The Lunatics' Story

The Lunatics was born in autumn 1992 as a meltdown of The Skylights from Kemi, Finland, and The Brainless from Oulu. The Skylights' bassist Sami Paananen switched into the lead guitar and was followed by the drummer Mika Kallio. The Brainless' contribution to the fusion were bassist Mervi Tervo and guitarist Raimo Iskulehto. The musical style of the new line-up derived from american instrumental rock with a strong surf taste, and the most important influences were the Ventures and Jon & the Nightriders. The first winter was spent in the rehearsal room and in autumn of '93 the band made their first public appearance at Rauhala, the students' house in Oulu (RIP). During the following year they did a dozen of gigs mostly in the Oulu area, but in 1995 the activity ceased and the band did merely a couple of shows, including one at the first Pori Twang festival, which has rapidly formed into the most important annual surf/beat/instro event in Finland. 1996 was a year of silence, as Kallio and Paananen were busy with the Skylights' re-union.

In the next summer the Lunatics was brought back to life, now with a new drummer. Mika Moilanen took over the drums as Kallio was busy with his 'real job'. Since then the band has been back in business without major pauses. Another change in line-up took place in the spring of '98. Antti Tukio was first hired to fill in for Iskulehto for a few gigs, but in the autumn Antti took over Raimo's place as he could not find the time for the band any longer. The Lunatics had found their current form.

In the summer of '99 the Lunatics released their first CD, an EP with seven tracks recorded live at the 5th Pori Twang festival by Reijo Koivula in January '98, most probably the first Finnish live instrumental/surf record ever. The recording of the first studio release began by the turn of the millennium, and no effort was spared to bring out the best of the band; it took no less than 18 months to finish the process. Twelve tracks with seven originals were recorded with Matti Niemi and mixed by Jari Pietila and Antti Tukio at Big Music studio in Alppila, Oulu and mastered by Reijo 'Mr. Twang' Koivula. 'Beware!' CD sporting eleven of these tracks was released in August 2001 under the self-managed label LunaTone, whereas a speed/surf version of traditional 'Rocknuts' was released exclusively on 'Seasonal Favorites' compilation published by Double Crown Records, featuring Jon & the Nightriders among others.

One of the most scary periods in the history of the Lunatics so far took place in spring '01 as Moilanen announced planning to move out of town for some strange domestic reasons. By that time the gig rate was diminishing to begin with and having the drummer living seven hundred kilometers down south didn't seem much of a solution to the situation. One or two thoughts were given to find a replacement drummer but the decision was the only one possible: Mika would continue no matter what the mileage. At least there would be an agent in the southern Finland to do promotion and book gigs. By the time this is being written we haven't heard of any sales reports from Turku, though.

Rock'n'Roll is a dangerous sport and the summer of '01 was a real summer of stunts for a remarkable portion of Oulu's rock scene. The Lunatics had their share of misfortune as Tervo suffered from the consequences of a sports accident and had to abandon the bass to give her magic wrist some time to heal. Luckily there was a pair of hands available and what would have been more convenient than to hire somebody who was already familiar with the material. VM Yli-Hukka, the guitarist of the former Bryssel Kaupallinen had been around as a roadie for a couple of years already and after some furious one-on-one training with Sami he was ready for his first appearance in the bass with the Lunatics on June 30th at Nastola festival also known as the li'l twang. Since all went even better than expected there was no reason to cancel any gigs and VM has been occupied ever since. No need to worry folks, Mervi is getting in shape and the rumour has it that she's already punishing the bass at home on one-string-set-a-week basis.