King Diamond is one tough dude! The 58-year-old rocker has endured a triple bypass surgery, but that hasn’t stopped him from launching his first American tour in 16 years, and on this night neither would food poisoning, but more on that later.
The current trek by the former Mercyful Fate leader and his eponymous solo band has been highly acclaimed, playing to sold-out houses and glowing reviews. Lucky fans, including myself, were ecstatic to learn that the tour would be making its Los Angeles stop on Halloween, a holiday that is custom made for King Diamond’s brand of macabre, occult fueled, shock rock theatrics.
When serendipity drops Halloween on a Black Metal Friday in your lap, how can you help but think of the song “Halloween”?
King Diamond, both with Mercyful Fate and his own eponymous solo band, helped form both the black metal and thrash genres. Kim Bendix Petersen, the man behind the King Diamond persona, was one of the first true Satanists in heavy metal. Many acts had previously used occult imagery and satanism in a somewhat cartoonish fashion, but the King walked the walk and talked the talk. He has been very open about being a devout follower of Anton LaVey’s Church of Satan. All of this lent a certain authenticity to King Diamond’s macabre, occult-fueled imagery and stage show — a show that I have the great fortune of witnessing tonight at The Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles. Look for my coverage of that event right here on Geeks of Doom.
Meanwhile, in the spirit of the day, here is King Diamond from his first solo album, 1986’s Fatal Portrait with the track “Halloween.”
King Diamond is set to return to North America this Fall after a lengthy absence, and as a special treat, the performer is bringing along his full European festival stage set for what is expected to be “the most ambitious and largest productions in North America in the band’s entire history.”
Doctor Landau — the evil sociopath therapist character from several King Diamond concept albums — will appear on stage as part of the act for the band’s North American tour, according to the official King Diamond Facebook page.
[King Diamond (right) and bassist Hal Patino (left) image via Facebook]
Before the boom of social media, when a musician quit or was fired from his band, you’d have to wait a long time to hear anything from either party about the situation. If the band was big enough, like say The Rolling Stones, then maybe you’d read an official statement in the daily newspaper. Other than that, the monthly music magazines had to catch up on the story, interview both parties, and even then, musicians tended to keep private matters private (until their tell-all memoirs were released years-to-decades later). More often, music magazines would fuel the fire of the feud by quoting each musician to make it seem like more of a fight. This was common between Metallica and Megadeth throughout the 1980s, where magazines would put James Hetfield and Dave Mustaine on the cover with a jagged line splitting their images with some kind of fighting words on the cover. (Hey, it sold magazines, that’s for sure.)
Now, instead of waiting for journalists to ask about the details of the split, when someone is fired from or quits a band, they take right to their Facebook accounts to give their side of the story, and soon after, you can expect a response from their former bandmates, and it likely won’t end there.
The most recent band feud to surface is out of the King Diamond camp after it was announced on the band’s official Facebook page on July 19, 2014, that bassist Hal Patino that he had been “relieved of his duties with King Diamond, for reasons very similar to why he was fired from the band in 1990.” The reasons alluded to are Patino’s alleged drug problems. Not surprisingly, Patino took to his Facebook page later that same day to state that he was not fired, but rather that he quit and that he did not have a drug problem. On July 20, 2014, King Diamond himself posted a lengthy step-by-step rebuttal of Patino’s statement, which led to, you guessed it, yet another response from Patino on his own Facebook page.
Black metal is an underground sub-genre of heavy metal emanating largely from Scandanavia. There has historically been a large amount of controversy surrounding black metal due to its primary themes of blasphemy and/or Satanism and the nefarious activities of many of its most prominent musicians (i.e., murder, suicides, and church burnings).
This year has been rife with major happenings from many of the founders of the black metal genre. Metal’s most notorious band, Mayhem, released their first album in seven years, titled Esoteric Warfare. King Diamond announced his first U.S. tour in nearly a decade, including a Halloween show in L.A., which I will be reviewing [the NYC GoD crew will be at the New York show in October]. We also observed the 10th anniversary of the death of Bathory leader and the man who many consider to be the father of Scandinavian black metal, Quorthon.