"I was begging the doctors to kill me": the confessions of King Diamond

King Diamond onstage screaming
King Diamond (Image credit: Getty)

He’s hung out with Anton LaVey, been dead for five hours and had supernatural experiences, but King Diamond doesn’t scare easily…

What’s the weirdest thing a fan has ever given to you?

“Once I was stood outside a theatre in Chicago and some guy came up to me with a gift in a black plastic bag. Inside was a severed horse’s leg with all the rotting flesh still on it. If the cops came right then, the tour would have been over!”

What was it like meeting Anton LaVey, the founder of the Church Of Satan?

“Very, very special. I got the chance to talk to him in the ritual chamber for almost two hours. Later that night, he took off the Baphomet symbol from his jacket and pressed it into my palm.”

What did you talk about?

“I asked him if I could speak first and tell him what I felt about Satanism, so I wouldn’t just be stood there nodding along to whatever he said! He started playing Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen on his keyboards, whilst looking over his shoulder smirking at me. It was almost like being in the Addams family.”

Mercyful Fate in 1983

Mercyful Fate in 1983 (Image credit: Getty)

So what does the word ‘Satan’ actually mean to you?

“To me, Satanism is very much LaVey’s life philosophy. I wouldn’t call it a bible, because that suggests religion. The most important thing to me is for people to have respect for each other. It gives you the feeling to explore the powers of the unknown, which I have seen many times.”

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen?

“Well, the first thing I saw was a glass floating in thin air, and that just seemed to kick it all off. My old apartment in Copenhagen was so haunted. For a number of years, the weirdest, craziest things happened in there.”

Did bad things ever happen?

“To other people, yes. But not to me. Once I saw a girl being pulled by her hair around the apartment. Another time when Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield were there, a girl got locked in the bathroom and couldn’t get out, even though the door wasn’t actually locked. She came out in tears saying that something was in there growling at her, which is what many people said about that bathroom.”

Does the supernatural scare you?

“No, it has never scared me. I have a lot of respect for what I call ‘the powers’ or ‘them’ and I feel like I get that respect back. But it’s different for other people…”

What has been the darkest chapter of your life so far?

“In December 2010 I had a triple bypass surgery. It took about seven hours, and for five of those I was actually dead – I was not here. You start wondering, ‘Did I bring something with me from the other side?’”

How did it feel when you woke up?

“The most horrific experience of my life was waking up in hospital. I felt like I was in the video Metallica did for One and inside I was begging for them to kill me. I tried pulling the tubes out so they tied me up!”

Has it changed you?

“I feel more aware than ever before. It’s almost like looking out the windows in my house – now I feel like I have double the number of windows and can see so much more. Physically, I now have a thick, braided metal wire that runs underneath my skin holding my ribcage together.”

How did it feel to have the biggest metal band in the world cite you as an influence?

“It’s an honour. To me, Metallica are the best human beings in the world. The way they handle the pressure blows my mind. Their 30th anniversary show was my first gig since the operation.”

Have you ever taken drugs?

“I’ve never been into drugs, but when I was younger I smoked hash twice at a party and I got scared of my own voice. It wasn’t really for me.”

When was the last time you were starstruck?

“I got to say hi to Sammy Hagar recently. I arrived in my makeup on my way to get backstage. I saw him on the VIP balcony and just had to shake his hand!”

The Marilyn Manson Quiz: how well do you know Antichrist Superstar?

Metal Hammer

Founded in 1983, Metal Hammer is the global home of all things heavy. We have breaking news, exclusive interviews with the biggest bands and names in metal, rock, hardcore, grunge and beyond, expert reviews of the lastest releases and unrivalled insider access to metal's most exciting new scenes and movements. No matter what you're into – be it heavy metal, punk, hardcore, grunge, alternative, goth, industrial, djent or the stuff so bizarre it defies classification – you'll find it all here, backed by the best writers in our game.