Part 6: Thrashing Around

But in a way, things were happening. That spring we came up with a lot of new songs, like “Against the World” parts I and II, “Escape”, “Remote-Controlled End”, “…And Ride Away” and “Crawling Down”, and we played some covers as well, like “For Whom the Bell Tolls” by Metallica and the anthraxed version of Trust’s “Anti-Social”, I think.

I remember I came up with the main riff for “Remote-Controlled End” when I was at home waiting for the sauna to heat up, as Finns often do. I was playing guitar half-naked (because I was going to have a sauna!) in the fireplace room that served as the sauna dressing room, too, when Rytky stormed in, saw me shirtless and burst into laughter. He thought I was posing alone for the mirror with a guitar and with no shirt on.

“I’m going to have a sauna right about now! That’s why I’m dressed like this, goddamned!”

“Yeah, right, I’m sure you were…”

It took some convincing.

Anyway, in the spring and early summer we had two pretty good gigs at Assu’s school, Lepistö, and also decided to make a four-track demo tape. We chose “Remote-Controlled End”, “Crawling Down” and “…And Ride Away” for the demo, probably because they were the latest additions to our repertoire. The sessions took place at the Tökäri rehearsal room with Jari, the guitar player in Rocktonic, doing us a favour by recording us. In my eyes, he was a seasoned pro. However, we did it all too hastily, didn’t even bother to fix the obvious mistakes anyone could hear. I don’t know why. We didn’t make many copies of it anyway, just for ourselves, and Assu sent one to Soundi magazine. When the somewhat favourable demo review came out in November 1990, the band was long gone.

Later that summer, the band wasn’t doing too well anymore. We had some silly issues with each other, corny stuff, like teens do. I was constantly angry, moody and depressed and couldn’t take a joke. Assu was hanging out with new friends and I felt like I couldn’t trust him anymore. Rytky didn’t seem to be that interested in rehearsing. So, some heated words and silent treatment were provided for everyone, especially by me, the sulking expert. Janne was always cool and calm. He was sensible enough not to bring his issues to the rehearsal room. But mind you, we were just kids and acting accordingly.

There were some fun rehearsals too. One day Rytky came in with his new friend Ville, who was this rocker dude who had just moved into town. At the time I didn’t know who he was, and because no-one had told me anything about anyone coming in to sing with us, I decided to dislike him and wanted him to leave, but naturally didn’t say anything about it, like I never did. By the end of the rehearsals I would have paid him to join the band, he was a really cool guy and a good vocalist. We became friends that day. But he wasn’t ready to be a singer (he was a guitar player) and never actually joined the band.  

In June, we got a gig at the Wood Sculpting Festival, another absurd function with us playing nasty speed metal and some goody two-shoes playing clarinet right after us. That day we were a trio, because Rytky couldn’t make it. I don’t know where he was and still don’t, but apparently he got there in time to see at least the end of the gig. I don’t remember us talking about it at all, let alone arguing or pointing fingers… Which is weird if you think about it. But then again, we were weird.

About a month later, on July 19th 1990, we had a gig in Falcon, which was this disco hellhole smack in the middle of our little town. It wasn’t a good place for a metal band, but then again, nothing within hundred miles’ radius was. Besides, it was cool to get to go inside a real alcohol-serving night club as a 16-year-old, so we happily took the gig. The DJ played Maxi Priest, Roxette and MC Hammer, we played hevispiidi.

After a quick sound check we left the venue to have some beers at a friend’s place nearby. We had a good time there, and at some point Rytky asked what we’d give him if he’d squirm out of the small kitchen window and hang from the window sill by his bare hands. “I’d give you some hammer on your fingers”, offered our host to everyone’s delight. Rytky took on the offer, and ta-dah, soon he was hanging outside the window. Meanwhile, Assu rode his bicycle down to meet us there and saw him. “Go get a hammer and hit my fingers!” Rytky yelled in drunken despair. I can’t remember if he climbed back in or fell down. Could have been either way, it was only the second floor. 

By the time we got back to the Falcon disco inferno, most of us were more or less drunk, and Rytky passed out on the floor of the club’s toilet. His girlfriend was pouring water on him to no avail. So, the bassless power trio was back in action. We started with “Remote-Controlled End” and my low E string was terribly out of tune, and all the neatly-dressed Backwoods Disco Dudes in the audience looked like they’d love to give us some hammer on our fingers. BUT there was this one guy head-banging right in front of us! He had long hair and a denim thrash vest and everything! Stuff like that just didn’t happen there, like, ever! He was Jarmo Villanen, the drummer in Noise Pollution, the band we had never heard play. We should have played gigs with them, but I don’t think they ever did.

That was the night when speed/thrash culture finally arrived in Kemijärvi. It left town in a panic that same night.

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