Metal-Rules.com Exclusive Interview With Mike Wead and Andy la Rocque of King Diamond!

Interviewed By Luxi Lahtinen and Marko Syrjälä

"... 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 Graveyard"!!

 

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 anyway.

 

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... ?!

Right...

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!!

(-laughing!-)

 

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 ROAD"

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 people.

 

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 European tour?

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 SONGS"

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 personally.

 

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 the States.

 

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 actually.

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 "WHORES... (!)"

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, Finns, y´know?!

(-laughing!!!-)

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. -camp...)

"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 guess... ?

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 "Fryshuset..."?!

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...

Poor grandma...

(-laughing!-)

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 band again?

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 days?

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 tho.

 

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 last summer.

 

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 greatest guy...

 

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 limited edition???

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 sometimes, too...

(-laughing!!!-)

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 goes fast...

 

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 - FINLAND?"

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...

(-laughing!-)

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?!

SENTENCED, NIGHTWISH...

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 it?

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 GREATS"

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 REVENGE"

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, right?

ANDY: YEZ!!

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 concerning that.

 

Have you personally written any songs for that concept album?

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 really!!


Mike Wead


King and Andy la Rocque

 


King


Hal


King at the hotel


King in the rocking chair!


King


Mike Live!


King in the chair again


King and Marko from Metal-Rules.com!


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