Making a Scene Presents Gerry Casey’s Interview with Mr. Lordi
Born and raised in Rovaniemi, Putaansuu soon became interested in monsters and special effects, in major part through horror movies. He was an avid fan of The Muppet Show and E.T. and soon was introduced to the world of heavy metal through his friend Risto Niemi, when he was 8 years old.
Always interested in masks and visual performances, he took special interest in Alice Cooper, Kiss and Twisted Sister. He started numerous fictional bands with his friends and designed logos and album covers for all of them.
Even though he did not do well at school – except for music and drawing – he started to make his own horror movies with friends. As a movie director and effects designer he, with the young movie-makers Pete Riski (to-be Lordi’s music video director), Petri Kangas and Kimmo Valtanen (to-be Sony BMG Finland CEO) and Tomi Yli-Suvanto received many awards and represented Finland at international film festivals. One of such films featured a monster called Roikottaja (“The Hanger”) – the Mr. Lordi character is loosely based on him.
It was around this time that he got assaulted while (and because of) wearing heavy metal style clothing, at the Sampo Square in his home town – the very same square is today officially known as the Lordi Square.
Putaansuu founded Lordi in Rovaniemi in 1992, when he was 18 years old. He produced the first demo, Napalm Market, in 1993. He described Lordi’s desired sound as “a song made by Kiss back in 1983, covered by Pantera in 1992 and remixed by Puff Daddy”.
After years, he graduated as a medianomi (equivalent to Bachelor of Arts), specializing himself in video editing. He made Lordi’s first music video Inferno, a seven-minute combination of horror fantasy and heavy metal music video, in 1995. The video featured Putaansuu’s friends in heavy makeup and masks and horror decorations made by Putaansuu – and Putaansuu himself singing without any makeup. Shortly thereafter he met his future band members on a Kiss Army trip to Sweden and Lordi turned into a real band with four members – Mr. Lordi, G-Stealer, Enary and Amen.
Putaansuu worked as a storyboard artist for Finnish movie producers and in his freetime worked with his band, producing an album Bend Over and Pray the Lord! in 1999. He could not, however, find a publisher for the album and it was left unreleased. Since then, he has also illustrated a comic book featuring Lordi, published in Finland in 2006.
After 2002, when the single “Would You Love A Monsterman?” and the album “Get Heavy” were finally released by BMG Finland, Putaansuu was still responsible for all the album artwork, band members’ characters, masks and most of the songs. Many of his works are on display in Rocktaurant, a restaurant partly owned by him, in Rovaniemi.
All publicity photographs of Putaansuu as Mr. Lordi have his face concealed with a mask and stage makeup. However, after the winning the ESC, many tabloids have published a photograph of his face, taken in the 1990s, as the chairman of Kiss Army Finland.
Just three weeks before Lordi’s performance at ESC, Mr. Lordi slipped onstage during a Lordi concert in Hämeenlinna, Finland. The band had to cancel a concert and Putaansuu had to use crutches but the ESC performance was not in danger. Had his foot been operated, he would have performed in Athens in an exploding wheelchair or with fire-throwing crutches.
He married his long-time girlfriend and personal assistant Johanna Askola in early August 2006 in his home town Rovaniemi. The marriage was set for May 2006 and had to be postponed due to the surprising success of “Hard Rock Hallelujah“.
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