Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät
“The members of our band are four middle-aged, mentally handicapped men. The music is, of course, Finnish punk.”– Sami Helle, Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät
Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät (Pertti Kurikka’s Name Day) is a punk band that was formed in 2009 in a culture workshop arranged by Lyhty, a nonprofit organization. Lyhty provides housing and education services as well as workshops for adults with intellectual disabilities. Pertti Kurikka, the band’s guitarist and front man, writes the lyrics with vocalist Kari Aalto and composes the music. The other two members of the band are bassist Sami Helle and drummer Toni Välitalo.
“A hardcore punk, Pertti started playing punk music. It was Pertti’s name day [the tradition of celebrating the day associated with one's given name] and so he decided the name would be Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät (Pertti Kurikka’s Name Day).”– Kari Aalto, Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät
PERTTI SAYS THAT THE BAND’S BIGGEST influences ARE FINNISH PUNK BANDS FROM THE last MILLENNIUM, SUCH As
Karanteeni, Kollaa kestää,
YPÖ-VIIS AND PELLE MILJOONA. THE SUBJECTS OF THE LYRICS RANGE FROM SOCIAL PROBLEMS TO UNPLEASANT PEDICURES.
The band achieved cult status with its first demo Kallioon. The band’s EP 'Ei yhteiskunta yhtä miestä kaipaa' was released in 2010 and immediately sold out. The record was released in Germany as well. The band has also released a maxi single titled 'Päättäjä on pettäjä' (2011) and a vinyl EP titled 'Osaa eläimetkin pieree' (2011).
Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät is also popular outside Finland; the band has toured in Germany, Norway, UK, US and is now also the official Finnish contestant in the Eurovision Song Contest 2015 in Vienna.
“Well, for me touring has been terribly lovely, and it’s been surprising to see how many people dig us and say ‘Hey, that band plays damn well.’ We played a gig and they really liked our band.”– Pertti Kurikka, Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät
Pertti writes riffs for the songs but doesn’t always know how to play them. Sami teaches Pertti and Pertti gets pissed off. Pertti examines the seams in people’s clothes and asks everyone to give him records on his birthday. Pertti is also the official organ grinder at Lyhty, a nonprofit organization that provides housing and education services as well as workshops for adults with intellectual disabilities. He’ll crank anything from Abba songs to opera, from Christmas carols to children’s songs and Beatles tunes. He’s a professional; Pertti won the silver medal in the Nordic countries’ street organ championships in 2008.
“Have a fuckin’ great evening; I’m sorry I played wrong.” – Pertti Kurikka
Kari writes lyrics, sings and talks. He loves motorcycles, hates pedicures and lives in a group home in the wealthy neighborhood of Töölö. Kari describes the group home and its depressing surroundings in his lyrics: “I live in a group home in Töölö, but I don’t like it because the area is too quiet. People in Kallio are nicer and there are record stores and bars.”
“In Kallio I see drunks, drug addicts, rock musicians and police officers every day. The song ‘Kallioon’ is my view on life in Kallio. It takes a couple of minutes to write lyrics for a song, and I find the subjects in society and the way I look at the world.” – Kari Aalto
Sami plays the bass, is a politically conservative NGO activist and a member of the Centre Party of Finland. Sami is also a homeboy living in the same group home as Kari. He lived in New York when he was little, speaks English well and is thus an important person when the band tours outside Finland.
“We bring a different kind of perspective into punk music; it’s our perspective. We’re different; we’re four mentally disabled guys, so our perspective on the world of punk is a little different.” – Sami Helle
Music is everything to Toni. He’s always playing, singing or watching his favorite soap opera on TV, but mostly playing. Sometimes when others argue, Toni wants to cry. Most of the time, however, it makes him want to laugh. Toni is 27 and lives in Espoo with his parents. His parents wish he’d become independent and move into a group home. Toni himself isn’t moving anywhere; instead, he says his parents should move into an old people’s home.
“And we’re drunk like monkeys!” – Toni Välitalo