Ville Hermanni Valo, born 22nd November 1976, is the songwriter and lead vocalist for the Finnish rock band, H.I.M. Ville’s musical roots go way back into his childhood, from when he was a baby. When Ville cried, his father would play Paratiisi by Rauli Badding Somerjoki, and his mother would take him in her arms and dance. At this, baby Ville would calm down and stop crying.
Ville’s first musical memory is at a family party when Elvis’ classic “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” song , which is when little Ville crawled towards the bongo drums, and he began to tap away. Ville’s parents recognised his talent and throughout his life, they have nurtured his musical progression. However, Ville’s first encounter with rock/metal music came about when he was four, in his cousin’s bedroom, his cousin was a big fan of Iron Maiden. Ville then developed a taste for heavy metal. His biggest influences being bands such as, Kiss and Black Sabbath. The first album he ever bought was Animalize by Kiss. He had grown up around animals, including his pet dog Sami who was found in a gutter. Sami actually helped Ville to walk as a toddler, and it is said that when Sami eventually died, Ville then developed asthma and allergies. Growing up, Ville was wild, hyperactive and very often in trouble with other boys at school. One method that teachers used to keep him under control, was letting him draw pictures in class. This helped him stay calm.
Ville & his alcohol problems
In 1997, Ville developed a drinking habit, which was said to be greatly influenced by his best friend Bam Margera. “It´s hard for me to say no, and deep inside I´m quite a shy guy. In this job you have to constantly talk to people you don´t know that well. It´s easier when you have a little beer. Even business men know that important meetings take place in smart hotels in the midst of martinis. Drinking easily becomes a habit.” Ville states his own reasons behind his drinking. Then, in December 2005, Ville was a victim of a drug-assisted robbery in a Minnesota bar during a US tour. He says, “They put some drugs in my pint of beer. I blacked out and woke up in a hotel room I’d never seen before. Somebody had stolen my jacket, my asthma medicine, my fags, my credit cards and my cell phone. I had a couple of scratches, probably from falling down, but nothing worse. I’ve been sober ever since. ” By sober, he means he hasn’t drunk himself blind. At his best, he “only” had 2 beers a day. In August 2007, Ville admitted himself to rehab after being told by his doctors that if he didn’t stop drinking, he would end up in the emergency room with heart failure. “It was a test of patience for a couple of days, I was shivering and shaking like a leaf,” he explained, “and then coming together with my real emotions as I haven’t been sober in a real long time — the past 10 years. I have been sleeping like a f**king baby for the first time in 15 years!”
Ville Valo & Jonna Nygren
In October 2005, Ville was almost forced to cancel his band’s first major American tour after his ex-girlfriend beat him up. He was given a black eye by her, and sustained a burst ear drum. He says, “She was a tough girl and she wasn’t afraid to show it. She once punctured my ear-drum by screaming so loudly in my ear that it bled from the inside. Violence is always pretty bad but it doesn’t get any worse than being beaten up by a girl, does it?” Rumours were that Jonna was jealous of HIM fans, and beat Ville on a regular basis. She had very strong mood swings. They are no longer together.
Ville & HIM’s success
HIM first formed in 1991, by vocalist Ville Valo, guitarist Mikko Lindström (better known as “Linde” or “Lily Lazer”) and bassist Mikko Paananen (better known as “Mige”) along with drummers Juha Tarvonen & Juippi. Their current line-up is Valo, Lindström, Paananen, with Janne Puurtinen (better known as “Emerson Burton”) on keyboard and Mika Karppinen (better known as “Gas Lipstick”) on drums.
They have released 7 full length albums to date. On September the 5th, 2006 HIM’s fifth studio album “Dark Light” was certified gold by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) making HIM the first Finnish band to have a gold album in the US. In Finland, HIM had five of their albums certified platinum. One of which even reached double platinum. Ville’s theme when it comes to lyrics, is the joy, pain & suffering of love.
My reasons for choosing Ville Valo
I chose to write about Ville Valo as my arts hero, as I have been listening to HIM’s music since late April 2009 everyday to the present day. I’ve been addicted to them, and Ville’s lyrics have gotten me through really tough days and my rollercoaster emotions. He said once in an interview, that even though the songs each have a personal meaning to him, he knows that his fans will be able to relate to the songs in some way that’s personal to them. This is particularly true for me. Ville Valo is an inspiration to me for many reasons. Some I don’t wish to go into, as they are personal matters to me. But the main reason being is that he doesn’t give up, no matter how tough things get for him, he is very strong minded and always comes out better and stronger.
And I would just like to say that I do not own the above pictures.
The pictures below, are my own.
My first draft of notes.
My CD collection.
My posters (: