Michael Denner says that he was "shocked" when he first found out he was being excluded from MERCYFUL FATE's upcoming reunion.
When it was announced last month that the influential Danish heavy metal act would reunite for an unspecified number of concerts throughout Europe during the summer of 2020, it was revealed that MERCYFUL FATE's lineup for the shows would consist of King Diamond on vocals, Hank Shermann on guitar, Bjarne T. Holm on drums, Mike Wead on guitar and Joey Vera (ARMORED SAINT, FATES WARNING) on bass.
Denner, who was a member of MERCYFUL FATE's classic lineup, addressed his absence from the band's reunion in a brand new interview with The Metal Voice. He said (hear audio below): "MERCYFUL FATE did two albums before they laid it to rest way back in — that's a long time ago now; over 20 years ago now. So when they [reformed] the band, they wanted to continue with the same lineup as they did way back then. But what surprised me — I didn't know anything about this; I heard it two days before it was officially released. And I [went], 'Woah!' Because somehow in there it looked like it was supposed to be the original lineup [performing] songs from the first three albums. And that took me by surprise, because I was very much a part of these albums. And I felt a bit sad about it. But then again, I'm happy with what I do with [DENNER'S] INFERNO. If this is what Hank [Shermann, MERCYFUL FATE guitarist] and King [Diamond, MERCYFUL FATE singer] wanna do, I cannot force them to bring me in the band. I just wish them the best of luck. And I just wanna move on, doing my own stuff…. I was part of the MERCYFUL FATE history — a big part — but if they wanna go that way, then I cannot force them to change their mind. And I'm in peace with this. It's okay."
Denner went on to say that he was especially surprised by the fact that Shermann didn't inform him of MERCYFUL FATE's reunion plans, especially considering the fact that they had remained friends, even collaborating on several other projects over the years.
"I didn't expect Hank to just keep quiet, because we were on speaking terms always," Michael said. "And we had this telepathic relationship as guitarists and composers and so on. That was a big shock. I didn't expect that. I lost contact with King some years ago — we had some differences; small, small arguments about small things — so I didn't expect King to call me up and say, 'Hey, Michael, let's start the band again.' But with Hank, it's a different story, because we were working very close together. And he even helped me with the INFERNO album — he did some of the guitar recordings for my new album. And he helped me with the artwork for the album cover and a lot of things. So this was quite a big surprise for me."
Asked if he would jump at the chance to be a part of MERCYFUL FATE's reunion if he got the call tomorrow, Michael said: "It would be very hard. It would not be enough just to give me that call. I would need some serious explanations. That's a hard question to answer, because, of course, my feelings were a bit hurt when it occurred three or four weeks ago. So now I'm healing. I cannot answer that question; I cannot answer it. The only thing I can say is I'm happy where I'm at with the INFERNO album.
"If I hadn't been so active as I am as a guitarist and a composer and so on and so on, then I would just disappear in all this," he continued. "But now I'm a very big part of the whole rumble, because I have a new album and I'm in top shape. Then again, I did my best and succeeded not throwing moths in the face of the other guys during these last three or four weeks — I have not said anything bad about these guys, even though they disappointed me, of course, because I didn't expect this. Not telling me anything me about it until two days before it was official. I didn't expect that, so I was in a shock. It was shocking."
MERCYFUL FATE's last studio album, "9", was released in 1999.
MERCYFUL FATE will be remembered for its unquestionable mark on the history of metal with its innovative sound, complex arrangements, memorable melody, and its influence on bands that later took the genre to new heights.
In 1998, METALLICA paid tribute to MERCYFUL FATE by recording a medley of classic MERCYFUL FATE songs on the album "Garage Inc." Titled "Mercyful Fate", the medley included parts from "Satan's Fall", "Curse of the Pharaohs", "A Corpse Without Soul", "Into the Coven" and "Evil".
Lars Ulrich of METALLICA (a fellow Dane) played drums on a new version of MERCYFUL FATE's "Return of the Vampire" on the "In the Shadows" album, which came out in 1993.
Michael's new band DENNER'S INFERNO, will release its debut album, "In Amber", on November 15 through Mighty Music.
MERCYFUL FATE bassist Timi Hansen recently announced that he is not taking part in the band's reunion because he is battling cancer.