Diamonds Are Forever: An Exclusive Interview With King Diamond
Monday, December 31, 2001 @ 8:00 AM
Legendary Opera Metal Icon Kin
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Very few heavy metal performers have left as strong an impact on the worldwide metal scene as this Danish-born vocalist. With his unique falsetto vocal style, theatrical stage show, chilling lyrics and brutal, technical music he has led both Mercyful Fate and the King Diamond band to legendary status. Albums like Don't Break the Oath, Abigail, and Them have influenced bands ranging from Cradle of Filth to the Foo Fighters (yes, the Foo Fighters) to Metallica and spawned a legion of hardcore fans. Although his albums have never reached gold or platinum status in the United States, King has survived every trend from ‘80s glam rock to grunge and rap metal with musical integrity intact. King Diamond never sold out and that may be what is giving he and his band the strength to produce what could turn out to be the most eagerly anticipated King Diamond disc ever Abigail 2: The Revenge.
KNAC.COM: King, thanks for taking the time to do this interview. I know you're a busy man.
KING DIAMOND: No problem. I'm glad to do it and be able to communicate with the people who enjoy our music.
KNAC.COM: On January 29th, 2002 you're releasing Abigail 2: The Revenge, which is a sequel your classic 1987 LP Abigail. It seems to be getting the King Diamond fan base excited.
KD: Oh yeah. The neat thing about is the fans will get to find out answers to a lot of questions. Did the black horsemen really kill Abigail? What happened to some of the other characters? You'll get to find out all of that stuff. I had to go back and do a family tree that dated back several hundred years to get all of the details right.
KNAC.COM: Yeah and as lyric-savvy as most of your fans are they would probably call you on any little mistake you made no matter how far down the family line it was.
KD: You bet. Yeah.
KNAC.COM: Can you give us some details from the story?
KD: It ends where this guy James O'Brian is actually half-sister to the first Abigail. Her Dad was Gregory O'Brian. He married someone else and had James O'Brian so he fathered both him and stillborn Abigail. So Jonathon Lefay's Dad is James O'Brian. That also means that the first-born Abigail is half-sister to Jonathon's Dad. So the original Abigail was sort of his "half aunt" if you want to call it that. When she is born again she encounters Jonathon Lefay again and they have an affair and that's incest, at least spiritual incest yet they don't really know it. It would kind of like me bringing a girl back to my mother in Denmark that I have been with and she says, "By the way, I had her before I met your dad." I would be like screwing her for three months and then finding out and going "What!" It would be like "Come on mom. Give me a break." (Laughs) It's a situation where you have no clue.
KNAC.COM: That's more twisted than "The Graveyard" story.
KD: Yeah it's very twisted and I have been thinking of the live presentation all along. There is going to be some cannibalism involved because of some twists in the story line. Also in the story Lefay has a bad leg so I may come out in this wheelchair. In one of the songs he gets burned to death so I might reenact that live. That's something I have been thinking about, but things could change. The whole project is something I'm very proud of and we're holding nothing back this time.
KNAC.COM: As a fan I can say that I can't wait to hear it which brings me to a point. You say you won't be holding back on this album and that's very interesting because the last three albums you've done (Voodoo, 9, House of God) have been so well received. How do you keep pushing yourself to put out such quality releases year after year?
KD: It's weird because it's almost like we're getting younger with every release. The new music is like right in the vein of how I wrote in the Abigail days. It really is. The overall style because of the complexity of the music is so challenging and diverse.
”It's almost like we're getting younger with every release. The new music is like right in the vein of how I wrote in the Abigail days. The overall style because of the complexity of the music is so challenging and diverse.”
KNAC.COM: You've had some lineup changes since your last album House of God came out. Tell us about them and how that affected the creation of this disc.
KD: The only guys left in the band from the last album and tour are Andy and myself. The bass player we had just didn't work out chemistry wise, so we got Hal Patino back in the band from Them and The Eye. Hal is my favorite living bass player and has such a powerful style. And if you want to see what he looks like go back and look at the picture from The Eye CD. He hasn't changed much at all. And then on drums we had John Hebert and I can't say a bad thing about John at all. He's a great person and good drummer, but he's no Mikkey Dee.
KNAC.COM: Mikkey Dee is an awesome drummer.
KD: Oh, he's one of the best of all time and that's something that has bothered us since he left. We haven't had a drummer of that caliber since Mikkey left. What happened is right before Christmas John Hebert and his wife had a baby and he had to leave, which is understandable. I totally respect that. I mean, it's happened to us so many times. But what it did is give us an opportunity to find that missing link in the drum department. I told Andy that we had to make finding a top-notch drummer a top priority because what we could dish out as writers Hebert and the other drummers couldn't play. We ended up finding a drummer north of Dallas here. His name is Matt Thompson and he is 30-years old and has been playing for 17 years. He just finished four years of music college studying drums and I would compare his style between Mikkey Dee and Neil Peart.
KNAC.COM: So it sounds like some of the boundaries are down.
KD: All of them. In fact the new material is as complex as the first Abigail but more aggressive, yet it doesn't lose that melody line that is so important for King Diamond music. Then the final piece of the musical puzzle is the other guitar spot. Glen Drover had to leave for family reasons, which I can respect, but we had to get someone we could rely on for the next tour. So I called Michael Denner (Mercyful Fate) and got Mike Wead (also from Mercyful Fate) to join King Diamond. That doesn't mean Fate won't play again or anything, but it does mean we have the strongest King Diamond lineup ever.
KNAC.COM: Most of your discs have been concept albums. Looking back at the past for a second are there any particular story lines from your albums you like the most?
KD: I like Abigail a lot and the others as well, but I just have this special relationship with that old grandma. I'd love to bring her back in some way or form and I think the fans like here a lot too.
KNAC.COM: Again thanks for taking the time for doing this.
KD: Thanks for what you're doing because it all makes the world go around with this music. We're all a part of it.