"... OH(?), this is NOTHING... we´re on
vacation...you should see us back at our homes... we..., d-drrink MUCCH
MOREE... ?!?" -said Andy la Rocque when he visited here in
Helsinki, Finland, on KING DIAMOND´s so far the largest European tour
14th of March 2001.
What did he mean by that indeed?! He just made you
curious enough, so you just gotta keep on reading for finding out that -
plus, shitloads of other interesting matters as well when we interviewed
the band´s riffmasters, Mike Wead and Andy la Rocque, respectively at a
cozy, little pub near by Tavastia Club, Helsinki...
"THE CURRENT TOUR"
As for starters, do you consider this tour somehow
more special for you compared to the other tours you´ve done earlier -
and I don´t really mean the fact that you´re now on the tour for
promoting a brilliant "House of God" album, but possibly some
other way more special or unique for you?
MIKE: For me this tour is personally kinda special ´coz
this is my 1st time in the KING DIAMOND band since I´ve been playing
with MERCYFUL FATE for like 5-6 years or something like that (!).
It´s special because of that, but... (?), I mean, it´s a big tour; we´ll
be covering every country from Russia to Turkey, so you could say it´s
a special tour for us - especially for me. It´s probably one of
the biggest European tours either KING DIAMOND - or MERCYFUL FATE have
ever done!! So, in that sense it´s a special tour...
ANDY: It´s a special because I think we have really
good line-up this time around. I mean, a drummer we have now, Mad
Thompson, an American drummer, is fuckin´ really good drummer. An old
bass player, Hal Patino, he was previously on our albums
"Them", "Conspiracy" and "The Eye".
The great bass player back in the band. A great guitar player Mike Wead,
y´know what I mean?! I mean, in that sense it feels very special
of course!! And there´s also a huge, massive European tour.
I even don´t remember when we have done a tour like this before
actually. There are just so many shows - like 35 shows in Europe
which is lots of shows actually. So, in that sense of course it´s
a little bit different and special, y´know?! And it´s always
good, y´know, as long as you can keep on going, come back to places and
Finland is really good place to play.
That´s nice to hear...
ANDY: Oh yeah, always, y´know?! We used to play
at the House of Culture for like 10 years ago(!) which also was such a
good place to play at. I wish we could have played there again.
By the way, do they have any metal bands coming there any more... ?!
Not for a while, I´m afraid...
ANDY: A-ha, ok...
Last time you were in Finland with MERCYFUL FATE,
I was just thinking it might be a cool thing to see both KING DIAMOND
and M.F. on tour together, sharing the very same stage; do you think
that is ever going to happen?
MIKE: No, I don´t think so that will be ever happening.
It could be kind of an unique tour anyway... ?
MIKE: Yea, I would say so, too. Maybe that may be
possible in some festivals in the future, but that´s quite unlikely ´coz
we haven´t that kind of plans really.
Well, then... did you face any problems by picking
up the songs for this tour? I mean, you guys have a large
selection of excellent songs on every KING DIAMOND album and you´ve got
a bunch of very demanding fans out there, too, who wish you to play this
and that song from this and that album, y´know what I mean exactly?
MIKE: We´ll try to do something, y´know, from
everything... not really from this set we won´t do, but we´ll play
some old stuff, y´know, "the classic KING DIAMOND stuff".
We´ll play some new songs from "House of God" album
naturally. We´ll try to mix both old - and new KING DIAMOND songs
in a good way on this tour. It´s always hard, but the band has
been around for such a long time, so we know the songs what people want
to hear from us playing at our gigs.
ANDY: Yea, I mean that´s always a problem for us
because you really don´t know what people want to hear and stuff, y´know?!
We thought, tho, that we´ve done quite a good selection because you´ve
got like 4-5 songs from the new album and the rest of the stuff is songs
from our other albums.
What are those songs from "the other
albums(!)" you´re going to play tonight?
ANDY: From our 1st album, we are going to play "The
Candle" and "Dressed in White"; from the
"Abigail" album, we´ll play "Abigail", "Black
Horsemen" and "The Family Ghost". And from
"Them", we´ll play "Welcome Home" and "The
Invisible Guest"; from "Conspiracy" we´ll play
"Sleepless Nights"; "Eye of the Witch" and
"Burn" from "The Eye"; from the "Voodoo"
album we will play the title track "Voodoo" and "Sarah´s
Night" and 5 songs from "House of God". NOTHING
from "Spider´s Lullaby" - NOTHING from "The
What about your own personal expectations from
this tour; are you having some... ?
MIKE: I think it´s gonna be a really cool tour for
myself. It´s gonna be a really nice tour ´coz the situation for
the band is really good now; great guys, great musicians, great crew...
that´s always important on tour, y´know?! Besides, we are going
to play in some countries we have NEVER played before like in Turkey and
Russia yesterday. So that´s really exciting , I think.
By playing in some of those countries you have
never visited before, should make it more special for you anyway...
MIKE: Yea, kind of...
Now when you´ve been playing both in MERCYFUL
FATE and KING DIAMOND, I was just wondering what are the biggest differences
between these two bands in your opinion?
MIKE: Musically it´s not that much. I think my
personal view about KING DIAMOND is that it´s a bit more melodic
whereas MERCYFUL FATE is more aggressive, y´know - more double
bass/drum stuff. KING DIAMOND is definitely more melodic, but
otherwise it´s the thing where the KING DIAMOND band has actresses and
all the stage props and all the other things happening on the stage.
MERCYFUL FATE is much more straight-forward, but traditional Heavy
Metal. In a sense, I think KING DIAMOND is obviously still King
himself, y´know?! But however, I think those are the main differences
Next is for Andy... how is it feel like when
other players around you have been changing quite often and you had to
teach them separately how to play K.D. stuff properly and all that?
ANDY: What do you mean? Explain more...
OK, you have a new guitar torturer in the band
like this Mike, for example...
ANDY: OH... you mean changing members and stuff... ?!
ANDY: Well, I really have no problem because I´m doing
my thing and, y´know, we really don´t have any competition in that
sense in the band. I mean, Mike is doing his own thing and I´m
doing my thing. And I have known Mike since... (?) - I mean, there´s
a long time since 1987, y´know?! I know he´s a great guy, great
guitar player, so there´s not any problem between two of us. We
come along great, y´know?! I mean, to quit in bands because of, y´know,
different personal problems, whatever! - they can´t get free for the
word go, whatever!, so... (!), I mean, to keep the band going, you just
gotta go thru it, y´kno´?! And I´ll NEVER quit!!
So Mike, how would you compare Hank Sherman and
Andy to each other as guitar players? Do they have any distinct differences
as far as their techniques and styles playing a guitar are concerned?
MIKE: I think they´re pretty different players
actually, because Hank is more like a -60s´/-70s´ Hard
Rock -based guitar player; really good at playing blues stuff and things
like that whereas Andy´s more like a modern guitarist i.e. more
technical and dripping(?) guitar player, y´know, more into modern
sounds. I really couldn´t decide which one of them might be the best
guitar player ´coz they are so different. It´s really hard to
say as they are both really good at their own style, y´know, kind of
unique styles they have.
" ...ABOUT BEING ON THE
I have always been wondering when you guys are on
the road, how hard is it exactly to stay tightly focused all the time
and at the same time, be aware of all these facts why you are doing this
and showing your faces in different countries? I guess it´s a
pretty damn intense life from time to time...
MIKE: Y´know, when you´re touring in such many
countries, it gets REALLY INTENSE all the time! So, it´s like you
really get focused from the day 1 to the last day. Sound checks,
travel, show-times, meet some people, having a couple of beers, y´know
- even some laughs every once in a while... It´s just so intense
like you never get out of focus. NEVER! You´re so into what you´re
doing at that moment, y´know?! It´s no problem after all.
ANDY: No, I mean why we do this is actually because
every night when you walk up on the stage - when you stand behind the
stage and hear the intro is going on - and the audience is going crazy,
y´know, that´s the thing that really keeps you going on, y´know,
makes you inspired. I mean, one and a half of hour you have
onstage, is usually really good. It´s like whatever comes behind
that; you´re traveling the whole damn day, whatever! It makes up
for the best stuff you can get out of it. It´s really inspirational
to go onstage and hear the crowd and see people going crazy, y´know
what I mean?! And then someone coming up after the show and saying
something like: "Oh man, your gig was really good, it´s the
GREATEST SHOW I´VE SEEN FOR A VERY LONG TIME, man...". That´s
really inspirational to hear; people´s reactions, hear their comments
about the show and, y´know, to hear them say that they like your stuff.
I can imagine it also must feel great to hear them
sing-along when you´re onstage, playing your songs to your audience...
ANDY: Yeah, they always sing-along and know the lyrics
for our songs and everything. It´s really inspirational; it just
great, I can tell! I mean, like Russia yesterday... or last night,
it was our premier show of this tour, there was some guy who had traveled
for like 12-20 hours, y´know, just come and see the show, y´know?!
"OH MAN, I have come all the way from... (?)" -whatever!
He was like: "I´ve been waiting for 15 years to see you guys, y´know,
... man... oh... wow... cool, man!" (-laughing!!-)
It really makes you go on! It´s very cool to hear that from
According to everything what you just said here, I
think you however, find this touring more as a very pleasant thing than
a damn serious job that just needs to be done, like it or not...
MIKE: It´s both actually at the same time. It´s
like a "working holiday", HA! HA!!
"BEFORE THE SHOWTIME..."
Before you enter on stage, how do you guys prepare
yourselves either mentally or physically for the actual show?
MIKE: I´m always used to stretch my arms or fingers up
at the backstage. Not any particular exercise or anything - just
hanging around with my guitar for maybe half an hour. Just
chilling out, y´know, having a beer - whatever!; some food if there´s
food available at the backstage area; talking to the band and stuff like
that, the usual stuff.
Are the other guys pretty much the same vein... ?
MIKE: Yeah, pretty much. Everybody has got their own
routines. Just maybe 15-20 minutes prior to the showtime I get
really quiet and relaxed. Some people, y´know, they get all
pumped up like walking around, "rock´n´roll", but I´m a
total opposite. I just sit in a corner with my guitar, smoking a
cigarette and just playing - being just totally quiet. It´s
really different between people; like I said, everybody has got their
own, personal routines, y´know?!
So, are you saying that you don´t have any
routines in the band you guys do together before entering on a stage?
MIKE: No, not really. NOT in this band, I
mean, because this line-up is such a new line-up for me and we have just
played one show in Russia yesterday. In other words, we haven´t
got to that point yet - as for now.
Do you have any preheating sessions before the
actual show, I mean like a preview of the show or something?
MIKE: We have a rehearsal session...
Talking about this line-up you have on this tour
now, did you had any troubles to get it together particularly for this
MIKE: No, none - whatsoever! I have known the guys
for many years now and done so many shows with both KING DIAMOND and
MERCYFUL FATE. I think not a single one out of us has had any
problems concerning that. When we started to rehearse in Copenhagen,
Denmark, our 1st rehearsal was like kind of laying back. We just jammed
on the songs and stuff like that. And like day 2, everything was
there, y´know?! This is it!! And I´m really happy with it;
King is really happy about it. Everybody feels comfortable and
confident in this line-up.
"... ´BOUT MUST-TO-PLAY LIVE
What are your personal fave songs you wanna play
live on tours? And could you tell us, what makes them so special
for you guys?
MIKE: "Abigail" is cool to play. "Welcome
Home" and "The Invisible Guest" are cool as well.
And from the new album, I like "Help!!!" a lot because it´s
really - when you are onstage, y´know, playing live - it´s really
heavy with all the riffings and all that.
ANDY: HMMM...(?!), a tough question. Maybe I have,
but favorites depend on so many things, y´know?! It´s like it
could be a song which is comfortable to play - on the other hand, it
could be a song that is really cool to listen to; it could be a song the
audience gets totally crazy, y´know!? It could be a favorite song
´coz of all these reasons. It´s hard to say really, but I like
to play lots of things. Depends on what kind of mood I am
How do the songs on "House of God" work
out as played live?
MIKE: Well, I think. I mean, this is my 1st tour with
the band, so I really cannot tell about the American leg of the "H.O.G."
tour as I wasn´t there. But last night, even Russian people knew
the choruses and the lyrics and sang-along, y´know...
Speaking of your crowd, are there any songs that
your crowd always demands you to play live?
ANDY: Yeah, I would think "Abigail",
"Sleepless Nights", maybe "Eye of the Witch" and
"Welcome Home" f.ex. from the "Them" album.
"Family Ghost" probably as well. There´s a few songs
that you just GOTTA PLAY to keep them happy, HE!
... just to make sure for them that it´s really a
KING DIAMOND show... ?
ANDY: Yeah, exactly... exactly!!
Have you changed any songs from your set after the
successful U.S. tour?
MIKE: No, I think it´s exactly the same - I think so! I´m
not too sure, but I´m pretty sure it is ´coz King wanted to do about
the same thing in Europe, too - exactly the same songs. Everything´s
supposed to be just the same, except for the line-up King had on tour in
Well then, could you go on analyzing what indeed
are those elements in the KING DIAMOND band that make KING DIAMOND KING
DIAMOND as far as your unique sound and everything are concerned?
ANDY: I´d say a theatrical horror stuff combined with
King´s unique voice and some concept stories about... (!), well, I
think it´s a lot of things actually coming together as a package kind
of thing, y´know?! That makes this band kind of unique, I´d say.
And also that, we have never really tried to be commercial in that
sense, I mean, we´ve always written music that comes from our hearts!
We have never tried to do like no. 1 hit on the radio; we have always
done music that comes from our hearts!! I think that´s really
important. We have never tried to follow any trends, like, y´know,
whatever! - like a band like CINDERELLA -whatever! you know?! It´s
like a band in the ´80s used to be a really big and then when
everything went down, it´s like a crash, y´know?! Loosing a
steady crowd, steady follow-up. I think we survived just because we were
doing our own thing all the way thru. I guess that´s the reason
MIKE: From my own point of view, I could say if you look
at the music, it´s the drive to make it heavy and melodic at the same
time. It has progressive stuff going on, too - lots of guitar work.
It´s really hard to describe it ´coz it´s just there. It´s
just the way it is.
Besides, in my opinion, there´s no other band
that sounds like KING DIAMOND (or MERCYFUL FATE) because of everything
both of you just described about your music here...
MIKE: No, I don´t think so...
That´s why we needed to hear your own opinions ´bout
your own music, too...
MIKE: Yeah, it´s true that both bands have very
original sounds of theirs. But that´s just a natural progression
for these bands, I guess.
... ´BOUT SOME CRAZY, DRUNKEN
You just did this U.S. tour with Finnish
deathrockers BABYLON WHORES. What were your best memories out of
that tour and those guys?
ANDY: Ohhh... MAANNN!! They are great guys!!
They were drinking A LOT of booze...
I can easily relate to them as we ARE, however,
ANDY: I don´t know who said that, but y´know, someone
said that the guys are nice and cool when they are REALLY drunk - every
day, kind of, y´know?! and then someone said something like:
"Oh man, how can you be so drunk every day; how can you manage to
be drunk every single day and go and play just anything??
(In the next part Andy was radically lowering his
voice, kind of trying to imitate one of the guys in the BABYLON W.
"OH(?), this is NOTHING... we are on vacation...
you should see us back at our homes... we, d-drink MUCCH MOREEE...!!!"
( ...some intense laughing... )
That´s a cool "rock attitude", I
ANDY: OH YEAH(!), it was fuckin´ great!! We
laughed so much, y´know!?
So, how do you like their music, then?
ANDY: I think it was cool. Their music sounds
really cool. Great music - great guys!!
What ´bout your stage show tonight; can you
already tell some details about it what´s going to be there?
MIKE: It´s going to have some very cool tricks.
King will have very cool tricks in his sleeve(-s), y´know, " a
joker" in his sleeve - yeah, but you just have to wait and see all
that. But I promise you, it gonna be a cool show!
HA, so you´re not going to reveal too much about
it yet or what?!
MIKE: Well, we have an actress there; her name is Jody
and she´ll be doing role as a grandma and stuff. The grandma is
going to be there and a couple of other characters as well. Ssome
burning stuff, y´know... kids like that.
How often do you have to change your show a little
bit because you´re playing in different venues; smaller and bigger ones
that may cause some restrictions and you might not be able to use fully
all the arsenal for your stage show which is supposed to be there in the
first place, y´know!?
MIKE: We try to do it as fully as possible everywhere!!
But sometimes it´s just impossible like here at Tavastia Club ´coz it´s
kind of small stage you have here.
How´s it in other countries, I mean all the
places you´re supposed to play on this tour?
MIKE: Mostly the stages are bigger than the one we are
going to play today...
Where are you going to play in Sweden, then? At
MIKE: Yeah, they have a bigger stage there than "Klubben"
is. "Klubben" is actually kinda small place. You
can kind of compare it to this one here at Tavastia Club. The stage
seems to be maybe a bit bigger; not that deep, but wider anyway.
When you are there, I mean, on the stage - like
rehearsing before the show, do you actually know right away, looking
around a little bit, that you´re not able to do this - or that thing
during the show due to a limited space on small stages?
MIKE: Hmmm... (?!), I really don´t know. That´s
much up to the production guys... and our production manager. They
will make the final decisions.
When you play in bigger stages and bigger venues,
the question is, in which size is the show actually meant to be in order
that that you could fully put thru a KING DIAMOND show?
MIKE: I think it´s meant to be pretty big...
Like almost a stadium show or something... ?
MIKE: Almost like that. But the point is that we´ll
try to do our show exactly the same way everywhere. If we can´t fit the
wheelchair on the stage - if we have a problem with that, then grandma
just have to be turned away...
MIKE: Yea... poor grandma, HE! HE! HEH!! But we
try to do as much as it´s possible to do it anyway...
How did you get Hal Patino to join back in the
ANDY: When we rehearsed for this rock festival in Sweden
last summer, Hal was rehearsing in Copenhagen. He came down to rehearse
with us just to say "hi...!", you know what I mean?
"... great to see ya guys for a long time..." and so on, y´know?!
At that time, we had this American bass player, John Harbour, who´s a
great guy and everything; plays good, but y´know, didn´t work out on a
personal level too well with the other guys in the band. Anyways,
Hal said if you will ever have any problems - whatever they may be, y´know,
just let him know and he´ll be ready to come in the band, y´know?!
And then the tour went along, I found that, y´know, John might not be
the best guy what has happened to the band. I´m not saying that he
couldn´t be a good bass player and everything, but he unfortunately
didn´t work out the way we wanted personally, y´know!? So we
said that OK - we should get Hal Patino to try out in the band. Then we
called him after the end of the U.S. tour and asked whether he was ready
to join with us and he was really happy for that, y´know!? We are
happy ourselves for having him back in the band. He´s a great guy
- great bass player, great live line-up guy, so that was what we were
looking for indeed.
How´s your relationship with Hank Sherman these
ANDY: OH(!), great!! He´s a friend of mine I´d
say, y´know, a cool guy!!
Have you ever tried to play together with him?
ANDY: No, never tried that, but he has been working at
my studio - or recording at my studio, y´know!? I´ve been
working with him that way, but that´s about it; never played with him
Have ever that kind of thoughts crossed your mind
that it might be cool to have the original KING DIAMOND line-up together
to play again? Namely I met Mikkey in November 2000 and he told me
that he had gone thru some discussions with King about that and...
ANDY: About the next album, maybe...?!
Nope, but to get the original KING DIAMOND line-up
back for playing live or something like that...?
ANDY: No, not really. Well, actually Mikkey was
really interested in recording the drums for the next album which is
going to be titled "Abigail Part II - The Revenge" of
which I mentioned about earlier. We talked about it a lot with King and
Mikkey together. And the thing was that it would be really cool to have
Mikkey on drums, of course! He´s a great guy and a fuckin´ great
drummer!! And then again, he won´t be able to tour with us since
he has got the MOTÖRHEAD thing going on and all that stuff, y´know!?
Just to record the album and then we could come out and play like now.
People would think that Mikkey is playing the drums and someone may get
really disappointed. So we thought it´s better for not doing it
at all, y´know!? I´m a good friend of Mikkey and I was still in
a very good compact to speak him up for back to Sweden. I mean, it
would be cool, but y´know, that´s about the only thing we talked
about. We also talked about our next album, maybe having Michael
Denner to do like a solo appearance or maybe some more or something.
That´s about it really...
"... ´BOUT PROJECT BANDS"
I remember reading that Michael Denner has said
something like he isn´t playing that much any more actually... ?
ANDY: He is!! He has got his own project, but I
don´t know the name of it. But I´ve heard a couple of songs from him
But I assume his main priority these days isn´t
to play that much any longer... ?
ANDY: No, probably not. I mean, that´s not the
only thing he does. He does play, but not that much maybe, y´know!?
How about your own side projects, then? As
far as I understand you Mike had your own solo thing going on for not
that long time ago?
MIKE: Well, I had to put it aside for a while just until
the summer and release it after the summer because of the touring
commitments and the recording commitments with KING DIAMOND. This
happened quite fast with King DIAMOND. It was like a month from
the decision, y´know, when me and King started to talk about the final
decision as far as this tour was concerned. So, I have to wait for
a while before I can get back to it again. All the songs are finished,
tho. I just have to record them... Well, I actually have recorded
them with a line-up; but NOT with the musicians I want to use for it.
I want a different line-up, so I have to record them all over again.
What ´bout your own solo project Andy, then?
I mean ILL-WILL? How are thing standing for it right now?
ANDY: That was more or less like a project thing.
Nothing was happening with KING DIAMOND at the time, so I decided to
rehearse some songs. I had some songs before I started actually to
write more songs for this project and then record an album to see what´s
going to happen. That was about it actually. I was started with
that project right off I was finished with DEATH back in -93. And the
album was actually recorded in -95, so (or was it -98?!) - and we tried
to get a really good deal with it and nothing happened, so we really got
pretty frustrated basically. However, it was more like a situation
where you go and decide to try out something when you don´t have
anything else going on, y´know?!
Speaking of DEATH, what kind of memories do you
have about Chuck and DEATH when you were working with him?
ANDY: Chuck is a great guy - REALLY!! Despite of
what people say about him really, I mean, people say a lot of bad things
about him. I have NEVER had a problem with Chuck! He´s just
the coolest guy; so down-to-earth and like I said, he´s a friend of
mine, y´know!? When we played in the States last summer. He and
Richard Christy came down to a KING DIAMOND show and we talked to them
for a very long time. Chuck´s just the coolest guy...
Are you still keeping in touch with him?
ANDY: Oh yeah, evey once in a while, yes, I do. The
THE BLACK ROSE/KING DIAMOND album came out for a
short while ago - have you heard it already, Mike?
MIKE: Well, I haven´t heard the entire album, but I
have heard a couple of advance tracks downloaded from the internet.
So, how did you like those songs... ?
MIKE: I think it was cool. I mean, I like all kind of ´70s
progressive rock. It´s of course not as heavy as KING DIAMOND or
as a matter of speaking, MERCYFUL FATE either, but it had a good vibe on
it, y´know, lots of weird keyboard stuff which reminds me of some
of the DEEP PURPLE stuff as far as the keyboards at least were
concerned. I think it was pretty cool really...
Then Mike, I really would like to hear from you,
what you were thinking about MERCUFUL FATE´s "9" album - and
more accurately ´bout your label when they decided to put it out as a
limited edition picture-LP - ONLY 500 copies made!!! Why an earth such a
MIKE: First off, this is the record I was very glad that
our label decided to do, y´know, a limited picture album. It was
a limited edition like you just said... and in my opinion, it´s really
stupid to keep it such a limited thing ´coz only a small bunch of
MERCYFUL FATE fans were privileged to get it by acting fast, y´know
what I mean!? All the copies were sold in 2 hours, I´m told.
Isn´t-that-kind-of-stupid?!?! I mean, record labels are supposed to
sell records, right?!
Back to the "House of God" album by KING
DIAMOND again, however. I just heard one song from you which has
only been released on a Japanese version; does it bother any of you?!
ANDY: No, not at all!! Whatever they wanna do with
it, y´know, it´s up to that Japanese label really!
Don´t you think that particular song doesn´t get
all the recognition it could actually deserve as it´s only been
released in Japan... ?!
ANDY: I think it does because we have NEVER been in
Japan, y´know, so it might get that publicity in Japan that we need, y´know
what I´m saying?! So maybe someone over there hear the song and
goes like: "OH... -WOW!! What a cool song...!!", y´know, and
check things up because we have never been in Japan before and I really
would like to go there sometimes. Maybe somebody picks us up,
hopefully! Whatever they wanna do, is cool, y´know!? Having
a good time there eventually... And I knew from the
beginning there was like a song that we had recorded before, y´know -
and they told me before that it´ll only be released in Japan. I
said: "Sure, whatever you wanna do - that´s fine!!" It might
open doors somewhere, so I´m fine with it.
How ´bout your song writing process, then as it´s
been basically you and King who write all the KING DIAMOND stuff... ?
ANDY: Yea..., King writes all the lyrics. I mean,
I have never had anything to do with that. And when it comes to
music - and if there´s like 10 songs on the album, King usually writes
maybe 6 songs out of them all; I write 4 songs. That´s the
balance we have and what we do is like... (!), I come up with the riffs
for songs, send a tape to him. And he sends a tape or CD to me where the
songs are and that´s basically it. He sends tapes with the ideas
- that´s the way it is and that´s the way it stays, too.
Just out of my curiosity, haven´t you ever had
any communication problems as King is living in Dallas, Texas and you
feel comfortable living in Sweden? I mean, isn´t this kind of a
difficult situation thinking of all those things involved with the whole
song writing process for the band?
ANDY: No problem at all!! Might do some good
ANDY: Y´know, what I mean... ?!
... for not seeing each other for a while?!
ANDY: Yeah, y´know what I mean? We live really
intense way for being on the road and everything, y´know, so it´s
cool. It´s like a vacation every once in a while; it´s great!!
So no problem with that; works out just fine, y´know!? We´ve
been working like that for the last 10 years or so. SHIT(!), time
I heard this strange rumor that King would have
been written all the songs for your forth-coming album entitled
"Abigail pt.2. - the Revenge"; is that true at all?
ANDY: No, it´s not true. I wrote about 3 songs
for it and he wrote 7 songs, I think - something like that. It´s a
little different between albums, but King´s part is always like 60% or
more for each album.
What ´bout today´s music; how much do you guys
follow the current scene - the current metal scene to be more precise?
ANDY: I´d say, we don´t follow that at all. I
mean, we still write music from our hearts, but y´know, of course you
listen to other kind of music, too. Like, I work out as a producer in
the studio - studio back in Gothenburg, I listen to lots of new bands.
I don´t take it as it could affect my song writing process for KING
DIAMOND - and by hearing all these other bands, I could be influenced by
them that much, y´know?! I´ve always been doing other things.
I think as I said before, that´s probably the reason why we have been
alive for so long. We haven´t really ripped off anyone and have
just focusing on our own thing. I think that´s kind of a recipe
us for surviving. Of course you listen to other kind of music, y´know,
you actually do that all the time.
And Mike, how much do you indeed follow the scene,
what´s happening there and so on? Any fave bands at the moment
you´d like mention about?
MIKE: I like NEVERMORE a lot!! Their new album is
such a killer!! Just a great album!! Some of the Gothenburg
bands like ARCH ENEMY, WITCHERY and stuff like that; I like them all.
I still try to listen to everything, y´know, but it´s really hard
because there´s so many records coming out all the time. In the
early ´80s when Hard Rock/Heavy Metal revolution really started off, it
was really easy to follow the scene ´coz you could have bought
everything that came out. There weren´t that many bands at all at
that time. Nowadays there´s like 50 new metal releases each
single week or so. I just cannot afford them any more.
"A HOT BED FOR METAL -
What ´bout some bands from our country; are you
familiar with any of them?
MIKE: Yeah, CHILDREN OF BODOM. They have a good
guitar player; really nice guy, too!! But I really don´t listen
to them that much. But with MERCYFUL FATE we played some festivals
with them in Europe in 1999, so that was cool. And had some beers
at the backstages!! I can tell that was fun...
And you Andy; have any Finnish metal acts cut your
flesh lately... ?
ANDY: Not the way you put it, but... I don´t know,
maybe I don´t listen to... (!), well, I have heard them, tho, y´know,
a lot about bands like STRATOVARIUS and... (?) - are they from Helsinki,
by the way?
Yeah, they are indeed...
ANDY: That´s something what I like. They are
really good, y´know. It even might be kind of music that I listen
to all day long, y´know.
Mike just mentioned CHILDREN OF BODOM by name;
have you heard them?
ANDY: Oh yeah, yeah... yea... - it´s cool!! I
mean, there´s a lot of Finnish bands, y´know, for the last couple of
years there´s been LOTS of Finnish bands raging. I mean, being
kinda ´big´, y´know?! What else you have got except
STRATOVARIUS, CHILDREN OF BODOM and... what elz?!
ANDY: Yeah, NIGHTWISH - exactly!!!
Have you heard of AMORPHIS... ?
ANDY: OH YEAH, we have, of course!! We´re talking
to them for years ago. Mike had been on their last European tour.
Maybe they have been supporting them on tour or something(?). I
don´t know what happened...
Talking about some more about "hot(!)"
Scandinavian metal bands, you were actually having your guest appearance
on a new DIMMU BORGIR album; how did that co-operation get started in
the very 1st place?
ANDY: Well, because the studio where they where
recording the album, Studio Fredman in Gothenburg, he´s a friend of
mine, this Fred - and he probably mentioned ´bout DIMMU BORGIR to me
saying something like: "Oh man, Andy - maybe you should ask from
King if it´s OK for him if you come down and do a lead thing...",
y´know, a solo as a guest appearance, y´know!? So Fred called me
and I said: "Sure, why not?!". I´ve been in a couple of
other projects before that! So we went down to the studio to
record the solo and the guys were really happy with what I was doing
there. I think it´s cool to be able to participate in something
that is really different.
So, what do you like DIMMU BORGIR´s music - like
ANDY: I think that their new album is really good.
It sounds really good. They have done really good job at...(!)
-whatever! studio before, tho, but this time around they sound really,
really good. DIMMU BORGIR´s probably one of the biggest Black
Metal bands in the scene nowadays. I think they are really good.
Black Metal bands have also been playing a great
role when some tribute albums for some certain bands come to the
picture. Are you aware of these tribute albums for KING DIAMOND,
by the way?
MIKE: I know the one which is out on NECROPOLIS RECORDS,
I guess. I haven´t heard it, tho.
Let me enlighten you that much that it´s quite an
interesting package of your songs where some current metal bands are
twisting and turning them with their own recipe and...
MIKE: I mean, that´s the way they should do it.
If they wanna contribute a tribute album, there´s no sense playing the
same thing all over again - trying to sound exactly like the original
versions, y´know!? I really don´t like when a band takes a song and
totally kills the version by trying to copy exactly the same riffs,
vocal lines - whatever! really - and not even trying to put something of
their own into it. I really don´t like that, but I mean, if you
do it on your own style, y´know, the same song on your own style -
maybe doing it a bit more modern or aggressive, whatever!, then that´s
fine with me.
"... OF SOME GOODS AND
Makes sense, doesn´t it?! What about some
of these re-unions then when some bands that existed in the ´70s/´80s,
do comebacks - and in the meantime, have possibly been playing in some
other bands and decide to re-form their original bands again?
ANDY: It depends on what band it is, y´know!?
Let´s take f.ex. KISS...
ANDY: I think KISS is pretty cool actually, even tho I
can smell the money behind it. And that´s a good enough reason, I
guess, y´know, because they have made LOTS of it during their career
anyway; whatever they wanna do, y´know - I respect it. I
would say one of the coolest re-unions lately, was probably IRON MAIDEN
coming back with Bruce on vocals again. I think that was really
cool. Another thing I´d like to see during the next couple of
years or so, is JUDAS PRIEST coming back together, y´know, getting Rob
back into the band again. They´re one of my all-time favorite
bands. Rob Halford joining to the band again - that would be great!!
You probably have already heard Rob´s own solo
album "Resurrection", haven´t you?
ANDY: Yeah, I have. I think it´s really cool.
Well, in fact, I have heard maybe 3 or 4 songs from it, but what I heard
from it, it was really good. I was in contact with Mike (Chlasciak,
the 2nd guitarist in the HALFORD band!) for a couple of days ago
actually on the internet, y´know!? Talked to him a little bit. He
seems to be a KING DIAMOND fan himself a little bit, too, which is nice.
He´s a cool guy. I like Rob Halford; he´s a great guy.
"ABIGAIL (part II) - THE
Moving on right into the future plans of the band,
after you have finished this tour, we´ve been informed that you´ll
enter the studio to record this follow-up to "Abigail" album,
Could you possibly reveal some song titles from
this forth-coming album already?
ANDY: No, not really ´coz King will come up with them
eventually; with those song titles, I mean. But it´s gonna be a
continual to the "Abigail" album like you just said. I
mean, where that album starts, it´s gonna be a new continuation; like
being "Abigail; pt.2" actually. When you´re checking
out the story, there´s a lot of unfinished stuff in that story and that´s
why King decided to go on with that stuff. Music-wise, it will be more
modern sounding, I would say than "Abigail". There´s
still a lot of things in those songs that should actually come directly
from that period, y´know?! And the further I thought about it, is
just that, y´know, just write music that comes from my heart or
something like that way, I would say. Things are pretty good
Have you personally written any songs for that
ANDY: All the songs have been written already...
King has written them... ?
ANDY: YEZ(?)!! After this tour we have like one
week off and then I will fly to Dallas just to start recording the
guitars, y´know what I mean, to start recording the album.
Have you rehearsed those new songs together yet?
ANDY: No, we´re gonna do that during the tour actually.
Just curious to know whether you might play 1 or 2
new songs from that forth-coming new album live on this tour already?
ANDY: Sorry guys, but no... nothing at all.
I assume, however, that you´re gonna record the
songs with the line-up you have now, correct?
ANDY: Yeah, yeah...
By finishing this intie up, well, I know this has
been asked from you several times already, but how do you see the future
for KING DIAMOND; what´s gonna be there for you?
ANDY: Well, as long as we think this is cool and funny -
and as long as we have got the strength and everything which will
hopefully have another 10-15 years or something, maybe... (?) Look at
THE ROLLING STONES, Lemmy, whatever!, I mean, they are still out there,
y´know - like DIO, I mean - all these!! How old is he? 61?!
Y´know, as long as we think it´s cool and fun, we´ll be here for the
fans. Hopefully they´ll be here for us, too.
OK, that´s it. THANXX very much for your
time guys. We hope it was all worth it.
ANDY & MIKE: Thanxx!! It was a pleasure to do it