In an impassioned social media post headed “Dear people, I am leaving Nightwish and my public life”, Heitala announced that he had come to his decision in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic after becoming “disillusioned” with the music industry.
Heitala wrote: “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.”
The bassist alluded to his struggle with chronic depression, suggesting it played a part in his decision to quit the band he joined in 2001.
“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.
Hietala was also quick to head off speculation that keyboard player and mastermind Tuomas Holopainen played a part in his decision to leave.
“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 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.”
Hietala added that he plans to fulfill unspecified commitments in 2021, before stepping away from the music industry.
“I have some reinventing to do. I hope to tell you about it on [sic] 2022. It’s not a promise though.”