Le Cardinal

After the demise of Nightmare, the cue for musical continuation came from a surprising direction. In late August Harri called me and told that his hockey pal, novice guitar player Janne was interested in playing music together and knew a drummer named Vesa as well. After discussing with Janne on the phone we agreed on the idea, and the very next day a battered 60’s drum kit was transplanted in the now empty rehearsal room at my parents’ downstairs. Also Janne promptly acquired an electric guitar and a 180W Fender Super Twin that would have been loud enough to sonically bury the rest of the band easily.

(Le Cardinal) Mk I

  • Janne Komi  vocals, guitar
  • Jari Riitala  bass, vocals
  • Vesa Koskelainen  drums


We did a fair bit of soul searching in trying to determine what we actually would want to play together. Bit by bit during the months going by, we somehow got our direction together from the free form we started in. In February 1984 Wellu started visiting the rehearsals with his guitar regularly, and within a month he was officially a part of the group, soon to be christened Le Cardinal, after the red wine found in the aspiring young musician’s bible, catalog of the Finnish state alcohol monopoly Alko. It seemed that Wellu was the most convincing lead singer so he was given that job as well. Also, he helped us to fix the musical agenda, which became something along the lines of rhythm and blues and southern rock. Finally, Vesa retired his aging drum kit for a newer one, a glass fiber kit  with four huge toms, and we were set for respectability.


Le Cardinal Mk II

  • Wellu Tuominen   lead vocals, guitar
  • Janne Komi  guitar, vocals
  • Jari Riitala  bass, vocals
  • Vesa Koskelainen  drums


We were targeting to be able to premiere at Veitenmäki Spring Rock, an annual day of rock’n’roll from the bands of my school, performed outside at the schoolyard on a truck trailer in late days of May when school was just about to end. (OK, I was the only person in this band going to that school but it sure was not going to stop us.)  So we used the three months to pull together a set of both covers and own music, and learned to play it properly, and lo and behold, we were ready when due. Even though not a screaming success (that was anyway reserved for Nightmare by default), we did fine and were confirmed that this is a functional band, and it was much easier to go and do the full-length gig that was already scheduled for early June.

From July on the summer was somewhat slow for the band, and in late August Janne closed chapter two, flying to the USA to spend a year there as an exchange student, and we were back to being three-piece. A remedy was on the horizon though, and September brought a schoolmate of the guys and an aspiring keyboard player Kimmo along, loaded with a brand new Juno-106.


Le Cardinal Mk III

  • Wellu Tuominen   lead vocals, guitar
  • Kimmo Sjöblom  keyboards
  • Jari Riitala  bass, vocals
  • Vesa Koskelainen  drums


The fall was again spent preparing new material and making Kimmo a part of the group, and in December we were once again ready for more gigs, one being the on new year’s eve. The same routine went on during the first half of the next year, rehearsals and sporadic gigs, including the Finnish Rock Championship preliminaries and again, the traditional Veitenmäki Spring Rock. Then spring turned to summer and Janne landed back on the Finnish ground to reclaim his place in the band.


Le Cardinal Mk IV

  • Wellu Tuominen   lead vocals, guitar
  • Janne Komi  guitar, vocals
  • Kimmo Sjöblom  keyboards
  • Jari Riitala  bass, vocals
  • Vesa Koskelainen  drums

The beginning of summer was a period of high rehearsal activity, because we had agreed to record the band in the end of July, making a one-day visit at the same studio where India Fall had previously recorded. The session yielded a nice five-title tape, with four of our own tunes, turning out so well that we decided to “release” it, i.e. have some cassettes copied and make a suitable cover art. This materialized during the fall and became “Gimme Five!”

Despite lots of rehearsals and a healthy amount of new material being written, there was only a single gig during rest of the year, right before Christmas, in a Youth Year Band Concert featuring eight local bands performing at the Community Center.

The next performance effort was scheduled for mid-March, together with another aspiring local band called Taiga, and was extensively advertised with stories both on the local radio and papers. This was already known to remain as the final gig of Le Cardinal, since both Wellu and Kimmo had announced they would be moving on. The set was a bit longer and more freeform than usually and we had Pekka Lipasti to sit in for a few tunes. We wanted to exit gracefully. The performance also yielded one casualty: Wellu’s spare guitar got beaten to death, having its body split in two.

We agreed, however, that we had quite a bunch of songs worthy of proper archival, so we decided to reconvene after the matriculation examinations just about to start, and make a home recording of the material. Thus, in early May we rented a 4-track cassette recorder for a weekend, borrowed a bunch of equipment from here and there, and recorded a full 12 tunes in pristine stereo, without any mishaps with electricity or other forces of nature  albeit fairly sleep-deprived.

In writing music, Le Cardinal was somewhat dominated by Wellu and me, although both Janne and Kimmo did (co-)provide some material. Lyrically I was undoubtedly the most active contributor. Roughly a third of the material we played were covers.

Wellu joined Timo and Juha of India Fall in Tinasoturi and Kimmo joined progressive rock band Usva. I continued with Vesa and Janne through another soul searching session to Southern Backyard and subsequently Lazybonez.


  • Gimme Five (1985, unofficial)

    Goin’ Home
    On The Lonely Avenue
    She Loves My Automobile
    She Don’t Move Me
    The End Of Love
  • Gimme Five Plus (2002, unofficial) – the CD version with bonus tracks
    Anythin’ For You (Battery Mix)
    Lookin’ For You
    Mean Little Sucker
    Ol’ Man Frankie
    Take That Train
    At The Harbor
    Anythin’ For You
    Got The Boogie
    The End Of The Band