KING DIAMOND: MERCYFUL FATE 'Is Definitely Not Finished, At Least In My Book'

Finland's HardcoreSounds recently conducted an interview with King Diamond. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:

HardcoreSounds: It's been a few months now since you injured your back, has it gotten any better and are there any plans to reschedule the canceled tour once healed?

King Diamond: Well, it has definitely gotten better, I can tell you. It's good but not normal. But it's deefinitely gotten better. It's been a long time, been way too long now, and it's frustrating to not be able to do what you normally do. It's been injured since last April so when we get to April of this year it has been a full year. It's pretty serious, you know, but I was told there is a 90% chance it will heal on its own. But given the time, it's impossible to know how long. But a rough estimate would be that if there is 75 steps I am probably at step 50. When it happened, it was really bad you know, it's been a big test of my will power and patience. But I am fortunate in some ways, because I am not forced to get sit in a office chair for eight hours a day. Then I don't think that would have been too bad. But it is healing and getting better all the time. It's a slow process, but every ten days I will realize that this thing here does not hurt as much as it did before. So that's how it goes slowly getting better but it is going the right way.

HardcoreSounds: Congratulations on getting the Grammy nomination. What were your first thoughts when you saw you were nominated?

King Diamond: I'll tell you exactly how it happened. Brian Slagel [Metal Blade CEO] called me that morning and said "Congratulations," and I was like, "Uhm, what do you mean?" He goes, "You have been nominated for a Grammy." And my response was "Why?" and he says, "What do you mean why? You have been nominated for a Grammy for the new album." Well, why would they do that? That's what it felt like. I never considered us to be anyone that would be considered in that type of scenario. But, of course, it's an honor to be nominated, absolutely, there is no doubt about it. When you think more about it, you are among five bands selected from all over the world in that category and then you realize that it's pretty nice. But, again, the industry is giving recognition to some band and that's really nice that they did that. But, you know, on the other hand, it doesn't make it any better or worse situation. It doesn't mean that you are suddenly five steps up the ladder, but it's definitely a nice recognition. For me personally I think it's more of a reward for the fans, because it's all because of them that we got here. I'll never forget them and how their support has just been undying for all these years. Even the new ones that have come into the fold. You know, I see a lot of new faces down in front during shows. It's awesome to see them sing along to songs that were written before they were born. But that's also because we never stray from doing things our way. It's always straight from the heart, we are always on, it's never done the way someone else wants to. That's where we have been very fortunate to have that authenticity. We have that little niche that we never follow trends. I think that has a lot to do with why we are still here today, because we have never gotten outdated. There has never been a trend that we were that became not trendy anymore. We did own thing and that has given us a lot of longevity and appeal to our fans. On the other hand, that is probably also why we have never had a platinum seller or something like that. We have never hit exactly what was most popular at a given time but that is totally by choice. I glad I am still doing what I love to do instead of just having two great years. That's the way it is, but a lot goes to the band and I certainly can forget people like yourself. It takes so many different aspects of the industry to make a record successful. It's the journalists, the radio, the magazines, it all makes the wheels go. I am deffinitely aware of that we are nothing unless we have everybody on board. That nomination is definitely a nice addition to the mix.

HardcoreSounds: What's the current status of MERCYFUL FATE?

King Diamond: If my back had been fine, I don't know if I would have done anything with MERCY as KING DIAMOND would have been very busy. It's a long story, you know, and it goes back to when the downloading went nuts. "Abigail II" was about to come out and we lost tour support for the first time ever and had to re-negotiate our contracts. We ended up finding a new way to record and keep the same quality and that was by using Andy's [La Rocque, guitar] pro studio in Sweden. That way KING DIAMOND's recording costs went down, and if we hadn't had found that solution, we would have had to stop. MERCY is a different scenario. You know, Andy is not part of MERCY so he is not going to put his equipment at the disposal of MERCYFUL FATE for free. MERCY has never sold or done the same big tours as KING DIAMOND — it was always smaller. Therefore MERCY has a smaller budget than KING DIAMOND and always has, and in this scenario, right now, MERCY has a much smaller budget but with higher recording costs. That means that doing a MERCY album, you are not going to make a penny. I love doing what I do and certainly I am so blessed to live off my hobby. But you still have to pay your bills, since this is your job as well as your hobby. You just can't take a year off the calendar and say "Let's do a MERCY album" and tour knowing you are not going to make a dime. If I was financially independent, I would love to do it. You just can't, you couldn't, for instance, stop working for a year and say, "I am going to ride my bike for a year just because I love it." You probably wouldn't have a home to come back, you have to pay your bills but that's just life. That's why MERCY is in a dilemma, but who knows if there was suddenly a time where KING DIAMOND was off. If by chance some of the guys said "Hey, man, let's take a year off to work on other things," and everyone agreed. Then I might say, "Hey, I want to do something with MERCY", because then the time would be there. I would have no money coming in anyway and it was okay with everyone then I would love to do it. Because as it is, MERCYFUL FATE wouldn't have to work with our lawyers to get a deal because we do have a deal. We are signed with Metal Blade for the U.S. and Massacre for Europe with MERCYFUL FATE so there is a deal and it's done but no albums have been done on that deal. We didn't take any advances because we weren't sure whether we are going to release a new album or not and then end up not doing it. So nothing has been done; it's just laying, but it's ready and we did that exactly for that reason. If suddenly the situation presented itself six months from now, then let's do it, but if we don't have a deal then it's impossible to do it. Because then you have to search for a deal and that could take forever. By then the opportunity to do it could be gone, so we got the deals done so can do it when the time is right. Let's just say that downloading put MERCYFUL FATE into hibernation for awhile. But if the right opportunity arose, then yes, let's do it. I can guarantee you that it won't be one of those reunion deals because we never broke up. I see it as hibernating for a while but we will see what the future brings. It's definitely not finished, at least in my book.

Read the entire interview at www.hardcoresounds.net.

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