.King Diamond Sharing Stage With Slayer

For nearly 35 years, Danish heavy metal icon King Diamond has been slaying audiences around the world with punishing riffs, face-melting solos, his trademark banshee wail and brilliant, brooding, bloody theatrics.
The legendary singer, whose work with Mercyful Fate and his own eponymous band has influenced several generations of musicians, hits Shoreline Amphitheatre this weekend—sharing the main stage with Slayer at the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival.
Known for his high-pitched falsetto, macabre lyrics, elaborate stage productions and iconic face makeup, King Diamond (born Kim Bendix Petersen) says that he has never felt stronger and that his band has never sounded better. That’s great news for his fans, considering the state of his health just five years ago.
“It was horrible. That was the worst thing I ever experienced,” Petersen, a long-time smoker, says, recalling his 2010 triple-bypass heart surgery. He remembers waking up “too early”—still connected to a breathing machine in a dazed and incredibly painful condition—and attempting to pull his breathing tube out of his throat.
“I could only see in black and white when I came to,” he says—“it was surreal. The doctors were leaning over me, I felt like I was in a spaceship or something. It was like Metallica’s “One” video—I felt like I could not communicate. If they could hear me, I was literally begging them to kill me.”
The procedure had required doctors to collapse his lungs. After completing a lengthy period of rehabilitation where he basically had to learn how to breathe again, King Diamond has returned to haunt stages, and says he feels rejuvenated and reinvigorated like never before.
“My voice sounds better than ever, I stopped smoking completely,” he says. “I didn’t know it would have that big of an effect on my voice that I didn’t smoke, but I feel like it’s stronger and it’s much easier to do all those things I used to do when I started.”
Fans heading out to the show can expect nothing short of a full-blown metal spectacle—a multi-tiered stage, occult props, costumed characters, and, of course, the piercing wail that made King Diamond famous.
The 59-year-old vocalist is thankful to have been given a second chance at life, and says he is thrilled to share it with his loyal fans.
“There were so many moods and feelings and stuff you go through,” he says. “It was really out there. You cannot imagine the roller coaster—the ups and downs. I don’t take tomorrow for granted; not anymore.”

King Diamond performs at The Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival at Shoreline Amphitheatre on June 28.

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