Courtesy of Metal Blade Records

When I talked to King Diamond, it was impossible to avoid getting swept up in his charisma and enthusiasm for his work. After almost an hour of discussing his incredible life experiences and plans for the future, I was struck by how friendly and down-to-earth he was and by the way that he answered my questions so attentively. King is the kind of guy who has heavy metal in his soul—in a way that goes far beyond the theatrics and posturing that dominate the scene today. When I asked him about the biggest changes he had seen in the heavy metal scene over his long career, his answer was simple but thoughtful. “It hasn’t changed that much,” he says, “but you keep learning more and more all the time.”