"Our music will never be `in.'" of some pizzeria or youth centre. No. First Lordi had to get a recording deal and release an album to build some anticipation before clambering onstage. He dreamed of a debut concert that would be anticipated like the first appearance in Finland by a foreign band whose songs are already familiar radio hits. The band practiced incessantly for this mythical concert in their rehearsal space. They played these secret shows with entire stage sets, lights, masks and all and they did so for years, dozens and dozens of times without any certainty of any album deal or public concerts. After ten years of waiting, when the curtain finally rose before a paying audience, the band was ready. "Backstage before the show, we said to ourselves, `this is it.' There's a club full of people and we've promised to show them something they'd never seen before. And we did." FULL CIRCLE Another major step in Lordi's career came when the band crossed paths with American manager Bill Aucoin, who took the band Kiss to the top of the charts in the 1970s. The legendary manager had seen a Lordi video on YouTube, based on a tip from a friend. After seeing the clip, Aucoin called Putaansuu to offer his help advancing the band. For Putaansuu, hearing from Aucoin was a startling experience. Putaansuu had served as president of the Finnish Kiss Army fan club and had even travelled to Stockholm in the late 1990s just to hear a lecture by Aucoin. "When Bill called, I thought to myself, `No way: Kiss's manager! This is scary!' I don't get nervous about it anymore. But this is one of those things that still makes me shake my head and ask myself if this is really true. "Bill has been handling successful bands for decades. So there was no question that he understood what this was all about. For instance, we didn't have to discuss the artistic content at all. That all seems to work by telepathy with Bill." Putaansuu readily admits that without the Eurovision victory, Lordi would not have much chance on the American market. The win gave the group a level of publicity that otherwise would have taken many more years of hard work by the band and their record label. "Now we've kind of gotten our foot in the door in America. We're not even in the front hall yet, but we're cautiously brewing some coffee there on the front step. Soon we may be invited inside which of course we would do with a humble bow," says Putaansuu. Through Aucoin's contacts, Lordi was invited to join a US tour last summer, the Ozzfest led by the legendary Ozzy Osbourne. Now in its 12th year, the Ozzfest has become one of America's major festival events. On the tour, Lordi played for crowds of about 20,000 people every other day for two months. "The Ozzfest was really tough, but it was a fun, rewarding experience," says Putaansuu. "It was a laidback package, but it was put together very precisely." The band does not yet have any plans for further appearances in the US. Pyrotechnics are an essential part of the Lordi show.
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