King Diamond Tribute Band Vocalist Reveals Big Plans for Their Future
For the past few years, Them: The Ultimate King Diamond Tribute Act, has been a fixture on the Northeast and Midwest club circuits. Lead by former Cold Steel vocalist Troy Norr, Them perform classics from the King Diamond catalog, along with a full-blown stage show complete with actors and props. If you never got to see the Danish metal master in his late ’80s period, you need to check these guys out if they’re ever in your area.
“The tribute act got started by accident,” Norr tells Noisecreep. “About five years ago I was playing in a band called Anger Management and one of our guitar players was messing around at practice one day and started playing a King Diamond song. So I told him that I can sound like King and that when I was a teenager I would sing along to all of his albums. So I sang one line for him and he was impressed. The idea then became for us to play one show of all King Diamond stuff in the future. Although that guitarist never ended up being involved, it got the ball rolling, because I finally got the tribute band started in the beginning of 2008,” says Norr.
“We were originally only going to play one or two shows, but that changed quickly. For our second show we played the re-opening of this legendary metal club out here on Long Island called Sundance. Mike Wead, one of the guitarists from King Diamond’s band, ended up playing two songs with us and people went crazy. After our third show in December of 2008, we sat down and had a meeting where we decided we wanted to keep on doing the tribute.”
Watch ‘Welcome Home’ From Them
Since then, Them has gaining praise for their loyal King Diamond song interpretations and stage show. Besides playing with Wead, Norr and his bandmates had the pleasure of playing with another member of the King Diamond family. “Earlier this year we had some bassist issues, so I reached out to Hal Patino to see if he wanted to come out and help us out. So he flew in from Denmark and stayed at my house on Long Island for two weeks and we ended up playing four shows with him. It was an unbelievable experience and we were honored to play on stage with him.”
Normally this month would be full of gigs for Norr and company, but a much-needed break has opened up a new chapter for the group. “Yeah, usually during this time of year we play a bunch of shows around the Halloween holiday. But our drummer had hurt is leg and he said he wanted to take a break and heal properly. So we agreed not to book any shows, but we also decided it was the right time to take this thing to another level.”
Norr then revealed to Noisecreep that he and his bandmates were going to turn Them into an all-original band. We’ll let the singer explain. “We’re writing and recording a full conceptual record in a horror vein, just like King would. The album and story will be called ‘Sweet Hollow.’ Look, we’re not trying to rip him off, or replace him. There’s only one King Diamond. That’s never been the intention with anything we do. He’s a master storyteller and performer. We’ve always done this with nothing but respect. I hope people take to it that way.
“We’re really excited about the new project. We have Travis Smith working with us on the visual side. He redesigned our logo (check it out below) since the original one had King Diamond’s name incorporated into it. Travis also designed the album cover for King’s ‘Abigail II’ and other bands we love like Flotsam & Jetsam, Overkill and Avenged Sevenfold.”
Even though the project is still in its early stages, Norr is already talking to labels about the album and working on a film about Them. “There’s already some interest from a label in Europe, but we’ll figure that stuff out down the line. A friend of mine named Rick Ernst is a filmmaker and he did a great documentary a few years ago called ‘Get Thrashed: The Story of Thrash Metal.’ Anyway, he had been filming a lot of footage of us for a documentary on the tribute band. Now that we’re taking things a step further, the story of the film will also focus on the tribute act morphing into the original band. Another thing Rick did was introduce me to Monte Conner at Roadrunner Records. He worked with King Diamond and invited us up to his office in Manhattan when Hal was in town with me. We filmed the footage where I show Monte my King voice. That was a lot of fun. It’s a really exciting time for us right now.”
Watch Troy Norr and Hal Patino Visit Roadrunner Recs A&R Legend Monte Conner