Mercyful Fate / The Fans Are Calling For Becky Baldwin

Yesterday, it was announced that Mercyful Fate and bassist Joey Vera have mutually decided to split ways. British bass player Becky Baldwin helped Mercyful Fate in November 2022 complete their first North American headline tour in over two decades. This is the name that fans are clamouring for on social media to replace Vera.

“Our friendship and respect for each other will always remain the same,” King Diamond said, “and we all sincerely wish each other the absolute best for the future.”

Armored Saint bassist Joey Vera joined Mercyful Fate to cover for Timi Hansen on their 2020 European festival appearances as Hansen had been diagnosed with cancer. Hansen sadly passed away in November 2019.

Becky Baldwin was approached by King Diamond’s wife and management at Bloodstock 2022 and was asked to step into the large shoes of Joey Vera for the North American leg of Mercyful Fate’s tour.

“I’d had a few drinks,” Becky Baldwin told MetalTalk in an exclusive interview last year. “I was there to enjoy the festival. I was approached by Sophie from Painkiller Clothing, and she said, ‘There’s someone who wants to meet you. Her name’s Olivia.’ I’m like, okay, yeah, I’ll meet her. But then I’m told to wait here, and Sophie will come back and get me, so don’t leave the VIP bar. I wanted to get back to my tent and charge my phone.

“But I wait, and she comes back. I don’t know who Olivia is, but it turns out that she’s King’s wife and assistant for the band. So, she was organising a lot of this. She brought me through to the backstage, and I was thinking, ‘Oh, we’re going backstage.'”

Becky Baldwin was taken along to meet King Diamond, who was in his full stage gear and face paint. “They filmed an interview with King and me,” Becky says, “just chatting. It felt so weird because I was put on the spot, meeting someone I’ve always looked up to as an artist, and I was being filmed while doing it. I’ve been given this crazy news, and I’m thinking this footage might be used to introduce me to Mercyful Fate fans. So I’m saying to myself, don’t say something stupid, don’t get a date wrong on which album was released when or something. Just be vague.”

Mercyful Fate, Bloodstock 2022
Mercyful Fate, Bloodstock 2022. Photo: John Inglis/MetalTalk

With King in his full-face paint, it’s quite challenging to determine how they respond. “You’re trying to figure out what they are expressing as they’ve just got this dark makeup. Are they happy? [laughs] Thankfully, it went well. It was a nice chat, and he said he watched my videos and was really impressed. I also met Joey [Vera], who I was replacing because he was touring with Armored Saint, who were supporting W.A.S.P at the same time.”

Becky’s first gig with Mercyful Fate was in Dallas on 25 October 2022. Many mutual friends quickly shared the YouTube videos on social media, and there was much joy. Becky explained the lead-up in the second part of our interview, “We did a day where we practised as a four-piece, so without vocals. But we never did a full rehearsal with the full band.”

Becky Baldwin, bassist for Mercyful Fate in 2022. Interview
Becky Baldwin: The fans “were going insane at that second” Mexican festival. Photo: Mario Rubio

Becky did 14 gigs with Mercyful Fate on that initial run. 13 in the USA and one in Canada, ending in Atlanta on 16 November. After such a headrush, how difficult was it for her to come back to earth? “Coming back from Mexico, I was really feeling bad about everything. But I think most of it was I was tired and I was missing people. It just felt like, okay, that’s it. It’s over. I don’t know when I’m going to see those people again. Going from not knowing them at all and then just being thrust into a month where you only see these people.

“These are your only friends. You have to meet them, find out who they are and what you do and make friends with them. Then you do that and go home for a bit. Then you come back, and it’s Mexico, and it’s fun.

“Then that’s the last time you see them, and when you say goodbye to them at the airport, you say, ‘I hope we’ll see you again.’ Having the realisation that it’s all over and those friends you met, you might never see again.

“And I may never play this kind of show again. That was really crushing. But you know, it’s not to say that I don’t love the things that I do here. It’s just different having to close that chapter so suddenly and so quickly felt really like, ‘Ouch, my heart’.”

Sleeve Notes

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