If the days of Arena Rock are over, then pyro enthusiasts Lordi are here to resurrect the past. Playing their monster mash with monster masks, Finland’s own costumed crusaders Lordi— vocalist Mr. Lordi, guitarist Amen, bassist Ox, drummer Kita and keyboardist Awa—took Europe by storm by winning the 2006 Eurovision Contest with the highest number of votes in the contest’s history. Now they are embarking across the Atlantic to bring their Kiss-worshipping sound and Alice Cooper-influenced theatrics to US shores for the first time.
Are you a bit confused by their description? Did you think that latex-loving monsters reminiscent of Gwar should be playing something dark and perhaps even satanic? No way. These guys may be horror movie fanatics, but they write energetic rock and roll anthems and are big on sing-alongs. (They even have a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for having 90,000 fans singing along to “Hard Rock Hallelujah”—the karaoke world record.)
“If you first see the picture of us and then hear the music—the music is so mainstream, not metal, like old-fashioned heavy hard rock,” says keyboardist Awa. “I think that’s the biggest surprise.” But that’s not the only surprise in store—Bamboozle patrons, be prepared to be shocked, awed and witness to an intense display of pyrotechnics as Lordi claim the closing spot of both nights of this year’s festival.
We caught up with Lordi’s resident witch Awa to get a little history of the band and to find out exactly what’s in store for them on American soil.
Where did the name ‘Lordi’ come from?
It’s from the word ‘Lord’ like leader; not God, more like ‘Lord of something.’ In Finland we put an ‘I’ after every word, so ‘Lord’ is Lordi. Our singer is called Mr. Lordi. His friend’s mom made that up when he was a kid because even back then he had all kinds of costumes and lived in a fantasy world, so it was a good name for him, and it became the name of the whole band.
Tell me about the identity of each character of Lordi.
Our characters are like monsters from horror movies and comic books. Mr. Lordi makes every costume—he’s like the head designer for our band. I’m the only woman in the band, and I’m a witch, a ghost and a little bit of a vampire, (laughs) so I’m like a mix. Mr. Lordi, he’s the monster of all monsters. Our drummer Kita is an alien. Amen, our guitar player, he is a mummy, and Ox our bass player—I don’t know exactly what he is. (laughs) You should ask him!
As horror movie enthusiasts, what are some of your favorite slashers?
I’m scared of horror movies. (laughs) My favorite movie is probably Ghostbusters. But I think the classic horror movies are the favorite ones for us all. Like Fred Krueger and that kind of stuff. Let’s just say all the classic horror movies.
Before winning the Eurovision Contest, did you have any idea that all the European countries voting would have such a reaction to you guys?
No, no! Everyone in the band was like no, we are not gonna win, we are not gonna get any attention, and then we won! Everything happened so fast and so suddenly. Now things have settled down a little bit, and now we’re really trying to make a career and hope that we are gonna last long.
What do you hope to achieve in the States?
Of course, we want to be known and popular over there. Now people know us in Europe, and hopefully we can have the same thing in the US and Canada. But of course, we know it’s not gonna happen overnight, we have to come and do a lot of tours, but hopefully people like us. We love America. Our music is more American style than European.
So what are some of your musical inspirations?
We’re all huge Kiss fans, so Kiss is our biggest influence. I also like dark music and aggressive rock. System Of A Down is one of my favorites.