New MERCYFUL FATE Music Is 'On The Way', Says Bassist BECKY BALDWIN
February 12, 2024
In a new interview with the That Metal Interview podcast, new MERCYFUL FATE bassist Becky Baldwin spoke about her recent addition to the band as a permanent member. The Birmingham, England-based musician previously toured with MERCYFUL FATE in the fall of 2022 as the temporary replacement for Joey Vera who was unable to make the dates due to a scheduled conflict with his longtime group ARMORED SAINT.
Asked how it feels to be a member of MERCYFUL FATE now, Becky said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "It's great. It's just really nice to feel settled into the position now. I did those couple of runs of shows back in 2022, and, of course, it was great to do those, but always being able to see the end in sight and knowing that the next show is probably going to be Joey coming back in to do the live shows. And so now I just feel — I don't know — like a sigh of relief almost that I know that I did a good job doing that first tour and that I feel welcomed and just that my role is stable. I guess before I just wanted to do a good job and make a good impression. And not because I wanted the job permanently — of course, I wanted it, but I never thought that that would be an option. But just to know that such a band that I have so much respect for that I would do a good job, and to know that I did that, because they want me back. It's just very reassuring."
As for when fans can expect to hear a new studio album from MERCYFUL FATE, Becky said: "I'm guessing, my guess is gonna be toward 2025, maybe towards the end of 2025. But it depends how it all goes, 'cause King [Diamond, MERCYFUL FATE frontman] is working on a KING DIAMOND album first. So we've got a little bit of time there. And they'll have to tour that as well, give it the full world-tour treatment and everything. But there is something in the works. I've listened to Hank's [Shermann, MERCYFUL FATE guitarist] demos. He sent me, I think about nine songs, a couple of weeks ago and I've been listening through those. So it's on the way. It's all just been in the works for kind of a while and now things are just starting to fall into place."
As last month's Metal Hall Of Fame gala at the Delta Marriott Garden Grove in Garden Grove, California, Becky was asked by The Metal Voice if her addition to MERCYFUL FATE as a permanent member has been in the works for a while. She responded: "I guess the idea was floating around for a while, but it's quite recent still, the news that I was going to be permanent in MERCYFUL FATE. But I guess, as any band does when you've got a lot coming up and there's some kind of — I don't wanna say insecurity within the band, because it's not that; it was just kind of, like, a question about how busy Joey was, and I guess it was kind of in the back of their minds. And the way that the fans reacted when I did the tour was very positive. So it was a natural progression, I guess. But yeah, it all just kind of came about very, very recently in terms of being solidly, like, 'Yes, this is what's happening. And you are gonna be a full-time member of MERCYFUL FATE.'"
Regarding how she came to play for MERCYFUL FATE originally, Becky said: "I think the main person for bringing me into the picture was Hank Shermann. So he was the person who suggested me when they started looking at, like, 'Okay, well, actually, this whole list of male bass players that we're looking through, it doesn't have to be a guy. Who else do we know? Should we start looking somewhere else? Because there aren't any women on this list, and maybe that could be a thing, that could work out for MERCYFUL FATE.' And then I was kind of at the top of Hank's list. And then when he showed King and the rest of the management and stuff some of my videos, it was literally the weekend of Bloodstock [Open Air] festival in the summer of 2022. And they were, like, 'Okay, let's go. Let's go to Bloodstock. And she's gonna be at Bloodstock festival. Let's ask her there.'"
Asked if she is looking forward to perhaps contributing to the songwriting in MERCYFUL FATE as well, Becky said: "I think the songwriting is still gonna be very much King Diamond and Hank Shermann kind of heading up most of that, but definitely writing bass lines. I've studied all of Timi's [Hansen, original MERCYFUL FATE bassist] bass lines very meticulously now, and so I really feel like I can bring some of that into the new bass lines for the next record."
Pressed about whether MERCYFUL FATE's legacy scares her, with "their history of all this satanic stuff," Becky responded: "No, not really. I mean, I guess just their legacy in itself is scary. It's such a big thing. It was such a big part of my life growing up that it's all just very daunting, I guess. And trying to get it right is daunting and scary. But the satanic stuff, no, not really. [Laughs]"
When Becky's addition to MERCYFUL FATE was first announced earlier in January, she said in a statement: "It is a great honor to now be a permanent member of MERCYFUL FATE. I can't wait to join the recording of the new album.
"When I joined as a stand-in on the 2022 U.S. tour, the acceptance and encouragement from the fans was exceptional. A huge thanks to the band, team and fans for the warm welcome. See you in Chile and Brazil this coming April."
After playing the piano as a child, Becky picked up the bass guitar as a teenager and began performing with bands at school. In 2009 she moved from Trowbridge to Bristol to study at BIMM Bristol and became closely involved in Bristol's music scene. Becky holds a BA Honours degree in Professional Musicianship and now lives in the birthplace of heavy metal — Birmingham, U.K.
Becky is an energetic live performer and efficient recording musician who specializes in fingerstyle bass guitar playing, and rock and metal genres. Since 2012, Becky has performed approximately 100 gigs per year, offering her skills for a wide variety of bands (including covers and original bands, genres ranging from metal to folk, urban, funk, pop, jazz and more.) Music has taken Becky all over Europe and into the USA for touring and recording sessions.
Becky is a co-founder of specialist private tuition company Bristol Rock Centre, which runs a teaching and rehearsal studio in Mangotsfield. She has aided exam board Rockschool in the writing and proofing of tuition/exam books including "Let's Rock Bass", the "Popular Music Theory" collection and the 2014 Vocal syllabus. She has led workshops with Bristol Rock Centre and Rockschool, and has given lectures at BIMM Bristol, ACM Birmingham and Access Creative College. Becky has received tuition from top musicians such as Stuart Clayton (CARL PALMER band),Damon Minchella (OCEAN COLOUR SCENE, PAUL WELLER) and Jim Barr (PORTISHEAD, GET THE BLESSING).
Earlier in January, it was revealed that MERCYFUL FATE and Vera had "mutually" decided to part ways.
In 2019, it was announced Vera would be replacing Hansen for the band's summer 2020 European festival appearances due to Hansen's cancer diagnosis. Hansen passed away in November 2019 and MERCYFUL FATE's 2020 summer festival appearances were rescheduled for 2021, and then to 2022.
MERCYFUL FATE's North American tour, which featured support from by KREATOR and MIDNIGHT, followed the band's headlining performance at the 2022 edition of Psycho Las Vegas.
MERCYFUL FATE is currently working on a new album and recently gave fans a taste of the new material when they debuted a song called "The Jackal Of Salzburg" in Germany in June 2022 as well as at Psycho Las Vegas. The band's current lineup is rounded out by Mike Wead on guitar and Bjarne T. Holm on drums.
MERCYFUL FATE was formed in early 1981 in Copenhagen, Denmark by vocalist King Diamond and guitarist Hank Shermann. They were later joined by guitarist Michael Denner and bassist Timi Hansen, and soon thereafter drummer Kim Ruzz would join to complete the band lineup. The band recorded two demos in 1981 and later signed with Rave On Records in Holland for the recording of their successful self-titled EP, released in November of 1982. The "Mercyful Fate" EP was soon in heavy rotation around core metal radio stations, launching a new breed of heavy metal with their unique sound.
The band joined Roadrunner Records in 1983 and their debut full-length, "Melissa", was recorded and released that same year. The following year, MERCYFUL FATE returned to the studio to record their now legendary "Don't Break The Oath" full-length, released in September of 1984.
MERCYFUL FATE embarked upon a two-month U.S. tour in support of the record, which took them across the States several times sharing the stage with the likes of MOTÖRHEAD and EXCITER. The shows had created a brush fire within the metal community. The band reaped recognition globally, closing the year with a five-date tour in Germany with MOTÖRHEAD, GIRLSCHOOL, HELIX and TALON.
MERCYFUL FATE's first concert of 1985 was in their hometown of Copenhagen at an old movie theater with a large capacity. The show sold out and their stage show exhibited a new level of distinction. The night was a huge victory and a new highlight for the band. By April of 1985, however, MERCYFUL FATE decided to part ways for each to pursue new challenges. The KING DIAMOND band was born and reaped critical acclaim the following years with five studio albums on Roadrunner Records. KING DIAMOND has since signed with Metal Blade Records and is going stronger than ever before.
In the summer of 1992, MERCYFUL FATE decided to reunite and penned a new deal with Brian Slagel and his label, Metal Blade Records. "In The Shadows" was released in 1993 and was an instant triumph furthered by a sold-out U.S. tour.
MERCYFUL FATE has gone on to release another five studio albums and have toured Europe, the U.S. and South America multiple times. The highlight of 1999 was their critically acclaimed album "9" which was followed by a European tour with METALLICA, where King Diamond and Hank Shermann joined the band onstage several times for the medley "Mercyful Fate" which METALLICA had recorded on their "Garage Inc." double tribute album the year prior. Tours in the U.S. and in South America followed, marking the band's last live performances for over a decade. MERCYFUL FATE then went on hiatus, but made a brief appearance when members joined METALLICA onstage in 2011 for their 30th-anniversary show in San Francisco, California.
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