye.”

Did you scream?

No. I was just looking at that wing tip saying, “Don’t hit, don’t hit, don’t hit!”

A religious man might take that time to pray. What were you thinking about?

I saw my life flash by. I was like, “OK, it’s over now. Nothing to save us now.” But it was almost as if this

big hand came, took the plane and said, “No, here is where you’re supposed to be.” It seemed a bit of a miracle that nothing happened. It was so bad that Timmy, the bass player at the time, refused to get on the next plane. I said, “You’ve got to.” He said, “I don’t care.” But then we got a bottle of whiskey and got him to drink it and he totally blacked out and we carried him on the plane with his boot tips dragging on the floor.

Did you ever meet Anton LaVey?

Yes. I will never forget that experience. After a show in San Francisco I was invited by a couple of witches who were at the show to come meet him. We drove to The Church and I spent the whole night there. He invited me to the ritual chamber and he had these big dobermans guarding the hallway. He told me, “You probably shouldn’t pet them because I don’t know what they’ll do.” He was unlocking the door and I had to pet one of the dogs. I did that and LaVey looked and said, “Ah, good vibrations.” So we walked in there and I told him that if it was OK, I’d like to speak first and tell him what I feel about the world rather than him talking to me and me standing there nodding. This way he could get a judgment, too. When I was done, he took off the devil symbol pin he was wearing and pressed it into my hand. When we came out, he played keyboards for me. He had a lot of keyboards. He started playing this happy song, singing, “Wonderful wonderful Copenhagen” with a smirk on his face. That’s where I’m from. We took a couple of pictures and kept in touch afterwards. I have a hand-written letter from him that I always take on tour.

Were you ever an active member of The Church of Satan?

LaVey gave me eternal membership.

That was nice.

It’s not like I keep in contact. I don’t need to keep in contact to live my life. I don’t live according to any rules. Because when I first read the Satanic Bible, the book of life philosophy I would call it, it was like reading about the way I have always felt; the way I live my life already. I wouldn’t say I’m active in the church. I think it’s great that some people do it, but I don’t have the time. It was an experience being there and seeing the Iron Maidens for the doorways, the secret doors—LaVey could always enter a room without you seeing him.

Do you think of Satan as a sort of Nietzschean symbol, or as a theistic or Biblical entity?

Exactly like you’re saying now, there are different kinds of Satanism. And that’s the thing that always is intriguing, because if you ask, “Are you a Satanist?” it depends on what you mean by that. Because if they say, “Yeah, you know, you sacrifice babies and drink their blood,” what, are you sick? No way! I’m an animal lover, too. I would never harm an animal in any way whatsoever. That’s how it’s been described in a lot of occult books that were written from a Christian viewpoint. Not to point a finger at any religion though, because you can point fingers at any religion there is. That’s why Satanism to me is not a religion, it’s a life philosophy. I don’t have a religious belief. That’s kind of what was shown on the album House of God. The makeup changed into being the makeup of what you would call Christian crosses and upside down crosses, and showing a person that, “Hey, I’ll gladly show you that I don’t know.”
Does anyone know?

One of the biggest problems in this world is religion. Simply for the fact that there is no proof of “Is there one god, are there many gods, or is there no god?” No one has ever been able to serve up proof to the rest of the world. If anyone could do that, we’d all believe in that god, of course. But there is no proof. Some people have certain reasons that make them believe, very strong experiences they have. I could believe in something, too. I could say, “Hey, the big hand came and took the plane and put it right.” But for me, that’s not enough. I can’t build my life on that. That doesn’t mean that I look down on people who build their life around some kind of faith. That’s very, very normal; I’m probably more abnormal not to. I’ve always had respect for other people who are different, who have different beliefs or faiths. That’s one of the main things in my life philosophy: I pay respect to other humans. I realize that people are different and just because someone might have a different opinion than I have about something doesn’t mean they’re wrong. It saddens me that people are willing to kill each other for something they don’t have proof of.

Who are some of your favorite nonmetal singers?

Kate Bush. God, what a voice. And she had this witchy aura around her.

Do you like being scared?


What scares you?

Well, some of them I told you—the airplane and bus scares. But the thing about those is, it’s very nice when it’s over. Otherwise, a really good psychological horror movie. But I’ve also had a lot of the real thing.

The apartment I lived in in Denmark was very haunted. Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield were there—I don’t remember if they were recording Ride the Lightning or Master of Puppets; but they were recording in Copenhagen. I had an altar in the apartment, and we were drinking and playing foosball in my room. This girl was there and she was crying in the bathroom after being in there for like 20 minutes. I opened the door and she was crying, “I couldn’t get out!” I said, “Why didn’t you just turn the door knob?” She said, “I couldn’t get up and this thing was growling in my face!” I said, “Oh. OK.” And then one time this girl was over and she was talking shit about, “Why do you have these things about ghosts and demons, these ridiculous things?” She was pissed. I said, “If you don’t believe in these things, we don’t have to talk about it. I don’t really care. But you
better beware, or you might experience it yourself.” She said, “Whatever.” So I asked, “Do you want to try to see if we can bring something?” She said “Yeah, let’s do it.” To create the right atmosphere I put The Exorcist soundtrack on and then I said “If you are there, please come and show this girl.” It took five minutes, and then she started screaming while sitting on the couch—I could see her hair being pulled by nothing. We could hear hands scratching the walls and she was freaking out. But I could hear the sound moving out to the hallway, and then it was gone. I was there with my brother one time having a beer, and a pint of beer lifted up off the table two feet, and then it slowly lowered back to the table. I took that as a sort of wish of good luck. It doesn’t matter if someone believes or doesn’t, it’s there.
King Diamond - Welcome Home (Reissue)


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