NIGHTWISH's longtime bassist/vocalist Marko "Marco" Hietala has announced his departure from the band.
Hietala issued a statement earlier today in which he said: "Dear people. I am leaving NIGHTWISH and my public life.
"For a quite a few years now I haven't been able to feel validated by this life. We have streaming company big guns demanding 9/5 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 theocrasies 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. 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. 'My Walden' so to speak. And it's even in my book that I'm a chronic depressive. 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.
"And I don't think that I'll be gone for good.
"Conspiracy is the word of the day. For the people who like them I need to say that my 55th birthday is now on 14th of Jan and I've certainly done my time for now. Blaming for instance Tuomas [Holopainen, NIGHTWISH keyboardist and main songwriter] is an insult to both him and my free thinking. This is a very sad thing to all of us too. Have a care please. But of course now we'll know, if some go there on purpose.
"There are a couple of things agreed on that I will do on 2021. Otherwise I kindly and with respect ask the media, bands, artists projects etc. to not ask me for anything within the next year. I have some reinventing to do. I hope to tell you about it on 2022. It's not a promise though.
"I am so sorry about this.
P.S.: Tony Iommi is an exception to the 'no contact whatsoever.' Childhood hero takes a precedence."
The remaining members of NIGHTWISH have released the following statement about Hietala's exit:
"Marko's resignation has left us with some difficult decisions and choices to be made. After much thought and consideration, we have, in mutual understanding, decided to perform the upcoming 'Human. :II: Nature.' world tour as planned, but with a session bass player. The live line-up will be announced at a later date.
"We respect Marko's decision and wish him all the very best. We will not comment any further."
Last month, Hietala was crowned the winner of the fall 2020 season of "Masked Singer Suomi" — the Finnish edition of the popular masked singing contest. He was disguised as Tohtori — the Doctor.
Marko's solo album, "Pyre Of The Black Heart", came out in January 2020 via Nuclear Blast. The style of the effort, which was issued in Finland last May 2019 under the title "Mustan Sydämen Rovio", has been described by Hietala as "hard prog."
Regarding how he came to join NIGHTWISH nearly two decades ago, Marko told Ultimate Guitar: "I knew about the band, because I had been playing in different groups before that. When the guys were starting out, they actually opened for one that I was playing with. I think that was in 1998; it's a kind of band that I'm still with, it's called TAROT. Then I was also playing bass in the band called SINERGY, and we did five weeks of touring with NIGHTWISH in central Europe; we were warming up for NIGHTWISH at that time, and that was actually in 2000, which is where I kind of really became aware that this thing is big and they got their sound together and everything. And, in a way, I was familiar already, got to know the guys and talking with Tuomas was pretty much easy, because, well, we kind of find out that we like the same books and movies and stuff. But the guys called me in 2001 and [asked me if I] would be interested to play the bass for the band. I was, like, 'Hey, all right. I'll come over and let's talk about this thing and see what happens.' And we just kind of agreed that, 'Okay, let's give it like two weeks for thinking time,' but I was pretty sure by the same thing that, 'Okay, I'm gonna do it.' And by the time we got into rehearsals, I was living in Helsinki at the time, and I went to the train station and guys were there to pick me up from the train station. And we just immediately got to the gas station and bought loads of beer and went to the rehearsal room and started drinking and playing, and it clicked."
NIGHTWISH's latest album, "Human. :II: Nature.", was released last April. The follow-up to 2015's "Endless Forms Most Beautiful", "Human. :II: Nature." is a double album containing nine tracks on the main CD and one long track, divided into eight chapters, on CD 2.
"Human. :II: Nature." was recorded from August to October 2019 at Röskö campsite, Petrax Studios and Troykington castle, as well as Finnvox Studios, by Tero Kinnunen, Mikko Karmila and Troy Donockley. The mixing was done by Mikko Karmila at Finnvox, with NIGHTWISH keyboardist and main songwriter Tuomas Holopainen and Tero Kinnunen. Mastering was done by Mika Jussila at Finnvox.