Part 7: The End

The end began in the late summer of 1990, when we decided Rytky had to go. It must have had something to do with the two gigs he missed, but it was also because he never really practiced and you could hear it in his playing. He took the news well, but was sad about it.

That day we walked downtown from our rehearsal room, me, Janne and Rytky, who was walking like 20 meters ahead of us the whole way. He seemed mildly shocked. When we got to town he walked straight into the first barber shop he saw and told the lady to shave his head bald. I guess it was his way to say it was over. I didn’t feel good about it at all, but I remember thinking it was best for the band. At the same time I wasn’t sure if we’d get our act back together anymore.

So, we needed a bass player. At the time I was hanging out with a small gang of good friends, including all the former Oasis members, and I asked Jani to be our new bass player. Metal wasn’t really his thing, but he seemed happy to play in a band again, and I was glad to have one of my best friends in the band.

We had a couple of rehearsals with him and we tried some new songs. One of them was called “The Helpless One”. The title made me smile, because I thought it was a clever stab at me. Previously, I had somewhat rudely told Assu he shouldn’t write anything reminding Metallica in the lyrics, because I thought we were too obviously influenced by Lars & co. Most likely annoyed by my orders, Assu had combined the title from two Metallica song titles! Take that!

Things were… not great, but at least alright. The band spirit wasn’t there anymore, it hadn’t been for quite a while, but still, we sounded pretty good with Jani. But then he got an offer that was hard to refuse.

“I gotta tell you something”, he told me one day when we left ther rehearsal room, sounding slightly nervous. “Rocktonic asked me to be their bass player.”

To me, that was a no-brainer. It was a good gig, at least there in the sticks. Rocktonic played a lot of shows, and they had already cut a single, whereas Arched Fire was running on fumes and most likely going nowhere.  

“I’d do it if I was you”, I said with a shrug.

“I thought you’d get mad”, Jani laughed, relieved.

Nope. He would have been silly to say no.

It was an end of an era. The summer of 1990 was fading, and speed/thrash was giving way to death metal. I think we all could sense that it was the end.

Ari Väntänen

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