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King Diamond - Vocals, songwriter, lyricist, story teller for Mercyful Fate & King Diamond

Date: 10/2/03
Interviewed By: Rich Catino


1. How does the “Puppet Master” compare to your previous works?

KING: My personal feeling is this album I am very proud of, this should have been our first album. Everything came together. Much more theatrical, raw riffs, more melodic, and there are more guitar solos like we did for “Conspiracy”. Many moods can be felt throughout the album. There is also the DVD that will accompany the cd of myself telling the story of the “Puppet Master”. We also have an added person, a female voice, on 8 of the 12 tracks which is a positive addition and really adds to the listening experience. Something we will also do for the live show.

2. Do you write the stories for each album prior to their recording, or are they a collection of pre written material from years of work?

KING: Before we start writing music for an album I will have a short story already written. For this album, while touring in 99 in Budapest we passed by a place in town called the “Puppet Theater”. The place was closed and I looked through the window and saw many puppets, some even life size. I had a real eerie feeling and started getting all these weird thoughts about what went on here. “I swear you could not pay me to sleep in that place, I knew the puppets would come to life and kill me!” When I returned to my hotel I started writing down ideas on a piece of paper. When it was time to write the new record I came across my notes that I had written down when I was in Budapest about this Puppet Theater and new this was my next story. As I write an album it starts out as a short story and the story is divided up into chapters, which becomes the number of tracks on the album. Then I transfer the story into lyrics.

3. Do you plan on compiling all the King Diamond stories into a collection of short stories?

KING: I would rather see each individual story turned into a novel at some point. Right now I don’t have the time being busy with both the King Diamond and Mercyful Fate bands. The biggest dream would to have these stories make it to the big screen. I can see “Them” and “Conspiracy” with Grandma as infamous as Freddy Kruegar. When I came to the U.S. in 90-92 I had a few months where I started to put “Them” and “Conspiracy” into book form and got three chapters into it, and then it was time to work on a new album so I had to stop. Those people who read that part on “Them” and “Conspiracy” are all the things that take part before you here the story on the album. What happened to Grandpa, I know how he dies and I know the end of the story that is not on the cd. When put something into novel form that’s when you can start describing scenery and getting people into certain moods.

4. Has anyone approached you yet about turning these stories into theatrical films?

KING: Not yet. I would like to work with someone who could work with me on the script writing and have real good skillful people doing the whole process. “You could scare the shit out of people!”

5. For the tour will you touch on all the albums, or focus on particular ones?

KING: We will focus on particular albums because there is not enough time to do the kind of show we wanted to do and there is too much material. At the time, we wanted to present the Abigail story in its entirety but we did not tour for that album. I talked to Andy LaRoque(guitarist), about choosing the songs and we will start off the show with the intro to “Abigail” and do a couple tracks from the album. Then we will go into “Abigail II” where we will do the intro track and continue with the rest of the story. Also, there is a set change between the two stories and “Black Horseman” will be presented in its entirety. The visual experience while listening to both albums will be presented differently. When it comes to the “Puppet Master” the album will not be out(release October21) yet by the time we hit the road so the first couple shows will be weird for us not having the fans familiar with the new material. From “The Eye” we will play “Burn” which has never been done in the states before. “Them” and Conspiracy” will also be represented. Almost all of the set will consist of songs we have never played before.

6. Is there a live DVD in the works?

KING: Yes we will record a live DVD some time next year in Europe to be released as a CD and DVD. There are also plans to release a retro DVD for both King Diamond and Mercyful Fate. I spoke to Hank Sherman(guitarist for Mercyfiul Fate) and he had a tape of early Mercyful Fate from one of our first shows which was in great quality as well as footage from a show in an old church in Amsterdam. For King Diamond we have some footage from the ‘Conspiracy” tour we would like to use as well.

7. Have you ever thought about opening your own Haunted Attraction?

KING: No I never thought of it because every night on stage we do that. Although around Halloween time the kids in the neighborhood will trick or treat to the house before and after mine. Ha!Ha! I went to a restaurant in the neighborhood and the waitress had been asked me some weird questions if I was the guy who lives in “that house”. All the mothers have been talking and meet in this club and I said “Ohh boy”. They obviously had been talking about me and seeing the black car coming in and out of the alley and somebody is their only for a short period of time.

8. What would you consider your strongest piece of work?

KING: The new one. I know you havn’t heard it in its entirety but when you do I think you will also agree with me. I added something fresh to my vocal parts and the sound is better than anything we have ever had.

9. Is there an album you are not happy with and why? What would you like to change?

KING: Nothing really, every time we have done the best we could with the means we had. Sometimes in the studio the equipment or the lineup was not quite right. Like for instance we had some sound problems one time so maybe that album did not come out sounding quite what we had expected. There was times when we were mixing and had to go back and set up a whole new sound because we had to bring in new speakers. I don’t want to mention any names or places but there is one specific album. I can see how some people would say some albums sound better than others. You have to work with what you got at the time. The good thing is you don’t have two albums that sound the same. If that’s the case then we have failed because we are out of inspiration and creativity. I don’t want to make another “Abigail” or “Them” even though those are classics. That is not challenging. “Abigail II” I felt real good about.

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