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Reckless Love: Confessions at the dressing table

Hardly any other band had been as busy as Reckless Love in 2010: Tours in their home country Finland and in the UK, acoustic gigs, TV shows, a concert on New Year`s Eve in Italy... Still singer Olli Herman received STALKER backstage right before the Helsinki December show for a chat, during which he vanished every now and then in a cloud of hair spray...

Hello Olli and thank you very much to take some time for us. For the beginning, would you like to introduce Reckless Love to our readers?
Hi, my name is Olli Herman and I am the singer of a band called Reckless Love. There are a couple of persons who make the noise in the background... Pepe who plays the guitar, Jalle Verne who plays the bass and our drummer called Hessu Maxx. And there is a bunch of various characters from the production team: Our bus driver, our agent…Our sound technician is somewhere here... And, of course, most importantly: The girlfriend of mine! [smiles]

How would you label your musical style?
"Merry Metal"! "Merry" is Christmas. "Merry Metal", that`s the perfect description for our type of music. I mean, the idea is to have fun... Forget about tomorrow... Enjoy today... And, you know, just party the hell out. What about being serious? I can`t take life seriously so how could I take music seriously?!?

It seems that your drummer Heikki Ahonen is the only band member who uses a pseudonym, "Hessu Maxx". Why?
He is actually called "Hessu" since he was a kid so it`s a shortened form from "Heikki", his real name. And "Maxx"... He`s got this really traditional Finnish kind of middle names. He didn`t want to use his last name which is very Finnish aswell so he came up with this thing. His parents told him that before he was born they were thinking that he gonna be called "Maxwell" so "Maxx" is the shortened form from "Maxwell". That`s the story behind the name. As far as I know...

So it has nothing to do with the Disney character Goofy? In Finland "Goofy" is called "Hessu Hopo"...
[laughs] No, it has nothing to do with Goofy although he sometimes is a kind of Goofy, as you can hear it in the background...

When and where was Reckless Love founded?
The band was founded in the home town of ours called Kuopio in Eastern Finland in 2001. It`s a long time ago, I know. We were called "Reckless Life", as the one Guns`n`Roses song... But, yeah, it`s a long time ago and it`s the first band we have ever started. Usually, from the first band you are switching to another band, another band, another band... But in our case... After ten years, it becomes something... We just stuck with each other... [smiles] No-one has been promised something... But also nobody moved on...

Why did you changed your band`s name?
Because we were a cover band at first. We mostly played Guns`n`Roses covers and when we started to run our own songs, we decided that we had to have an original name. We all love the word "Reckless" with the "R" and the lovely double-S as KISS have it at the end, too. And, of course, it sounds so good and so "Reckless" was the word we wanted to use. And "Life" was because of "Reckless Life" and, of course, we needed something larger than "Life" so "Love" was the natural option... As humble as we are...

How did you meet each other?
I met this guy [points to Jalle] when I was 4 years old. In a day care...

So you really grew up together...
Yeah, he`s partly my brother. If I ever had a problem, it would be Jalle I would talk to. I know him since I was 4, so I know him for 24 years which is kind of funny. [smiles] I met Pepe when we were in the elementary school. He was a year older than me so I didn`t really got to know him that well but I knew him through a friend. Actually from the first drummer of Reckless Love. And that`s how I met Pepe. And Hessu, I met him through my ex-girlfriend. He is a childhood friend of her. And I saw him playing. On one Christmas, actually... Exactly four years ago... Or three years ago? I`m not sure anymore but anyway: That`s how I met Hessu.

In the magic Christmas time...
It must be that - or the magic smile he has. He`s got a huge fucking smile! I mean, his smile is going from one ear to another - and that`s how it goes with "Merry Metal". You have to have a big smile to be in this band. Well, you know our shows...

Yes, I do and I really like them. They are kind of unusual... And as the other Reckless Love fans out there, I hope that we don`t have to wait till fall 2011 before the second album will be released...
Oh, it will take quite a lot of time to get to the next album... But I can suit you and tell you that there is gonna be a single before next fall and probably a music video, too. I have no idea when and where but it`s gonna happen. Somewhere somehow at some point something`s gonna happen...

That`s great to hear! Back to the history of Reckless Love: Why did you changed the drummer?
It`s a kind of this "Spinal Tap" thing... So we have to change our drummers every now and then... [smiles] Well, Hessu joined the band two years ago, probably because our ex-drummer wasn`t that ambitious to play in a band. He was more the type of guy who played for himself. We didn`t really want to put him himself into the band because he wasn`t ready to take the risk... To quit his job and, you know... Just get in 100%...

But he was a long time with you...
Yeah, he was. Almost 4 years, I think. I have no bad feelings when I remember him. I think he did a great job for the band but... That separates the wheat from the chaff... You have to be able to put yourself into it 100%, even thought it takes your life, and you have to know it. There is a slight chance that you might make it but if you are not prepared to take the chance, there is no chance to win the race.

Are you guys still living in Kuopio?
No, I haven`t lived in Kuopio since almost ten years. It`s funny how they keep it with foreigners as a band from Eastern Finland. As you know, I was in Crashdïet so I lived in Sweden for one year and a half. I lived in Helsinki for three years and I lived in Jyväskylä for four years so it`s been a long trip for me... I´m living in Tampere now, which has turned out to be a really good city. So far, Tampere has treated me very well.

How about Helsinki?
Helsinki is a great place to live, too. I like Helsinki but I think Tampere suits me better. It`s slightly smaller but still a big city, for Finnish conditions. Pepe is the only one who is living in Helsinki. Jalle lives in a small city called Lempäälä near Tampere and Hessu lives in Viiala which is a smaller city also near Tampere. They are really rednecks! [laughter]

Why don`t you live in the same city? How does it work, e.g. with rehearsals, if all of you are kind of spread all over Finland?
We have a rehearsal space in Viiala where Hessu lives and it`s not far away from Tampere, just a five minutes journey by car. From Helsinki it takes an hour and 40 minutes and that`s not really far away if you consider the fact that if you life in Helsinki and wanna go to the rehearsal room which is like at the other side of the city... It might take over one hour to get there so... And let`s face it: We are doing so many gigs nowadays that we really don`t have any time to rehearse... We play like every weekend. We are professionals so we don`t need to rehearse...

You have enough gigs where you can rehearse...
Yeah, we rehearse on stage! [laughter]

Can you tell us something about the legendary "Leather Factory"?Hessu mentions it quite often on twitter..
Well, yeah, it`s our "actual" rehearsal room. It`s an old factory building and it was - as you can guess it by the name - a leather factory before it became this massive walk of enterprises, companies, rehearsal rooms, garages... Well, all this different kind of stuff. And Reckless Love`s rehearsal room is one of those rentals...Hessu lives there. And he also works there. He is teaching kids how to play drums. He has the time to do that...

Do the other guys in the band having jobs beside Reckless Love, too?
Jalle teaches these kids at "Leather Factory", too... Well, I`m not sure about his situation at the moment. I mean, I hardly have any time to do anything else in this job. My schedule is packed; it`s pretty full. There are really not that many opportunities to do anything else. In January, there is gonna be some time to do some other stuff as well but let`s face it: We have another album to make so I have to write some lyrics and some songs aswell... [After putting his make-up on, Olli now starts to use the hairspray]

Did you ever thought about doing some advertising for hair spray?
Oh, yeah, this are actually some test products from the hair care line "Four Reasons"... In January, I`m gonna have that endorsement with their new line of hair products called "Big Sexy Hair"... And "Big Sexy Hair" has this really good hair sprays... Oh, my hair is so dirty! I need to wash it and that`s the way I do it. This is how you do it in Rock`n`Roll style. This is like dry shampoo...

You are used to it, aren`t you? You are using hairspray for Reckless Love and you have used hair spray for Crashdïet aswell... How did you came to Crashdïet? You already had Reckless Love in those days... Or Reckless Life?
Yeah, we already were called Reckless Love in those days and Reckless Love didn`t work really well. We were in a situation where we were kind of frustrated. We were not sure about the music style and we didn`t sound that well. We had these period where we really worked hard but we didn`t got anywhere and so we thought that we need something else to do. So everyone took a break from Reckless Love - and I just ended up in Sweden. [laughs]

How all these things happened? After the tragic suicide of their first singer Dave Lepard they decided to continue with a new singer but did they came to you or did you applied?
I applied. Well, actually it started as a joke with some friends from my school. They just started to joke like "You look exactly like them!" and said "You should apply, you should apply!". I did it - and after twelve hours they contacted me via email and wanted me to join the band.

Wow, very fast!
Yeah, it was fast... Actually it happened too fast as we witnessed it. Our ways parted only a year and a half after all...

What was the point for them to take you? Was it your voice, the similar look or the chemistry between you and the guys? Has there been that much chemistry between you and the guys at all, especially after this short period of application and being hired, if I am allowed to ask that?
Of course, you are allowed to ask! There is nothing bad about it and there is nothing to hide. Well, if you think about it: Crashdïet is a band with a sad story and some sad songs. And if you think of Reckless Love: It looks like me. I`m a party type of guy. I wanna have some fun. We didn`t really have that much in common. I mean, they wanna do sad songs and I`m just so "Haha!"... It became really weird `cause I can`t help myself to smile on stage and when you see Crashdïet playing sad songs and they are really, really... phlegmatic... and when I am there, I grin like a Cheshire cat... It just doesn`t fit! Don`t get me wrong: There is nothing wrong with being that serious as Crashdïet are... If you think about the sad story the band has… Do they have reasons to smile? I`m not sure... It`s a part of their image and it works well for them and that`s great... But it just didn`t work for me.

How was it for you to replace someone who committed suicide? How were the reactions? Was it more positive or more negative?
It was a collection of mixed opinions. Some people loved it, some people hated it totally. Most of the hardcore fans like the true fans from since the beginning around 2000... They hated it, of course. The fans who were into all about it, they loved it. You can`t really make a division of it. Of course, the second album ["The Unattractive Revolution"] was way weaker than the first one ["Rest In Sleaze"]. Mainly because I am not Dave Lepard and I never wanted to be Dave Lepard and that also partly affects the songwriting. But let`s face it: The second album has a couple of good songs on it which is about two more than on most of the KISS albums. [laughter]

There is still this discussion about they should stop or change their name...
It`s stupid! My sympathies are really with the guys. They should continue and keep the name. They ARE Crashdïet. And with Simon [Cruz, the third and current singer of Crashdïet]... He fits way better than I do!

And how was it when you parted ways? There are rumours like they kicked you out as well as you left them. Which version is the true one?
It was a neutral decision. It was both: I wanted to get out and they kicked me out at the same time. So both is true. I already wanted to quit before but then I decided: "Why the fuck?!? I wanna tour aswell!" There`s nothing wrong with this. The guys are really great. We just didn`t found a common way on the creating level. The guys are fucking great. There`s nothing bad to say about them.

Are you still in contact with each other?
No, not really. But that doesn`t mean that I don`t like them at all. It`s the total opposite. It`s just that they live in a different country. There are no occasions where we could meet each other by coincidence or something like this. I think Peter [London, the bass player] is my facebook friend and so is Martin [Sweet, the guitar player]. Of course, if I would meet them I would tell them how glad I am to see them up and running...

Actually your relationship can`t be that bad. I mean you even mentioned them in the booklet of the self-titled debut album of Reckless Love which has been released in February 2010...
Yeah, definitely... I have to! It`s a part of the appreciation of being in that band for one year and a half. You know, to live in a band with four band members... You have to take care of each other. No matter how bad things might be: It`s still the group of you! If you hate each other or each other asses: You don`t let each other down. We had some rough times and we had really, really good times aswell...

Could you imagine a common tour?
Not really... [laughter] I mean, it would be funny... Really, why not? It could be cool. But I doubt they wanna do it.

In London you had two gigs with Jettblack, even a UK tour together. How did that happen? And are you only label mates or did you even became friends?
We are now on the same label. But, of course, we got to know the guys and they are really great and we had funny times and a really good tour with them. I wouldn`t mind to tour with them again. It was really fun!

Are there any plans for a tour in Germany?
No, not at the moment. I`m afraid... The main reason is that our album is available there only as an import... But I think Germany likes to grin, too... I really hope that we can go there in the future!

Someone has to start `cause also Steel Panther are not that famous in Germany like they are here in Finland...
Yeah, and the only differences between Steel Panther and Reckless Love are actually two: They are old and they are a joke. Our music is not a joke. Our music only has some jokes in it... [laughs]

Yeah, and you are pretty much into this 80s stuff. Could you imagine to play some other music styles aswell?
Sure! I mean, I don`t see it as we play 80s stuff. We are doing modern kind of stuff that is heavily influenced by the 80s stuff. And the new album is actually gonna prove that. There will be more modern sounds on it. That won`t be neglected as well...

How it comes that your music is so heavily influenced by the 80s? Through your parents or...?
I was born in the 80s so that`s probably why. I`m going pretty much with this kind of music. I don`t know... There was always 80ies music played in the background... For me, it has good memories in it. I mean, life is really, really serious shit when you start to think about it. I don`t want to add more serious shit in e.g. our music. And that`s what Reckless Love is about: We want to entertain, making people having a good time... For the time they are at our shows. For 1 1/2 hours. Forgetting all this shit in their everyday life or generally in the world. If you would have the option to choose between an academic lecture and a KISS gig: What would you choose?

Probably the latter...
Same thing with me! And I think there a millions out there who would choose the latter as well. We are trying to offer the same thing. Well, in fact we are offering the same thing. I mean, there are bands and music out there which makes me feel like I am in an academic lecture... Where I think: "Bring me some beer! Bring me some fun! Where is the fire works? Where is the sex appeal?"

You participated in the Finnish TV show "Kuorosota" [in English: "Choir War"] where different musicians rehearse well-known compositions with their own choir and then compete. In the end, the audience decide via phone calls who makes it into the next round. How did you came to "Kuorosota"? Have you been asked? Did you applied?
They asked me. I considered it as a nice experience. We rehearsed some songs like "Livin` La Vida Loca" by Ricky Martin and even "Back To Paradise" by Reckless Love... And in the end, we made it to be number 4 so quite far... [It`s getting hectic in the backstage room...]

About the New Year`s Eve show in Italy. How come, do you already have a fan base there?
It`s a weird thing! We only played this small gig on a boat in Italy before, in August, and after that there came tons of emails. So, now our second gig there, in Pisa - and I really wanna see the Leaning Tower. I mean, as a musician I`ve been to so many different cities. I`ve been to Paris for three times and I`ve never seen the Eiffel Tower. That`s because I`m a musician. I`m always on the stage, in the bus - and then we are off again. [The backstage empties] Like now. I am very sorry but we have to go on stage now...

No problem. Thanks for your rare time and see you on stage!


Author: Stefanie Singh, photos: Stefanie Singh / Promotional pictures by Reckless Love and Crashdïet
Date: 2011-03-06

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