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BECOMING HIM’S KEYBOARD PLAYER LITTLE BY LITTLE

When things get out of control, you realize you’re in the band


Antto Einari Melasniemi was born on November 20, 1975 in Helsinki, even though the place of birth on his passport is Kustavi. That makes Antto a year and two days older than Ville Valo. He’s a chef by training and has recently been working in France. Fish dishes are his favorite.

- I lived in Helsinki until I was five years old, and then we moved to Järvenpää. My dad stayed in Helsinki where I spent my weekends and where I had all my friends, Antto Melasniemi says. - When I was a kid, I liked the music of Mika and Turkka Mali, so I don’t have the same Kiss background as the other guys. In my music class, I played the saxophone because the musician living next door lent me one.

Joel Melasniemi (currently of Scandinavian Music Group) is my cousin, and it was through him that I met Ville. I dug electronic music in those days, and when I was seventeen or eighteen I even played samba on a cruise ship to Stockholm for about a month. I had one of the first samplers in our group of friends, and Ville and I used to play with it. The two of us had a band, an XL5 copy called Kakkosnelonen [Two-by-four].

Then I started doing stuff for HIM. At first it was just a backing tape, but soon I found myself playing gigs. Although in the beginning, I was hidden behind a curtain. Then the thing got out of hand, and I suddenly realized I was in the band. Although for a long time it was kind of uncertain, and I wasn’t always sure whether I was a regular member of HIM or not.

That went on until Greatest Lovesongs was released in Germany. Touring was pretty tough for me, and sometimes I had to play a gig for free to pay for the damages. In Alavus, I kept throwing a potted plant down the hallway at the hotel, and the gyproc walls became full of holes the size of a man’s head.

I wasn’t really a keyboard player so I concentrated more on being the band clown instead. When the band thing became more serious, conflicts arose. I kept fighting with Ville all the time. Ville was fucking difficult. Although he was under pressure. He basically did everything, the songs and everything else too. I guess he didn’t want to put up with a guy who didn’t even want to be a musician and on top of that played his instrument not that great. It’s better this way.

I didn’t fall into a depression after the break up, I was more relieved than anything else. I knew I was lazy as the devil, and there are a lot of other fun things to do besides playing.

Ville and I drank a lot especially when HIM was starting out. Because we didn’t have money, we went to the Arkadia night club after midnight. When the first night buses to Espoo left at half past one, a third of the people left and left their drinks on the tables. We made a round, collected the drinks, and brought them to our table. The second buses to Espoo left at half past two, and the place was open until four. At the end of the night, our table was full of booze. There were risky situations too. Sometimes, when people were dancing, we snatched their drinks from their table and went to drink them around the corner.

Then we would go to my 13-square-meter flat on Malminkatu, where we had strong home-made brew or maybe a bottle of vodka. There we would form a classic vomit ring. One time, some chicks from Tampere came with us. Once in my flat, nobody paid any attention to them, however, we just sat in a ring on the floor with a bucket and a bottle of vodka. The girls didn’t know what to think.

People always ask me about girls, saying that you must have had a lot of them in HIM, right? But it wasn’t really like that even in the beginning. During my whole time with HIM, I had maybe three or four girls. They were all the kind of alternative chicks with short hair. One of them had an army coat and her hair dyed pink. In the hotel room, she claimed she was nineteen, but I wanted to see an ID. She turned out to be seventeen after all, so that was the end of that.

One chick finally had long hair. We were in a hotel room, sitting on a bed and getting mushy. I thought I was safe, but suddenly the door opened and Pätkä burst in. He tore the blanket from over us, took the girl by the hair, and pulled. It turned out she was wearing a wig. She was an alternative youth after all!

Later on, that chick turned up on gigs all over Finland--she wanted me to come with her to Ostrobothnia or some place. I don’t know if she had her dad there waiting to get to straighten me out. Actually, it was quite scary. Thank god the guys arranged things so that I never went with her.

We weren’t really ladies’ men. Once, Ville, Hiili, and I got three girls from a bar to come with us to Ville’s place. We organized a strip show for them there. We put on some disco, went to the bathroom to get changed, and took turns performing for them. Ville’s specialty was a 70’s knitted sweater with a V-neck. His grand finale was that he would wear the sweater as pants with his dick hanging out of the neckline. But even then, nothing happened, we didn’t sleep with those girls. Hiili was the one who won that contest, by the way.

But Ville could move quickly too. I was leaving for Roskilde, and suddenly Ville appeared on the ship. He had written an IOU for a ticket to a friend of his, and with the last of his money, he had bought a carton of Marlboros and gotten a free t-shirt with it. With those, he survived a week-long festival sleeping on the floor in my tent and eating scraps from the ground.

People still sometimes remember my past in HIM and ask me why it ended. But people don’t talk about it that much. It’s been a few years since I last was on stage. I didn’t even manage to make a fortune during that time.

On New Year’s Eve 2000, Pätkä and I dropped by HIM’s gig at Tavastia. We played When Love and Death Embrace together for the last time. We played it fucking badly and had fun.

I don’t crave playing in a rock band. When I left HIM, I was asked to play in a couple of other bands, but I wasn’t interested anymore. I have only played in some friends’ bands, but I’m really a chef by training. That interests me a lot more. A couple of years ago, I worked as a chef in Amsterdam for a few months and now I have been working in France.

I haven’t even heard HIM’s newer albums. I don’t have the money to buy them, and the guys refuse to give them to me. But I don’t listen to music much anyway, I’m not interested in it. When I lived in France, I only had a radio.

[Comment: I suggest you click on that XL5 link and have a laugh... ;)]
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From the book HIM - Synnin viemää by J.K. Juntunen (WSOY, 2002). Translated and posted here with permission of the author. Do not post this translation on any other site.

Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
asdartha
Nov. 18th, 2009 06:08 pm (UTC)
OMG - you tried to send me to boy band hell!!! LOL

I haven't said it yet so, thanks for all your hard work translating the book. I really look forward to each installment.
bl00dyrose
Nov. 18th, 2009 08:00 pm (UTC)
Yea..I yanked out my earphones. YEEEEEESHH!
bl00dyrose
Nov. 18th, 2009 07:39 pm (UTC)
Thank you again for the translation my Darling. LMFAO@Ville. Bless his freak ass heart.
bionicshithouse
Nov. 18th, 2009 08:03 pm (UTC)
this man sounds so sad
mariana_lico
Nov. 18th, 2009 08:59 pm (UTC)
he would wear the sweater as pants with his dick hanging out of the neckline

LMFAO

Thanks again. :)
oprahlight
Nov. 18th, 2009 09:11 pm (UTC)
Thanks to this chapter, my brain is forever branded with the mental image of Ville wearing the knitted sweater in his own special way... I'm still laughing as I type this :)))

Thank you, sineresi, for all your hard work :)
helville
Nov. 18th, 2009 11:43 pm (UTC)
Once again thanks for doing this. I can't see a link?
sineresi
Nov. 19th, 2009 11:38 am (UTC)
Yeah, the link font color and the regular font color really are too much alike, I have to do something about that. Here's the link for you:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kio2_hnABl0

Just the idea of Ville and Antto imitating that band makes me giggle. :)
helville
Nov. 19th, 2009 08:04 pm (UTC)
Lol thats hilarious. A Finnish Take That. I'd love to see Ville doing that!
vincents_heart
Nov. 19th, 2009 01:10 am (UTC)
LOL funny as, thank you for translating!
(Deleted comment)
sineresi
Nov. 19th, 2009 11:41 am (UTC)
I believe he is the co-owner of two restaurants in Helsinki: Kuurna and Ateljé Finne.
v_d_galleries
Nov. 19th, 2009 09:07 am (UTC)
The anecdotes - midnight swoops on half empty glasses and the bespoke knitted 'trousers', are priceless. Thank you.
honestdrinking
Nov. 20th, 2009 04:40 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for these translations. <3
One chick finally had long hair...xD and the stealing drinks from the half-empty club is a lovely image.
aidahim
Nov. 20th, 2009 09:55 am (UTC)
KL5?! Somebody tell me that was a jok! DX LOL

And you kind of killed a part of me with this translation... You can guess why. That image will stay in my head for a long time...
villelover1976
Nov. 21st, 2009 08:58 pm (UTC)
THANKS A LOT!!!!!!!!!! I had fun reading...
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )