What happens at a metal show? The heavier crowd set tends to take things to another level, causing eruptions of energetic proportions, moshing, and crowd-surfing. In the case of 69 Eyes’ L.A. performance at the Key Club, the mosh pit that formed nearly brought down the house. I had the pleasure of attending last night’s show that hailed to the Helsinki Vampires that had returned to the sunny So-Cal terrain.
These Finnish rockers brought the ruckus, only topped by a surprise appearance by Bam Margera, the man that brought the band stateside. I’ll start from the beginning… The 69 Eyes, performed a solid hour-and-a-half set list that consisted of the new, old, and ancient tracks taking them back to when they first broke out into the music scene. “Brandon Lee,” “Gothic Girl,” “Feel Berlin,” Devils,” and newer hits “Dead and Gone,” “Dead Girls Are Easy,” and my favorite “Lost Boys.”
Do you ever wonder about musicians and what secrets lay behind those closed doors after they’ve departed the stage? I do to! Now, for your eyes and ears only, the secrets of the Vampire realm have been foretold. The one and only Helsinki Vampires are back from the dead, but not just back, back in blood. Frontman Jyrki69 spoke to me about The 69 Eyes U.S. return and the undead truth about the current album.
NP: Welcome back to the U.S., how does it feel to be back in California?
Jyrki 69: It’s awesome! Hollywood in general, we consider this our second home. This year we spent over 3 months during the spring time recording our newest album, so it’s great to finally be able to come back and play a show. It’s never frustrating to hang out in Hollywood and to have fans recognize you and come up and ask you “What are you doing here – why aren’t you playing a show?” at that time there was no way to do anything but now it’s the time and we’re now in Hollywood, so The 69 Eyes and are back in blood!
NP: “Back in Blood,” came out last month and it’s also your tenth to date, how does that make you feel – do you think your music has grown since when you first started?
Jyrki 69: Actually you’re mistaken, there is a little confusion everywhere, it’s actually our ninth album. I’m excited to do the tenth album when the time arrives, and we have of course several compilations available but this is studio album number nine. Yes and no, it’s the same sources of inspiration remains, the same rock n’ roll life remains, on the other hand of course
We’re better song writers, and I myself have written better lyrics, once in a while you make songs that last a little bit longer than others, like most of the songs within our set list, there are the ones we consider our “classics.” There are so many songs that could be on the next ten year compilation, with the way we’ve grown.
NP: Can you briefly tell us about the whole concept for “Dead Girls Are Easy?”
Jyrki 69: It was pure fun with Bam Margera, it was long lost Halloween weekend, the whole idea the name of the song, I just liked the title when I put together everything it represents the dead girls, these gothic girls who want to be dead and want to be a part of the undead and want to become Vampire girls. The story line is this classic old school 80s theme with this nerdy guy working and something strange happens to him when these Vampire girls come into his life.
This video is much like the videos from the 80s – having that rockin style and positive atmosphere – all the videos of today have changed, with the bombs, bugs, a very depressing imagines, I’m a fan of the 80s videos so this video is just like those.
NP: What was it like playing on Carson Daily back in 2006 – I’m not sure if you remember me, at that show but I was the girl in the audience who had waved to you, I had wanted to be on the bottom near the stage but couldn’t get down there.
Jyrki 69: That was great that was one of those classic 69 Eyes moments that we were able to do that show, and hopefully we can return to those shows, it’s been an honor to be involved with these shows, (Carson Daily) and to have The End Records (US Label) who have done great promotion for us, so I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re watching T.V. that you see us performing, we’ll be able to set something up pretty soon and also the next time you wave I will know it is you.
NP: In my opinion I’ve always pictured you guys doing a U.S. tour with H.I.M. would you ever be able to make that happen – I know you guys toured with Cradle of Filth back in 06.
Jyrki 69: That is something the fans are always asking, but I don’t think the bands are really excited about the idea. If you haven’t noticed the Finnish bands don’t really tour together and I don’t know why, but that is something that we should considering doing, because the fans keep asking about it. I haven’t heard any rumors, so I don’t think it’s going to happen anytime soon. As far as I understand the H.I.M. guys are recording their new album, and there are a lot of Finnish bands around here in Hollywood recording their new albums, so every rocker act is here in Hollywood right now and are from Finland so a very busy period for everybody right now.
NP: What can you tell us about your comic book “Zombie Love: Vampires, Ghosts and the 69 Eyes?”
Jyrki 69: It’s just a compilation of my old stuff that I drew in the 80s as a teenager, during the night, most teens go out and get drunk for the first time and meet the opposite sex, I was this guy that spent my nights at home watching horror movies and listening to strange rock n’ roll music, like the real nerds. Somehow these comics survived, and the characters pretty much look like our band; dressed in rocker appeal, and the girls are drama queens, so it’s not so far away from the world of the 69 Eyes.
I drew them and they still appear interesting, so I put it altogether, and that’s the book Zombie Love, and after 25 years, the kids still find this comic book amazing and it’s available at all of our shows so pick up a copy.
NP: How about “Route 69,” what can be said about that?
Jyrki 69: That’s a photograph book. It’s done by this photographer named Ville Juurikkala, the guy who’s been taking pictures of a majority of Finnish rock bands over the years, H.I.M. Nightwish, and us. Back in ’06, he traveled with us, took pictures and put out the book, and it has pictures of Japan/Finland, but mainly it’s about when we first traveled the states and how everything was different, a very big and exciting experience. It’s a great book filled with great memories.
NP: You’re known around the world as the “Helsinki Vampires,” do you consider yourself a Vampire?
Jyrki 69: Well… For some strange reason, I don’t age and I draw people’s attention to me. I drive girls crazy; especially those that know me. I like to hang out with sunglasses after dark, as far as that goes I might be a Vampire, but I won’t tell if I’m one or not. But don’t try old school tricks on me like holy water or garlic that won’t kill me. If you really want to destroy me, play me some anti-rock music, Beatles, Faith No More, Red Hot Chili Peppers, if you really want to throw me out of the party and kill me just throw on some bad music that should do it.
NP: Anything else you’d like to add?
Jyrki 69: I hope people will have the chance to check out “Back in Blood,” because I think it’s the best record The 69 Eyes have done, and we’re really proud of it. The theme involves Vampires, and the sound is awesome, and it’s interesting that The 69 Eyes have worked with American artists and producers, and a director for the video – it’s just something we’ve always wanted to do. Now that we’ve had the chance to do it, it’s become a great album but not just from The 69 Eyes but in general in the year 2009.
01. Back in Blood
02. Never Say Die
03. Lips Of Blood
04. Gothic Girl
05. Suspiria Snow White
06. Dance d’Amour
07. Kiss Me Undead
08. Feel Berlin
09. Dead N’ Gone
10. The Chair
11. The Good, the Bad & the Undead
12. Brandon Lee
13. Dead Girls Are Easy
15. Perfect Skin
16. Lost Boys