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“Metal” refers to music that cannot easily be categorized, or that has no strong traits that are associated with any of the subcategories. It is thus simply called “metal” and if you don’t like it, your brain will auto-categorize it anyway,
Interview with Ronnie James Dio conducted by Bill Zebub for Issue #8
I have heard that thou wert in a 50’s band.
Well, I never could understand that because everyone thinks I was a doo-wop singer or something. No, I mean, I had a band at the end of the ’50’s when I first started. But I wouldn’t consider us to be a ’50’s band.
What was that music like? Didst thou have the classic biker hair-doo?
I was never a biker, to tell you the truth – I think we were just getting pissed off about everything that “was” and didn’t want to be that anymore. So I think we were trying to create our own identity. That was a real transitional time anyway. We were just greasy bastards like everybody else. That music is no longer available?
I certainly hope not. It’s part of what your life is. But, you know… It’s so far away from where I took myself.
Art thou vocally trained?
How is it that thy notes are very true when singing live?
I got a great ear. I started playing when I was real young – playing the trumpet. I played all the way through high school. I got a real good sense of musicality, I think, from that. But I think most of it’s pretty natural. You either got a good ear or you don’t. It’s real hard to teach a good ear. So again,, for me, I’m pretty much always in tune. I heard something that happened when thou wert in Black Sabbath. It is very vague. But it had something to the effect of thou having an agreement with the band about public appearances with Ozzy. There was a show in which Ozzy might have come on stage, and the rumor is that thou walked off and never reappeared for the remainder of the tour, and Rob Halford took thy place for that one show.. Does that strike a bell?
Well, it had nothing to do with Ozzy being there, because Ozzy wasn’t there. We had about a month of touring to do from the East Coast, where we started, to the West Coast again. At the beginning of that tour it was already booked that we were going to be playing in Long Beach. We were going to get rid of that gig and open up for Ozzy, not once, but twice… in Costa Mesa. It was at that point that I refused to do those shows. We carried on and did the entire tour… until the last two shows in Costa Mesa, where Rob did go in and took my place. But that was all, really. It wasn’t a personal thing. It had nothing to do with Ozzy. Well, it being “Ozzy” made a big difference. I had left my band. They had left whatever situations they had… led us to reform Black Sabbath again, and to take it to other places… not just with one album… having thrown all those things away that were very personal for me, and going for the Sabbath entity, I felt that… for us to suddenly have to open for the actual lead singer who never really had anything good to say about any of us after it was all over, plus the fact that from the rumblings that I had heard… they were pushing really hard for a reunion anyway… So I felt that at that particular show they were probably going to announce that there was going to be a Sabbath reunion with Bill and Tony and Geezer and Ozzy. And that’s exactly what happened! I just felt that it was not correct for us as the Black Sabbath that we had re-invented to be the opening act for Ozzy. Whatever proportion that got blown out of is beyond me. It’s just me standing up for what I believe. I believed it for the band, not for me. It wasn’t a personal thing for me… opening up for the actual lead singer who had nothing but bad things to say about us, especially Tony. I think the sense of money was stronger than the sense of pride. They did the show. I didn’t. And that was the end of the day for me with the band.
The rumors made thee look like a brat. Well, that’s always the way. I’d have to take that everywhere that I’ve gone. “I’m difficult…” which is completely untrue. “I’m self-centered.. “ which is
absolutely untrue. Again, the things that I do, I do for all the people in the band. I thought every band I ever was in was going to last forever, each and every one – even the reformation with Sabbath. But you have to go into it with that attitude, not like Ian Gilan did when he did the album after me, the “Born Again” album. “Oh thank you very much. Oh, Purple’s ready? Off l go!” That was all so pre-planned and predisposed, and that really bothers me. But any way, I’m the one who supposedly took the blame for it because I didn’t do the shows. Maybe I was at fault. But what could I be at fault for? They DID play the shows. They seemed very happy to do them. They seemed happy with Rob. I’m sure he did a great job. And they got a chance to announce that they were going to re-form and make a lot of money, which I’m sure made them all happy until Ozzy said, “Aah… I was only kidding. “ By that time, whoever had set about to destroy what we had put together again,did a really good job of it. A lot of it was very well thought out by someone. Wouldst thou say that thou left Black Sabbath on bad terms?
As usual, we kinda left on “no” terms. We never had a lot of communication except for the early days. Tony is a really nice, funny person. I don’t think that we harbor any resentment for each other, except for a couple of little instances. But I’m sure that if we saw each other right now, it would be exactly the same as it always has been – a hug and a “hey!”
I heard that thou left because they wouldn’t let thee play trumpet on any of their albums.
Trumpet AND bongos. That’s what really pissed me off. ‘They wouldn’t let me play bongos. To a man who had once sold out arenas how does it feel to be reduced to a tour of small clubs?
It doesn’t feel any different to me. It never has. I’m a musician. I always have been. That’s all I ever wanted to do. And I have been all these years. So I accomplished goal #1. Playing in arenas just happens to be a by-product of some of the success you have. I never asked for that either. It makes you want to be on stage. It’s very impressionable to the young mind. But it wasn’t really the be-all/end-all for me. Luckily, I was able to get to that point. I just take life for what it is. I’ve always been really realistic about it. If you could have one good career that lasts you like 5 years tops, then you’re pretty damn lucky because this is a brutal business where you come and go very quickly. I’ve been lucky. I had careers three different times. Four or five, really… from ELF…
Interview with Eric, conducted by Bill Zebub for issue #27
A long time ago I had read a few articles in which King Diamond was said to have cast a spell on Manowar because they fucked him over in some way – maybe having something to do with not letting merciful Fate borrow some amplifiers. Years later, when I had asked King Diamond about this, he refused to say anything bad about Manowar, and he declined my offer of letting him give the un-edited story, dismissing it as simply a thing of the past. The stories in the old magazines didn’t really fit the character of King Diamond and it seemed that they blew the story out of proportion. The truth was probably far less interesting than the fictional drama that was presented by those charlatan journalists. When I spoke with Eric, the singer of Manowar, I told him what I had heard, and I asked him if he would give his side of the story. I made it clear to him that I distrust metal media, and that I am not going to fuck him over. As he told the tale of those early days, I thought to myself that I had a gold mine, especially because my interview would embarrass those so-called “professional journalists. But as Eric spoke, I sensed that he was under the impression that King Diamond had bad-mouthed him, and I explained to Eric that King Diamond could have devoted entire chapters of ant-Manowar sentiment in my magazine in any of the countless interviews I had done with him, but King always refused to say anything negative about Manowar, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the metal press had misquoted King, and Eric and I both laughed because he was no stranger to being misquoted in the press himself. So rather than print herein that first segment of my conversation with Eric, let me just say that my prediction was true – the actual story behind those dramatic headlines of the past were entirely false, and I am happy to report that Eric finally was made aware that King never badmouthed him – it was the lies of the media. I would like you to take this time to appreciate how cool I am. Just kidding. What I do want you to do is to always question what you read because you are probably not aware of the motives behind an article or review (and that goes for what you read in the Grimoire too).
(editor’s note – Strangely, after getting Eric to talk about the past, my tape recorder ate the tape and stopped suddenly, so I had to waste some time putting Humpty Dumpty back together again)
(Eric) What are you doing, man? (laughs)
It’s a Satanic curse.
(Laughs) I gotta show a little respect for King. Let me tell ya, it happened so goddamn long ago. What’s the big deal? That’s how I look at it now. There’s King Diamond fans. There’s Manowar fans. There are Manowar fans that are King Diamond fans. You know? At the end of the day, you wanna go see King Diamond – go see him. You wanna see Manowar? Come see us. It’s what the fans want. You know? Bullshit – at the end of the day – should be swept under the carpet. It’s water under the bridge now.
Yeah. I just wanted to destroy any kind of stupid rumors.
Yeah. Both our careers are still riding high right now. So, I mean, who cares about it now? It’s over and done with. That’s the way it goes.
I’m just glad that I finally heard the real deal.
Well, you heard it from me, anyway. That’s exactly what I remember happening. I think this happened in ’84. It was a long long time ago. We treat everybody who opens up for us with total respect. We really do. We always have.
Have you ever been told that you guys play too loud?
(laughs) All the time, brother!
I used to never understand why people wore earplugs until I saw you guys.
(laughs) Personally, I think that metal music should be played loud. It’s powerful music. If you’re gonna be playing loud, you not only have too see metal – you have to feel it. So I wanna be in that crowd and I wanna feel that bass drum hit me in the chest. I think that’s part of the show. I want that when I’m out there. It goes with the territory. It’s gotta be loud.
Are you vocally trained?
No. I had to learn how to do it from the school of hard knocks. Hard Knocks University. I think it’s just from years and years and years and years of being out there, singing, finding out what works for me and what niche I can get into to make it so I don’t have a sore throat at the end of the night. (laughs) I found a way that works for me. I sing from my diaphragm. I don’t sing from my chest any longer. When I do that I find that I have control and I don’t have a sore throat.
There was a period of time in which I was trying to find someone to teach me opera. This girl I talked to told me that it’s harder to sing metal than it is to sing opera. (I laugh) I noticed on your new album that you are actually singing an opera song.
I did study opera to do that. I did go into the city and I studied with an opera singer. And I don’t know if I agree with that (editor’s note – that metal is harder to sing than opera), maybe because I was brought up with metal. Opera was a whole new thing for me. To learn how much wider your mouth has to go when you’re singin’ opera – it’s unbelievable. To really project and to make it sound like it’s supposed to sound – it was a lot to learn. It was a lot of work, man.
I’m pretty sure that the girl who told me this only said that because she was training metal vocalists. I don’t think she had an opera background.
Yeah. It’s definitely two different styles. The only thing that you can say about both is that, to sing correctly you have to sing from the diaphragm. But opera is an entirely different thing. Opera is more breath control.
Bands on tour have maybe a drum tech, a guitar tech, but manowar is the first band I heard of that actually has a Harley tech.
That’s true! (laughs) That’s right! (laughs hard) You’re right, brother! Well come on! You’re talking to a band that, when we’re on tour for Europe we have a tour bus for the crew, a tour bus for the band, and a tour bus for the chicks! And that’s true! (laughs) Yeah, we have a Harley tech. It’s pretty wild. But we’re kinda known for doing pretty wild and different things. Scott is his name. He comes on the road whenever we bring the Harleys out. He takes care of the bikes. That’s his gig.
So you guys would never park outside of a biker bar with Japanese bikes.
No, no! (laughs) I wouldn’t own one, brother! (laughs hard)
It seems that bikers are pretty Manowar-knowledgeable. One particular guy, Jay, asked me how you feel about terrorism. Manowar is supposedly very pro-American.
I don’t know about being pro-American. I mean, we’re proud to be Americans, sure. We’ve has songs that talked about, and still do talk about heroism. We talk about how when things are down lift yourself up. Be a leader, not a follower. Believe in yourself and do what you feel is right. Fuck everybody. Don’t take shit from other people. We’ve always had songs – from Battle Hymns – biker songs. We still do. It’s kinda our life. We’ve always ridden bikes. It’s part of a lifestyle. It goes with it all.
Someone wanted me to rib you about the bass player wanting to be the singer of the band because he likes to talk between songs, but he couldn’t pull it off so he got you. Why is it that he talks between songs?
(laughs heartily) Because I get very little time to go backstage and sip on water and do whatever I have to do. That’s my only time I really get to rest up. All I can tell ya’ is that that’s my time – when he talks. It also gives a different perspective. People hear my voice all night long. And every other band – the lead singer does all the talking between songs. Because everybody else does it we decided not to do it. Sometimes Scott will get up and say something. If I’m singing all night long, you heard my voice enough. If Joey’s got something to say, he says it. His time to say it is a certain time in the set. It gives me time to do whatever I have to do – either change my outfit or do whatever I do backstage or talk to some chick backstage – whatever.
There are some death metal vocalists who speak in a normal tone between songs and they sound kind of gay, so I was wondering if you were ashamed of your speaking voice.
(we both laugh) You know, as a matter of fact, the new show that we do, it’s just one big medley of Manowar songs. There’s no talking in between. There’s no talking until the very end of the night. The songs just go into one another. There’s no rest at all. Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang. It’s pretty rip-roaring ass-ripping.
I don’t know what happened to Ross the Boss. Was that a friendly thing?
Oh yeah. Ross came up to us after Kings of Metal and told us that his heart was into blues, and he wanted to play a more blue-sy style of music. Hey man, ya’ gotta be happy. So we said OK. He finished the album with us and put his heart and soul into the album, and then it was time for him to move on. We want him to be happy. So we did what we had to do. Sure, we’re still very close friends. He was just here to sign the albums for the Silver Anniversary Edition. He came up and autographed albums. As a matter of fact I think he’s on tour right now with Manitoba’s Wild Kingdom. We’re still close friends. It’s not like I talk to him every day. I mean. All past members of Manowar are on really good terms. We own our own record label now – Magic Circle Music. Rhino, our old drummer- he’s got a project coming out on Magic Circle, and so does David, our guitar player. Once you’re in the band Manowar it’s like an inner circle of brothers, and that never changes.
Unless of course you buy a Japanese bike.
(laughs) Unless you buy a Japanese bike. Then you’ve got to do some explaining.
Manowar had Viking lyrics before this whole black metal explosion. I was wondering you were considered Viking metal, like Into Glory Ride. How do you feel about the Viking theme in that explosion?
It’s always been our image right from Day One – to bring music back to its origin. People were getting out of hand and it was more important to see a balloon blow up backstage. That got the biggest applause. You know who I’m talkin’ about. That got the biggest applause when people started blowin’ up fire and bombs on stage. That got the biggest applause of the night. People were kinda losing the fact that music is why people get out there. So we’re trying to bring that back to its roots. That’s how we started singing about Vikings and that whole image. It was a strong powerful image. Think about it. I don’t know if you’ve ever been up in that area – Sweden or Norway – but it isn’t like Florida. The weather’s pretty shitty and these guys are out there in ships in those days, out conquering the fuckin’ world. Some bad-ass guys back then. The whole image was a cool image to have. We thought, no one else has done this, so let’s do it. We pioneered it. It’s amazing how other bands now – you pick up albums in the heavy metal section – how many bands carry swords? It’s incredible.
I was always wondering if you were aware of that movement, but touring with Immortal, you became aware if you didn’t know about it before.
We’re pioneers in a lot of things. We’re the first band to record digital music – full digital sound. We’re the first band to record with symphonies behind us. And now we’re the first band ever to record in Super Audio CD format. It’s a brand new format that’s just coming out. Phillips approached us when we were in Europe mixing this album. They wanted to know if we’d be interested in being the first band to come out with Super Audio CD. It made sense. We’ll do it. It enhances the sound. It’s like we can put the audience on stage. So if you’re listening to Warriors of the World in Super Audio CD format, you can hear the drums behind you, the vocals in front of you, the bass on your right and the guitar on your left. Pretty cool. We put you right up on stage. I think it’s the future of music.
Did you guys ever play Dungeons and Dragons?
I did when I was younger.
You can’t hide it.
(laughs) Is that right?
Actually, I used to play Into Glory Ride just to get in the mood. That was the pre-game album. Almost everybody I know raises the horns for that album. It’s a must-have metal album.
I don’t know if it was a turning point for us, but it was the favorite of a lot of people.
Were you aware that Anal Cunt did a cover of Gloves of Metal?
Yeah. I heard it. It’s hilarious.
Were you the guys who invented the “Death to False Metal!”?
Yeah, we were. That’s another thing that everyone picked up on. We’re the ones who started that because there were too many bullshit artists out there who were passing themselves off as musicians. They can only be a musician in the studio where they have all the gimmicks. Then when they go out on stage they’re fuckin’ their fans because they can’t play live.
Would you agree that Germany still holds the flame for power metal?
I don’t think it’s just Germany. It’s throughout Europe. It’s Brazil. It’s Japan. Metal’s pretty happening everywhere, except the United States. I think it’s a couple of reasons. MTV is one. They just refuse to play metal. I think radio’s another. They refuse to play metal. And record companies don’t want to spend the money to keep metal bands on the road. It’s an expensive proposition. The metal fans that are out there are true metal fans. They believe in the band, just like anywhere else in the world. Anywhere else in the world you’d be playing for 10,000 people a night.
I think it’s kind of silly how yuppies turn their noses upwards at the mention of metal, but if you compare the lyrics, metal is cerebral and the other is full of words like “Yeah baby.” So I don’t understand how they can look down on something that’s superior.
It’s just got a bad rap in America.
Or rap is bad.
Yeah, I’m really mad about rap, especially the hybrid of metal and rap.
So I guess you don’t have that in your record collection.
No way! That, or country. Ok?
Is it true that Manowar is at war with Nevermore?
No. Not at all. I’ve never head that we were at war with them.
It’s one of two stories. Either Warrel Dane uccuses you of ripping off his style of singing, or I heard that in the early days some girl called him a Valkyrie, but as an insult, and he didn’t know that a Valkyrie was a girl, so he kept telling everyone that he was a Valkyrie, and he found out that the Manowar lyrics showed the truth that A Valkyries were female, he wanted to put you guys down to silence the fact.
No. I never heard about that. That’s news to me.
I just made that up.
(Laughs) You fucker! (laughs) They’ve been around for a while, and I think they play from the heart. If they play from the heart and not from the wallet then it’s true metal. If you wanna make money from this business, be an entertainment lawyer.
What’s the story with Metal Blade and your Magic Circle label?
I couldn’t answer. Joey deals with all that.
Interview with Peter Steele conducted by Bill Zebub for issue #10
There are people who have heard the radio hits like “My Girlfriend’s Girlfriend” who don’t even want to give the album a chance because of that. It seems that Type O Negative has bi-polar disease. You have songs like that, and then you have songs like “Bloody Kisses”.
I guess that makes us schizo-phonic. I mean, I can write really poppy stuff and I can write stuff from my heart… you know, really slow songs about self pity and death and all the good things in life. And I think that I would rather write songs about the latter, the things that come from my heart and from my balls -not things that will come from my bank account ultimately.
You have bowed out of music before. After Carnivore you had a good job for the city. And you’re hooked right back in with Type O. Do you think that after this dissolves, as you say, that you might be seduced back to the dark side yet again?
Anything is possible. But you know, I think this so-called rock music is the youth. And I believe that it should be played by youth… and at 36 years old, I mean, I don’t feel like an old man, but when I’m on stage and I see 16/17 year old kids up in the front row, I’m like, “Wow. those could be my kids”. When the day comes that I’m on stage and I say, “Those can be my grandkids” then that day’s never gonna come. So, with this album, if I don’t make my mark now, then I think I’m never gonna make it. I’ll just move onto something else. You now what I’d really like to do is really fuck the record company and just… even after this next album, just finance my own recordings and take out a PO Box and sell my CD’s really cheap, like $5 each, to kids that just want to listen to what else I’ve been doing. It wouldn’t be such a money-making thing. It would be misery loves company, and I’m great company. So send me five bucks and I’ll send you a horrible CD of my latest music.
Ah… the self-deprecating style.
No, it’s the truth. It is complete objectivity. I look in the mirror and I see nothing more than 240 pounds of really low-quality chemicals. And that’s about it.
I saw in your video that you’re quite the vitamin boy.
Yeah, I got a lot of stuff there. Most of it’s legal.
You’re not talking about that caffeine-like substance that gave a weightlifter a heart attack.
Oh, that was ephedrine. No. Toxicity is a matter of quantity. If you overdo anything you’re gonna die from it. So I don’t get freaked out when some kind of new substance comes out and somebody dies of a heart attack, because if you overdo it or if you have a problem that makes you susceptible to some of the side effects, then you’ve got to be careful. But otherwise, no balls, no glory.
The health thing… was that a sudden idea for you?
No, I’ve been working out for the past seven years consistently, sometimes more intensely than others. But I always try to maintain myself, somehow to, I guess, feign off old age. And part two is, no one likes to see a fat bastard up on stage trying to look sexy while there’s thirty pounds of fat hanging over the sides of his pants.
I didn’t know you were so conscious of such things.
Sure man. I think when you go to see a band it’s not just a sonic thing. It’s a visual thing as well. I think the people who are up on stage should have some kind of acknowledgement of self-image. It doesn’t mean that you have to be conceited. But if you’re not looking so good and you can change it, well change it. If not,well then get the fuck off the stage.
The first album “Slow, Deep, and Hard” had gruff vocals and it had traces of Carnivore in there.
That’s because probably at least half the songs were left-over Carnivore songs.
Then “Bloody Kisses” had a sudden turn… no warning at all. But in the Carnivore song “Male Supremacy” it showed that you can sing.
It shows that I at least try. Let’s put it that way. I think after “Slow, Deep, and Hard” I realized anybody can scream their head off. Anybody can do this. I think it takes not so much more talent, but at least more effort to attempt to sing on key and try to work out a melody that people might remember. I’ve had people come up to me and say, “You know, Pete, I think you’re a fuckin’ dick, but I just can’t get your songs out of my head.” And I’m like, I don’t know whether I should thank you or punch you.
And King Diamond… what do you think of his vocals?
I really can’t say anything bad about him. Just because I’m not a fan of his music doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate what he does. When I was into heavy metal I thought he was great. you know, like ten years ago. The mere fact that he stuck with it and that he can still reach those high notes.. I don’t know, maybe he’s got a C-clamp on his balls… I don’t know. But I think that’s worthy of a compliment. But I think that men should sound like men, which is not putting him down, but if I’m gonna hear somebody sing in soprano, this person should have a vagina.
The reason I asked you was, in the song “Love You To Death” you had a vocal style that I hadn’t heard before, and it had a bit more emotion to it… sort of like King Diamond.
You confess to that, then?
I confess that some of the vocal stylings that I use come from metal. I mean, I was always into bands like Sabbath and Priest and Deep Purple. But I’m not going to say that any of my techniques come from King Diamond.
There have been things that your record label has suggested to you that got you into trouble. Weren’t you told to be very outrageous in a series of interviews and you said “Rape is a beautiful thing?”
Well, it seems like the person that was interviewing me that time failed to realize that I was being sarcastic. This guy who actually interviewed me in my own house and was sitting on my furniture and after me making him coffee had the balls to go and turn this into something that made me look really unfavorable. Of course, having five sisters and five nieces, rape… the only punishment for rape is castration, which should be done by the woman who was raped. So it was sarcastic. I guess you can call it a joke in poor taste which I do regret. But I regret not having met this writer after he wrote this, because I am going to… let’s see, pick him up and break him over my knee like a piece of really cheap plywood.
But you wouldn’t rape him because then he’d have to castrate you.
Would I rape him? Maybe with my bass.
Would you say that your attitude toward women was reflected in albums?
My main problem with women is that I base my entire existence around them and I love them to death. That’s why I get so upset when they fuck me over or when they walk out on me. So it’s not that I think that women are any different than men because I think that men actually fuck over women more. It’s just that I hate people in general. I’m a specist. Human beings are the lowest forms of life. We are the only species that will shit where we eat.
“Shit” has a significance. You shit on your own picture.
Yes, that was actually real shit, by the way.
In some cultures that’s used as a sign of manliness. He who shits the biggest log…
Do you now how much talent it takes to actually be able to shit on cue? I went to catholic school for eight years to learn how to do that.
In interviews you often complain about the facilities on tour.
Yes, I am a person who is very comfortable being home. I’m a person who likes a routine. I don’t like the fact that when you’re on tour you can’t date when you want, you can’t even take a shit when you want, you can’t eat when you want, you can’t even do laundry when you want. So it’s like you have to seize every opportunity you can to do the thing you have to do at the time because you never know when it’s gonna come, and this is something that I really dislike about touring – which is the other reason that this album may be my last. I’ve been all over this world and I have seen nothing. There was so much touring and so many shows back-to-back.. you pull up, you play, and you leave. That’s it. I’ve seen every highway and I visited every single McDonalds. That’s it.
How did you learn to cope with a bathroom that was less than supreme?
By lining the toilet on the tour bus with a plastic bag that we can crap into. And then if a car cut us off we would make sure that we got ahead of it at some point and just open the window and let loose the bag.
What is your favorite filling for pierogies?
Perogies… they’re way too fattening. Is sour cream in there? Is that what’s, like, normal?
I don’t know. I heard that you were a Polak. So you should be the pierogi specialist.
I have, like, 1/16th Polish blood in me. So I never even tasted one.
What else comprises the Pete Steele make-up?
Icelandic, Russian, and Scottish.
I heard that after reading up on Chinese legends, possibly even being in China, rumor has it that you found out about the Chinese vampire and you wanted to bring in a Chinese woman to do keyboards for you… to bring that particular legend into the gothic scene.
That’s complete news to me. I never said anything like this. I have never even heard of a Chinese vampire.
Well supposedly the way we have heard of the European vampire changing into bats and wolves… the Chinese vampire changes into a snake and he doesn’t bite his victims. He constricts his victims. And you thought that this was more romantic.
I certainly don’t think so.
I created that rumor, by the way.
I don’t know what to say. You had me going there.
I’m sorry about that. Have you ever been mistaken for a woman?
I told you I was going to ask you dumb questions.
Have you ever met Pat, from Red Stream?
From Red Stream?
Yeah, it’s a label in Pennsylvania. (editor’s note – the label is now in Florida)
Possibly. I’m not sure. Is this a male or a female “Pat”?
Well, he has feminine tendencies.
It could just be that he’s affectionate.
Well I don’t know. I meet quite a few people, and if I did meet him I would probably recognize him by face and not by name.
I heard he offered you a deal for some alternate recordings and that you were at his house. He lives kind of on farmland.
And you were quite taken by his donkey “Pierre”. That’s what he calls it. I don’t know why, but you were trying to hand-feed the donkey and that it either accidentally or maliciously bit your favorite bass finger, and that you remember him since then.
Uh… either I was really drunk and I don’t recall any of this, or this guy is just out-and-out lying. I don’t think I ever touched a donkey in my entire life.
Have you ever played Dungeons and Dragons?
No, but Josh was really into that for a while. I like to live my life that way… rather than sit home and gain weight and eat a pint of Haagendaas and wash it down with Absolute Vodka I would rather be out there and doing the exact same things that these people are just fantasizing about with this little board game.
The reason I ask is because you either have a great awareness of various legends throughout the world or you played some sort of fantasy role-playing game.
I’m into my past… Celtic, Norse, Slavic. So I definitely read up on history, and of course, there’s a lot of culture and religion in there and stuff. So from time to time these subjects do come up. But I certainly don’t play any games. I think the last game I ever played was “Twister” and that was with two naked women… which I do not regret.
How much input did you have with the stuff between the videos?
Let’s just say this… it was actually me that came up with the idea that I wanted to put a video out and my main goal was to put out the 5 professionally done videos onto one tape so that the fans who could never find them anywhere could finally go out and buy them if they chose to do so. The second reason being that we were between albums and I thought it would be a good idea to let people know that Type O Negative had not been killed in a Pakistani train wreck and that we are still here and the honeymoon is not over yet. So this is like a bridge over the River Styx… two sides of agony. But to finally answer your question, it was I who came up with the concept, but it was Josh who scanned all the footage and chose all the embarrassing tidbits that took place between videos.
Adding to the self-deprecating style.
But that, you must admit, has been somewhat of a factor in your success.
Oh sure. I mean, i don’t think that I am better than any one of our fans that goes out and buys one of our CD’s. Or, I don’t think that I am better than the bacteria that is all over this fuckin’ phone right now that is probably gonna cause some kind of sickness three days down the line.
When you meet a woman, is she usually a woman who knows you through the band and has all these assumptions about you, or do you like to date outside of the Type O fame?
I like to be with women, whether I meet them through the band or food shopping or if I run over their foot with my car or something. I like them to like me for what’s inside first. Then I’m hoping that they like what’s on the outside too. I think there’s no shame in admitting that the first thing I notice about a woman is how she looks. Then I’m hoping that the inside matches the outside. But I’d rather date a not-so-good-looking woman who has a great sense of humor and is intelligent and confident than some really attractive one who just has a vacuum inside of her.
What is your attitude about death metal?
I think death metal is a great outlet for young people just because it’s heavy, it’s hard, it upsets parents, and pretty much sings or speaks about some of the things that fans of the music can actually go out and do themselves. So I think, just like anything else, death metal is simply a form of sublimation. It’s safe to buy the CD and maybe fantasize about some of the themes. But there’s really not that much worth going to jail for. Some of the subjects that I’ve heard, whether it’s black metal or death metal… I mean, I don’t try to draw the lines too much. For me, that’s like condemning someone to a death sentence ultimately when you put a label on them because once they try to change then the fans are gonna think that they sold out. When I like music I don’t care what you call it. Music, to me, is a pleasing and logical succession of rhythm and tones. That’s how I judge it. I don’t care if a guy has white face paint on or how he looks or how she looks. If I like it, I like it. If I don’t, I don’t.
I was turned off by the muddy production at first, but as I listened I realized that i wasn’t going to hear something cliche or easy to define. What had initially been deemed hazy became atmospheric. This made me want to hear more, and so I knew that the lights had to be turned off. It was time for an inner journey.
The guitars created a wall of sound, Rather than sadden with melody, they chilled with icy notes. This wasn’t a flow. This was an ever-present moment of agony. These weren’t riffs, per se, but musical accompaniments to inner horror. Ghastly chords chimed hauntingly as I was pulled deeper. This music created a mental place.
Whenever there was melody, it was never a repeated theme – more like remembrance of dark times, as if I were recalling moments of pain, each summoned memory replacing the one that was re-lived moments before..
Stertorous voices expressed the torture of the words. As I descended into madness, there came a passage in “Ashes in Bloom” that was like the parting of clouds, but the sky behind was more terrifying. Inside this new patch of sound, the voice suddenly changed to that of an intensely emotional bard. I felt as if the song had purposely prepared me to be crushed. This is mastery.
As powerful as the ideas are, the methods are not used for each song. The heartfelt singing does not burst into every song, nor does it bear the same qualities upon every appearance. The only predictable thing about this album is that it will immerse the listener in gloom.
“Sing, oh children of loss, your cracked hands grasping for wonder in emptiness”
This is a bit of an unusual album with almost every song bearing its own style, and in some cases, the styles change withing the songs.
The (female) singer reminded me of Grace Slick. This is because her strong voice can soften when needed, and she can adeptly ride through all manner of riffs, changing as needed.
The first song demonstrates her range quite well. When I first heard it, there was a phenomenon – the female essence caressing the receptors in my male brain, so-to-speak. Such smooth coursing of notes was easy to love, but these were often disrupted by sudden bursts of power. This woman can conjure up quite the scream. As I mentioned, this singer has several techniques, coloring the songs in many ways. Add to this the poetic lyrics that are clearly understood, delivered by a wizened voice – it is like hearing a soul bleed the words.
That experience was just the first song “Blood and the sand.” I’ll jump ahead to the last song, “Underdogs” and must inform you that the album is worth the price if it just contains these two songs. Of course, you get a lot more than that, but these two are the most savory.
“Underdogs” is superbly dynamic, riding emotional tones deftly, stitching together forms that ultimately create the feeling of a beginning seeing its end. The sense of a mad story finally resolving is quite a feat to experience.
As for the music, you must be warned that Madder Mortem is a band that has its own style, or should I state, MANY styles. Don’t go into this with any other expectation than to go into new territory that sometimes feels distantly familiar. Treat yourself to an adventure. When was the last time that you had to listen to an album for a few months in order to unlock its man aural secrets?
“Make from the ghosts that crowd my mind a single thing…..”
Interview with King Diamond conducted by Bill Zebub
(This interview was published in Issue #7)
I had brought to Kings attention that the song “Melissa’ did not have vocals over a certain part of the song when the album was released by Megaforce Records. But when Roadrunner Records released it, suddenly there were new vocals! Also, the Megaforce version had a very thick reverb on the voice, whereas the Roadrunner version had no such processing on the voice. I sent King Diamond the two different versions.
Did you receive the two versions of “Melissa?’
How do you think that happened?
I have absolutely no clue. It’s like I told you, it’s a physical impossibility. It makes absolutely zero sense.
Yes. If you handed in the master to Megaforce, how could they have erased vocals?
What I hear is that giant reverb that you talk about… You talked about that too, remember?
And that I hear big-time. Wow, man! I do NOT understand how that could’ve happened.
So which version do you prefer, the Roadrunner or the Megaforce?
Well, the Roadrunner is the original.. I know that. I really cannot explain how that can happen because it’s impossible.
That ‘Melissa’ song is like the Bermuda Triangle.
Did you hear the backwards message that I also provided, where you are saying, “What message is this?”
That I did not hear. No. Did you include that on the tape?
Yes I did. Perhaps I shall send another.
That is very interesting. Maybe there are even more powers to that song. That other stuff there is so strange because I remember the first time we talked about it I was like, “No fucking way! There’s no way in hell that that can happen.’ And I still would say that there is no way in hell that that could have happened. But I have now heard that it exists, which is mind-blowing to me. You just can’t add to vocals. We have the 24-track master. They could never have gotten a hold of that, first of all. They get a finished master. They would never get a 24-track tape. That remains in the studio. What they would get could be a 1/2” master, which is everything mixed down. It’s what they master the album from. So the only thing they could have done there, if somebody thought it was funny or whatever, go in and add some extra reverb or something. But then it would be through the entire thing. It would be guitars, bass, drums… everything, because you can’t divide up tracks on a 1/2.” It’s not possible.
Someone was interpreting your vision.
Yeah. But probably not humans because it’s physically impossible.
Indeed this is quite a mystery. It is so odd that, of all backwards messages that could appear on his album, the one that would result when the words “”Satan”s cross upon the wall” are played backwards is “What message is this?’ Let us delve further. Could the backwards message be asking “What are we telling you by wiping out vocals even though it is not physically possible?” Is this evidence of the supernatural?
I have been discovering gold mines of old material when Kim Ruzz was in the band, even video footage from Holland.
There Is one show from Holland that nobody has which is EXTREMELY good quality.
It is coming to me even as we speak.
Yeah, but it won’t be that one. Guaranteed. We have the only master tape of that show.
Maybe one day fans worldwide will be able to have that.
We even approached the record label about that. Why not compiling all our video’s that we have done so far? There is quite a few by now. We do have some live stuff that we took from people who were shooting it right there. So we have the only copies ever made. There is some interesting footage there.
Somehow, someday, the earlier albums must be transcribed into sheet music and tablature, not so much for the chords, but some of the guitar is just so bizarre at some points.
That’s true. That’s very true
It would be very interesting to find out what was in the composer’s mind.
Of course, sometimes guitarists play chords in a different way. Others would transcribe it in a traditional way. You wouldn’t get the right sound out of the chord, you know. But you’d be very close. But the difficulty, mainly, is more the memory. You need to have really good memory to play all the way through that song (Satan’s Fall), and to play all those riffs in the right sequence because it’s not logical at all. And that’s the problem with playing that song… very illogical build-up.
You have angered so many guitarist whom I’ve approached, begging , ‘Please, pick out the notes from these solos.’ They give up!
Yeah. You would not want to know the insults that were spoken against Hank Sherman and Michael Denner by the frustrated guitarists whom I have sought to employ.
The funny thing about most of Hank’s solos… they’re planned. He’s the guy who plans his solos. He does very little spontaneous solo-ing. Michael Denner is the opposite. He does most of his solos spontaneously and then he pretty much learns them afterwards.
That is so strange. There are a few very unusual time changes. But they’re more strange in that they are not noticeable unless they are looked for.
Are you responsible for that?
Well, very much, yeah. And also, Hank, definitely in the songs HE wrote. The thing is, the longer we play this style, the more naturally things come to us. It’s not like we sit and plan to do anything complicated at all. It doesn’t seem complicated. That’s not a thing that you pay attention to unless you sit there and try to play along with it. The time changes are not something that we sat down and said, “Let’s do a time change.” We just write straight from the heart like we’ve always done. That’s why it’s tough for other band members to get involved in the songwiiting. I’ve seen it before… several times, when Hal Patino was playing with King Diamond… Tim Hansen tried something with Mercyful Fate in the old days. Snowy Shaw, the drummer, is a pretty good guitarist actually, and he used to write a lot of songs when he was in the band Memento Mori. Even Sharlee tried to write something for Mercyful Fate. But it didn’t belong there at all. Hank and I didn’t want to say to them, “That stuff doesn’t cut it. It’s not Mercyful Fate music.” But we actually sent it off to Brian Slagel. He heard it and said that it’s got nothing to do with Mercyful Fate. There has to come a certain feel from the music. It’s not enough that you have skillful writers because they will force putting something complicated into the music just to please us. It doesn’t work if it doesn’t come in a natural way. That’s why it takes such a long time. Andy now is beginning to write more and more songs for King Diamond. There is a certain feel that needs to come from what’s been written. When there is complicated stuff, it’s nothing that we’ve been planning. It all seems natural for us.
Time changes usually attract attention, or they disturb the listening experience. But the time changes on the new album flow so well that it took a drummer to point out the changes to me.
That’s why it’s so difficult to write that way if you don’t feel that way naturally. If you just come in there and just write straight from your heart, most people would not put the time changes into the music where we do. We just feel a little different about these things.
The newer music seems to be more melodic. That seems to give it a more up-beat feeling, whereas in the old days it was more dark. Do you agree?
I think that both things are in there because there is some obscure shit that is in there. You know that we were very straightforward in the old days on a lot of songs. It might be the way that we arrange songs now. We always had melody. The song “A Dangerous Meeting” has a lot of breaks. But it has a lot of melody and choruses. “Nuns have No Fun” is a very straight forward song. We had a lot of those. “Evil” is very straightforward too, even vocal-wise. So THAT I don’t think has changed a whole lot. I know that on the new album there are a couple of tones that I haven’t used with my voice before. It just felt right for those types of songs. “Into the Unknown” really reminds me a lot of old stuff that could have been from “Don’t Break the Oath” very much because of the intricacy and how I sometimes sing there. Some of the stuff on that song you would have a very hard time hitting my timing if you were singing along. If you had to stand there and sing it on your own, with the band, you would have an extremely hard time getting that specific time feel. Sometimes you go in, not on the down beat, but a half beat later. If you go straight in on the down beat it’s much more aggressive. But it’s a matter of varying those things and finding what suits the riffs.
It is so strange that there are so many components to something that, to an ear that is casually listening, sound simple.
True. Yeah. There is a part in “Into the Unknown” where I’m singing “Sin … sin … sin” The timing of those extra words “sin”… if you try to hit it, it’s a feeling thing. It’s kind of like Robert Plant… he has this incredible ability and flair for timing. Very few people can mimic his timing… the way he pronounces words, how he drags them, how long he holds them, where he starts certain words. He’s very feeling-oriented and not so much technical oriented like “Get in on the down beat there.” It’s very much like coming a millisecond after.
Has there been an annoying producer involved on the new albums?
We are completely responsible these days for our stuff. We have Tim Kimsey, who is pretty much one of us, who was hired as an engineer instead of Roberto Falcao. But because of the killer job that he does, he deserves to be credited as co-producer. But he was originally hired as an engineer on the album “In the Shadows” because Roberto Falcao was unable to leave Denmark and come to the U.S.A. and record that album with us. When I talked to him he said, “All you need now is a good first engineer, because you can produce yourself.”
Currently Texas is your home. Does living there influence your outlook toward music?
Not a bit. Not one bit. No.
How involved art you in the Texan culture? Has it rubbed off on you in any way?
I don’t think so. You won’t hear me say “ya’ll”. I know what’s going on now in the United States. But I’m still 100% Danish. I’m aware now how things are done in the U.S.
The reason I ask is, your pronunciation and word usage in the past has been more like that of classical literature. But now, your pronunciation in phrases like “who’s GONNA die” seem to be directly from the Texan way of speaking.
You know, yeah… that’s a thing that has happened gradually. If you went back and took it album by album, you could gradually hear it. In ’88, when we moved to the United States… you get stronger in the language, and your vocabulary expands. You just know a whole lot more words. I don’t even think when I speak English. In the early days, when doing interviews, I literally had to sit and think. When someone asked me a question, I was thinking in Danish and then I had to translate my Danish thoughts into English. It was pretty tough explaining, because it was not easy subjects that we were dealing with. There was a lot of explaining to do. But these days, I even told my wife that I dream in English now. When I write little notes for myself – what I have to do – “remember this” and “call this guy” – it’s sometimes English, sometimes Danish… sometimes half and half. Plus it’s a benefit for me, writing in English feeling more comfortable in the language, not to think for five minutes before actually writing what I have to say.
There is a new kind of singing… the best way for me to describe is, your voice is strained almost to the voice of breaking… but not being lost. I know that many Southwestern vocalists employ such techniques.
Yeah. That’s some of the new stuff that I am completely aware of. You find a lot of old-fashioned Mercyful Fate in there. But there are some new ways that I use the tone of the voice. There are times in there when it would just be easier to do a low falsetto. Then usually you would have to multiply them by quite a few because we’re not singing Barry Manilow or something like that, where you could sing with this bawdry soft voice. If I did that it wouldn’t fit the music at all. It has to be full power. Singing in a very low falsetto – full power – that makes that low falsetto crack. But then you could get by and do something completely crazy. But then you might get away from the original idea you have. They are chosen there on some spots to go full blast, as high as you can get with a normal voice – I can get pretty high with a normal voice, even when I sing powerful. Most of the vocalists you hear on albums today – they sing no louder than I speak now. There you will see one hell of a difference between what I do. I am full blast in the studio. I am full blast live. That’s one thing that I’ve been told by our sound engineer. “God Damn man! Singing so much power into that mike!’ How can I have those emotions that I feel in me for certain things if I didn’t sing full blast and holding back just to be clean?
Did your father die recently?
No. That’s a long time ago. Eight years ago.
In the song, “Daddy” remembering your father’s death, did that…
Of course, you do think of your own dad. But it’s nothing like I saw him recently as a spirit or something like that. It’s a tool you use. You put that emotion into the vocals. A lot of people would get very emotional from listening to that song. I know for a fact, when we did record it, that song was one of the very few songs that has been done with no additional vocals. It’s one lead vocal. That’s all. Most of the times I double the lead vocal – sing twice exactly the same to create a certain sound of the voice. That’s extremely hard because of all the bent notes and crazy shit I do. That one song, ‘Daddy’ was one lead vocal all the way through. And it was done in only four takes. I had the lyrics done in twenty minutes. It’s the fastest song I’ve ever done in my life. The second engineer, while I was recording it – when I was halfway through, he walked out of the studio, crying. It was pretty heavy. And Tim Kimsey, he went out and called his dad in the middle of the night just to see if he was O.K.
I knew there was a special dynamic at work there. It had to have been an actual loss. That emotion cannot be faked.
No. Also, the second engineer, his father died two years ago, and it brought up some memories when I was singing that stuff, that he just broke out and left the studio.
I must admit that that song does work a potent spell. No pun intended. Thou art the Pied Piper.
You can say so. Yeah. If you look at other things that we talked about – putting full-blast emotion into the vocals – the ending of the song, “I Am” where I’m pretty much screaming at the top of my lungs, “Die!” – I picture this guy, McEnzie, the mayor in this story, who’s a child molester – I picture this fictitious guy who I know exactly what he looks like in my mind. But you have to be able to get so deep into the story that you pretty much become who you’re singing about. I saw this guy. It was all clear when I was recording the ending part of that, and just completely freaked out. So everybody was laughing in the control room afterwards.
To me, the operatic vocals of earlier albums were operatic in a “classical” sense. Does it have any meaning to you when I say that, these days the operatic vocals are operatic in a “metal” sense?
I don’t think of it in those ways. I don’t plan that they have to have a certain classical feel to it. It always comes down to what fits the music and the story and the lyrics.
Your critics say that new Mercyful Fate sounds no different from new King Diamond. They disagree that new Mercyful Fate has any relationship with old Mercyful Fate. The reason that I am telling you this is that it is a sentiment that some fans feel, and I think it would be good for you to address that.
O.K. I haven’t heard that. With regards to these two new albums, in over a hundred interviews in Europe, when Hank and I were over there. and everybody else that wee talked to that has heard it so far, has been able to hear probably the very clearest difference between the two bands ever. The sound of the two bands, the musicians that are involved, the whole concept, even my vocal style on the two – there’s a big difference. Of course, you should be able to recognize my voice because it’s so special that you would always be able to. But the musical style and all that stuff, the kind of feel that comes from one band compared to the other… I have experienced from people’s views, the extreme difference.
I just wanted to bring that up.
Oh yeah. But I have heard only the opposite with regards to these new albums. There’s a bigger difference between the two of them than has ever been. It’s like one album could be Deep Purple and the other could be Black Sabbath. That’s how different they actually sound, both production-wise and song-wise.
I did see something on the new Mercyful Fate that I didn’t think that I’d ever see. And that is the word, ‘Lucifer.’
But that was even on the last album.
But now there is an actual track called, ‘Lucifer.’
I thought that you were trying to shy away from that in order not to scare away the more narrow-minded fans.
No. I’ve never been shying away from anything. I’ve been using different words to describe things, to not be misunderstood. I don’t think that is the case anymore. I think that I have done so many interviews that people know what I think. There might be people out there that have never given us a chance to know what we stand for. They might feel a little awkward. Then they ARE narrow-minded. (laughs). If you have an open mind, that’s the only way you’re ever going to learn in this world. That is why you are here, in my opinion. If people don’t have an open mind, they probably won’t listen to us anyway.
That Is true. But I was very relieved when I saw that.
The word “Satan’ is even in there.
Tom Warrior, from Celtic Frost, was so angry toward your earlier lyrics because he thought that, by you not explaining anything in songs like “Black Masses” that you were subverting children. I had to laugh at him when he told me that. But he was an enemy of yours in that regard. He did not approve of such demonic words. I know that on that King Diamond album, there are a lot of nasty things going on lyrically. But there is a warning about the events not being glorified by the listener. Perhaps you would like to talk about that.
First of all, all King Diamond albums deal a lot with the human mind, and what’s going on in the present time. Even stories like “Abigail” that took place in the I8th century. This new story does take place in the present time. But there’s always been that part in there. There’s the story, for those that don’t want to get deeply involved in anything. That’s fine, because buying the album should be entertaining. But for those who do want to go in deeper, there is always a question being asked, trying to make people think… make up their own minds about certain things. That’s what I like to do – raise questions about subjects that people might not always be thinking about – not telling them what they should do or what’s right and wrong, because it’s all individual – but definitely raising questions. You’re never going to solve problems if you don’t talk about them. I know that there is beginning to be, for that very reason, some organizations speaking out a little bit more.
I know nothing about the Danish prison system. But I heard that in Sweden, murderers are given vacations from prison – maybe a weekend out of the month, to go home or something.
I don’t think murders are allowed to go home. But I know that they have some STRANGE rules. It’s because everything has to be so humanitarian. It goes for everything in this world. It’s always the bad guy that comes out on top. No matter what the hell they do, they have to be treated with kids gloves. They perform an action and they make a choice. They are aware of the consequences. Give them those consequences. But you’re right. You hear about these crazy things. ‘Open prison’ it’s called. They don’t put murderers in there. But there might be a wife beater or something like that, in jail for four or five years because he beat her into nothing. This guy will be allowed to go visit his family maybe once a month, followed by a prison guard or what do I know? They have TV’s, stereos… they have whatever it takes – “Well, they’re in there in that little room. They’ve got to have something.” They made the choice to end up in that room.
Wouldst you assume that every human being has a basic goodness?
I have always been reading that psychopathic people, or sociopaths, as they are called, are incurable. That is a real blow to the concept that everyone is good. But through studying the brains of criminals, it has been discovered that the front part Is not really as active in people who are impulsive killers. Do you think that punishing them in prison is the right thing to do?
I don’t think that people are innocent because of a momentary insanity. That can happen again. Should they just go free? “Oh, I didn’t know what I did. I’m so sorry. I wasn’t in control.” “Oh sure. We’ll let you go free because you didn’t know what you did. So there’s nothing bad in you. You’ll do it again. And then we’ll just talk to you again.” The problem is, there are certain types of humans that are not fit to live in a society.
This is true. My question was more about the treatment of these particular people in prison. The reason why I say that is, have you ever been so angry at a person that you would want to beat that person?
But something stops you. There is a censor. You are aware of the consequences, or perhaps it is just obvious that it would be the wrong thing to do.
It might be the right thing to do as well. If some guy was kicking in the door of my car. I think I know pretty much what I’d do to him.
But let us say it is just an argument. Let us say you are disagreeing over the new King Diamond album. What if some alien race, for one moment, took away your ability to censor impulsive thoughts, and you just went ahead and destroyed this other human being. Do you think that you are accountable, since you had no censor to use to stop yourself?
Of course I am. Who else would be accountable? The alien that you don’t have proof that exists? You have to go by rules and you have to go by known facts. That’s all you can go by. I do believe that there are other life in this universe. I think that it’s narrow-minded not to believe that there will be life somewhere out there in this thing that we live in that is so big that our brains can’t even comprehend it. But that doesn’t mean that people should not be held responsible for their actions, no matter what condition they’re under. If you kill somebody, whether you’re insane or not, there’s a good chance you’ll do it again, especially if people find out there is something wrong with you. Then you need to be kept away from society.
I agree with you about keeping the person away.
If you put them back out there, the same thing’s gonna happen again.
Why even keep a person alive, if the person is kept alive in humiliating conditions? Christians, who are most into the revenge against criminals… I mean, there is no other word for it… I do not see it as justice. I see it as revenge against the criminal. I just think it is hypocritical of people who pretend to live by the philosophy of “turn the other cheek” – when hit on one cheek, they want to instead of turning the other, they vengefully turn the person in. That might be one of the things that make people crazy – it is the radical theory of schizophrenia – that people just cannot accept the moral contradictions of reality and go into their own world.
But see, that’s a christian philosophy about ‘turn the other cheek.’ But again, a lot of the christian philosophy is not based at all on human instinct. And human instinct you just cannot take away, no matter which book you read or what movie you watch or whatever you do. Human instinct is something that is just there. It will make you react in a certain way to certain circumstances. Right? I know exactly what you’re saying, and this thing about some people believing in turning the other cheek – that’s fine. But if you really believe that strongly in it as you pretend, then live by it too. But they don’t live by it in many cases, right?
It is only when it is convenient – then you bring that thing up. But when it is a thing that suddenly affects you – it’s a different matter now.
I just want to make clear that I am not any kind of unrealistic humanitarian.
(laughs) Oh I know you’re not. I KNOW.
Do you think that a lot of people who are that way, and who defend criminals to no end – if they had a personal tragedy, if some person came into their house and mutilated the entire family, would they still have the same attitude?
You KNOW it’s gonna change ANYBOY’s viewpoint. You know it is. It doesn’t matter what god you believe in, as soon as those things come into the picture then things always get twisted out of proportion because people can’t teach a religion to themselves. They always have to judge others by their own religion, not realizing that hey, other people are different. That’s why we are called individuals. If you can’t respect that, then you don’t even have respect for yourself. I know that it’s so easy that when nothing bad has happened to you to put yourself on a pedestal. You’re up there and you’re like, “Oh no, you’re not doing this right.” I haven’t experienced any of these really bad things, Fortunately, knock on wood and all this stuff. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t get emotional when I talk about all these things, or when I see what’s going on around the world. That really affects me a lot. That’s because I have an extremely open mind. There’s a lot of people that don’t have that. And seeing that is like, “God damn!’ But that’s the way this world is.
Humanitarians need to temper their attitudes. They should just act, FEELING that they are good instead of needing to PROVE that they are good… it appears that we have strayed quite far from music.
This is interesting shit to talk about, for sure. But it’s also very difficult to get around in the right way. It has a lot to do, when you’re talking about these things, with your spiritual background – of how you see different things, of how you are ALLOWED to see different things. There are ways of killing too, right? You also kill in wars. You can, without being prosecuted. How do you tackle that subject?
Would kill if you were a soldier?
You can’t say until you know the circumstances. It completely depends on that. If I were in my dad’s shoes during the second world war, when he was a freedom fighter in Denmark and had to flee to Sweden because his group was discovered by the SS, or somebody squealed who the SS had gotten a hold of and talked under torture. I might have had to escape to Sweden at the bottom of a fishing boat. That was after he had been a freedom fighter for years. If I were in his situation, yes, sure. I would have killed to preserve my country. I’m sure that there were some Germans who felt like they were in the right to do what they did. That’s where we get into another crazy thing. What is right and what is wrong? They’re so individual. That Husein thinks he’s actually right because something tells him in an old book that this and this and this territory should belong to him. At least, that’s how he interprets an old book. He can’t believe anybody else can’t see it. But that’s this world. That’s human beings. There are no perfect solutions.
Isn’t that a spice of life?
Exactly. Without it, there wouldn’t be life. You can’t describe a good day if you’ve never had a bad day. All this stuff that we’re talking about has a lot to do with my personal spiritual beliefs. I don’t know where I’ve taken it from – I haven’t seen it in any book. But I have my own views. I do believe that it might take several lives for the power that we all have in us – it might take that power several lives in a human shell to have experienced all possible feelings that you can experience before you’re ready to move on to a completely different life form. That’s the only reason I’ve ever been able to give myself for why a two-year-old kid dies. But it does make sense if that power, having lived eight lives, by that time – two years old – that child has experienced what was needed to go on to a new life form. You don’t have to be on earth anymore. There’s no point for you to be here.
Or that child could have died so young to serve as a lesson for other people going through their journeys.
That Is true. If you had to experience all experiences that there are to experience, then there are a lot of things that make sense when you think about good and bad. It makes total sense to me that, if you imagine how many powers are in people here on earth, I believe some of them are first-timers, some of them may be fifth-timers. But a fifth-timer that is here gaining experience and knowledge has thoughts – four other lives – sometimes there are more of the powers here to experience bad stuff because they already have gone through some good experiences in other lives. Now it’s mainly bad stuff they need to experience. It’s hard to explain this. I could go on for hours. But those are a few of the points.
Because your beliefs and attitudes are so non-traditional, you must have had contact with judgmental people.
Yeah. If you don’t have an open mind, I can see it immediately. I don’t even want to associate with those people. You’ve got to have an open mind. Otherwise you can’t have a discussion. They will always feel that, no matter what, they’re always right. You’ve got to be willing to listen to another person. That’s the only way that you will learn. I’ve learned SO much stuff by having an open mind – things that I thought were like this or that – I found out “Hey! Wait a minute. That guy was right.’ I’m sure everybody has to experience all powers. I’m not saying every single human being on the earth right now has to experience the killing of another human being. But I think that I probably already have. Maybe I was even a witch hunter during the Inquisition. Maybe that’s why I’ve been writing some of the stuff I have now.
To atone for the past.
That is a possibility, yeah. I might have killed too. It might have been in a war. It might have been in self defense. It could be many ways because you can get the same feeling from many different actions. You have to go through every feeling – not every single action possible. It’s feelings we’re talking about. That’s my personal belief.