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"You need the passion"
Suiciderock: We are at the Tammerfest today where you haven’t played in a while. How does it feel for to be here today?
Jukka "J" Lewis: Yeah, that’s true we haven’t played here a while. It is kind of special to play here tonight because I think it has been at least four years since we have played here the last time. I mean we have played at the Keskustori here in Tampere every summer but not at the Tammerfest. Now it is definitely time that we hit the stage here again.
Suiciderock: The band has had many line-up changes during their history, and almost 20 different musicians have played with the band. How long are you playing for Yö now and what are your personal highlights during that career?
Jukka "J" Lewis: Im in the band since 13 years now already. At the time when I joined the band the guys just tried to get their feet back. We made a compilation album back than it it went to number 1 in the charts. I remember we have been on a boat where this other band was playing. When we got number one they got really mad about this. They even didn´t talk to us anymore. However I have never heard of this guys after that again.
Suiciderock: Olli Lindholm is the only remaining original member of the band. Was it hard to join the band, to find your own plays when you joined?
Jukka "J" Lewis: No, it wasn´t. I have known the guys already. We have been hanging out during the summer before I joined the band a lot, I have also sang backing vocals for them in the past and so it was pretty easy to join the band. I mean not only for me, but also for the rest of the guys. I think it was some kind of natural selection after the old bassplayer had left the band.
Suiciderock: If you compare the past to today. What would you say have changed regarding the band?
Jukka "J" Lewis: Well, I don´t know if so much has changed technical wise for example. I mean we have a very big production and we have had it all the way through. We have some great people working for us and everything works out. I think we have changed a bit as persons. We were drinking too much in the past. You know I remember that 15 minutes after whenever our tourbus started to roll everybody was like wasted. Everybody was a mess when we started to play together, including me. But luckily this isn´t happening anmore.
Suiciderock: Why has drinking always been a problem when it comes to touring?
Jukka "J" Lewis: You know, this whole thing is very exciting, being on tour and playing a show every night. But it can be also very very boring at the same time. You have to kill a lot of time between the shows. But we got creative: we bring our laptops to watch a movie or whatever. This is also pretty helpful to kill the waiting time.
Suiciderock: What do you think about bands who do exactly the same? I mean is that still Rock´n Roll if you enter the stage completely drunk, waisting the money of the audience who payed for their tickets? Does it always have to be Sex, Drugs and Rock`n Roll?
Jukka "J" Lewis: I don´t know. I have been living in America for a couple of years and I was in a band over there as well. I have seen a lot of things happening, that I have never seen here in Finland. We have been playing gigs with Gun´s n Roses when they have been on top. The manager of the band I was in at that time became the manager of Gun´s n Roses later on. That was Rock´n Roll. But it was a total different Rock´n Roll world than we have here in Finland.
Suiciderock: But you came back to Finland after that? Why?
Jukka "J" Lewis: I think that America was just too big for me. I got uncomfortable with the fact that if you get really famous there it could be too much to handle for you as a person. That is really crazy. You have to be a really strong person to be able to handle all that crazyness. Finnland is a perfect country in that sense. It`s not too big. Of course, we know all the places we are playing in already and it can be a little bit boring after touring their again and again but it still feels nice. It`s good for me. I can handle that. I just couldn´t handle the whole world.
Suiciderock: Your latest record, titled “Pelko ja Rakkaus” (“Fear and Love”) came out this year. Could you tell us a bit about the songs it contains.
Jukka "J" Lewis: This are the two emotions in the life of every human beeing that control everything. It is not a theme album. The title song is about a boy who´s father takes control about everything. It´s about a kid that gets pretty scared of his father. Maybe it is about our singer… who knows… *laughs*
Suiciderock: How do you handle the songwriting? Are you part of it?
Jukka "J" Lewis: I don´t write anything for this band. I have another project where Im very active in the songwriting however.
Suiciderock: How do you manage to get the two different projects together?
Jukka "J" Lewis: It is not that difficult. The main focus stays on Yö. We have about 100 gigs a year. But my other project acutally has a German Record Label. Our first album was done in 1983. We made everything ourselves, we recorded on our own we made the video on our own. We are under the same label as the guys from Accept. I don`t have time to be on tour with the band. I have a substitute bass player at the moment. They are touring in Sweden, Germany and wherever. But to have that substitute is just easier than me flying all around the world to play with them. But the two projects go together pretty fine. I like to do one thing at a time. It´s not my thing to split myself into pieces.
Suiciderock: You have achieved so much as a musician and together with the band. Is there any unfulfilled dream left?
Jukka "J" Lewis: I don´t know, but it would probably be something like singing backing vocals for Peter Gabriel or something similar to that. I like the guy a lot. He is my facebookfriend so I have the connnections already. Let´s see…
Suiciderock: What advice would you give to a young band?
Jukka "J" Lewis: Get a real job. Seriously being a musician can be the hardest job in the whole wide world. I have struggled about 10 years with it. You need the passion. It is easier when you are young. I don´t know how it would feel when I would have to start a band now.
Suiciderock: Your future plans?
Jukka "J" Lewis: Im waiting for my vacation in September and I will be working in my own little studio here in Tampere as well and than lets see what the rest of the year has to offer.
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