SHORT STORY LONG: ARCHED FIRE 1989-1990
It was such a long time ago. But I do remember. Tiny steps for mankind, giant leaps for us.
“You know, in a year or so, we’ll have a great band”, Assu assured me. It was late 1988 or early 1989, and the weather was freezing, and we were sitting in the staircase of some random apartment building in our tiny hometown. We were on our way to this stupid confirmation school thing, a rite of passage that everyone our age attended and I hated. I was shivering with high fever that night, which probably was why I didn’t doubt his words.
That was all I, a hopeless rock geek with a mullet, ever wanted – to have a great band. But in a year? Couldn’t it happen any faster? Even the WWF match on TV that night with Jake “The Snake” Roberts against The Ultimate Warrior seemed to be far away in the future. Time moves slowly when you’re fifteen and living in a tiny provincial town in Finnish Lapland, waiting to attend some silly Kumbaya class at the congregation hall just to keep adults happy.
I had met Assu – Aslak Purojärvi – a few years before, when we were ten or so. There was this sand field adjacent to my home, and he was there playing football with his two brothers. We were polar opposites, I guess. He was an extroverted, easy-going kid who would talk to anyone, whereas I was painfully shy and quiet. But, we started chatting about computer games and became fast friends. One thing lead to another – fast forward three years and we had a band called Danger Zone. He was singing and playing the drums, and I was the guitar guy, and our friend Jussi was on the bass. I tried my best to write songs, and we also played “Paranoid” by Black Sabbath, the only heavy rock cover song easy enough for us. I had gotten my first guitar by mail order from Hobby Hall just a few months earlier.
In late 1988, we managed to land an interview in the local newspaper (“Keep Out! Danger Zone!” was the headline – a good advice, probably). That was the only thing that happened to the band before they kicked us out from our rehearsal room, the music class of the upper secondary school. They told us we were too young to play there (we were 14), but I’ve always suspected they wanted to get rid of us because we were such a nuisance. Like, once we found some sandwiches that had been prepared for a wedding reception to be held at the school gym later that night, and ate some. Nobody except us thought it was OK.