During a January 24 appearance on SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk", STRYPER's Michael Sweet talked about meeting MERCYFUL FATE singer King Diamond — whose real name is Kim Bendix Petersen — for the first time when the two bands performed at Mexico's Hell & Heaven Metal Fest on December 4, 2022. Regarding how the encounter came about, Sweet said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "When we got to that festival in Mexico, I walked into our dressing room, and right next to ours it said 'MERCYFUL FATE'. And I said to myself, 'Okay, there's no way I'm gonna leave this festival without meeting Kim.' And I spoke to someone, and they spoke someone and arranged us meeting. I went out in the hallway, and there he was. And he said, 'Michael, nice to meet you.' I said, 'Oh, it's so nice to meet you. What's going on?' And he was all smiles and very gracious. And we talked about the weather where he lives and the weather where I live, and just regular stuff. And it was really incredible. Because you have this idea of what it's going to be — good versus evil; and is there gonna be a war? Is there gonna be this? And it's the exact opposite. And that's really the way life is nine out of 10 times."
When host Eddie Trunk asked if there was any discussion about their differing religious beliefs, Michael said: "No. [It was just] two dudes talking. And we enjoyed each other's conversation. And if we were out at a restaurant, we would have hung out and had some wine and broke bread together and talked more.
"It's just interesting because some people from both camps freaked out," Michael admitted. "Most people were positive, but some people from my camp are, like, 'Did you get to talk to him about the Lord?' I'm, like, 'Really? You're kidding me, right?' So I'm gonna go up to Kim and immediately say, 'Let's talk about the Lord.'"
As for whether there was any talk about him and King doing a duet, Sweet said: "That's something I would have talked to him about. I did not, and maybe that will happen someday; that would be amazing. But we just talked about regular stuff. And it was brief; it wasn't a long conversation — maybe five minutes, six minutes. And his wife wrote on my Facebook page about how she wanted to meet me and meet the band and how great it was that Kim and I met. It was just really cool, man. It was amazing."
Pressed about whether he would be open to doing a song together with King, Michael said: "Sure. Of course. Let me put it this way: before I do anything, I think about it, and not to sound silly, but I do pray about it. I pray about everything that I do, like, 'Should I do this?' And some people might think, 'That's weird,' but it's just how I live my life. And I would certainly pray about that, as I did do in SWEET & LYNCH," referencing his ongoing project with legendary guitarist George Lynch, who describes himself as a "freethinking atheist".
Sweet previously reflected on his meeting with King during an interview last month with Waste Some Time With Jason Green. At the time, he said: "I just met Kim, King Diamond [of] MERCYFUL FATE. In all these years, I've had this perception of Kim, and then I met Kim, and he was so polite — one of the nicest guys I've ever met. [He was] very cordial and friendly, and took a picture and shook my hand and looked into my eyes and engaged in conversation. And you could tell he was interested in talking. And I just was blown away. And all those perceptions were annihilated because I felt like, 'Okay, here's this guy that probably won't like us — or like me.' And we had a great conversation. If we went to dinner and had a dinner, we'd probably have a great dinner. But we're polar opposites. So I find that very interesting. And at the end of the day, it makes me realize that we're all the same — we're all flesh and blood; we all have feelings; we all have emotions; and most of those are the same."
Michael also spoke about his conversation with King in an interview with Metal Edge. Asked what he and King discussed, Michael said: "The weather, the birds, the bees. It was just a normal conversation. It's like, wow, he has this persona. We have this persona. You're Satanic. We're Christian. But then when you break it down, we're just people."
In a 2013 interview with Indie Vision Music, Sweet explained why STRYPER plays with secular bands. He said: "A lot of Christians have given us a ton of heat over the years for doing that. Not understanding… 'Why do you guys play clubs? Why do you play with secular bands?' Well, why wouldn't we? Aren't we to go into the world… into the dark… and bring the light? I mean, that’s what we're called to do as Christians. That's why we do it. We play clubs, we go to places where no Christian bands go. We play with mainstream secular bands so we can play to their fans and we can talk to them. I mean, that's kind of the whole point in what we do. We've been doing that for thirty years and there's no sign of stopping. We're planning on continuing to do that, of course. It really works for us. Again, it's kind of cut us off with a lot of people in the church, because they think we're not really Christians, or we're this, or we're that. It's like, okay, whatever. Someday we'll all stand before God and we'll know who was real and who wasn't."
Even though STRYPER's third album, 1986's "To Hell With The Devil", made Sweet and his bandmates the first contemporary Christian act to score a platinum album, the group has often felt unwelcome in Christian circles, with some members of the church feeling that Christianity and heavy metal are incompatible.
In a 2018 interview with the Detroit Free Press, Michael said that STRYPER was never fully embraced by the heavy metal and hard rock communities, largely because of the band's Christian lyrics.
Formed 40 years ago, STRYPER's name comes from Isaiah 53:5, which states: "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."
STRYPER's albums include "To Hell With The Devil", "Second Coming", "No More Hell To Pay", "Fallen", "God Damn Evil", "Even The Devil Believes" and the band's latest effort, "The Final Battle".
Heaven and Hell.. it was a pleasure to see Michael Sweet of Stryper yesterday at Hell And Heaven Fest 😈
Posted by MERCYFUL FATE on Monday, December 5, 2022