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King Diamond talks spirituality, Satanism

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King Diamond joins Slayer and about a dozen other metal acts in the Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival. COURTESY MICHAEL JOHANSSON

King Diamond, a Danish rocker who subscribes to the late Anton LaVey’s school of Satanism, agrees with Shakespeare’s warning: “There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

He can’t rationalize the eerie passing of his favorite black cat Magic at 18. “She was a true soulmate, and it would take nearly an hour to explain the extremely supernatural things that happened that morning she left us,” says the heavy metal singer, who plays the Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival in the Bay Area this weekend, backing “Dreams of Horror,” a 23-track best-of collection.

He even had three-ring pendant made in his pet’s honor. “There’s power in that necklace – I’ve had to go to it a couple of times – including when I had food poisoning last year – to make it through,” he says.

Born Kim Petersen, King Diamond never questions the otherworldly phenomena he’s witnessed in his spooky four-decade career, which included fronting Mercyful Fate before going solo.

“I’ve never done drugs in my life, and I drink for social occasions only, but I’ve experienced so much inexplicable stuff,” he says. “I was lucky that I had parents that had had supernatural experiences, so I could talk to them openly without them looking at me as some lunatic.”

The musician has strong ties to San Francisco, where, after a concert one night, he visited LaVey at the Church of Satan’s headquarters, the Black House on California Street. He was a fan of LaVey’s “Satanic Bible,” a self-empowering manual he saw as philosophical and spiritual rather than sinister: “It doesn’t talk about this god or that god as someone you have to do all kinds of stuff for – it’s a way of living, a questioning book, and there’s nothing supernatural in it,” he says.

LaVey gave his disciple a guided tour, and invited him into a sealed, artifact-packed ritual chamber guarded by two Doberman pinschers. “He told me I should probably not pet them, but I did anyway,” he says. “And he looked over his shoulder and said, ‘Ah! Good vibrations, I see!’ Then he actually played keyboards for me, all this horror stuff.”

On tour, King Diamond always carries a handwritten, sigil-embossed letter from LaVey, who typically dictated correspondence.

Some things do frighten King Diamond, however. He mentions the deluge in May that overran Dallas, where he lives. On the night when things got the worst, he says, “There was way more rain coming down than I’ve ever seen, and it was the first time in history they ran out of police vehicles to patrol flooded areas. It was really, really bad.”


Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival
with Slayer, King Diamond, HELLYEAH, The Devil Wears Prada and others
Where: Shoreline Amphitheatre, One Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View
When: 1 p.m. June 28
Tickets: $25 to $75
Contact: (650) 967-3000, www.livenation.com

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