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.
We were on a bit of a mission after the late lunch as Mr. Jyrki 69 had his mind set on finding a shirt that said “New York Fucking City”, and if he couldn’t find one on St. Mark’s Place there probably wasn’t one for miles. After hitting a couple of the closest shops to our proximity to no success we lucked out and he found his shirt. We also ran into a lucky fan of the band that the guys obliged with a photo and you get to see his new shirt right here first.
After leaving this shop we wandered further up the block to catch up with both Timo Timo and Jussi 69 who were shopping in what appears to be one of the bands very favorite places to visit when they come into town and this is none other than the famous “Trash & Vaudeville”. It’s a great store if you seek that which is Gothic, Metal or just Glam Rock style clothes along with the best selection of spiked gauntlets, studded belts and more shoes and boots that you can easily browse in a quick stop in. Jussi had selected a pair of what seemed to be stretch vinyl pants in bright red and I didnt catch if either Jyrki or Bazie bought anything. Here are a couple of shots with the store staff, the first is their buddy Jimmy who insisted that they send an updated shot of the band to hang in the store and the second the lovely Stephanie.
Knowing how we couldn’t leave you with the curiosity about Jussi’s new pants, we managed to get him back inside and standing still for a moment to pose for a shot with the kind lass who was working with Jimmy on the upstairs level of the Trash & Vaudeville store. Now it was time to make our way down to the Arrow Bar and get that “Back In Blood” CD a pumping. Get it? “blood, and pumping”…..LOL. Sorry, where was I…..
The guys were definately causing some attention as they wandered down the street, and this was partially the case based on Jussi taking the lead and sporting these new bright red and shiny pants. They sure looked cool, but had to be hot as hell since the rains had cleared up and we were now stuck in a really humid afternoon type of temperature.
As we headed over to the club/bar, I noticed that we were coming up on a Rock and Roll historical landmark space and I am speaking of the one and only Fillmore East. This venue is legendary or was when it was open and still a venue. The front entrance is now a bank and the space where the actual seating and stage was are now apartments. Despite its look in today’s time, Jyrki agreed that this was a good spot to do a band photo and so we snapped one. Ask some of your older Rock friends about the place to learn more about some of the cool shows that came through here in Rock and Roll’s storied past.
We were moments away from the Arrow Bar and there was a sign announcing what was happening if anyone else who might not have known about this event been curious which I felt was a good thing. Jyrki mused aloud that they spelled the name properly and I am sure that he was kidding because how does one possibly mess up “The 69 Eyes”. Apparently the Arrow Bar does a Heavy Metal Happy Hour each and every Friday, so this might be something that I look into with other supporters of the genre and scene as the calendar allows. Once downstairs in the club Jyrki addressed us and said we would be hearing the album soon. There was a nice mix of people and it didn’t seem like anyone around us were new listeners to the band and instead had been on their side for a long time.
Jussi would be the DJ for the evening and I guess outside of the new CD, he would be playing other music that the band liked. Resultant of that, we enjoyed a little bit of ACDC, Iron Maiden and more. Never a bad thing if you asked me.
Throughout the night we found the guys very willing to talk to their fans which I expected and of course Jyrki made sure to give us all some cool photo moments by mugging it up whenever possible.
“Back In Blood” doesnt come out until the end of the summer and that made the chance to hear the record in advance a very special occasion to say the least. While it spun, guitarist Bazie also took a handle of the controls to let Jussi run around and meet the fans as well. Let’s talk about the track listing and some of the albums highlights. Here is the recordings rundown.
Track Listing: Back In Blood, We Own The Night, Dead N’ Gone, The Good, The Bad & The Undead, Kiss Me Undead, Lips Of Blood, Dead Girls Are Easy, Night Watch, Some Kind Of Magick, Hunger, Suspiria Snow White, Eternal
As you can see by the track names they have not moved far from their Gothic premise all that much but when the album began I had to say that it was like a slap in the jaw based on the level of heaviness that they have chosen to deliver this time around. The album is probably the heaviest that I have heard from them, and I own the entire catalog of their music and can safely gauge this for you. The best and quickest way for me to describe it to you is to say “think of a heavier and darker “Devils” and to wind back the hands of time a few albums, a solidly evil successor to “Blessed Be”. The title track had some elements of Motley Crue’s vintage time and I believe it was “We Own The Night” that had a riff that I felt offered homage up to The Cult. The 69 Eyes have never been slow to line out their influences when they do interviews and I always love when some of them manifest in a fashion in their material. I loved “Dead Girls Are Easy” and think this will become one of the albums most popular numbers and also the slower track, but that one’s name escaped me because I was mainly listening and mingling more than taking notes against a track run down. As he walked around the room Jyrki made a point to let me know that singer London LeGrande was doing some backing vocals on the particular track playing. Some of you might remember London from the short-lived Brides Of Destruction project with Tracii Guns and Nikki Sixx.
All of the guys in the band were very accomodating and were not just stopping for the photo op stuff, but also to talk to those fans who took the trip in to see them.
The room was full of awesome people and among the well-wishers of the band was Queen Vixen and Vas Kallas who at one time were both members of the Cycle Sluts From Hell. Vas is now touring with Hanzel und Gretyl which is more of a Gothic Industrial type of outfit.
I snared a great shot of Jyrki 69 and his friends when they met up, and no my fellow fiends, he is not drinking blood and vodka….
Continuing along with some of the folks who help make the world more aware of The 69 Eyes was our very own Mama Trash. I met Mama T. a couple of years ago and proudly sport one of her dogtags that features The 69 Eyes logo on it, but had forgotten to do this tonight.
Jyrki continued walking around the bar which now had a nice amount of people inside of it based on the size. It was rather crowded near the front based on the actual bar being there and the band spent time between this region and the back area where some tables and booths were set. Here is another shot of the singer and one of the fans that I was speaking to.
My guess is that the Thai restaurant did not sate the Helsinki Vampires hunger all that much for when he met this next fan whose photo is below he was determined to sink his fangs into her. Yes, that is the singers signature as her tattoo. Talk about dedication to a band.
By my guess-timation the new CD spun about three or four times and with each turn was proving to be all the more infectious. You can see the excitement about the new release on our faces in this next shot.
Of course the spirit of the evening found Jussi 69 also seeking some additional sustenance and seeing if this lovely young lady would do the trick and sate the ravenous Helsinki Vampire hunger. Drummers…..you just can’t take them anywhere.
I snared an awesome shot of a whole bunch of the party goers in this next one, and as you can see this was a sure fire good time with some great music blasting over our heads.
Here is another shot that I was able to be a part of and finds me with the rocking CSFH peeps and Mr. Bazie. Could all of these appearances of the Sluts lead us into a new reunion of the band? Well, if you want that to happen you best get those emails out to the powers that be to make it happen.
I’m going to close out this little article by stressing that it was a great Rock and Roll night of friends, cool musical personalities and excellent music. It was nice to find the Arrow Bar hosting such a gathering and recommend if you are of the legal drinking age that you hit one of their Heavy Metal Happy Hours when they happen each Friday. The band and their comrades went off to yet another bar after this as it was their last night in NYC for the time being. They would need to get back to Europe to perform at the Download Festival in Donnington, England. Sadly, I would part company with them at this place but that was based on a hectic calendar of my own and you know that they shall return to entertain the masses. So to recap our views of the album, we found “Back In Blood” to be just what the doctor ordered when it comes down to it. It’s heavier than many might expect but it is not so different that it will distance the band from long time supporters. I think their fan base has seen many changes in their musical style over the years to have this one be another interesting chapter in their rich history. Closing out, congrats on twenty interesting years to The 69 Eyes. There are not many bands that I can think of who have done their thing with the same lineup for so long without changing at least one guy in the group. That dedication is to be admired and supported. Keep up on all their happenings via their home page. Horns up and fangs out children of the night!!!
PS: In the spirit of DVD releases that bear “easter eggs” somewhere in their menus, I was going to cleverly hide some past content that PiercingMetal.com had done about The 69 Eyes but I changed my mind since I did not want a whole army of Helsinki Vampires after my blood. Instead you can just click HERE to see anything that is tagged with the bands name. It should offer up a wonderful list of items to enjoy with a cold glass of absinthe.
The 69 Eyes Official Site: http://www.69eyes.com