Interview with Sharlee D'Angelo
(of Mercyful Fate, Witchery, Arch Enemy, ex-Illwill, ex- Sinergy, Ex-Dismember)

Interviewed by JP on October 24th, 2001

Phone call with Mr. D'Angelo at his home in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Courtesy of Necropolis Records, Witchery and Megawatt Mayhem
Reprinted with permission by CJSW 90.9 FM Calgary, Alberta

Interviewers note: This is a transcription of a radio/phone interview I did with Mr. D'Angelo. The text may not read perfectly logically as it was done for a radio audience but I wanted to preserve the integrity of the conversation so I left it virtually intact. The interview was done at about Midnight, on a very poor line, lots of static, and Mr. D'Angelo had just got home and was suffering from a bit of jet lag and what sounded like a bit of a cold.


How are you today?

Not bad, not bad.

 

For those of you who don't know, Sharlee is…the man! I can see people in Swedish bands saying, "Our bass player just quit! We need someone who can play bass. Let's call Sharlee!" You have been in at least half a dozen bands by my count. Tell us how you got into the music business!

Welll.. I don't know…I started listening to music at a really early age, things like…I got my first record when I was three, for my birthday. My brother who is a couple of years older than me was into buying music, so I always had that, a lot of Deep Purple, Rainbow and (? Name of a band, indecipherable) and lots of bands like that up until somewhere in the late 70's when I got a hold of a Kiss record and that kinda changed everything.

 

 

Me too! So many of us started our metal careers with Kiss! Ha! ha!

Yeah! I think so too. You can talk to basically anybody who plays in a metal band and that name will pop up. It is one of the essential ones. From there on I just wanted to be a part of that whole thing. A couple of years later I saw a beat up old guitar in a hi-fi repair store, it was basically just hanging there, I think they wanted something like, $30.00 for it, so I basically did some work around the neighborhood, mowed lawns and whatever, 'til finally I had the money so I could go buy it, and plug it into the stereo at home and from that day on nothing was the same…at least if you ask my Dad!

 

 

Ha! ha! Do your parents still think it's a phase?

By now they realize that it is not, or if it is, it's a real long one.

 

 

So, what was your first band? Was Mercyful Fate your first band where you got your break in '92, '93?

Probably the first real one, yeah. I think before that I was just in local things, not going too far out of town to play and doing some demo recordings, so you could say that Fate was my first break into the business.

 

 

What's it like working with King Diamond?

Uhhh….It's crap! Ha! ha! (burst of laughter) No, No. It's good, it's good, He's one of those guys who really, really knows what he wants out of things.

 

 

I see him as a kind of Gene Simmons character.

He's very focused. What I admire about him is his patience. He can sit and fiddle with stuff, for, it doesn't matter how long, as long as he gets it the way he wants it. I mean, how else could he endure doing two back-to-back six-week recordings? A normal person would go crazy.

 

 

But King's not normal! Ha! ha!

But he has power from below or something! ha! ha!

 

 

So you had a good run through the 90's with Mercyful Fate and then 1999, it was incredible…your career…I was looking at a bit of your history…I mean you did the Arch Enemy, the Sinergy, the Witchery was taking off of course and even the Illwill side project. Tell us about how huge your year was in 1999.

Well, to be honest with you the whole year from mid '99 to the beginning of 2000, it's a bit of a blur for me, everything happened so fast. There was so much going on at once I had to run from one thing to another. So, if I step back and really think about things, like if someone mentions a certain occasion I have to really sit down and (say) "Uhhhhh. Oh yeah, it was that one" , because it really was so much. If I had too think back, when I think back, it helps to have my little tour itinerary or something like that, or an album to get me back because I don't even remember.

 

 

It's amazing…I really enjoyed the Illwill side-project you guys did, it came out of nowhere and not a lot of people have heard about it, but we are fans and we have played it on our show. I think it's really cool, a departure from your traditional sound.

Yeah, absolutely. But the thing is that, that album came out in 1998 but it was actually recorded in 1995!

Really? Wow.

By the time it got out, we had completely forgotten about it. Basically it had been sitting there on the shelf because the original record company deal, when we had started out with the project,…that went sour, and it took some time before it finally got released.

 

 

It came out on this tiny label. (JP's note: Diamond Records)

But that was something that we didn't know if it was going to be a real band or just a little side-thing or whatever, but by the time it was finished we were just dead tired of it. It took so long doing it, basically we did it in Andy LaRoques studio and we did it in times when the studio wasn't booked, I mean night sessions all the time. So thereby we didn't have, "Let's be in the studio for two months and do this." It was done over the period of a year and kinda along the way everyone started to go their separate ways with what they wanted to do with the process and what they wanted it to sound like. So we had 4 people heading in two different directions. It was basically like, Andy (LaRoque, guitars) and Jonas the singer on one side and me and Snowy (Shaw, Drums) on the other side, wanting to take it separate ways, so it was tough, a bit of a tug-of-war there.

 

 

I see. Now tell us a bit about the year 2000. You did some work for Dismember. Are you an official member of Dismember so to speak?

Uhhhmm, I guess I was at the time.

Cool!

It started out in 1998 when I ran into Fred Estby, that would be the drummer, and he asked me if I wanted to do something with them because they had just lost their bass player. So after a little while he called me and said that they had a tour of Europe of coming up, and it just kinda fit the schedule, because I had just finished the tour in the U.S. with Mercyful Fate, so I went straight over to Europe for the tour for Dismember, so I think I had a 4 hour rehearsal or something.

Ha! ha! Wow!

We had to be able to do the rehearsal on the tour bus in Germany!

Amazing.

It was just one of those things. It was a lot of fun. It was a great opportunity for me to play good old death metal which I had never done before, you know, like in a real death metal band, so it was a lot of fun. I like a lot of their old stuff they have done so it was a bit of a treat for me. And the album! They asked me if I wanted to do the album (Hate Campaign) and I said, "Sure!" It took a little time. We had delays booking time in the studio and getting time with everybody and what they were doing with their private life. The recording was done finally in March of 99 and after that I really didn't do anything more with them. I had been out touring the whole year and they had a few gigs coming up, and they said they were going to get their old bass player back (Richard Cabeza) for those gigs and I couldn't do it. So they got him back to do it, Richard is back in the band and that is that.

 

 

Cool. Moving along, tell us about Arch Enemy. It's funny, a lot of people have not heard the new Arch Enemy in North America, as you know it is having trouble getting a domestic release. I phoned my local record store and they said they could bring it in for $50.00. Have you heard any news when it might be getting released in North America?

The last I heard it was January. I can't really confirm that. You might get better information if you call your local Century Media office…

(Interrupting) …and yell at them, "Bring it in!"

I'm sure really sure, but you are right, most people have not heard it, although, if in any country people have heard it is in Canada actually! It was on the metal charts there just by being an import.

Definitely.

I was in the States last week and at least in a lot of the specialty metal stores it was there. Most people are getting the Korean one now, which is a whole lot cheaper than the Japanese one. It's still kinda expensive, it's over twenty dollars.

 

 

Over here in Canada our CD prices are crazy.

I don't know, I'm looking at a January release, I hope, that version will feature, I think, some bonus stuff, at least one more song, a video clip and some other stuff. Now the tables are turned because it is usually Japan that gets all the extra goodies, and now it is the U.S.

 

 

That brings us up to your current band, Witchery. We are actually doing this on Halloween…it's our Halloween Special, so it is very appropriate…great band! I have not read a bad review of a Witchery album. You guys are taking the world by storm with this brilliant blend of black metal, death metal and old school thrash…everything is there and it works. Tell us about how you became involved in Witchery.

I met Jensen ( , guitars, The Haunted) at a party in Gothenburg and at the time I didn't really get who he was, until I found out he was the old guitar player for Séance, which was a band I was familiar with, and it was OK.

The thing I always like about Séance was that even though being a death metal band they were quite thrashy, especially in the riffs, and he (Jensen) was the one responsible for the riffs. So we talked a little bit about music in general. It just seemed like we saw eye to eye on a lot of things especially when it came to our old influences. Then he told me about Witchery, that they needed a bass player so I said "Sure, keep in touch and we will see what happens" so we did and he played me the title track from the old Witchburner album, which was done before I came into the band. So yeah, that was basically right up my alley. I was something I had never had a chance to do before and I had always liked that type of music. And where I had been it didn't have a lot of people who were into the thrashier side of things. So basically it was an opportunity for me to do that. So basically, I just went up the day after New Years in 1998. I just went up with Jensen to Linkoping where the other guys are from. It's right between Gothenburg and Stockholm if you want to take a look at the map of Sweden. So we went up there and I had never met the other guys before. So again we had a 4-hour rehearsal (laughs) and we went right into the studio and just recorded it. We did the basic for the album in a little over a day. It was cool. I think the whole recording took about five and a half days so it was one of those fast deals.

 

 

Excellent! I'm looking at the new packaging for the Witchery and the packaging is very cool. Necropolis is treating you guys well and I noticed you have more lyric writing credits this time. One thing I liked is that inside, (for those of you who haven't seen the CD) everyone in the band is about to suffer some grizzly fate, and I noticed that you are up on the cross. Did you get to choose you own method of execution when you were designing the booklet?

Yeah, kinda. When the idea for the concept came up we basically came up with different methods as you said of execution or torture or medieval ways of doing it. I just figured that, well, a lot of people tell me that I look like Jesus in a way, some people think that is funny, people who have never seen a longhaired guy before.

 

Yeah, We get that a lot over here. If you have long hair people think you are some sort of hippie Jesus freak.

Yeah, yeah! We thought it was kinda appropriate and we went with it. I think one of the more natural ones was Toxine (singer) getting burned at the stake, being a Witchhunter, he would get a taste of his own medicine.

 

 

Exactly! One thing I noticed is that there are no Witchery girls on this CD. I was wondering, can I have Cassandra's phone number? Ha! ha! (JP Note: Cassandra is the well-endowed, topless nun seen in many of their ads and promo campaigns.)

Sure, just don't put it out on the air! Ha! ha! (We both crack up) No, I'm afraid we'll keep her to ourselves.

 

Fair enough. So what's next? I'm hearing you guys are coming to America with The Haunted for a kick-ass tour. Do you think you will get into Canada?

Yes we will! I think, I don't have the dates here…I think first Vancouver then on the end right in the beginning of December we hit Montreal and Toronto.

 

You might be passing through our neck of the woods (Calgary) so we will keep our listeners updated and try to get everyone out to the show.

Yeah!!

 

 

This is your chance to shine. Is there anything you want to tell us?

Not really…We'll give you all of that if you show up at the shows.

Thank you very much.


Witchery album reviews
- Dead, Hot, and Ready
- Restless and Dead
- Symphony For The Devil
- Witchburner

Witchery Interview
Sharlee D'Angelo (January 2000)

Official website: www.witchery.org


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