2011. április 30., szombat

Mercyful Fate interview with bassist Timi Hansen - first part

So Timi, how and when did you discover music and when did you turn into hard rock/heavy metal? What were your first experiences considering the hard/heavy rock scene?
I've always wanted to play music, but I first started out in Heavy Metal in the late 70s. My first experiences were Status Quo, Uriah Heep, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple.
When did you decide becoming a musician and how did you pick up the bass? Was it the first instrument you chose or…?
I had a bunch of friends (Michael Denner) being one of them who had a band. Their bassplayer was German and wanted to go back home to Germany, so they asked me if I could play bass. I never tried before, but thought to myself: "If I can play guitar, I can also play bass". So my first instrument was acoustic guitar.
What were your influences becoming a musician? Were you self taught or did you take regularly lessons?
Regarding influences it's the bands mentioned above. I’m self taught as a bass player.
Before being involved in Mercyful Fate, you played in Danger Zone, that was Michael Denner’s band/project after he left Brats in 1980, do you still remember, how did you get in the band? Was Danger Zone your very first act by the way?
I was in Danger Zone with Denner and a drummer and another guitarist. Danger Zone was my first heavy/metal act.
Were you familiar with Brats at all too?
I'm familiar with Brats, Hank Shermann was in Brats with Denner.
In April 1981 a demo was recorded at The Rocktape Studios, contained songs such as „M.D.A.” (Mission: Destroy Aliens), „Killed For Love” and „Not Amusing”, how was it recorded at all? How would describe the demo musically?
The demo we recorded in 1981 was songs Denner and I played in Danger Zone. The studio was a very small studio in Copenhagen and we asked King and Hank to give us a helping hand in the studio.
Is it correct, that the demo tape features King Diamond and Hank Shermann, who were asked to help out Michael? How did they get in the picture exactly? Did you try out other musicians too?
At that time they had Mercyful Fate already, but they had no guitarist and no drummer and no bassist, so they agreed to help us out, and that was the start of Mercyful Fate.
King didn’t seemed to really enjoy Michael’s songs, right? What were his problems with the tunes?
The tunes were not heavy enough in King’s eyes. And we all agreed.
A second demo was released in 1982 featuring „Persecution”, „I’m Alright” and „Death Kiss”, what can you tell us about this tape? Is it correct, that the new demo turned out so well that it became obvious that the two bands should become one, that became Mercyful Fate later on?
The second demo I can't really remember, and we were already together as Mercyful Fate after the first demo in 1981
Mercyful Fate was formed the in 1981, the very first incarnation of the band consisted of King Diamond, Michael Denner, Hank Shermann, you and „Old” Nick Smith, but the chemistry wasn’t quite right and soon, so Ole Frausing replaced Nick on drums, what happened?
Nick wasn't good enough on the drums. So we tried out a couple of different drummers and found Ole as the best of them.
Was this the only one line up change at this point? I ask it, because I read, that the very first Mercyful Fate demo was recorded at The Rocktape Studios in March 1981, featuring „Death Kiss”, „You Asked For It” and „Running Away” the line up was King Diamond on vocals, Hank Shermann on guitar, Carsten Van Der Volsing on guitar/bass and Jan Musen on drums. Would you clear the things?
I can't really answer that question. That recording they made before I came in the picture.
This new version of Mercyful Fate played their first live gig in the following summer in Taastrup, a small suburb of Copenhagen, then during the next autumn, in Herlev, another suburb of Copenhagen, the band rehearsed and played one more gig, what do you recall of these gigs? What about the setlist?
I remember the gigs, but not the setlists.
How many songs did you have written at this point? Did you constantly write new material?
I can’t really remember how many songs we had at the time, but we had enough for a couple of albums. We spitted out new material all the time. Some was put aside and some was worked on.
Did you often rehearse?
We rehearsed 7 days a week and constantly wrote new material. We were at a point where you could have woken me in the middle of the night at asked me to play Satan's Fall and I could have done this in my sleep.
Once again, another lineup change took place; Michael had some problems finding the time to play with the band because he had a day job and a frustrated girlfriend so he left the band and was replaced by Benny Petersen, better known as Bennett…Around the same time, Ole Frausing was asked to leave the band, and his replacement was Kim Ruzz, who have previously played with Benny, what did go wrong Ole with? How did you find Kim?
Yeah Michael had some problems and we found Benny who had been hanging around the band for a while. At the same time Ole was very often sick with asthma and had some problems breathing when we played, so we agreed together with Ole that it would be best for all parts if he called it quits. So we took in Kim Ruzz.
What was the band, that he played Benny with? From what kind of musical background did Kim Ruzz arrive?
Kim and Benny played in a small Copenhagen suburb band. I can't even remember the name.
Would you say, that he was the missing link, considering the line up of the band?
Is it true, that Kim Ruzz was flashy with a cool drumming style and hard-hitting playing, but was very different as a person compared to the rest of the other members and he was younger and immature but was working very hard in the beginning, always six days a week?

Kim came in and was clearly the best drummer so far in the band. He was a good drummer but as you mention he had some personality problems which interfered with our playing, and that's the main reason we didn't ask him to join us when we reformed the band as King Diamond band. But of course we got Mikkey Dee, who I still consider as one of the best drummers EVER.
How about the Danish metal scene at this point as a whole? What were the bands that started at the same time as you?
The Danish metal scene now is a bit week, there aren't that many known bands around. There are plenty of small bands but I guess only Pretty Maids are still going strong.

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