Blackheart Metallic

Heartagrams and heavy living with H.I.M.'s Ville Valo

While maintaining his three-packs-a-day Marlboro Lights habit, Valo has shifted to nonalcoholic beer for a while, in order to stay alert after being robbed in Minneapolis. ("Someone spiked my drink and took all my credit cards," he says.) Also, H.I.M. has toned down its after-gig antics considerably since its first taste of stardom in Europe.

"We were excessive bastards back in Europe, getting fucked up and clubbing every night," he recalls. "It's not nice to travel from Finland to America and be drunk and hung over onstage every night and have shitty excuses. Now, if you followed the group, it would be the most boring reality show ever. It would be just a loop: waking up, drinking Red Bull, watching TV, doing a gig."

That's not exactly the lifestyle befitting a flamboyant figure that Metal Hammer magazine anointed "the new rock star," but Valo gives little thought to expectations.

Fine Finnish: H.I.M. takes its cult status in stride.
Fine Finnish: H.I.M. takes its cult status in stride.

"We're not the classic metalhead's choice, but who cares?" he says. "We're enjoying what we're doing, and we're doing it with full energy and all our hearts. We are doing the music we like for ourselves first, and then we hope it's going to please some people. We're not sonic prostitutes."

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