TeamRock’s original idea was for me to choose my 10 favourite Mercyful Fate or King Diamond songs. But I found it impossible to do that. All of my songs mean too much to me. So instead, what I have decided to do is tell everyone about my 10 favourite things to do. I hope this gives people an idea of what it’s like to be me!
1. SPEND WEEKENDS FOLLOWING FOOTBALL
I love watching football on TV. I grew up playing and watching football, and this still stays with me. I get up at 6am on Saturdays and Sundays, to watch games from the English Premier League. And I also follow the season in Germany, France, Italy, Spain. But not in Denmark. I couldn’t even begin to tell you what is going on with the Danish clubs these days. I was fascinated by the Premier League season that’s just finished. What an amazing story seeing Leicester City win the title! That might never happen again. And they have a Danish goalkeeper in Kasper Schmeichel! I have a shirt that once belonged to his dad, Peter, when he played for Sporting CP. He was a truly great goalie.
2. WATCH MOTOR RACING WHENEVER POSSIBLE
I avidly follow Formula 1, Le Mans, Indy Car. I love it all. I do go to Indy Car races in Texas whenever I can. The atmosphere is amazing. But when the Formula 1 season is happening, I will sit and watch every race. And when the Le Mans race is on, then I don’t miss anything. That takes place over a 24 hour period, but it doesn’t matter. I will stay up and see it all. One thing I love about motor racing is the sound of the engines. It’s so powerful and earth shaking. That really gets to me. It’s such an exciting sound.
3. RELAX BY PLAYING VIDEO GAMES
This is one of my favourite ways to relax and get away from the pressures of normal life. I will play FIFA soccer, Far Cry and Fallout a lot. My favourite games are sports and action ones. They allow me to switch off from everything and get lost in the moment. Just give me a video game and I am happy.
4. GO FOR A BURN AROUND TEXAS
This is another way I relax. I simply love getting behind the wheel of my car, especially going down all those little back roads in Texas. They’re like farm tracks, I suppose. There are about 40 of use who have regular get together for rallies. You can’t say we actually race each other, but the whole event is very spirited in the we drive. And we are also lucky that the police will turn a blind eye to it, as long as we did it between certain hours, when you can be sure there will be nobody else on those roads. When you are driving in one of those rallies, you get the real feel for what a car can do. There’s a thrill about overtaking someone that gets the adrenalin pumping. Like I said, we never claim to be racing, but we are – shall we say – very competitive!
5. LOOK AT FANCY CARS
I really enjoy going along and looking at other cars. I have entered a car into a show before, and even won once with a German car I owned. But it’s just the chance to go along and see what’s going on that I love. You get classic cars from 50 years ago, where you can literally smell the old, cracked leather, and that is such a thrill for me. Besides, you always get fine wines and food at these events.
6. GET OUT AND TOUR
Even after all this time, I still get a kick out of going onstage and performing. The excitement of doing this has never left me. There’s so much about touring that I hate. Usually, the food is awful and I can’t eat a lot of it. I find it so tough to sleep on a tour bus with those bunk beds and the whole vibe of being on the road is just so boring. People think touring is luxurious and glamorous. Most of the time, though, it is not. But for all my misgivings, when I get on that stage and start to perform, it makes all the negativity melt away. It means as much to me now as it ever did.
7. WRITE AND RECORD NEW KING DIAMOND SONGS
That’s also something I have never gotten bored with. There’s something so satisfying about developing the idea for a song, and making it work. To get the music to go in a certain direction. Usually I write by myself, because I find it so hard to sit down with anyone and work on a song, although there have been times when just by bouncing an idea off somebody else will take a song in a direction you’d never thought about. I always get involved in every aspect of the recording process. From the drum sound onwards. One reason is that I love to arrange songs. I have the temp for a song in my head, and I like to make sure this is followed in the studio. I know what I want. And I love this part of the creative process.
8. LISTEN TO MUSIC ON A MASSIVE SPEAKER SYSTEM
I have Barefoot speakers, which were specially built for me in California, by a guy who is actually a King Diamond fan! Andy Larocque (King Diamond guitarist) recommended I should get these, and they have transformed my listening experience. I have five speakers, each with its own amp, and the sound quality you get is totally true to the way the music was recorded. Brian Slagel, who owns Metal Blade Records, came over to my house once and I played him The Number Of The Beast album, and he couldn’t believe the clarity. He asked me what CD I was playing this from, and I told him it was an old CD, nothing special. But you can hear things you’ve never heard before. I listened on these speakers to Uriah Heep’s Easy Living, a song I have played hundreds of times, and it was like I had never heard the song before. There are things of Heep’s Rainbow Demon, or the song Black Sabbath which I have never noticed before. Once you listen to anything on Barefoot speakers, there is no going back. Your listening experience will be totally altered. It has made listening to music a whole new experience.
9. GO OUT TO DINNER WITH MY FRIENDS
There’s a restaurant in Texas where we usually go. It will be me, my wife and maybe two other couples. It’s a very healthy restaurant; for instance they don’t use butter in the cooking. Because of my health I have to watch what I eat, but there I can have almost anything on the menu, with no problem. We do occasionally have dinner parties at home, with about 12 people being the norm. I don’t drink that much, but when we have parties, it’s nice to sit around with friends and have a fine red wine or beer.
10. SPEND TIME WITH PETS
I’ve had cats ever since I moved to America. At one time, I had a black cat called Magic, and another one called Ghost, who was all white. Now I have two cats who were born within a couple of weeks of each other. They were so tiny as kittens. When we got them their names were Hans and Benji, and we’ve decided to keep on those names, rather than change them to anything exotic. Whenever I go on tour I really miss the cats. And if my wife is with me, then we have to make arrangements for her father to go over and looking the guys. They mean a lot to me.
King Diamond will perform his album Abigail in full at London’s O2 Forum Kentish Town on June 21. Support comes from Angel Witch.
King Diamond was speaking to Malcolm Dome.