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Eppu Normaali was formed in 1976 in the small town of Ylöjärvi, near Tampere. The core of the band consisted Juha Torvinen, Mikko Saarela, Aku Syrjä and brothers Martti Syrjä (b. 1959, vocals) and Mikko 'Pantse' Syrjä (b. 1957, guitar); their parents are Kirsi Kunnas and Jaakko Syrjä, both accomplished writers. In 1977 the band named themselves Eppu Normaali after a scene in the Mel Brooks comedy 'Young Frankenstein'. In the scene Frankenstein is told that the brain he just put in his creation was from a person called ‘Abby Normal’ or Eppu Normaali in Suomi.

The band's first public appearance took place at the Rockin SM-Cup in 1977. The jury was unimpressed but singer Juice Leskinen encouraged them to send out demo’s. Soon they were signed at Poko records and released their debut album ‘Aknepop’. Styled after the Ramones it was filled with short punk-pop songs. The follow up ‘Maximum Jee & Jee’ was already lighter of tone and is regarded by many fans and critics as one of the band's best releases. That the band always tried to see the fun sight of live wasn’t very punk maybe but it deliver some tongue-in-cheek tracks.

The third album’s cover, ‘Akun tehdas’ ('Battery factory'), was a slapstick hommage to the cover of ’Cosmo’s factory’ of CCR. New was that the band started to put a critical not in their lyrics. ’ Suomi-ilmiö’ tells about the accident at the Harrisburg nuclear power plant, ‘Puhtoinen lähiöni’ criticizes housing policy and ‘Puhtoiset vesistömme ’ water legislation. With the album sales finally  caught up and allegedly it saved Poko records from bankruptcy. The band however failed to continue their succes. With 1984's release ‘Rupisia riimejä karmeita tarinoita' the band left their punk roots and was becoming more regular pop/rock. The album was also the first Finnish cd-release and was followed by 'Kahdeksas ihme' in 1985 (which contained one of the band's most legendary songs ‘Kitara, taivas ja tähdet’) and 'Valkoinen kupla' in 1986. The three successive albums were all hits and sold very well. The three albums combined to over 300.000 copies sold, a huge amount in a country with just 5 million people.

In 1987 Eppu Normaali excisted ten years and to celebrate the fact the tribute band ‘Eppu Popeda Normal’ was created. After this memorable fact it quickly went downhill for the band however. In 1989 bassplayer Mikko Nevalainen left the band and they decided to to take a break after intensive touring. The sabbatical was extended in 1993 after ‘Studio Etana’ which brought the band on the verge of breaking up due to lack of inspiration. The band's members took the time for a variety of side projects. Roses Kallio, Torvinen and Aku Edge formed the band Sami Hintsasen without much succes.

It would take until 2004  that the band announced they would start recording again.The new album, ‘Sadan vuoden päästäkin’, was received by their fans with great enthusiasm and took them on a greatest hit tour along Finnish theatres. The days when they were almost non stop touring were over however. Follow up ‘Syvään päähän’ was received well but did not feature many live concerts.

On the web:

- Eppu Normaali's official website: http://www.eppunormaali.fi

What do we think:

DB: Finland has a lot of standard guitar-drums-bass kind of bands and artists. What Eppu Normaali makes stand out is that somehow they don’t take themselves to serious (like some of the others) and they show a sense of urgency, especially in the early days. The influences from the Ramones are obvious but they give it a kind of Suomi swing and humour that can only be made if you spend six months of the year in the dark and the other six surrounded by mosquitoes (just kidding). Later on they were called the "poor man's Dire Straits”. I don’t know if that is a recommendation but shows that they left their punk roots and became more traditional AOR. They started playing better too which is, for some, a plus.

If you like this, you probably like.. / european counterparts

Die Toten Hosen (Germany)

Elektricni Orgazam (Serbia)


Aknepop - 1978

♪♪♪- Maximum Jee & Jee - 1979

♪♪♪ - Akun tehdas - 1980

Rupisia riimejä, karmeita tarinoita - 1984

♪♪ - Syvään päähän - 2007

Further listening:

Cocktail Bar - 1981; Tie vie - 1982; Aku ja köyhät pojat - 1983; Kahdeksas ihme - 1985; Valkoinen kupla - 1986; Imperiumin vastaisku - 1988; Historian suurmiehiä - 1990; Studio Etana - 1993; Sadan vuoden päästäkin - 2004

♪♪♪♪♪ = outstanding album, an absolute must-have
♪♪♪♪ = great album, highly recomended
♪♪♪ = nice album
♪♪ = be careful, requires listening before buying
♪ = best to be avoided


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