I finished reading Marco Hietala’s biography a week ago already, but somehow it felt difficult to write down what I thought of it.
I’m a huge fan of the Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish, and obviously Marco Hietala is one of the band members, so I guess I found it a bit difficult to not just go all into fangirl mode when I sat down to write about this book. 🙂
Nyt minä itse soitan biisejä, joista nämä sukupolvet saavat kylmiä väreitä vielä vuosikymmenien jälkeen. Uskomatonta, jopa pelottavaa, mutta hienoa.Rough translation from Finnish: ” Now it’s me who plays the songs that still after decades give the chills to these generations. Unbelievable, even scary, but great.”
Marco Hietala – Stainless tells the story of a great musician, and his rough journey towards success.
As said, I’ve been a huge Nightwish fan for at least 16 years. Their music lifts me up when I’m down, and empowers me deep into the core of my being. No other band or artist has made such an impact to me with their music like Nightwish has. This has been the case for over half my life, and I don’t expect this to change. So of course I had to read Marco Hietala’s biography when it got out.
The book goes through Marco’s life from early age to present and it’s written from his perspective. I guess the book is pretty much what you would expect of a rocker’s life story. Life management issues, alcohol issues, relationship issues etc. But in the midst of all the rock life there is also raw honesty about oneself. To me the open way that mental wellbeing is discussed by Marco felt meaningful. He is very open about what alcohol problems he had, and also how he had to seek out professional help for his mental health. I actually wished that they would have had more in depth chapters of his journey of getting help and getting better, but of course it can be too difficult and painful to give too much information, which I understand perfectly.
There is of course a lot of focus on all the bands that Marco Hietala has been part of, such as Tarot and Sinergy. It warmed my hear to hear even shortly how the lovely Heavy Christmas group (Raskasta Joulua) was founded because I’ve seen them play almost every year for at least 12 years. Yes, Finland has a big metal/heavy music scene, so is it any wonder that an annual Heavy Christmas tour with very famous Finnish and non-Finnish metal musicians is a thing here? 🙂 These days they fill arenas for the annual tours before Christmas. It’s an awesome concept!
Nightwish, along with the more or less dramatic lead singer changes, gets fair share of pages in the book when Marco describes the band’s situation from his perspective in those difficult times. I still remember the shock of Tarja Turunen being fired from the band after a gorgeous concert in Helsinki. That was a real shit storm with the media around here for a long time. And later on Anette Olzon also left Nightwish and it didn’t seem to be a peaceful exit either.
I have to admit, that it’s still difficult for me to accept just one point of view of who said what and who did something wrong and it still made me feel a bit uneasy to read about these singer issues again. But I understand that it must have been extremely stressing and straining to be in the midst of such personal disputes within the band, especially when you’re already going through heavy stuff of your own. It can’t have been easy for anyone back then. Now I’ve seen Nightwish several times with their newest lead singer Floor Jansen, and she is awesome and great and so right for the band (from a fan’s perspective). This I think was the message from Marco in the book that they now have a renewed energy and a group of people that feel exactly right for Nightwish right now. I loved reading about that, and I truly hope with all my heart that Nightwish will continue for many years still to bring joy, comfort and hope to fans around the world.
In the end I think the book could have been longer. I liked the tone of it, it felt like Marco was writing a blog or a diary, so the tone for the reader was quite personal. But in the end it felt like we were sometimes given only a scratch of the surface. I think there would have been much more to tell about Marco and his journey to become who he is today. Perhaps there will be a sequel to this biography later in his life?
Marco Hietala – Stainless gets a spot in the Reading Challenge, of course. It fills the prompt of:
43. A book that follows the growth of a child to adulthood
This book shows the challenges and rewards of when you’re born with a musical passion that turns into talent that defines the course of your life in good and bad. Marco Hietala is here to tell you his story plain and simple.
What Reading Challenge? Check out my post about that here.
And of course I had to find the old pictures of me 13 years ago. Here I am with a permanent grin on my face when I met Tuomas Holopainen and Marco Hietala at a Nightwish book signing session. I was happy beyond words, literally. 😀