Goth rocker seeks, discovers serenity 

Finnish goth rocker Ville Valo has created an empire with his dark band and persona HIM. It includes the album “Screamworks: Love in Theory and Practice” (its title nicked from an Aleister Crowley work) and a line of merchandise featuring his “heartagram” logo — a cross between a heart and a devilish pentagram. Having just turned 33, the so-called “Christ age” of spiritual awakening, he says, “Tomorrow, all of a sudden, I could wake up and realize I need to be a lawyer ...” Valo, who appears in The City on Tuesday, has been changing — a lot.

So what changes did you experience at 33? You get small complexes as you grow older. But it’s a funny thing — I spent such a long time living a debauched rock and roll lifestyle, and I kind of felt really old at the end of it. And then when I stopped all intoxicants, all of a sudden I feel like I’m 14 again. It’s an amazing situation to be in.

The last time I saw you, you were glugging booze backstage on a HIM tour sponsored by Jagermeister. How did you get the final message to quit? When I felt so bad that I had to go to the doctor, and the doctor told me that I would have heart failure if I didn’t stop. And he told me to go to the emergency room straight away, to which I replied — and this is like a scene from a bad movie, “I can’t, because I’ve got interviews to do!’” So that’s how it went. But when it starts to affect you, not only mentally, but physically, to the point that you’re just a shell or a shadow of a man? I was in a bad way, and there had to be a change.

How did you quit? I ended up going to a place in Malibu. And the first week and a half was all shiver and shake, but after that it was all good. But when I was in rehab, doing my serenity prayers or whatever they call them, I was always saying “Black Sabbath, give me the serenity to …” Or “Ozzy, give me the serenity …” And people were kind of angry with me at first, but then they started laughing about it.

How’s touring now? I don’t want to even tempt myself with a glass of red wine, because alcohol is not meant for civil conversation. And you don’t enjoy Champagne by the glass, at least not in my case — it was by the bottle. — Tom Lanham


Regency Ballroom, 1290 Sutter St., San Francisco
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday
Tickets: $30 to $33
Contact: (800) 745-3000;

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Staff Report

Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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