Classic Mercyful Fate Guitarist Betrayed by Reunion – ‘They Didn’t Tell Me’
Earlier this year, Mercyful Fate played their first show in 23 years, but one longtime member of the band wasn't there. Guitarist Michael Denner previously revealed he wasn't invited when the group first announced their reunion plans in 2020, and he elaborated on the betrayal he felt by being left out during a recent chat with Chaoszine (as seen below).
“I [feel like] this is not my band anymore. I’m not part of it, because they didn’t tell me; they didn’t invite me. We didn’t even have a discussion about it," explained the guitarist, "So, of course, it took some time for me to digest it. It was quite painful, because I miss my friends from the ’80s — I miss them. But not the people who [are] in the band today."
He added of the reunion, "I wish them the best. I mean, the better they play, the more records we can sell and the more money I will get in the end. Of course it’s heartbreaking. And also to see and hear — they play my signature stuff. Most of the songs they play now is things I’ve done — I mean, my signature solos, my themes, my arrangements, my stuff. And it’s another guy who plays. But then again, Mike Wead is a great guitarist, and he’s still a good friend of mine. So if anyone should do the job, I’m glad it’s him who did it, really. He can do the shit. That’s some sort of comfort in all this agony and disappointment — that it’s Mike Wead who plays. And that makes me feel good.”
While there is some positivity in how Denner feels about Wead's addition to the current lineup, that doesn't negate the disappointment he felt by how he was treated concerning the reunion discussions that didn't include him.
When asked if he would ever reconnect with Mercyful Fate's Hank Shermann again, the guitarist stated, “Not in a million years. That will never happen — never. It’s just the end of it, because I could never trust this guy again. He broke my heart and he stabbed me in the back."
He continued, "I miss my old friend; I miss my guitar partner. But I will never take a chance again, trusting this guy, when he could do the thing he did. I will never be safe. So I feel sorry for me and I feel sorry for him. It’s a loss. That’s the way life goes. You have to carry on.”
When asked if he would check out the band's performance at the Copenhell festival, Denner remarked that he wouldn't, stating, "It's too painful," but then adding, "Not much because of that, but if I go out here tomorrow at Copenhell, I will not have two minutes of peace. People will come and why this and why that, you know. I'm always open for a selfie, a handshake and a signing, whatever, but I would have to repeat the same thing - why are you not there Michael? Why? It's a disgrace, and we feel for you. I appreciate people's heart in this, but there's nothing we can do about it. They made the decision and it would be too painful to see them play my stuff."
Denner was with the band in multiple stints, dating back to 1982. He most recently played with the group in 2011. In the time since, he's done some composing and guested on material from other acts while also working with his own band.
The current Mercyful Fate lineup includes singer King Diamond, Hank Shermann and Mike Wead on guitars, '90s era drummer Bjarne T. Holm and Armored Saint and Fates Warning's Joey Vera on bass. The band's longtime bassist, Timi Hansen, died in 2019. The band is currently touring Europe and will cross the pond to play Psycho Las Vegas next month.