Thanks to the opening line of “Welcome Home” from 1988’s Them, the word most frequently associated with King Diamond is “grandma.” And audiences around the country will find out why, as King plays the Mayhem Fest as direct support for Slayer. Philly-area artist and graphic designer Jodi Cachia has been portraying King’s grandma and other characters in his theatrical stage show for 17 years now. Despite having no initial acting experience, Cachia landed the job and has been part of the show since. Cachia caught up with Metal Insider about how she got the job, how it’s changed in the years since she got it, and being a part of “Halloween put to music.”
You’ve been in King’s show since 1998. How did you wind up getting involved?
It was a total fluke, actually – back in those days, I was doing promotions for this band from Philly called Orcus. This was back in the AOL message board days and they were going to open up for King when he came to play the Trocadero on the Voodoo tour. I was on the message boards just promoting a show and I ran across this ad that [said] “actress needed” and while I fit the description, I figured it had already been filled, since it had been up for a week.’ But I thought if I answered, I would be able to talk to somebody when we played the show together, and have something to talk about rather than just ‘hey man, nice set.’ So I emailed and actually heard back right away and the person who made the post put me in touch with King like two days later and I wound up flying out a couple days after that. It was a very sudden, random like “here’s an opportunity, jump for it” and that’s how it all began.
That’s excellent – and you’ve been doing it full time while he’s been touring ever since?
Yeah, every show that he’s done I’ve been a part of since then. Just the other day I was thinking I should try to go back and try to count how many shows it’s been, maybe there’s like a cool anniversary coming up or something.
How have things changed over the years?
Yeah, well, when I started, I didn’t know what the hell I was doing at all, I just got thrown into it. So, my responsibilities over the years grew a lot, which is great. The cool thing is that, right away, King and I worked together really easily, so he’s given me a lot of freedom. He has his ideas and I run with it and everything works great. Really, the only thing that has really changed over the years is different songs being introduced into the set, different characters, coming up with new acts and trying to make stuff up, see what we can do next. This job is so fun that it doesn’t really feel like work. I’m always really appreciative when people, the guys who we work with and the crew, gives me positive feedback because this is something I could do in my sleep. Sitting at a desk working on design work is way harder but when people do give you good feedback, I do really appreciate it and I guess that’s led to me taking on, slowly, bigger roles. At Mayhem, we’re doing a shorter set because Slayer is headlining, so my involvement in this tour isn’t quite as over the top as I would like; I’m like, ‘I want to be out on every song!’ but I always know that every tour is different.
Had you been an actress before?
No, no. I mean, I love Halloween so it’s just like Halloween put to music, so what could be better, you know?
How big of a King Diamond fan were you before you got involved?
I never listened to King Diamond once before I started working for him. I went to school with this girl who loved King Diamond and she’d always be like, “You know! King Diamond! [hits high note]” And I was like, ‘Oh my god, I don’t ever want to hear that. That sounds like it would be horrible.’ So, I totally felt like a complete jerk. When I did get the job, I was so nervous; I’m going to go there and he’s going to be like, “What do you mean, you don’t know my music? Get out of here!” Thankfully, that was not the case. But everything has changed, you know, I guess hearing other people sing King Diamond made me not want to listen to it.
How did you feel when you were first told you were going to play a grandmother?
I was like, ‘I wanna be a sexy grandma!’ [laughs] Yeah, no, I had to let those dreams fly out the window really quick. Actually, I was tight with a friend who was a huge King Diamond fan when I got the job so he was like, “You have to listen to “Welcome Home,” you have to at least know something,” so I at least knew there was a grandma character. I have since embraced her.
How well known is it around Philly that you’re the actress in King Diamond?
It’s kind of known, I mean, I know so many people in the music scene in Philly because its so incestuous, and all I do is go to shows so most people know, but there’s some people that I’ve known for years who have no idea. I just ran into that situation recently where a friend waswas like, “Oh, you’re in a band? I’ve known you for like 15 years,” I also thought recently that I’d be so much cooler if I was living I Europe – its just like a different, I don’t know, people make it seem like a bigger deal when I meet people in Sweden or Denmark – I’m way cooler for being grandma when I’m in Europe than I am here.
Has anyone asked you to do anything like that outside of King Diamond as a result of you being in the show?
A little bit, but things never seem to come through. At one point, I was talking to some guy about hosting some show but it never happened. Honestly, not as many opportunities as I would have thought. It’s a little bit of an unusual job; it’s an unusual role so it doesn’t really cross over to a lot of things. It’s almost disappointing that it hasn’t led to other unique opportunities, because I like doing weird stuff.
Mayhem is going to be the biggest tour you’ve done in America in a long time, right?
Yeah, this is a totally different kind of tour for us. Normally, we always do headlining club tours, which are awesome. The one thing that is awesome about this is that there are so many younger metal bands on Mayhem and a lot of their fans, I’m sure, probably have not listened to King Diamond. I’m hoping this will be a great way for the band to get exposed to a new generation. It’s also great that we get to rock out with Slayer every night. It’s great; it’s going to be fun.
Were you nervous at all when King got sick and had to undergo heart surgery?
Yeah, of course! I mean, of course! Anytime someone you care for is in bad shape, its really really scary. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the call that I got when his wife called me and told me what was going on. Yeah, it was some really serious stuff that he was dealing with and I was very nervous but the great thing was that after it all happened, the turn around – the huge improvement it caused in his life, seeing him become a new person after going through such a horrible experience. I don’t shit on anybody but it was great to see him make a positive change because of it.