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.
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
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.
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?
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.