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Watch HIM’s Ville Valo killing it on slap-bass in a funk metal band in 1992

(Image credit: Future)

Everybody has to start somewhere, even goth metal icons. For HIM frontman and Prince Of Darkness-in-waiting Ville Valo, that start came was playing slap-bass in a funk metal band.

As this grainy but eminently watchable footage shows, Ville was a fresh-faced 15-year-old sporting a mop of mini-dreads and a baggy white T-shirt when his then-group Donits-Osmo Experience played a gig in Helsinki in April 1992. 

While Ville isn’t completely unrecognisable, it’s strange to see him lolloping around the stage with a headless bass in his hands rather than leaning agaiinst a mic stand, cigarette in hand, crooning about darkness and bats. And rather than HIM’s crushed velvet anthems, the band’s rubbery, funk-indebted sound that screams “We own every record Primus have released!” – something backed up by their cover of the San Francisco weirdniks’ oddball anthem Too Many Puppies.

In fairness to Ville, he really does know his way around that bass. Donits-Osmo Experience wasn’t strictly his’ first band. He’d already played in a couple of pre-teen school bands, including B.L.O.O.D. and Eloveena Boys, and also studied at the Helsinki Pop & Jazz Conservatory, which explains his ‘chops’.

He had also formed an early version of HIM with guitarist Mikko “Linde” Lindström the year before this gig, but the goth-metal kingpins wouldn't properly get going until 1995. By which point, Ville had put down the slap-bass, chopped off his dreads and located his inner Andrew Eldritch. Funk metal’s loss was everyone else’s gain.