“The film [The Punk Syndrome] tells about Pertti Kurikka’s Name Day… so it’s about one retard who sings punk and three retards who play punk. You should watch it and think about whether you should hate disabled people or love and respect them.”– Kari Aalto, Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät
On Monday April 14th I went to interview the brilliant Pertti Kurikan Nimipaivat at their rehearsal space in North Helsinki. Their fame is spreading fast these days with the release of the critically acclaimed documentary The Punk Syndrome so I was delighted that they had given up some of their time to talk about Finnish punk bands, winning awards and the trials of life on the road…
I don’t want to live in a group home
I don’t want to live in an institution
I want to live in Kallio in the privacy of a bomb shelter
Congratulations on all the recent awards that the Punk Syndrome has won recently – Have you attended all the awards ceremonies? Sami: Not all but some of them yes. It was fun as we have got acknowledgement for the hard work we have done. It’s really nice. Some of the awards were from different places in Europe and last year in Finland we won two Jussi awards (Finland equivalent of the Oscars) for best documentary and best editing.
I see you guys have gigs coming up in Helsinki and Turku – are you playing at any music festivals this summer? Sami: We don’t have so many gigs lined up for this summer yet as we are busy recording a new EP here.
I know you are influenced by Finnish punk bands Karanteeni, Kollaakestaa etc. Do you like any British punk bands like the Sex Pistols, Raincoats, the Slits etc? Sami: That guy Pertti, he’s our punk freak! He likes the British punk band the Hardskins. The singer was our driver when we were on tour last year in the UK. We played in London, Sheffield, Leeds and Sheffield. He also likes the Sex Pistols. Kari likes the Sex Pistols, Ramones and the Clash.
Lets talk touring….What do you like and dislike about touring? What is the best gig you have ever played? Sami: I like to meet people but the one thing I hate at times is these guys! I don’t want to see these guys! We are so tight like a family and I see these guys more than my parents, my girlfriend and friends. That’s the minus of touring because you’re a really really long time away from home. So that’s my worst thing of touring – 95% these guys! They can really get in my nerves!
Sami: Pertti likes to go to different countries, meet people and have fun but when he plays the song wrong he gets pissed off. Toni loves gigs, the actual playing of gigs and the music, that is his main love, playing music and he doesn’t like it when people talk loud. Kari loves touring to drink booze, see people and play music but he thinks there’s a lot of fighting at times and he doesn’t like it.
Do you sleep on the bus? Sami: I can not sleep on the bus at all but the rest love to and you can always hear it when they are asleep!
In the UK at the moment it’s very hard to make a living from making music. Is it the same in Finland? Sami: I’m going to say no comment as I really don’t know. We have made out OK.
Can you tell me who your musical heroes are? Pertti: a punk band called Klamydia. Toni: I really like Pelle Miljoon. Sami: I’m really different, I’m a Whitesnake guy!
What message do you want to get across in your music? Sami: I’m going to try to speak for everybody here. We are different but we’re the same ie we are no that different in the punk scene. You know we can do everything like anybody else if you give us a chance. There’s a lot of mentally handicapped people who can do things really good but they’re not given the chance to do it. That’s our message – just give them the chance! Give them the chance to make their life happy.
What message do you want to send to people in Scotland, many people in Scotland who are in a similar situation but finding it hard to make music….; I know of some people in Scotland who wanted to make this kind of music but they were not allowed. What would you say to this? Sami: That’s a no-no! More people say to people who are mentally handicapped that they can not do, they can not do but they must play what they want and do what they want. No-body has the right to say to anybody you can’t do it. This is our life and nobody elses. Nobody has the right to say to anybody they can not do. We wanted to show to everybody we can do this!
Sami with his bass, the same as Lemmy from Motorhead...
Pertti's amp with brilliant self-portrait
To learn more of the band and the documentary click here...xx