In two days, the Finnish music sensation known as HIM will take to the stage of the Hammerstein Ballroom in NYC for the very last time. This show marks the end of their North American tour and then its back to Europe and eventually Finland where they will close the book on the band with a final show on New Year’s Eve. In honor of the historic tour, photographer Ville Juurikkala has come to New York City and is showcasing a number of band photographs that he has taken over the years at the awesome Morrison Hotel Gallery. I’ve noted before that Juurikkala has pointed the lens at other great Finnish artists like Michael Monroe, The 69 Eyes, Amorphis and even Nightwish. This show is all about His Infernal Majesty however (and no, they don’t call themselves that anymore in case you wondered). I hit the gallery a little early to get a few minutes with Ville so I could share the scoop with those of you who would never be able to be there for yourself. Here’s Ville in front of two works that I liked a lot.
While I cannot claim to have supported The 69 Eyes since their humble beginnings some twenty years ago, I have to say that I have been a fan for more than three quarters of the time that I have been a Metal Media adventurer and photographer. I began my own support of the band with their seminal release “Blessed Be” and have continued on with each consecutive album all the way up until their latest studio recording “Angels” which was released in 2007. They released the tour for that album with the live “Hollywood Kills” recording and around this time we also saw their entire back catalog being delivered by Cleopatra Records. This fact allowed many of the fans of the band to catch up to what they might have been missing or holding back from purchasing based on pricy imports. The band is now signed in the USA to The End Records, a label that has already given us the Monster Madness of Lordi, the Symphonic Gothic Virgin Black and the ever unpredictable Unexpect, so I am sure that great things are at the ready for our favorite Goth Rockers. The band was back in the New York Groove to celebrate this new signing and to treat both media allies and fans alike to an advance listening of their latest release entitled “Back In Blood”. The advance press emails about the album lined out that the band was planning on delivering their heaviest and darkest album to date and moving steadily away from the Hollywood Glam vibe that they had recently adopted. I was afforded a little more time with the guys before the listening and bring those who might have missed the event the full scoop.
I caught up with Jyrki 69 and Bazie along with some of their record company people in a comfortable Thai restaurant on 2nd avenue and about 12th street. “Thai On Two” I believe it was called. The food was good and while you might be wondering what these day walking vampires might have dined upon, I will leave that to your own imagination and just tell you that I personally can recommend the chicken pad Thai. After some catching up and fine food I learned that the other guys, Timo-Timo and Jussi 69 were somewhere down on St. Mark’s Place shopping and causing the tourists heads to turn while bassist Archzie was not in town for the fun. We wandered down second avenue catching the curious eye of passerby who wondered just who they were seeing and sparking some excitement in the fans of the Gothic Rockers who recognized them.