+ Page 1 +
+ Page 2+
+ Page 3+
“I wonder if this is omen” Jyrki Linnankivi says playing with his mobile phone. Text message at the screen shows booking number for recent taxi trip: 666. You are devilish interviewer or this will be interview from hell, he mumbles and stares the number.
38 years old Jyrki is long man with bouncing step, hair dyed black and slender hands. He doesn’t laugh much but talks a lot. Eyes are piercing blue, but hair hanging in the front of eyes and sunglasses are usually hiding them.
Jyrki 69 influences in many roles, but he likes to be called as a rock star. He doesn’t call himself musician even he is singer of the band that has sold platinum. He doesn’t call himself benefactor even he is UNICEF goodwill ambassador, nor an artist even he was inspired about comic drawing in the Aunt Kylli’s drawing school years ago and has drawn comic albums. (Translators note: Aunt Kylli is famous Finnish woman that drew and told stories in TV. Probably everyone over 35 has been watching her as a kid. ) He doesn’t think himself as a scientist either even he has master degree in Analytical chemistry and holds a university post.
Before 6 weeks US tour Jyrki has been exercising and living disciplined life, because one have to look good and be lasting in the front of the audience. During the tour they have only handful of days of and during those they move thousands of kilometers from place to place.
- We do travel like old gentlemen; use best busses and fly longer distances. We don’t do endless van driving or burn out ourselves. US tour is just opening for the season because due to new record whole year will be full booked.
Jyrki as a Pope
Jyrki Linnankivi grew up in good family that valued cultural hobbies. Instead of soccer he was taking horse back riding classes, visual art courses and music play school. When he was eight he got his own piano and later he was playing guitar. His mother, who listened classical and church music, might have hoped his son to become something else than black nailed comic artist, but never the less there has always been plenty of support for Jyrki.
- Someone said that best rock guys are the ones who have good relationship with their parents. It’s good if you don’t have to be against whole world. My home is the foundation for everything; there I don’t have to explain myself.
In Jyrki’s high school graduation 20 years ago his cousin gave a speech and hoped that Jyrki would become the pope. Becoming the pope proceeded a little bit; he has got a nickname Paavi (Pope in Finnish) from technical staff touring with 69 Eyes.
In addition to drawing Jyrki liked to read. After high school graduation he went to the university and started studying university degree. He has always had a day job because you can’t make very good living just by music in Finland without huge hits.
-Besides once you have studied one branch of science, it is worth of maintaining so you don’t be stupefied, Jyrki grins.
Student Jyrki used to hangout at clubs. He made some money with underground comics and thought it would be cool to know real band members. When interesting looking guys told about their rock dream, Jyrki though that he could design visual look for the band. He was inspired of glam rock, horror movies and vampires that could wander out of his comics and live in the story of band.
- Funnily and through the subordinate clauses I ended up being the singer. I didn’t have any readiness for that but somehow I found my place.
69 Eyes started in 1989 when according to Jyrki all good rock bands had left Helsinki and there was no one like them in Helsinki. Helsinki vampires were filling the void.
- Later there have been times when we have been really unfashionable. We didn’t have wood pearls, no DJ at the stage or in pocketknife posture players moving jerkily. New styles inspire but we won’t start copying them.
Happy and brisk mind
Keeping own style has been worth it. In Finland 69 eyes is mainstream band and radio stations competes for playing new material first. Faces of Jyrki, Jussi, Archzie, Bazie and Timo-Timo can be seen in advertisements. CD reviews celebrate how 69 Eyes manages to update their sound and value rock basics without sounding retro. Europe has already been concurred and now all material from past 18 years has been made available in United States.
- I don’t know if we are successful. Nowadays success means winning the Eurovision Song Contest or selling cold in US. Compared to that we are small players, but in my own scale we have always been successful, Jyrki says.
He opens up energy drink bottle that he ordered for lunch and takes handful of different kind of salmiac candies. Sugar frosted turn out to be best ones.
- Already in beginning we had this weird vibe, subconscious feeling, that this thing will carry on. Even though the beginning was playing around we know that we were cool band. It just took us little longer to learn play as well.
Jyrki is known for his personal singing style that is just growling at most comical or gives you goose bumps at its best. In new Angels albums tone is better than ever.
- In the early days I was concentrated only to creating loud sound and breaking microphone stands. Then as a joke I got idea of singing as low as I can. I some of our most gothic song it goes little too far, but now I’m going towards little less dark style.
Band is very import for 69s. Success has brought band members responsibility to its audience and employees. Every show is important and those can’t be played in bad condition.
-Happy and brisk mind is most important.
The Band, UNICEF and mom
Keeping himself busy and hysterical alertness do good according to Jyrki, and doing things feed creative power. What else super energetic can do but implement all the ideas.
In addition to being artist and scientist Jyrki is UNICEF goodwill ambassador. Job has taken him twice to Kenya and in many schools in Finland. UNICEF job Jyrki describes as surprising honor.
- I’m sure everyone has dream of making something important. Taking an ambassador job meant that I’m in publicity in my own name and face, not just as a mythical rock star behind the sunglasses. As a goodwill ambassador I’m willing to speak always when needed.
Instead of benefactor Jyrki calls himself as a link between two worlds. When he saw how big difference new well, that could be build with only couple bills, made in dry areas he has been even more interested in goodwill ambassador job.
- After these trips I have been very exited over events. Everything I have seen there makes big influence and I’m communicating matters forward here in Finland.
At the first visits in the schools, Jyrki thought that he would be speaking to yawning school classes, but he got fabulous reception. He was main event of the day and most enthusiastic ones had banderols and gothic girls had UNICEF shirts and head master was welcoming him with the flowers.
- In this job there is Aunt Kylli feeling from my childhood. When I’m telling to school class in Africa about Finland or AIDS, I’m continuing Aunt Kylli Traditions and that is good thing. Maybe I should develop some sort of Uncle Jyrki draws and tells stories set, Jyrki laughs.
As if touring and UNICEF wouldn’t be enough for Jyrki he also travels as a hobby. HE has started to travel with his over 70 ears old mom. They have been culture vacation in Venice and in Christmas vacation in Dubai. At the spring they will travel to Hong Kong.
- Constant traveling is my way of living. When I’m through the security check I’m in my own element. After one weekend in home I’m already looking flights for next weekend. If nothing else, I can always go to Stockholm in 45 minutes.
Jyrki has so many traveling days that he is in Finland only one third of the year. Last October was typical excerpt from his calendar: first weekend in Hollywood, second and third in Nairobi and forth in Seoul receiving Outstanding Young Persons of the World (TOYP) award from Junior Chamber International (JCI).
- Playfully saying when I was recoding our new album I was also saving the world and getting awarded about it.
Jyrki 69 Hopes that 69 eyes music would gain a footing in movies. First movie will be Dream Seller, produced by Bam Margera. It will be released in this year.
69 Eyes has been performing 18 years in all continents. Biggest audiences have been 70 000 people mass audiences. “I was most nervous in Tsunami Aid concert when my mom was in the audience”.