|Kim Bendix Petersen is born in Denmark on June 14th 1956. He began his musical career in 1973 when he entered as a guitarist in a cover band called Brainstorm. He then left this band in 1978 to join another local band called Black Rose, but this time, as a vocalist. It's in this band that the character of King Diamond took shape. He first had the idea of wearing make-up after seeing the Alice Cooper show Welcome To My Nightmare way back in 1975. In 1980, King left Black Rose to join a punk-metal band called Brats, which featured members Hank Shermann and Michael Denner on guitars and Timi Hansen on bass. After only a few gigs, Brats split into pairs; King and Hank went on one side forming a new band while Michael and Timi collaborated on Danger Zone. Neither teams accomplished much on their own, so when Danger Zone requested King and Hank's assistance on their demo, it gave a new opportunity for the 4 guys to work together again. Kim Ruzz then entered as the drummer; Mercyful Fate was born. The band then recorded 2 demos. The first one contained Walking Back To Hell, Running Free, Black Masses and Hard Rocker. The second one contained Curse Of The Pharaohs, Return Of The Vampire, A Corpse Without Soul and Burning The Cross. These demos received some attention from the underground tape-trading circuit. In spring 1982, the English company Ebony Records asked the band to record 2 songs: Black Funeral and Walking Back To Hell. Black Funeral was included on the Metallic Storm compilation album, while Walking Back To Hell was never released until 1984 under the title A Dangerous Meeting. Then came the Dutch label Rave-On Records, offering the band their first record deal. In the following September, in Stone Sound Studios, Holland, the band recorded and mixed in 3 days only the 4 songs that had to become their classic eponymous EP, also known as Nuns Have No Fun, which came out later that year.
During the summer of 1983, Mercyful Fate got a record deal with Roadrunner Records. It's on this label that their first full length album, Melissa, came out in the following November. Melissa was titled after a skull the band used in their shows, which was later stolen by a fan at a gig at Paradiso club in Amsterdam, Holland. This album have been very well acclaimed by both fans and critics and quickly became a huge hit. Then followed the Black Funeral single in December. This single contained a B-side called Black Masses.
In August 1984, the band released the album Don't Break The Oath, another classic. Sadly, this album had to be the last Mercyful Fate album before their break-up. In the following months, while the band first came to the USA for the tour promoting Don't Break The Oath, frictions between King and Hank began to arise. The band's future musical direction was the root of the tension. Hank wanted to get a more commercial sound (in the likes of Twisted Sister and Motley Crue) while King just wanted to keep the band the way it was from the beginning. None of them wanted to make any compromise; they broke-up in December 1984. Hank went on his side forming his new project called Fate, while King went on a solo career, bringing with him not only the style of Mercyful Fate, but also 2 of its members: Michael and Timi. Kim Ruzz decided to call it quits for the musical scene. He lived for some years in the USA, working as a postman, but then he moved back to Denmark a few years later.
In early 1985, King was looking for 2 additional members to complete the line-up of his new band. He decided to take 2 former members of a band called Geisha: drummer Mikkey Dee and guitarist Floyd Konstantin. However, on the first day of recording, Floyd have been fired. He just wasn't good enough for King's tastes. He have been replaced by the former guitarist of the EF Band, Anders Allhage, who shortly changed his name for Andy La Rocque. The first recording of the King Diamond band have been released in December of the same year, it was the single No Presents For Christmas.
We had to wait up to April 1986 to hear the first full length album of the King Diamond band: Fatal Portrait. King began this album with a trilogy for the songs The Candle, The Jonah, The Portrait, Dressed In White and Haunted. With the exception of these 5 songs, Fatal Portrait was not a concept album, but it surely led the way for the following albums. Five months later, a limited edition single have been released for the song Halloween, containing The Candle and The Lake as B-sides.
In 1987, King pushed the idea of concept songs one step further with the album Abigail. This album had to be the first of a long series of concept albums. In fact, since that day, all King Diamond albums had to be concept albums, except compilations and live albums, of course. Then came the first promo video for the song The Family Ghost. In July of the same year, a single for this song came out. The B-side was an Abigail cut-off called Shrine. This song has been removed from the album because of the lyrics which didn't matched the album's lyrical content. With the ever growing success of King Diamond, there was increasing demand for the re-release of the hard-to-find first EP of Mercyful Fate. In October 1987, Roadrunner released the compilation The Beginning, which contained the 4 songs of the first EP in addition of 4 other songs: 3 songs recorded during a BBC session on march 18th 1983 (Curse Of The Pharaohs, Evil and Satan's Fall) as well as Black Masses (originally available only on the Black Funeral single). Shortly after that, the 2 only remaining members of Mercyful Fate (except King, of course) decided to leave. First, Michael Denner left to spend more time with his family. He was replaced by Michael Moon for the Abigail tour, but have then been soon ousted after the tour for Pete Blakk. After that, it was the turn of Timi Hansen to leave for reasons similar as Michael Denner. The bassist who replaced him, Hal Patino, was a former member of another Danish band, Maltese Falcon.
In June 1988, "Them" was released. This album got a huge success, mainly due to the hit MTV video Welcome Home. As for the sales, "Them" was the album that sold the most. In October of the same year, King released a compilation mini-album called The Dark Sides, containing a few rare tracks such as No Presents For Christmas, Shrine, The Lake and Phone Call. Following that release came a lawsuit from Kiss bassist, Gene Simmons. In fact, Gene thought the make-up King used on the cover of The Dark Sides looked too similar to the one Gene used to wear in the seventies. The lawyers of both parts worked a deal out of court, but however, King had to modify his make-up.
After the release of The Dark Sides, Mikkey decided to leave the band. Mikkey asked too much money and the band couldn't afford it, so he decided to leave. The new drummer was Chris Whitemeier. Chris was not a bad drummer, but he wasn't creative enough to King, so he have been quickly fired. King was still looking for a new drummer for the recording of his upcoming album, so he hired temporarily Mikkey as a session drummer, but just for the recording sessions only. This album, Conspiracy, finally came out in august 1989, and was the sequel of the story told on "Them". For the promotion of Conspiracy, a promo video was made for the song Sleepless Nights. Once again, the cover of the album made some controversy. The front sleeve, which showed King with his bloody make-up, have been censored in a few countries, such as Korea. In this country, the cover shows only the King Diamond logo as well as Conspiracy written at the bottom. For the upcoming tour, King needed a permanent drummer, so in late 1989, Snowy Shaw entered the band.
In October 1990, King released the album "The Eye". Sadly, there was no tour following that release. The main parts of the stories told on "The Eye" is unfortunately true and the characters are real, at the opposite of any other album of King Diamond. This album saw more substantial contribution from other band members than only King and Andy in the area of song-writing. Another thing that is different with this album: the drum parts were recorded with a drum-machine. After the release of "The Eye", Pete and Hal have both been kicked out of the band at the same time and for the same reasons: lack of enthusiasm as well as possibly a drug problem. They both started a new band together, Totem Pole. Hal have been replaced by Sharlee D'Angelo while Mike Wead came in to replace Pete.
The following year, a live album titled In Concert 1987 - Abigail came out. Recorded 4 years earlier, this album was King Diamond's first official live album.
In 1992, 2 other compilations have been released: A Dangerous Meeting, which contained 16 King Diamond and Mercyful Fate classics, and Return Of The Vampire, which was a compilation of 9 old demos recorded in 1981 and 1982. King then left Roadrunner Records. He was unhappy because of the lack of support from them since a couple of years, particularly because of the weak promotion following the release of "The Eye", 2 years before. King then signed with Metal Blade Records. In about the same period of time, King heard, by chance, some new music written by Hank Shermann and Michael Denner. The tracks that he heard made him reminding Mercyful Fate. There Hank cogitated the hypothesis of Mercyful Fate gathering again. Everybody agreed to be part of this reunion project, except drummer Kim Ruzz. Kim was still out of the music industry since 8 years and was happy with his life the way it became since then.
In early 1993, Mercyful Fate was in studio recording a new album, their first studio album in 9 years. The band was still without a drummer, so a session drummer called Morten Nielsen played on this album. The band re-recorded the song Return Of The Vampire '93 with guest drummer Lars Ulrich from Metallica as a bonus track on the album. After the recording sessions, Snowy Shaw moved from King Diamond to be the new Mercyful Fate drummer. Then came out the album, In The Shadows. The band also made 2 promo videos, Egypt and The Bell Witch, as well as a promo single which contained the song Egypt only. The first show was in Copenhagen, in May 1993, with long-time friends Metallica. After the following tour ended, Timi left the band definitively. He left for the same reasons he left the King Diamond band 6 years before: to spend more time with his family. His substitute is King Diamond's bassist, Sharlee D'Angelo.
A live EP recorded during the previous tour have then been released in 1994. This EP, The Bell Witch, was available only for a limited time. Later that year, Mercyful Fate released Time, their second studio album since the reunion. To promote this album, the band have shot 2 other promo videos: Nightmare Be Thy Name and Witches' Dance. Halfway through the Time tour, Snowy left the band and been replaced by Bob Lance. Bob, who came for the American part of the tour, have already worked with Hank in the past: he was the drummer of Fate, the band Hank created after the break-up of Mercyful Fate a decade earlier. Shortly after he entered the band, Bob changed his name for Bjarne T. Holm (his real name).
Even though Mercyful Fate reunited, King wanted to keep his solo band running too. After the last King Diamond studio album, "The Eye", the members were Andy La Rocque, Snowy Shaw, Sharlee D'Angelo and Mike Wead. However, Snowy, Sharlee and Mike have already left the band. The 3 new members were Darrin Anthony (drums), Herb Simonsen (guitars) and Chris Estes (bass). Even though this album has been written about 5 years before its release, it came out only early 1995. King just didn't have the opportunity to release it before that date.
In early 1996, while recording its new album, Mercyful Fate has been asked to participate to a Judas Priest tribute album. The band, which its members are long time fans of Judas Priest, have accepted without any hesitation. The song The Ripper have been chosen to be covered, so it has been included on the album Legends Of Metal: A Tribute To Judas Priest. That same year, 2 new albums came out. At first, both albums were supposed to be released at the same time, but however, the record company have decided to release them a few months one from another; they thought both albums would sell more if the were not released simultaneously. The first to be released was Mercyful Fate's Into The Unknown. This album was much more progressive than any other album Mercyful Fate ever released. The Japanese pressing contained also The Ripper as a bonus track for Japan only. A promo video have been made for the song The Uninvited Guest. A short while later, during the Into The Unknown tour, Michael Denner left the band to celebrate his second son's birth. Michael asked the band to bring Mike Wead in the band to replace him. He thought Mike was not only a good musician, but he had the same kind of playing than Michael had, so he replaced him temporarily for the remaining dates of this tour. Nice fact: Mike Wead and Snowy Shaw were in the same band once again 2 years before in Memento Mori. Then came out the new King Diamond album, The Graveyard. All the King Diamond albums have stories that touch very deep on the human mind and human nature, but this time, the story touched on a subject that is often taboo: incest. This subject seemed to touched so much King that we often have the feeling its King going insane. Here's a little anecdote about that: at the end of the song I Am, King was supposed to repeat only 3 times the word "Die!", but King went too deep into the story that when he did the ending of "I Am", he went so crazy that he started yelling Die, Die, Die, Die like a madman. That was a first take, completely spontaneous. Nobody spoke a word, it was clear this take was the right one!
In 1997, Michael Denner told the band he would not come back in the band to stay with his family and to run his record store properly, so Mike Wead stayed permanently in Mercyful Fate. That same year, even though neither Mercyful Fate or King Diamond released any new albums, King had a lot to do working on the re-mastered versions Roadrunners had to release in November 1997. These new versions all contained lots of new pictures, and for 3 of them (Abigail, The Beginning and In Concert 1987 - Abigail), the cover sleeves have also been modified. Also, 6 of the 9 re-mastered albums contained bonus tracks: Don't Break The Oath (Death Kiss [demo]), Fatal Portrait (No Presents For Christmas, The Lake), Abigail (Shrine, A Mansion In Darkness [rough mix], The Family Ghost [rough mix], The Possession [rough mix]), The Beginning (Black Funeral [1982 version off the Metallic Storm compilation]), "Them" (Phone Call, The Invisible Guests [rehearsal], Bye Bye Missy [rehearsal]) and Conspiracy (At The Graves [alternate mix], Cremation [live show mix]). Only the albums Melissa, "The Eye" and In Concert 1987 - Abigail didn't contained any bonus tracks. That same year, drummer Darrin Anthony been victim of a car accident, which forced him to leave the King Diamond band. He have been replaced by John Luke Hebert.
The following King Diamond album have been released in February 1998. Originally, this album was meant to be called The Plague, but the more the story grew on, the more King realized the story was too similar to "The Eye", so King decided to put that story aside. While King was looking for a new story for the album, bassist Chris Estes, who was taking courses at the college at this time, talked to King about voodoo. Chris had access to a library where he got King five books about that. After reading all that stuff, King was so fascinated that he made of it the topic of the album. In an interview, King once said that he may write a sequel to Voodoo someday, just like the "Them"/Conspiracy albums. To participate to the album, King asked Pantera's Dimebag Darrell, a friend of him, to play a solo on the title track. Only a few days after the release of Voodoo, Herb left the band. He wanted to stay with his girlfriend instead of going on tour with King Diamond, so he preferred leaving the band. Then came the Canadian guitarist Glen Drover to replace him. For many fans and critics, Voodoo was the best King Diamond album in many years, it was a very-well acclaimed album. Four months later, it was the turn of Mercyful Fate to release its new album, Dead Again. On this album, the band made their longer lasting song to date: the title track Dead Again. Another promo video was made: The Night.
In June 1999, Mercyful Fate released their album called 9. For the first time, the band decided to modify its logo. With this album, the band wanted to get a heavier sound, just like the Don't Break The Oath album. At a certain point, the band intended to shot another promo video but unfortunately, it never happened.
After the Mercyful Fate tour following the release of 9, King Diamond entered the studios on January 3rd 2000 for the recording of his upcoming album. Then Chris left for personal reasons. To replace him, John suggested bringing in an old friend of him, David Harbour. David officially entered the band on February 19th. In addition of recording his new album, King recorded some vocals on the title track of Necronemesis, the upcoming album of the Chicago-based death metal band Usurper. The new King Diamond album, House Of God, came out in June 2000 and the American tour began on july 20th. Then came out the new Usurper album, Necronemesis, on September 12th. Note: Usurper covered the song Charon on the King Diamond Tribute album that have been released a few months earlier that year. A couple of weeks after that, David have been kicked out of the band about 7 months after his arrival. What have been said is that David had a very arrogant attitude on stage towards fans, even to challenge some of them to fight with him. King and his musicians couldn't stand such a bad attitude from a band mate. The guy who came in to replace him was someone who was in the band a decade before: Hal Patino. Then left John Luke Hebert on November 8th. He said having left the band for family reasons.
On January 6th 2001, another change of musicians happened for King Diamond: Glen Drover left the band. Glen didn't have enough time for his personal life, his work, his other band (Eidolon) in addition of playing with King Diamond, so he left. A few days later, drummer Matt Thompson entered the band. Note: Matt was in the same band as former bassist David Harbour in 1996, while both of them were in the Michael Harris band. Then on February 19th, King released a live album recorded on September 30th 1980 in a concert of his former band, Black Rose. This album was called King Diamond & Black Rose: 20 Years Ago - A Night Of Rehearsal. This album contained 12 songs: 11 original Black Rose songs plus a cover of Golden Earring's Radar Love. On the following march 11th, Mike Wead came back to the King Diamond band to replace Glen Drover, not only for the European dates of the House Of God tour, but also for the recording of the upcoming album. This tour began on March 13th in Russia and ended on April 30th in Holland. In the meantime, King have participated to Probot, a metal project from Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters). This album will contain songs which all music are written and performed by Grohl. However, many metal singers will write lyrics and sing one song on this album. King's song is titled Sweet Dreams. This project should come out somewhere this year. It's then on may 15th that the recording sessions of the upcoming King Diamond have began. Titled Abigail Part II: The Revenge, this album will be the sequel of the album Abigail, which was released 14 years ago.