ROY KHAN Opens Up About Exit From KAMELOT, Embracing Religion
August 23, 2023
Roy Khan says that a number of things contributed to his decision to leave KAMELOT more than a decade ago.
The now-53-year-old Norwegian singer announced his exit from KAMELOT in April 2011 after taking several months off to recover from a "burnout."
After his departure from KAMELOT, Khan, who is a devout Christian, joined a church in the coastal town of Moss, Norway.
In a brand new interview with Justin Young of Monsters, Madness And Magic, Roy — whose full name is Roy Sætre Khantatat — was asked what led to his split with KAMELOT. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Everything. Too much travel. Too much work. I had my first kids. I got married and I was pretty much falling into every pit there was. And this whole character that I was creating was very different from the person that I was and wanted to be at home. And those two characters pulled farther and farther from each other and that whole thing just tore me apart. I wasn't really present when I was at home either. I'd come back from a six-week tour and just take my shoes off and sit right down on the PC and work on something, and it was not good. And I got mentally sick. That summer of 2010, I had a period of five, six weeks where I literally did not sleep. Maybe, I mean a little bit, of course, but there were so many nights that I did not sleep at all. I just wandered around the house and worrying about everything and nothing."
Asked if he became religious after his exit from KAMELOT, Roy said: "Religious? Depends on what you mean by religious, how you define that. But I've always been occupied with big questions and also spiritual things. I mean, those kind of things have always fascinated me. But there were some really weird things that happened to me in connection with me being at my lowest low ever in 2010. I mean, obviously, I was really mentally ill at that point, but we experienced things. I mean, I experienced things that other people experienced together with me, and the timing of things were really awkward. Whatever that was, it definitely made me completely change my mind on the whole issue, is there something out there that we can't see that affects us? I'm positive about that. And I still have to sit down and pinch myself in the arm and just remind myself that the things that happened happened. I mean, some of those things people surely will say are coincidence. Some will say that I just imagined it. Some people will say that — some people won't even believe. But for me, it was very, very clear. And, there's no doubt in my mind. That doesn't mean that that completely changed my life. I mean, it did, but it's not like I was a whole new being all of a sudden. I still have things that I struggle with. It's not like you go from being an arrogant, sinful bastard to being an angel. It's a process. But all those things, having those things in mind for me is definitely gradually changing me in my approach to other people, life in general and then how I look at the time that I have left on this planet."
A year ago, Roy told Chaoszine about his split with KAMELOT: "I'm really, really extremely thankful that KAMELOT was able to continue without me, 'cause I had no intention to hurt the band. It was a very personal decision to quit the band and I simply had to. And I'm just glad that everything turned out in the end to be… They managed to go on without me, and I'm just very thankful for that, really."
Khan, who reformed his pre-KAMELOT band CONCEPTION five years ago and released an EP, 2018's "My Dark Symphony", and a full-length album, 2020's "State Of Deception", previously reflected on the circumstances that led to him ending his long working relationship with KAMELOT during an appearance in 2021 on the "Breaking Absolutes With Peter Orullian" podcast. Roy said: "That whole thing was a cocktail of several things that just happened to climax at that point. As you all, KAMELOT was getting more and more popular, so I was away months every year — like half the year at least I was gone. I was having a family, and that right there was starting to tear me apart. And then I was living my life not very healthy — let's put it that way — and I did a lot of stupid stuff back then that… I knew in my heart that it was going down the drain."
He continued: "I remember every night when I sang [the KAMELOT song] 'Karma', I would feel that this shit is gonna knock me on the back of the head at some point. If it's gonna tomorrow, [if] it's gonna be two years from now, I don't know, but the way I live my life, that's not gonna work — it's not sustainable. And then it happened. I knew for so many years, actually, that this was gonna not work out, and then, all of a sudden, it happened. I broke down. I had a full summer where I barely slept — like six to eight weeks where I didn't sleep a whole lot of hours during those six to eight weeks, and I was going really completely crazy. And in connection with that, a lot of stuff happened."
According to Khan, leaving KAMELOT after a 13-year run weighed heavily on him at the time.
"Quitting KAMELOT was the best decision that I've ever made, and by that I don't mean that… KAMELOT was a fantastic thing in my life, and Thomas [Youngblood, KAMELOT founder] and the other guys — it had nothing to do with them; it was all me and the way I lived my life, and I just couldn't take it any longer," he explained. "And I was also overworked — I worked all the time. Even when I was home. The first thing I'd do when I got back home is I would kick my shoes off in the hallway and I'd just sit right down at the computer and start working. I was really not a good husband and I was not a good father. Lots of things weren't good about me at that point.
"Quitting KAMELOT at that point, it was easy but it was hard," he elaborated. "It was easy because I didn't really have a choice. I was really wrecked. And at the same time, it was hard because I'd been working to get to that point my whole life, basically — 20 years, at least — and finally I was there. And then I threw the towel in and said, 'Hey, guys, I'm not coming in for the next tour.' 'Okay. Well, what's wrong?' 'Well, actually, I'm not coming back at all.' And obviously, everybody… My mom was, like, 'Are you kidding me? Are you serious?' Then the guys in the band, they thought that it was gonna pass. But I knew in my heart that summer [of 2010], already in August, I knew that that's it."
KAMELOT officially announced Tommy Karevik as its new lead singer in June 2012. The Florida-based band has recorded four albums so far with the Swedish vocalist: 2012's "Silverthorn", 2015's "Haven", 2018's "The Shadow Theory" and 2023's "The Awakening".
Asked if he has listened to any of KAMELOT's recent material with Karevik, Roy told Italy's SpazioRock back in 2018: "Yes I have. I really like some of their new stuff. Sounds classical KAMELOT in my ears, and Tommy is a great singer."
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