Interview with King Diamond Guitarist Andy LaRocque By Thomas Amoriello Jr.
Posted by NinaBRR on January 26 2020 09:37:11

By the King's Side

Interview with King Diamond Guitarist Andy LaRocque

By Thomas Amoriello Jr.

Boston Rock Radio

  


In 2020, fans of King Diamond are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the 13th studio recording called The Institute. Since the Fatal Portrait debut, Swedish guitarist Andy LaRocque has been an integral part of the band that uses the vocalist's namesake.  He has co-written many of the songs that make up King Diamond's concept albums and is considered to be on par with many of the top Swedes for his exceptional lead work.  When not on tour with King Diamond, on his "downtime" LaRocque owns and plays an active role at Sonic Train Studios in Sweden.  Boston Rock Radio would like to thank Andy for this exclusive interview.  

 

Since Michael Denner left the band King Diamond, after the Abigail recording, you became the main guitarist in the band as well as co-writer of many of the songs.  The other guitarists that came on board afterwards such as Mike Moon, Pete Blakk, Herb Simonsen, Glen Drover, and Mike Wead were all auditioned to join the team.  What qualities did you look for in their playing and personalities that were an asset to the King Diamond team?

It's always a matter of trying to find someone that could work on different levels, good musicianship of course but also as a friend, and someone who can contribute with great ideas.

 

During the early 1990's when King reunited with Mercyful Fate you joined and recorded with Death the album Individual Thought Patterns.  What is a fond memory or two of working with Chuck, Gene and Steve during that time? 

I was asked to come over to record solos for the Individual Thought Patterns album, and I had a great time hanging out with Chuck, Steve and Scott Burns (the producer). Gene left the day before I arrived so I never met him back then.  It took more than 20 years until I met him for the first time, but after that I met both Steve and Gene a few times here and there. Chuck and I kept in touch all the way until he sadly passed away.  He used to call me every New Years just to say hi :-).

 

You have kept busy at your studio Sonic Train Studios were you have produced many bands. Did you pick up many of the skills you possess technically speaking while observing many of the recordings you were a part of in your 20's and 30's?  Did you have difficulties learning technology when studios were basically converted overnight from analog to digital? 

I did pick up many things working with great engineers and producers like Roberto Falcao who recorded the first couple of King Diamond albums.  I also learned a few things from Chris Tsangarides while recording and mixing the album Conspiracy, things like what microphone to use and how to place it and use of outboard gear etc.  I guess I was a little old-school longer than other engineers around me.  I used a 24 track analog tape machine up until early 2000 and then slowly started to get into digital machines and computers with Pro Tools.  Now I have a combination of great new and vintage gear and microphones combined with the advantage of digital recording and editing.

 

 

You along with Yngwie Malmsteen, John Norum, Michael Amott, Harry K. Cody, and Kee Marcello have made Sweden proud with your guitar skills.  In the early days was there a "buzz" around the country related to these fantastic musicians that helped you step up your game and put many hours into your playing?   

I would say the guitarist that influenced me the most was actually Randy Rhoads.  When that first Ozzy album came out I was totally blown away! That really made me practice a lot in the early 80´s, then of course Michael Schenker, Yngwie, and Steve Vai also had a big influence on me.

 

It is obvious that the visual imagery and Satanic and horror themed lyrics surrounding King Diamond have been labeled as evil by many religious and or protest groups in the past.  You joined the group when you were 20 something years old.  Did you have any of your family members or relatives that opposed you to be a part of the "show" that King Diamond has presented during the last three decades?

Not at all! Friends and family have been very supportive all the way. 


 

So we will get to hear The Institute in 2020? What can we expect to hear from this concept album?

We released one song so far, “Masquerade of Madness,” and we are working on a bunch of new songs, but we will try to get back to the roots a bit to get some great groovy songs and hopefully also, a more organic sound.  (Listen to the latest track release from The Institute: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GmG2srrqonk)

 

Will we ever hear an Andy LaRocque solo album or are you artistically satisfied being a songwriting partner of King?

It takes up a lot of time working with King and when there are short breaks, I usually record and produce other bands in my studio.  I have been working on songs with other people, for example Ex-Black Sabbath frontman Tony Martin. We made some great songs together that never got released.  But maybe one day we will pick it up again.  I have a bunch of songs in different styles just waiting, so maybe in the future.

 

www.kingdiamondcoven.com/
www.sonictrainstudios.com
www.andylarocque.com


Boston Rock Radio Guest Contributor Thomas Amoriello Jr. is a heavy metal guitarist, children's picture book author, educator and recording artist who resides in Lambertville, New Jersey, USA. You can learn more about Tom at:  https://thomasamoriello.com