B E A T I N S T R U M E N T A L
F I N L A N D
by Kevin Wooten
The seeds of The Charades were sown far back in the 1970s in Finland. The Ventures' Walk Don't Run 64 inspired Jari Moberg and his friends to play Ventures material. The name of the group they formed was The Chameleons and were later joined by Hannu Kononen on bass.
The Creepers were formed in the mid 80's with Hannu (who had now switched to lead), Marko Rahikainen on rhythm guitar, Tommi Salo on bass and Kari Alaviuhkola on drums. Later Jari took over the drum seat for the band and Markku Tuominen from The Mustangs joined on bass thus The Creepers became The Charades.
Hannu Kononen - lead guitar
Marko Rahikainen - rhythm guitar
Tommi Salo - bass
Kari Alaviuhkola - drums
Hannu Kononen - lead guitar
Marko Rahikainen - rhythm guitar
Markku Tuominen - bass
Jari Moberg - drums & percussion
The Charades recorded an EP for Rautalanka Records in 1991 under the name of The Creepers. As the recordings were purely rehearsal tapes of The Charades they did not want these released under their current name. This EP (RREP-12) is now out of stock.
An album Creepin' With was released through Echo Records in 2001.
Hannu and Marko also played in the group The Shanons and released an album entitled The Forgotten Pistoleros through Rautalanka Records in 1993, this album is also out of stock.
The Charades also enlisted Finnish singer Rock Ola to handle the vocal numbers in their act, the first being in January 1990.
The group released a maxi EP The Charades & Rock Ola RREP-Max-1 for Rautalanka Records in 1991. Marko decided to leave the band in 1992 and his place was taken by Leo Eerikainen who was also with The Mustangs. Gigs came in thick and fast to such an extent that they decided to call it a day gigging with singer Ola in late 1994. After a two year gap the band played a few dates in 1998, this time with vocalist Humaljoki.
In 2001 they released their CD entitled In Motion on Echo Records and in 2002 the band made their UK debut at The Pipeline Convention on 31st March at The Conway Hall, London. The band met Bruce Welch at the convention. The line-up for this event: Hannu Kononen - lead guitar, Marko Rahikainen - rhythm guitar, Leo Eerikainen - bass and Jari Moberg - drums.
In Motion was voted CD of the year by Pipeline magazine.
2003 saw the release of Supersonic Action on Echo Records which contained a knockout version of Geronimo and Love's Been Good To Me. The group also undertook their Italian Tour during 2003.
The Charades ended their European Tour at The Pipeline 2004 Convention on the 11th April at The International Students House, London in which they topped the bill. The line-up for this tour: Hannu - lead, Leo - bass, Jari - drums and new member Samu Wuori on rhythm guitar. The same year saw their latest CD Cool Blast released and it contained 16 tasty instrumental tracks including 5 originals from Hannu.
2005 saw the release of Rautalanka Collection which contained classic cover versions of From Russia With Love / Love's Been Good To Me / Geronimo / Besame Mucho to name but a few. The same year the band undertook their Japan tour.
It was a welcome surprise to see The Charades' name amongst the other groups appearing at 'Shadowmania 2006'. Their dynamic 50 minute act gained them lots more fans. Also this convention saw the release of New Edition - Pops In Japan. Studded with Ventures covers but with the band's hallmark. The line-up for Shadowmania:
Hannu Kononen - lead guitar, Samu Wuori - rhythm guitar, Jukka Vaisanen - bass, Jari Moberg - drums & percussion.
Pipeline 8th April 2007
Bushey Sports Club,
The Charades are no strangers to Pipeline and once again they turned out a great performance opening with Hawaii 5-0. Bumble Bee a stage favourite was well appreciated by the audience. I think this is the first time I have heard the band play The Magnificent Seven ‘live’ and they followed this with a Ventures medley: Baja-Penetration-Lullaby Of The Leaves. The only Shadows cover was Maroc 7.
Hannu, Samu, Jukka and Jari were great on Stars Wars. They closed with a Ventures Medley: Ginza Lights-Slaughter On Tenth Avenue-Stranger In Midosuji-Diamond Head and Wipe Out, an encore brought them back for Pipeline.
Blue Chateau / Surfin’ USA 78 / All Time High / Our New Song / Bam Bam Bam / Danger Level 125 / Go Go Slow / Sea Of Love / Charade / La Bamba / Manchurian Beat were the other tunes played at the Convention.
The Charades 2007-2009
Hannu Kononen left The Charades in 2007 and his place was taken by Arto Makela who is a professional guitarist and guitar tutor.
His guitars include a Mosrite, Aria Ventures Model, Telecaster and a Fender Stratocaster.
Arto made his debut with The Charades in 2008 on Wild Card. This release featured Bob Bogle, Don Wilson, Bob Spalding and Nono Soderberg on various tracks.
The Ventures covers include Comin’ Home and Green Grass. Bob Bogle plays lead on Elmer Bernstein’s Magnificient 7 whilst rhythm guitar is shared between Don Wilson and Samu Wuori. Bob Spalding is featured on baritone guitar and solo bass for Futari No Dake No Umi. Henry Mancini’s theme from Charade gets the band’s treatment. Hikari is a vocal version of Valot.
The Rautalanka Awards for 2008 went to The Charades and they embarked on their 8 date Mexican Tour in 2009.
The band were in the studio recording their new album for summer release.
Nastola Rautalanka Festival released a Live On DVD in 2009 featuring Jet Harris and The Charades playing 36-24-26 and Scarlett O’Hara.
When Arto announced he was moving to Germany in the Spring of 2009 the band wanted to make another album before his departure. With only 9 new recording in the can plus the ‘live’ Jet Harris tracks there was not enough time to complete a full album. However The Charades wanted to give their fans something special and so here we have a double CD entitled As Hot As Cool Can Be! released in 2009.
With this excellent release we get new material from the current line-up, Jet’s ‘live’ recording with the band, material that was previously recorded on vinyl such as the 1989 sessions as The Creepers and sessions from 1990, 1992-93. In short 20 years of recordings making their CD debut plus some unreleased numbers.
By the way Thunderbolt is not the Brian Bennett number but an original from Samu Wuori.
Just listen to Vivaldi’s Summer Twist - awesome.
The Ventures tracks in the hands of The Charades are equally brilliant. Another great addition to your collection.
For full list of titles see discography. There is an informative booklet listing the band’s line-up and recordings sessions over the years with this release.
I am sure we will hear more of The Charades in 2010.
Set Lists and Discography Kevin Wooten