Nightmare

Nightmare

Nightmare was the beginning of my musical career what comes to playing in bands. We started as total, absolute rookies and graduated as… well, not really seasoned veterans but at least we had learned something.

Nightmare Mk I

Late in my seventh school year in 1981, I was approached by a classmate, Pasi, who I had become friends with. He knew I had been playing organ for some years. He and a few other guys from his football team had this skeleton of a band and wanted to find out if I was interested in joining. Why not. So we rehearsed the summer and autumn. For a while in the beginning, we were called The Babbles (whatever that means?) but quite soon it became obvious that a new name was due. Nightmare was the final result of some brainstorming and a voting, quite apparently representing a kind of teen humor about how good our music could possibly be…

Finally, in mid-December we did a spectacular first performance at a school party. Well, a performance anyway – whether worth the name of the band, I can’t tell, you would have to ask the listeners… if any survive. An indication of future inclinations, we managed to fit a whopping three own compositions to our ten-song set. Not bad for a first gig.

Nightmare - first gig
The first gig

Nightmare Mk I
Harri Hiltunen – lead guitar
Pasi Läpinen – lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Jari Riitala – keys, vocals
Petteri Sinervo – bass
Jari Ventelä – drums

Nightmare Mk II

However, it had become obvious that the drummer and the bass player were not as keen on the music business as the rest of the crew, so we fantasized an improved version of the band. By end of January that materialized in the first rehearsal with me trading the keys for bass (figuratively that is – in real life the organ used wasn’t mine), Pasi taking over the drums, and another classmate Pete joining in on the second guitar. At first we did not have any keyboards but after some three months Rolf joined to cover that base (you can probably guess which class he was in…).

Nightmare Mk II
Nightmare Mk II

Writing our own music really took wings in Mk II and most subsequent gigs featured only one or two covers. Almost everybody was writing but in the end of the day Hiltunen–Läpinen was closest to Lennon–McCartney in this band. Probably the third most active writer was me, actively taking part in collaborations, but I also got a few of my solo-written numbers through the critique into the set.

Nightmare Mk II
Harri Hiltunen – lead guitar
Pasi Läpinen – lead vocals, drums
Jari Riitala – bass, vocals
Petri Suominen – rhythm guitar

Rolf Lehtonen – keys, vocals (late arrival)

Nightmare Mk III

Months went by bringing rehearsals and a few gigs. By himself Rolf had taken up playing guitar as well, and in the summer Pete was the next one to be replaced, never really filling the place we had desired and as far as I can see, the dissatisfaction was mutual. Almost at the same time Asko, one more schoolmate – different class this time – joined the ranks, not as a musician but as a manager :).

Now we finally had the first really motivated group of people carrying the same torch.

Nightmare Mk III at Runosmäki
Runosmäki

Nightmare Mk III
Harri Hiltunen – lead guitar
Rolf Lehtonen – rhythm guitar, vocals
Pasi Läpinen – lead vocals, drums
Jari Riitala – bass, vocals

Asko Haahtela – management 🙂

Asko proved to be quite good in his managerial tasks and we got quite a few gigs and even some minor monetary compensation.

Rolf’s dad’s contacts also proved invaluable: we got to make two visits in a local commercial (i.e. “real”) studio to record a few of our songs and also received some great tutoring from a then young, aspiring guitarist/studio engineer who later rose to fame in Bogart Co., one of Finland’s best ever selling disco acts. And all this for free!

Nightmare Mk III at Veitenmäki Spring Rock
Veitenmäki Spring Rock 1983

So we continued the fall, winter and spring, and by practicing almost twice a week we actually got reasonably good – maybe not so in the absolute scale but the transformation from the beginning was quite huge anyway.

Nightmare Mark IV

In the summer of 1983, I was the next one to go. True to earlier mentality, it was another ‘you’re out’. In hindsight that was certainly a good thing, it really opened up my musical horizons. At the time, however, it did mess me up a bit. Subsequent band divorces have been much less painful but maybe it was just because of this being the first one.

The replacement was also found within own troops – Asko took up bass and singing, having never done either before.

Nightmare Mk IV
Asko Haahtela –  bass, vocals
Harri Hiltunen – lead guitar
Rolf Lehtonen – rhythm guitar, vocals
Pasi Läpinen – lead vocals, drums

The guys went on a few years, later changing their name first to Fox Chase and then to Sixskin. After Rolf dropped out, to go with his own band, Pasi came back to the front with guitar and, once again, another rookie Tom Virtanen was taken in on drums. After finally folding the band, Tom and Harri carried on to Lipattomat but that is already another story.

The guys went on a few years, later changing their name first to Fox Chase and then to Sixskin. After Rolf dropped out, to go with his own band, Pasi came back to the front with guitar and, once again, another rookie Tom Virtanen was taken in on drums. After finally folding the band, Tom and Harri carried on to Lipattomat but that is already another story.

Epilogue

In 2007, Mk III made a few reappearances out of the blue. Some kids from the school where Pasi was working had dug us up and requested Harri, Rolf and me to surprise their teacher and celebrate his upcoming 40th birthday by pulling him on the stage with the old band as an extra number on the school’s music day. The few old songs we did were, I think, even better than 25 years ago regardless of no practice (well the three of us did have a brief look beforehand). This led to an appearance at Pasi’s birthday party and an acoustic one at Rolf’s. Then we shut down again.

Discography

Studio Demos (1982, 1983)

Make Me Fine (1982 version) / On The Road / Make Me Fine (1983 version) / Leavin’ You / A Moment

For Our Audience (1982, unofficial)

Let’s Do Something Special / It’s A Miracle / No Place / Phlegmatic Blues / Frozen Heart / Poison / Don’t Hang On Me / Alone / What Is Gonna Happen / I Tell You Straight / For Our Audience / Why Don’t You See Me

A true self-made album recorded to a compact cassette with a boom box (before the time they even were called that) using the built-in mikes and duplicated with two tape decks. Even the J cards were hand-made, one by one. Unfortunately the sound quality was not  overwhelming; besides the lack of mixing and processing, my copy has severe wow problems on a few tracks. But a real collector’s item anyway, less than ten ever made and each one is unique. Auction, anyone? Or perhaps we should first become a little more famous.