In the early 2000s, Jackass star Bam Margera was one of HIM's most high-profile fans and biggest advocates, directing several music videos for the Finnish goth metal group and also featuring them in his MTV shows.
The relationship went both ways, Ville and Margera becoming close friends to such an extent that Margera even got tattoos of a heart on his wrist and a Heartagram on his pubis to copy the HIM frontman.
But in a recent interview, Valo admits they have lost touch and that he is troubled by "the monster" his former friend has become. “I haven’t heard from him in a while," Valo told NME. "I think the last time I saw him was during [HIM's] last tour in the [United] States with him, which was 2017. I haven’t been able to reach out in that sense or really talk to him."
While Valo admitted he hasn't spoken to Margera in years, he still shared well wishes for his former friend. “I’m hoping that he feels better because he’s a nice guy," Valo added. "He’s a sensitive, special fella and it’s just sad to see that he’s turning into the monster that he’s turning into. I think I can understand some of it, but it needs to stop.”
In a "making of" documentary for HIM's 2005 record Dark Light, Margera said he first became aware of HIM in May 2000 after reading a "lousy one page feature" in a magazine. Infatuated with their music, he became a vital force in helping to expose the Finnish band to American audiences.
Speaking to Loudwire in 2014, Valo recalled that Margera was “just a random fellow that came knocking on our door… he wasn’t that well known internationally. He was a skateboarder and he was working for MTV in America… He [would] come over and say hi and grab a beer from a fridge from the dressing room… and that’s how the friendship started… We became friends.”
In August 2022, Margera was interviewed by former Jackass co-star Steve-O as part of Steve-O's Wild Ride podcast, where he admitted, “I am an alcoholic. I have been for a long time. I remember when I was probably 24, I was so mesmerized by Ville Valo from HIM… he would just walk down the street in Finland and girls would literally faint, sometimes guys too. So I would just follow his lead.
"I’m like, ‘He’s buying a pack of cigarettes, I’m buying a pack of cigarettes. He’s getting a beer, I’m getting a beer. He’s doing a shot of Sambuca, I’m doing a shot of Sambuca,’” he says. "Once he cracked open a beer when he woke up, that was the first time I’m like, ‘You’re drinking in the morning? In the daytime?’ He’s like, ‘Yeah, why not? Want one?’ I’m like, ‘Well I’m not gonna let you do it alone, but this is fucking crazy.’ It was the first time I ever day drank.”
Earlier this week, Margera once again appeared on Steve-O's Wild Ride and admitted, "I basically was pronounced dead on Elvis's birthday" when opening up about his health issues that saw him hospitalised with pneumonia in December 2022.
Valo himself became sober in 2010 and spoke about the process of 'slowing down' with NME. "When you start pooping and puking blood on a daily basis, looking like a swollen balloon of a person, a weird thing that's about to burst from all orifices and whatever... it's a thing to celebrate for a wee bit, but not too long," he says. "I'm glad enough my mates helped me to get my stuff together. It's easier said than done; I always hid behind alcohol... I had music as a security blanket but then I think you know you're a bit insecure and it was pretty overwhelming."
Watch the full recent NME interview below:
Ville Valo returns to the cover of Metal Hammer this month ahead of the release of Neon Noir, the debut album from his post-HIM project VV. Order your copy online (opens in new tab) and have it delivered straight to your door.