Destructoid recently conducted an interview with Danish heavy metal singer King Diamond (Mercyful Fate, King Diamond) about his involvement with the forthcoming "Guitar Hero: Metallica" game. An excerpt from the chat follows below.
Destructoid: I went to see "Guitar Hero" a few weeks ago and I spoke to a [Neversoft] developer and he said you hurt your back. Are you doing alright?
King Diamond: Yeah, it's getting better and better, you know? It's a herniated disc in the lower spine. It's been over a year-and-a-half now, almost two years ago. It was so bad in the beginning that I couldn't sit for the first year. So I stood up for the first year after I got the injury. I had to eat my dinner standing everyday, you know? It definitely sidelined us for a while. We've been able to do some other things and pick up everything, you know, without being out touring. I expect us to be out at sometime next year. In the meantime we've had a lot of projects to stay busy with. It's been good. No lack of fan support there, and we have the best fans you can dream of. They're all there, anticipating whatever is coming. Now the next thing that here is, of course, "Guitar Hero". There's two songs we recorded actually, for [Activision] to pick between. So there's one more song there will be others eventually after the game is out, they'll be available at iTunes and stuff like that, you know. The song "Evil" and "Curse of the Pharoahs". The same lineup, we did two songs so they could choose between. They chose "Evil", probably because it has, I think it has, more playability with a videogame. We've done a lot of stuff. I'm working presently on some old, old footage, old private recordings of both King Diamond and Mercyful Fate that's going to be released King Diamond is going to be a double-DVD set. Old, rare stuff you know? And the same with Mercyful Fate. There might even be a three-disc Mercyful Fate. We'll see how much material is good enough to put on. And that's mainly for the fans, there's stuff from Mercyful Fate before we even got signed.
So, are you doing any downloadable content?
No, no we did two songs, when Lars [Ulrich, Metallica drummer] called me you know, when he invited us to be a part of it he suggested either "Evil" or "Curse of the Pharoahs". Then we started looking for the masters. They were nowhere to be found. I was thinking, "Oh god, can't be true. We're going to miss out on such a great opportunity." So I talked to the other guys, and it turned out to be a re-recording by four out of five original members. Otherwise, it's all the old guys that did that song the first time 25 years ago. We went in and re-recorded them and they sounded so much better. [laughs] But they stay totally true to the original. The guitar solo by one guitarist, Michael Denner, I would say is 100 percent identical. Every bend, every harmony that he puts on a solo and stuff like that is identical. The other guitarist Hank Shermann, is 98 percent identical. Those two percent that aren't identical is because there were so few notes back in the old solos, "gah, you can't do those, we have to do it better." So we fixed those few things. Otherwise, of course, it's a more in-your-face sound than on the old album. It was interesting also for me to go in and do vocals and then go back and pick out some of these harmonies and say, "What was it that I did back then?" And then recreate that stuff. So we did two songs and they picked "Evil" for the game, you know. But I guess that those songs, you'll be able to get them on iTunes and Amazon.com and stuff like that. They'll be made available by the record label.
What do you think about "Guitar Hero" in general?
Well, I've heard nothing but good stuff, you know. I've heard so much good for all the different versions that have come out. It's an honor to be picked to be part of this, both by Metallica and Activision. All the support and all the stuff that has gone into it it was a whole new experience because the recording was different... I would say maybe not the recording, but we still had to make sure we were recording in a specific way so make sure that they had everything separated properly. But the mixing phase was really different because each thing you record snare drum, high hat, one guitar each of these things had to have their own stereo track. It's a weird thing. Normally you have a snare, you just have it on a single track and then you pan it whenever you want that track to line in the stereo picture. It's really different. They had to get it into these, they called it "stem mixes" and I'm like, "hmm, okay, explain?" Then we got explained. Then we did it. And we couldn't master it, because, that of course, that's done by Activision because they have to make all the different songs sound comparable to each other in volume and stuff. The version that go up on iTunes and other places will, of course, be mastered by us like, you know, we would normally do it. Very interesting to see these different ways they do it. I remember after we attended one of the [inaudible] over at Activision. "Hey wait a minute there is a" I can't remember what solo it might be, it might be solo 2 or 3, by one of the guitarists in that song because it has a lot of solos in it, they said "there's a harmony there" he recorded both a normal lead and then he put a harmony on the second half of it "we would like to have those split up, too." We're like, "okay, we can do that." [Activision said] "Well then people can play each solo in harmony for the playability of it." That was interesting. Then it got even more interesting to see, when I was told, that I could be an enemy, playable character in the game. That was weird, then seeing the first draft that came. It was eerie, man, to see yourself that way. I've seen fans draw pictures before, of course, I've seen footage of ourselves, you know. This was so different. And then when you start seeing that character created in such detail. The detail was absolutely mind-blowing. Each ring on my fingers are on the right finger where they belong. I had to take photos of those rings, close-ups, so they could totally make them correct. The eye necklace that I'm wearing is perfect. Each button on the coat is there. Each bullet on the bulletbelt is there. The leather pants, the leather vest, the old coat, the boot everything is just so detailed. Then when you see the character in that little trailer they did when I saw the character move I was like, "Wow." And the one thing you should keep in mind here, Metallica was wearing these suits and recorded like that. I couldn't do that. They asked me to come out in L.A. and do that, but I couldn't sit on the plane at that time I didn't have that option. One of those situations like when we couldn't find the master tapes and I was thinking, "Oh, don't let this be something that could obstruct the whole thing from happening." But they're so skilled, they said "Well, we have good footage of yourself and stuff. No problem, when can do it without those suits on." So they got our latest King Diamond video, "Give me your Soul" and I got some other footage, you know, and some stills. Like I said they asked for close-ups of rings, my necklace, and stuff like that. The coat was up in a certain way when I took pictures from front to pack. They just work from that stuff, you know, and create the character.
Read the entire interview at www.destructoid.com.