Nightwish’s longtime bassist Marko Hietala has quit after 20 years with the band.
In a lengthy statement published on the symphonic metal group’s official website, Hietala said he was leaving both the band and his “public life,” apologizing to fans and explaining that his disillusionment with the music industry was behind his decision to resign.
“For quite a few years now I haven’t been able to feel validated by this life,” he revealed. “We have streaming company big guns demanding [9 to 5] work from artists of inspiration while unfairly sharing the profits. Even among the artists. We’re the banana republic of the music industry.
“Biggest tour promoters squeeze percentages even from our own merchandise while paying dividends to Middle East. Apparently some theocracies can take the money from the music that would get you beheaded or jailed there without appearing as hypocrites. Just a couple of examples here.
“This past year forced me to stay home and think. And I found myself very disillusioned about these and a lot of things,” he continued. “I found out that I am in need of that validation. For me to write, sing and play, I need to find some new reasons and inspirations.”
Hietala added, “It’s dangerous for me and the people around me, if I continue. Some of the thoughts a while back were dark. Don’t worry, I’m fine. I have my two sons, a wife, the rest of the family, friends, a dog and lots of love.”
The bassist also advised fans not to indulge in conspiracy theories, especially about whether his bandmates had anything to do with his departure. “Blaming for instance Tuomas [Holopainen, Nightwish bandleader] is an insult to both him and my free thinking,” Hietala wrote. “This is a very sad thing to all of us too. Have a care please.”
Nightwish appended a short statement to Hietala’s message, explaining that the band have decided, “in mutual understanding,” to forge ahead with their world tour in support of 2020 album Human. :II: Nature. with a session bass player.
Though Hietala doesn’t think he’ll “be gone for good,” he did ask for journalists and fellow artists to refrain from approaching him for “anything within the next year”—with the sole exception of Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi. “Childhood hero takes a precedence,” he quipped.
Listen to his last album with Nightwish, Human. :II: Nature., below: