Interview with Nightwish 73

Source: Beyond Ear Candy

Nightwish 2004 Tour Feature
by Ann Marie Reilly

Introduction  ~  The Once Album  ~  The US Tour  ~  Tour Wrap-Up

NIGHTWISH: An Introduction


The Scandinavian countries have long been known as a source of some of the darkest metal music. Grinding guitar riffs and gut-wrenching growls have roared out of the north with a regularity that leads to the question; what is it about these globe-crowning countries that sparks such deep angst and bittersweet creativity? Credit is frequently given to the prolonged darkness and frigid weather of the Finnish winter, but perhaps there is a connectivity with the soul of this beautiful, uncluttered land that speaks in melancholy murmurs to its people, indiscernible to heat-baked populations.

From beneath this frozen mantle of moroseness, erupts a blazing mixture of melody and emotion in the form of the symphonic metal band, Nightwish. Bitter tears of longing for lost love and innocence stream through the lyrics, yet the soaring voice of the band's diva, Tarja Turunen hints at a remnant of hope that lingers in the melodies and leaves it's listeners inspired not despondent.

Nightwish is the creation of the band's keyboardist, Tuomas Holopainen, who originally conceived a more acoustic style. But the contrast of Tarja's operatic vocals with this softer application was too severe and the addition of metal elements seemed a natural progression. Their debut album, Angels Fall First released in 1997, combined both the acoustic and heavier styles demonstrating the band's state of transition. The next two releases, Oceanborn, 1998 and Wishmaster 2000, displayed a swirling panorama of intoxicating melodies driven by lightening-quick keyboards sweeping through poetic lyrics delivered with stunning, operatic force. Dramatic percussion statements underlined by the heart-palpitating double-bass of drummer, Jukka Nevalainen, and a smattering of intriguing riffs by lead guitarist Emppu Vuorinen ensnared listeners creating a solid base of worshipping fans.

The release of their fourth album, Century Child, in 2002 heralded a new direction. Bass guitar player Sami Vänskä left the band and was replaced by Marco Hietala, long-time lead vocalist and bassist for the Finnish band, Tarot. The addition of Marco added a powerful male vocal element, frequently harsh, always commanding, that offset the siren sound of Tarja. Coupled with a stronger guitar presence and darker, angry melody lines, some of the loyal legions were sent reeling. Yet, Century Child proved a market success and the band's fan base continued to increase.


The latest album, Once, released in May of this year, is an even bigger leap into uncharted areas of musical exploration. An admitted fan of movie composers such as Hans Zimmer and Danny Elfman, Tuomas has indulged his passion for musical scores by employing Pip Williams, who has worked with Uriah Heep and Status Quo, to direct orchestra and choral arrangements. The parts were performed by the London Session Orchestra, known for its work on the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter soundtracks. The results are enormous orchestral movements injected into songs stinging with gritty guitar themes creating an unmistakably cinematic mood to many of the songs especially the 10 minute epic, Ghost Love Score. Deeper, darker and heavier than anything Nightwish had done before, songs like Romanticide, Dead Gardens and Planet Hell employ heavy metal guitar riffs writhing throughout the majestic orchestral passages taking startling twists and turns that leaves the first-time listener breathless. More than one spin is needed to sort through the intricacy and inventiveness of this project. 

ONCE, The Breakthrough Album for Nightwish in the U.S.?

In the September, 2003, Nightwish made their first ever appearances in the United States at the ProgPower IV festival in Atlanta, Georgia and the rock club, L'Amour in Brooklyn, New York. Though Century Child would not be released in the states until after these gigs, the band discovered a remarkably well-educated and undeniably enthusiastic hoard of American fans singing along with every verse. Internet sales had clearly pre-empted the sluggish release date.   Inspired by this success, the band booked a 14-date tour of North American promoting their newly released album, Once. The tour was planned to kick off in August with shows in Toronto and Montreal followed by 12 more dates scheduled throughout the U.S. starting in Philadelphia August 19 and ending in Seattle September 5th.

Nightwish chose to begin the world-wide tour for their most daring and inventive project by hosting an equally stunning and unprecedented performance in their tiny hometown of Kitee, Finland, population 10,000. The concert, held in the local ice arena, packed in 3500 fans from all over the world and featured and explosion of pyrotechnics and stunning lights usually reserved for shows five times that size. A shimmering curtain of rain flowing between the audience and the stage during several numbers like Nemo added an ethereal quality to the performance which alternated between roaring heavy metal and the magesty of the taped orchestra.

At a press conference prior to the show in Kitee, Marco explained why they thought now might be the right time for Nightwish to entice the U.S. metal market.

"It's hard to get a little band from the backwoods of Finland noticed," he said. "It was good to see the fan base in Atlanta and New York and we thought we might find more under the bushes. That's what we're doing right now."

Is the American metal audience ready for a work this complex? When this question was put to him during an interview in Kitee, Tuomas debated the issue.

"I think there's a lot of differences (from previous albums) but I wouldn't know about the American market," he commented. "It's different at least in that it's the heaviest album, the hardest one, the most guitar riff oriented, so if Americans are up to some hard riffing maybe this is the right album for them. And then there's the orchestra as well. I mean, the diversity of the elements in that album is huge, so massive, so there's a little bit of something for everybody. There's the slow ballads, there's the real heavy metal stuff, there's an American Indian from Arkansas. So, I just hope people will discover the whole thing."

The North American Indian element appears in the song Creek Mary's Blood, a lament to the Native Americans' lost land and lifestyle. Lakota Indian, John Two-Hawks contributes haunting flute and chanting vocals expressing the sorrows of his people in this eerily, tribal song. Tuomas discovered Two-Hawks while searching the internet and after listening to samples of the soulful cry of the Indian musician's cedar flute, it seemed he'd found the right element to express the emotions of this historical tribute.

Two-Hawks was at first surprised when he was contacted by a metal band from Finland. Then upon reviewing a copy of Century Child sent to him by the band's management at King Foo Entertainment, he was ready to commit. "After we looked into that and discovered their music a little bit and read their lyrics, then I was pumped," said Two-Hawks.

The idea of mixing his native American music to the symphonic metal of Nightwish did not seem to be a clash of cultures for the Indian. "I've been a performer in lots of musical genres in the past," he explained. "I try to endeavor to include other types of musical influences in the traditional American Indian music that I create. So when Nightwish called and said that they wanted to do this and we heard the music and read the lyrics, I was excited because I thought this is fresh and a great opportunity to express the joining of very different musical genres and kind of wrap them together in a braid. I think the end result is absolutely power house, incredible."

King Foo flew Two-Hawks and his wife, Peggy to Finland to work on the project. Though neither had visited the country before, they quickly fell in love with the land and its people, especially band manager Ewo Rytkonen and his fiancé Olga.
"We love Ewo and Olga. I thought (Finland) was amazing," said Two-Hawks. "Ewo and Olga took us on a little walking trip of the islands right down the southern tip of Finland there off of Helsinki. We walked at night and the snow was on the ground and the moon was out and it was like the land of enchantment. If there would have been a warm room with windows looking out on those islands I could have composed the most incredible music that night because it was absolutely inspirational, enchanting, magical."

"The other thing about Finland that I thought was really beautiful was the people," continued Two-Hawks. "They're kind of like American Indian people in a way. They think before they speak. They're a little bit reserved like we are. They're quiet and they're thoughtful and they think about things and they're intellectual. They're beautiful people."

The magic and mutual understanding continued in the studio when the multi-talented American Indian melded inspiration with the Finnish composer and keyboardist. The resulting song Creek Mary's Blood deeply satisfied both musicians. Two-Hawks commented on the final studio mix, "I thought it was incredibly tasteful and very well thought out. Their ideas were like mine. I have a hunch Tuomas had a hand in it," he remarked. "He and I are musical soul mates. We think along the same lines."

In an interview prior to the Seattle show on the U.S. tour, Tuomas was asked about this relationship and he readily agreed.

"Yea, we kind of were," said Tuomas. "In the studio it was close to magic because everything he did, you know, he agreed, I agreed and some things that wasn't so good he immediately told me, "This wasn't good," and I told him "That's right, it wasn't," so it was really like a mutual thing going on between the two of us. "

The song ends with a mournful poem chanted in Two-Hawk's native Lakota language.

"I think what he summed up really in that poem was a spiritual truth," explained Two-Hawks. "What it is, is our understanding of the whole circle, the whole perspective. We, in this society now a days, we look at things really close and when we do, we lose our perspective. But American Indian people, having been on the continent as long as we have, we have a tendency to look at things much further back, to see the whole picture. Tuomas with his poem kind of zeroed in on this and he captured with words the thoughts and the sense of feeling that American Indian people have about North America, about what happened to us here, but not only that, but about what is to come and what we see in the future, how we see this circle will come back around. Those that are of the earth, shall return to the earth and Tuomas kind of called that out in that poem. It's like he transformed himself into an American Indian just for a moment in time. Maybe in someway he sort of stepped into our moccasins and really was seeing our world through our eyes when he wrote that."

Though flattered by this analogy, Tuomas agrees with this assessment.

"Yea I did, but actually I still take that as a compliment," he said. "I think that I have kind of like grown creatively into their culture because I've been reading a lot of books about their history and their culture and I watched Dances With Wolves like a hundred times and all this so I have like a little bit of understanding what they're going through, what their mind set is about."

Another emotionally charged song on the album, Higher Than Hope takes listeners on a different, yet no less poignant, emotional journey. This song is a tribute to American metal fan, Marc Brueland who died of cancer several months following the September 2003 ProgPower IV event. Marc, a long-time Nightwish fan, was honored by the band during their set. Prior to one of his favorite songs, Walking in the Air, he left his wheelchair and walked on stage to be embraced by the band members. The following emotional performance left few eyes dry amongst those aware of Marc's story especially when he rose from his chair once more to shakily headbang in the stage wings.

Following this incredible performance and Marc's passing, Tuomas teamed up with the band's bass player, Marco to write a tribute to their fallen fan.  "I followed his story for like three years altogether before he finally died, so it was just something really touching and I just felt like I need to make a song about this," said Tuomas. The collaboration was a first for the band as the keyboardist has predominantly written all the music for the previous songs.

"He (Marco) did almost all the music. I did the lyrics and some of the music but it was the last song that we did for this album and Marco came up with this song," explains Tuomas. "By the demo song, I had these melodies, and "Ok," I said. "It perfectly leads for the ideas of these lyrics I have that I want to write about Marc Brueland." So we just did it together and the result is what you get."

A tape of Marc's voice discussing his feelings on his impending death add an intensely heartbreaking element to a song already charged with emotion. When asked who's idea it was to include the message that Marc had taped for his family, Tuomas replied, "That was my idea actually, I just thought that this would be the perfect immortalization of him to put his words on this part of the song. I really didn't want to make a heavy song part of his story and I also didn't want to make a cheesy ballad and this song that Marco had was perfect like in between. It's kind of like half ballad but has a really, really hard punch in it and so I think it fit perfectly."

When asked to explain the repeated phrase Red sun rising in the refrain, Tuomas had this to say, "That phrase, to be honest, came from Lord of the Rings Part 2. Legolas is saying, Red sun rising, (blood has been spilt this night). That's a perfect metaphor."
It is the second line in the refrain, however, that has special meaning for the composer.
"I prefer Drown without inhaling because I was on the 'phone talking to Marc like ten minutes before he died. All I could hear in the 'phone was this gasping sound. I could barely make out the words. That was horrible. That really was so bad."

Sorrow, passion and hope are just some of the emotions that swirl throughout the intricate and delicately balanced masterpiece mingling a wide variety of musical influence. With so many different elements spun together under a heavy metal blanket, it's unclear which market, or how many different markets Nightwish can appeal to in an American music scene fanatically labeled and compartmentalized. Into just what category will Nightwish fall?

"I have heard the weirdest descriptions," remarked Tuomas in the Kitee interview. "Neoclassical, atmospherical, progressive gothic, speed thrash metal or whatever, I don't know. I would like to think that we are like a symphonic metal band. We definitely are a metal band, even though I think this new album is more diverse. To make it short, it's symphonic metal for me."


The U.S. Tour

Months of anticipation and frantically made travel plans stoked the American audience into a frenzy of excitement before the start of the North American tour. So it was in shock and confusion that thousands of fans received the news only days before the start of the tour that Nightwish was being forced to cancel both sold-out dates in Canada and the first U.S. date in Philadelphia. It seems the U.S. bureaucratic machine had once again orchestrated a monumental S.N.A.F.U. (Situation Normal; All Fucked Up), by failing to issue the required visas, ordered nearly five months in advance. The earliest the band members could pick up these vital passes to work in the states was August 18. In person. In Helsinki. There was no way to make those first dates, important to the band and desperately anticipated by the fans.

A lucky few of the many empty ticket holders were able to re-scramble travel plans and buy tickets to other shows within some sort of reasonable travel distance. Most were left with dashed hopes and un-refunded travel fees. No doubt, the cost to the band had to be even greater.

Still, anticipation was enormous when the tour finally opened August 20th at the Palladium in Worcester, Massachusetts. A throng of black-clad metallers lined the sidewalk outside the venue hours before the show, hoping to be the lucky few to grab a spot close to the stage and perhaps even catch the band outside making their way in. When the doors opened, the multi-tiered Palladium filled quickly, though the upper balcony was unfortunately off-limits. Young Goth fans in heavy make-up and edgy outfits mingled with their hard-core metal brethren in prerequisite black, band t-shirts. A surprisingly strong contingent of middle-aged rockers could be found dispersed through the crowd, hovering a discreet distance from their adolescent prodigy.

Bob and Debbie Morrison from Westerley, Rhode Island were easily converted into Nightwish fans by their 20-year-old son attending the concert with them. "It wasn't hard," said Bob. "He popped the cd in and we were hooked. We bought our tickets in January." The couple were seated at one of the few tables in the venue with Steve and Daril Dolce from Ashaway, Rhode Island. Though the foursome were from the same state, they had only met that night. The Dolce's, who attended the show with their sons, ages 19 and 16, eagerly waited the performance in hopes of hearing their favorite song, Dead Boy's Poem played live.

The show began with the Finnish band, Lullacry who did their job warming up the Nightwish fans. They got the crowd moving with their gothic influenced metal and hard rock style. While not breaking any major ground musically, they are a good band with catchy hooks and a driving rhythm section. Tanja's singing was entertaining with her aggressive style fitting well with the songs. Overall the music does have a very 80's metal influence and the cover of W.A.S.P.'s 'Love Machine' was an appropriate addition to their live set. Other song highlights included 'Damn You' and 'Alright Tonight'.

As time stretched between the sets, the crowd chanted Nightwish repeatedly, finally erupting into a roar as the band takes the stage. Once I had a dream, and this is it whispered teasingly through the hall echoing the sentiment in the hearts of the gathered fans. With power and tension, Dark Chest of Wonders broke over the throng in a wave pulling the gathered masses together in a heady undertow of raw-edged guitars and frighteningly, massive orchestral passages, undiminished in their taped delivery. When Tarja floated to the forefront, belting out the opening lyrics, the fans were clearly mesmerized.

As the last notes of the opener vibrated through the hall, the crowd had no chance to catch their breath as "Planet Hell" sprang into life with rising choral shouts heralding pounding drums and strident guitars. Marco's roaring vocals raged through a cacophony of terror and turmoil as the keyboards and orchestra ran a desperate race from guilt and death. By the time the first two tension-packed entries from Once have ended, the hall was flooded with excitement and anxiety. A flurry of crowd-surfing broke out, but was handled easily by bouncers who were surprisingly gentle as they caught every surfer floating over the rail and patiently escorted them back into the crowd.

The frenetic pace eased momentarily as the band slipped back in time to the sweetly, beautiful, yet no less emotional Come Cover Me. Disbelief and joy ripple through the hall as the unmistakable opening measures of Phantom of the Opera burst forth from the stage. Marco and Tarja sparred dramatically back and forth throughout this fan favorite from the play by Andrew Lloyd Webber. The crowd clearly enjoyed this rare treat though no doubt the question lurked in many minds; will she hit those soaring notes in the finale that seem to reach unbelievable heights, for an impossible length of time? Her treatment of the song on the recording of Century Child, though captivating, did not quite meet the expectations of fans who had become familiar with the soundtrack versions from the Broadway play. There has been much speculation over whether it is possible to match such performances during a taxing, live metal show. Doubt was replaced by shocked rapture as she nailed those notes with incredible force and beauty, sending shivers through the delighted crowd.

End of All Hope followed before a trickle of piano notes cascaded into the addictive melody line of Nemo. Simple yet soulful, this single is easily the catchiest selection on the Once album and many in the crowd were inspired to sing along with Tarja's plaintive crooning.
 

Tarja managed to keep up the energy, lapsing immediately into another vocal work-out, with Sleeping Sun. One exquisite vocal measure followed the last dispelling any ideas that Turunen has abandoned her previously, powerful operatic style.

It came as no surprise when Marco asked the singer at the song's conclusion, "Do you want a break?" and she left the stage with a smile. Of course this was all planned and the gregarious bass player announced to the fans, "We're going to give Mrs. Tarja Turunen a rest. We're going to do you a song with just us guys on the stage." He and lead guitarist, Emppu launched into a boisterous rendition of Megadeth's Symphony of Destruction that grabbed the best of this 80's hit and twisted it into a Nightwish cover of new and exciting dimensions.

As soon as the song crashed to a halt, Tarja returned to the stage and the band treated the fans to the stirring yet melancholy Bless the Child then moved into beautiful rendition of Ever Dream.

Once again, the band returned to the new album with the disturbing dirge Higher than Hope written for the late Marc Brueland. The audience is clearly moved by this lament to a life lost too soon. All eyes appeared riveted to the stage as the subdued crowd swayed in time to the music.

Next Nightwish launched into two perennial favorites Wishmaster followed by Over the Hills and Far Away. Somehow they breathed life and energy into these live hits they must have performed hundreds of times. As the Celtic-style refrain died away, the band left the stage for a much needed break. The crowd was not fooled though, and the chanting for their return was controlled and expectant.

The Dolce's and many other fans got their wish when the band retook the stage to the mournful notes and somber voice of the lost child in the pensive ballad Dead Boy's Poem. Towards the end of the song, the gift was suddenly snatched away as the jarring guitar riffs of Slaying The Dreamer devoured the ending of the lost boy's lament turning angst into anger. Infectious headbanging spread from the band on stage to the gathered fans inspiring another rash of crowd-surfing that was easily managed by the eternally patient bouncers.

"Don't you all wish you had an angel?" asked Marco, goading the crowd to an even higher level of energy. The band then slammed through the hypnotic beat and lustful lyrics of Wish I Had an Angel, the final song played from Once and the final song of the night.

The show at the Palladium was a supercharged night that set the tone for this first Nightwish tour of the U.S. The crowd responded enthusiastically at nearly ever twist and turn of the performance, yet still managed to behave admirably, thanks in part to the ever vigilant and always patient bouncers, Mike Pesos, Mike Barbosa, and Marc (Squirrel). When asked about the venue's policy on the treatment of crowd surfers and barrier crashers, Pesos explained that it was the bouncers' own code of ethics that prompted their respectful treatment of their fellow music enthusiasts. Special kudos to those guys for a job accomplished well beyond the call of duty.

Backstage, the Nightwish men kick back with a few drinks while Tarja is spirited away early. As the photographer and I are escorted into the backstage room, we have to carefully step over the prone body of Jukka crashed out on the floor. When he realizes the pesky press have arrived, he valiantly rises while Tuomas and Emppu beat a hasty retreat to the bus. It is now about 7:00 in the morning back in Finland.

Asked how they're feeling, Marco is the first to volunteer. "I'm really drunk," he laughs. Both admit that despite the exhaustion they are pleased with the night's performance.

"Well it went great for the first show of the tour," remarks Jukka. "We think of it as a warm-up, but it went really well, especially since we're jet-lagged."

With 10 more dates to go and the entire country to cross, it seems there will be little opportunity to catch up on their rest.

"Yea, but we'll be sleeping while someone else is driving," laughs Marco again.
"We're traveling in two buses. One is the smoking bus. I'm on that one. Jukka is too, though he doesn't smoke. But he'll be drinking with me."

Tarja, of course rides in the second bus to protect her valuable vocal chords. "But if I had to quit smoking on the bus for her, I would do it." reflects Marco seriously.

When asked what sights in the U.S. they are most interested in seeing, Jukka is quick to respond, "The great metal club's from the 80's in L.A." Like the Whiskey-A-Go-Go? "Yea, definitely, that's it," he admits. For now, they plan on staying in Massachusetts the next day and catching Dream Theater's performance at the Palladium the following night.

When the subject of the cancelled shows is brought up, the jovial mood sobers momentarily. "It really sucked," admitted Marco. "But we had to pick up the visas and sign for them in person on the 18th. We just couldn't make it to the shows."

Both feel certain the dates will be reschedule. "We just don't know when," admits Jukka.

Putting the depressing issues aside, we settle for a little banter and leave the two exhausted travelers to join their band mates on the bus, for a little more libations and, hopefully, a lot more sleep.

Two night's later the tour has landed in Times Square. The New York City streets were teaming with tourists who gazed curiously at the lines of metal fans, once again, lined up early in front of the venue. This show was sold out and anxious fans searched furtively for spare tickets. The doors opened at 7:00 and the crowd made a frantic dash toward the stairs leading to the lower hall. The exodus was halted instantly by the need to check-in bags; EVERY bag. New York City clubs take no chances and have little sympathy for pleas and excuses. Studded bracelets and belts and anything deemed 'a weapon' must be removed. Bouncers routinely pat down patrons for weapons or any other contraband. Welcome, to New York City, post 9/11.

Downstairs, the floor filled in quickly, while thirstier fans lined up at the 40-foot bar. Once again, it is evident that Nightwish had drawn a crowd spanning generations as well as genres. Nick Franco brought his mom, Phyllis to the show as a special treat. "This was the best gift he could have given me," said Phyllis. "This was the best night of my life except for the birth of him and his brother."

Lullacry entered on schedule and the venue was already packed. Once again, they put in a solid performance though the sound did suffer a bit and there appeared to be some vocal microphone issues. Those are the breaks when you're in the warm-up slot.

As the time drew near for the headliner, the club's population swelled to even greater numbers and the flimsy-looking, metal barriers in front of the stage began swaying with the press of the crowd.

When Nightwish took the stage, the roar from the crowd made it impossible to hear the opening words of Dark Chest of Wonders and as the band launched into the stimulating guitar riffs and drum rhythms, the movement of the barriers increased ominously. Tarja glided gracefully onto the stage and the masses surged forward. Casting wary eyes backwards, press photographers frantically snapped off as many shots as they could. The imposing, muscular bouncers sat on the barriers and braced their feet on the stage, but to no avail. Midway through Planet Hell, the barriers gave way. In the crush, legs were caught in the metal bars and fans found themselves pinned mercilessly to the stage with people literally standing on the backs of their legs.


Nightwish carried on like all was well though occasionally worried glances could be seen passing from one to another. Miraculously, no one appeared to be hurt and most of the metal stanchions were pulled out. Periodically, fans had to be pulled onto the stage as well and all graciously exited quickly from the narrow space.

When asked later about the collapsed barriers and the intrusion of the fans, Tuomas embraced the situation with stoicism and some delight. "It was a little bit scary but, you know, there was like this big security man standing in front of us," he explained. "Actually we were more worried that they would stop the show or something, but I'm just glad they let it go and I don't think anyone got hurt or anything. To be honest I felt kind of like a (perverse) satisfaction of the whole thing because it just showed that people were so passionate. It was kind of cool to have this going on with this audience."

And the fans being pulled on stage? Was it a problem?
"I don't care about that kind of stuff at all," He explained. "It doesn't matter. Do what you have to do."
 
The set list mirrored that of the Massachusetts show and once again, Tarja hit the final soaring notes in Phantom of the Opera with power and conviction that grabbed and held the audience in an awe-inspiring grip. A special highlight of the evening was when Jens Johansson of Stratovarious joined the guys on stage for the cover of Megadeth's "Symphony Of Destruction".

The New York crowd contained a large international presence and smatterings of French, German, Russian and other foreign languages could be heard before the start of the show. This larger, predominantly, metal-oriented audience created an atmosphere of energy that consumed the entire venue and clearly effected the performers. As the band members reached out to touch the crowd's outstretched hands following the final song there was an intense bonding that smashed any barriers of restraint normally attributed to the New York City psyche. The little band from Finland just made inroads in international fellowship that years of U.S. politicians had systematically demolished.

Before the last gig of the tour in Seattle, Tuomas reflected on the experience in New York City. "That was probably the second to the best show on the tour. It was really awesome and I was kind of proud that the Road Runner (U.S. record label) people just happened to be there," he said, laughing. "I really liked the show and having Jens Johannsen play one song, that was also like an honor for us so I really remember that show and the Anaheim show, they were the best ones so far."

As each show of the tour was played out across the U. S., excited fans responded with enthusiasm and adoration. After the show at the House of Blues in Cleveland, Ohio, Matthew Bankes from Pennsylvania expressed what it was like having a dream come true. "Seeing them live, in front of you, for the first time was a dream I had played out in my head a million times," said Bankes. "I was hoping that the real thing would somehow measure up to the dream. The real thing surpassed it. Even though they are unknowns here and could have gave half-hearted performances, they were complete professionals and performed with a passion that was so real you could taste it. Nightwish went on stage and gave their hearts and souls to the fans in attendance at the Cleveland show and I am sure everyone was glad to take that home with them. I know I was."

Arizona resident, Katara Fox described a similar experience at the show in Phoenix.

"I had been to the Cajun House numerous times before, but it had never been like this."said Fox. "The Once backdrop was hanging behind the stage and the crowd was cheering "Ole, ole, ole, Night-wish! Night-wish!" My dreams had finally come true. Nightwish had come to America and graced my town with their prescence. And, regardless if the show didn't sell out, those who were their were true fans who had been waiting for this show with bated breath. And they were not let down. With phenomenal stage prescence, personality, and energy, as well as a set list that included old favorites such as 'Come Cover Me' and 'Over the Hills and Far Away', and brand new tracks like 'Nemo' and 'Wish I Had An Angel', everyone in the audience was singing along with all of their Oceansouls."

Tour Wrap-up with Tuomas

So as the tour wrapped up in Seattle, it was time to see if Nightwish had indeed made their mark in the U.S. Tuomas was asked about the success of the tour and the reaction of the U.S. audiences.

"I'm kind of confused personally, (laughs) but in a very positive way because we never expected anything like this from the fans," he said. "I mean the reaction from the fans is close to what it would be in South America. They"re really passionate, really wild over the music and we really never expected anything like this. I knew the sales were going pretty well. They even know the songs from the new album even though it's not released yet. I guess that they have some imports or something. I mean that's the biggest surprise; the fans, they're so nice, so passionate. The tour altogether has been so much fun because there are new places we've never been in so everything's new and since we are pretty much nobody here there's not like a similar pressure that would be when we would perform for example in Finland or Germany. So it's been quite a relaxing tour actually and a lot of fun."

Traveling all the way across the country by the bus could be construed by some as a grueling experience, but Tuomas sees it differently.

"Yea, I forgot to mention why this tour was so much fun. That's because of the bus," he said. "I truly hate airports and all the hassle with bureaucracy and all those things. You know you can go to the bus after the show have a few drinks go to sleep and wake up the next morning at the next venue. I love this kind of vagabond life. I love buses; traveling in buses."

Perhaps this 'vagabond life' lends itself to a more introspective view of a country then the short expedient travel by air. Tuomas clearly found much to see.

"I love the barren beauty of the desert in Arizona, Death Valley kind of things and the Rocky Mountains in Colorado," he explained. "So just sitting on the bus and looking out the window and all that there's a certain amount of romance in that stuff."

A Disney fan and collector, Tuomas once again got a chance to visit Disneyland during the band's stay in California.

"I walked around for 13 hours," he said. "It was open from 9 a.m. 'til 10 p.m. so I just walked around the whole time and had the time of my life and spent too much money on all kinds of shit. I bought just some stupid stuff like statues, characters, things that I love to collect."

It seems none of the other members of Nightwish share Tuomas' passion for Disney.
"I was the only one to stay there," he said. "The rest of the guys went to little clubs in L.A. (laughing). Yea, you know the whole rock and roll thing, but I chose to hang with Donald and Goofy. (more laughter) I just love the overall atmosphere in there. I know that it's really commercial and all that, but I still love it being so neat, so free and everybody seems so polite. I love the atmosphere and, of course, I am a Disney fan. Hell, I'm a Disney freak, You can call me that if you want. I've been since I was three-years-old so that's a really special thing for me there. I never get tired of that place."

With a tour that spans many months and many countries, it has to be difficult to keep up the energy and keep the music fresh. Tuomas explains how the band deals with this issue.

"This will sound corny, but everybody in this band including the crew really loves doing this, what we are doing, and of course we have bad days, and we have good days, but it's still a thing we love to do and a feeling really comes from the crowd. It's an interaction between the crowd, so if they're into it, you immediately get into it even though how tired and sick you are.

But how does the band manage to have so much energy during those first critical shows when they must be seriously jet-lagged?

"Yea it's work then," Tuomas admits. "Because you can feel really, really tired like 10 minutes before the show, you know that throwing up and being sick and then you get on the stage you see the audience, you start playing, everything works, you have the time of your life for and hour and a half and that after the show, you are cured. It really happens. (After the show) I usually always feel better. It's a healing power the whole of the music and the crowd interaction."

With so many gigs planned for the tour right up until the end of the year will any new songs be added to the set list?
"Yea we are, you know, just to keep the whole thing interesting for yourselves you will add some new songs to the set," said Tuomas. "So when we get back home we are going to take like a weeks break and after that go to rehearsal before the Finnish tour and maybe train like two or three more songs to the set list. We're definitely going to do Ghost Love Score."

REALLY?

"Yea, we're going to try, even though I don't know how we'll do it. Everybody's asking us, you have to do it," he explained. "It really has become the fans' favorite of the album, so at least we're going to give it a try."

A burning question in many fans" minds is if Nightwish will ever play this monumental epic with a real live orchestra.
"I think it's going to be more than a possibility," he remarked. "There's no concrete plans just yet, but we're hoping to finish this tour off with maybe like three or four shows with an orchestra and choir and of course John Two-Hawks and playing the whole album, Once from beginning to the end and then maybe like 5 or 6 old songs and film the whole thing and come out with the live DVD. I'm sure that at some point this will definitely happen."

Any idea at all when this might take place?
"Well, at the moment we're talking about the end of next year," Tuomas said. "Maybe like October or November of 2005. Definitely not before that. I can't tell you anything else because I don't know yet. I'm pretty sure it's going to happen before the end of 2005. Definitely in Europe and in the same place (all of the shows) we're not going to do a tour with them. That would cost too much money and be too much hassle. So it would be once with the same orchestra like three nights in a row, something like this. Maybe like Germany, England, you know, London, Berlin something like this. I really don't know yet."

As far as the cancelled dates on this tour, it seems there are plans to reschedule the Canadian dates, but what about Philadelphia?
"Definitely, but it will not happen this year," he admitted. "There are some plans to do the whole thing again maybe in like May, um.. I'm sorry, March or April, to do a tour. And there's actually a pretty good chance that we will do it since the record has been out a few months so we'll come here again. And the Canadian shows also will be done I think before Christmas. We hope to play Ghost Love Score there."

No doubt the possibility of seeing Ghost Love Score live will ignite another blaze of burning anticipation in the already spreading American fan base. It is quite possible the next North American tour will surpass the success of this first endeavor. Clearly Nightwish has made their mark.




PHOTOS

NW in Massachusetts  ~  NW in New York  ~  Fans in NYC  ~  Lullacry  ~  NW in Toronto


August 20, 2004 - (Mass Palladium - Worcester, MA)


Reviews & Interviews

Once Review  ~  Release Party Review  ~  John Two-Hawks + Interview  ~  Tuomas Seattle Interview

Once Review
Read

Release Party Review
Read

John Two-Hawks

The head-banging world of metal got an unexpected infusion of spiritual medicine when the Finnish symphonic metal band, Nightwish teamed up with Lakota Indian, John Two-Hawks on the band's latest release, Once.


Nightwish's composer and keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen discovered the musician while searching the internet for a native American flute player to accompany the song, "Creek Mary's Blood", a ballad lamenting the tragedy of the American Indians' lost way of life. With his hypnotic chanting in the Lakota language, John Two-Hawks exposed the raw nerve of pain felt by his people while simultaneously soothing the ache through the hauntingly beautiful cry of his cedar flute.

A semi-professional performer for fifteen years, Two-Hawks periodically leaves the seclusion of his home in the Ozark mountains of Arkansas to perform concerts and speak on the history and culture of his people.


"Most of what I do is concerts, but I do get occasions to do education programs at universities and conferences for corporations," said Two-Hawks. "The purpose I have when I do get a chance to do education on the culture is to share with people the true culture and history of American Indians. So often it's misunderstood, misinterpreted, misrepresented, and even stereotyped. My purpose is to dispel the stereotypes, to erase the misconceptions and to impart correct and accurate, truthful and honest history and culture so people really have and authentic understanding of who, what and why we are as American Indian people. I think that's really important because without American Indian people, without the indigenous first nation people there is no United States. There is no American people.

An accomplished musician on more than 20 instruments, it is Two-Hawks' mastery of the native American cedar flute that has earned him acclaim world-wide. "There are instruments in other parts of the world that are similar in nature and similar in design," said Two-Hawks. "But the American Indian cedar flute really is in a class by itself when it comes to that sound that it has. It's different from the rest."


The flute clearly is the dominate element in Two-Hawks work, though he is also skilled keyboardist, percussionist and master of many stringed instruments. He constantly searches for new instruments and sounds to incorporate into his music.


"Every time I'm on tour in different countries I always endeavor to pick up the traditional instrument of that particular people," said Two-Hawks "While I was in Finland, I asked (Nightwish's manager) Ewo (Rytkonen), "What is the traditional instrument of the people of Finland?" and he explained to me that it was called the kantele. So I said "Well, Ewo take me to a store. I must buy one." "


So Ewo obliged the eclectic musician and took him to a music store where Two-Hawks was introduced to the traditional stringed instrument that has been played by the Finnish people as far back as prehistoric time. "It was really neat,"
remembered Two-Hawks. "Because on the way out of the store Ewo said, "I have taken many people to look at the kantele. You are the first to buy one." I was really really honored by that."

The song from Nightwish's latest album, Once, opens with Two-Hawks singing a powerful testimony to his ancestors in his native language. "No one has ever asked me what I'm saying in the beginning. It is "All of my relations are all still here" I did that on purpose."


In contrast, the band's female vocalist, Tarja Turunen enters the song with the mournful declaration, "Soon I will be here no more."


"I wanted to lend a balance to that," said Two-Hawks. "For American Indian people, we understand that all of our ancestors are still with us. What Tuomas is saying when he wrote that, was that all of the evils that have happened to American Indian people (are) very true. But I will be here and so that is very real, very powerful. So both expressions are right and are important to understand and so it is beautiful that in English it is saying one thing but in Lakota it's saying another. So underneath, sort of the undercurrent is even though I am not here for you to see, I am still here."


The powerful resonance of Two-Hawks voice is capable of stirring emotion without the need to understand the words. "My voice was really my first instrument," said Two-Hawks. "I've been a singer for a very long time. That's one of the things I love to do as much as play the flute. I try to incorporate all of that musical instrumentation in with the American Indian influence but I do it in a way that I use it as background. The flute is to me where it's at. The power of my music comes from the flute."


The Nightwish ballad ends with a poem honoring the heritage of the American Indian which Two-Hawks chants in the Lakota language. The native American was impressed with the accuracy in which Tuomas expressed his peoples heritage in this final testimony.


"I think what he summed up really, in that poem was a spiritual truth. It is our understanding of the whole circle, the whole perspective. We, in this society now a days, we look at things really close and when we do, we lose our perspective," said Two Hawks. "But American Indian people, having been on the continent as long as we have, we have a tendency to look at things much further back, to see the whole picture. Tuomas with his poem kind of zeroed in on this and he captured with words the thoughts and the sense of feeling that American Indian people have about North America, about what happened to us here, but not only that, but about what is to come and what we see in the future, how we see this circle will come back around. Those that are of the earth, shall return to the earth and Tuomas kind of called that out in that poem. It's like he transformed himself into an American Indian just for a moment in time. Maybe in someway he sort of stepped into our moccasins and really was seeing our world through our eyes when he wrote that. That's what I think. I think he wept, I think he probably cried in a quiet, private way. Maybe he clenched his teeth and his fist and felt emotion.


During the taping of  "Creek Mary?s Blood", Two-Hawks developed a special bond with the Finnish keyboardist. "He and I are musical soul mates," the Indian declared. This sense of connection the two musicians felt was so strong, Two-Hawks felt compelled to bestow on Tuomas an Indian name. Though he did not come up with the name, Two Hawks felt the honor was appropriate. "I can't take credit for the name coming, because the name really came from my wife (Peggy)," he admitted. "My wife had dreams when she was in Finland and they were all about Tuomas and they all had to do with certain things. So a name came to her."


"I've gotta be honest with you, this is something that happened this one time only," he continued. "We've never done an naming ceremony ever. So we did a small private ceremony with Tuomas and that's how he received the name. As he's probably said or implied, it is sort of personal and private."


Indeed, Tuomas is reluctant to discuss what the name means to him, but he did reveal his feelings about the ceremony and the name itself. "I truly felt something when they did that ritual and I was so honored," he said. "I've always been so that I'd never will get a tattoo but this is something that I would think about. Maybe on the arm or something. And there are already so many fans that are calling me "Shadow Wolf" instead of Tuomas," he added with a laugh.


"What I really loved about Nightwish's music is that they were passionate," said Two-Hawks. "When I read the lyrics, which I understand Tuomas writes, (I thought), "Here's a guy writing with passion!" The music is also incredibly ingenious and passionate. You can tell just by listening to the music that it says something; it means something. I like when the listener has to think and Tuomas make you think with his writing. He writes in a way that makes you have to dig a little bit. The lyrics in the song "Creek Mary's Blood"; oh, they mean something. What he wrote really comes from his heart."


John Two-Hawks has released seven cd's including a collaboration with Celtic musician, Manach on "Traditions" and a collection of Christmas music in Native American style entitled "Peace on Earth". His cd's "Heal" and "Good Medicine" have been described as "music that heals. It finds its way into those secret places and leaves its affirming balm on the soul."

Recently he contributed a song "Wild Eagle" on a DVD with the same name in which he plays the kantele.


To experience the magic and healing power of the music of John Two-Hawks, visit his website at: http://www.johntwohawks.com/


John Two-Hawks interview

August 25, BeyondEarCandy.com reporter Ann Marie Reilly had the opportunity to interview John Two-Hawks, the Lakota Indian featured on the Nightwish song, "Creek Mary's Blood". 


BEC: When I spoke to Tuomas in Kitee for the release party he said he found you over the internet, so this is how you came to meet him?


JTH: Yea, he did actually, I guess he was over in Finland and he was looking for a top-level Indian flute player. Through him, and King Foo Entertainment, one or the other or both, they contacted me.


Well, I'll tell you what, I think NW has some of the best music I've hear in a long long time. It's just incredible. This is not because my music is part of the Once cd. Just from an honest standpoint, really. I just can't get enough of it, I play it all the time.(laughs)


BEC: How many of their cd's do you have?


JTH: I have two, Century Child and Once. The Once cd came as part of the arrangement they made with me to perform with them that's how I got those, the Century Child cd came because they wanted to show me what they were doing before the contract with me to join them on this new one so in a way they were both gifts.


BEC: What was your reaction when you were first heard they were interested in working with you?


JTH: Well the first thing is, let's check these guys out and see what they're about. What their music is, what their writing is, all of that. So after we kind of looked into that and discovered their music a little bit and looked through it and read their lyrics then I was pumped. Yea, I was excited. First of all I'm very musically eclectic. I've been a performer in lots of musical genres in the past but the other thing that really excited me was that I have interest in joining the music that I create which is kind of enchanting, very healing, very meditational if you will, really kind of music for the spirit.
 

The instrument that I'm known for through out the world is the cedar flute.


BEC: Is that specifically a North American Indian instrument?


JTH: Yes it is, there are instruments in other parts of the world that are similar in nature and similar in design, but the American Indian cedar flute really is in a class by itself when it comes to that sound that it has; it's different from the rest. I'm kind of a, I guess you'd say, a musical pioneer of some sort in that I try to endeavor to include other types of musical influences in the traditional American Indian music in the music that I create. So when Nightwish called and said that they wanted to do this and we heard the music and read the lyrics, I was excited because I thought this is great and fresh and a great opportunity to express the joining of very different musical genres and kind of wrap them together in a braid. I think the end result is absolutely, Phew!, power house, incredible and I've gotten a lot of responses from people and fans all over Europe; my fans and Nightwish's fans all over Europe sent e-mail and posts on the message boards just raving about the song "Creek Mary's Blood" so heh heh, people are liking it.


BEC: I have to say it's my favorite song on the album.


JTH: Really? That's great!


BEC: Were you surprised that someone in Finland was interested in doing a tribute to North American Indians?


JTH: Yea quite honestly I was surprised by that. If someone would have said make a prediction of where this kind of contact would come from, I gotta be honest, I probably wouldn't have thought of Finland, no offense to the Finnish people that I've become friends with. Really I know that American Indian music, there's a huge interest in it over in Germany, Japan and several other places over there in Europe, but Finland probably wouldn't have crossed my mind.

The other thing about it that was really cool was that I had a really good friend when I was in school who was a Finnish exchange student. She was a real good friend of mine so I had learned about Finland many many years ago and even considered going over there as an exchange student so it was really kind of interesting the contact came from them.


BEC: Had you ever been to Finland before?


JTH: Not until this, no I hadn't been there. I'd been in various parts of Europe performing in concerts but Finland had not been on the list until then.


BEC: What was your impressions?


JTH: I gotta tell ya, I thought it was amazing. I tell you one thing, you gotta put this name in; Ewo. We love Ewo (Rytkonen) and we love Olga too, Olga's Ewo's finance. Ewo and Olga took us on a little walking trip of the islands right down the southern tip of Finland there off of Helsinki. We walked at night and the snow was on the ground and the moon was out and it was like the land of enchantment. It was incredible. If there would have been a warm room with windows looking out on those islands I could have composed the most incredible music that night because it was absolutely inspirational, enchanting, magical.

The other thing about Finland that I thought was really beautiful was the people. I really enjoyed the people. Well, they're kind of like American Indian people in a way. They think before they speak. They're a little bit reserved like we are. They're quiet and they're thoughtful and they think about things and they're intellectual. They're beautiful people. I just had a wonderful time and everybody that we met and chatted with and got to eat with we found them to be very friendly, friendly people.


BEC: What was your impression of the final version of CMB when you heard it?


JTH: Oh geez, I thought it was absolutely incredible. When I was in the studio I asked him if he could run a quick studio cut for me so I could take it home to show the people here. What they came up with for the final product, there's only a sliver difference in a couple of spots. And what they did as far as the finished product I liked. I thought it was incredibly tasteful and very well thought out. Their ideas were like mine. I have a hunch Tuomas had a hand in it. He and I are musical soul mates. We think along the same lines.


BEC: When I talked to him in Kitee I asked him if he was going to have a chance to see you and he said he really hoped so. Were you able to work out something where you could meet up?


JTH: Well, we're going to see here, I know that they're suppose to be performing in Denver sometime this weekend. I am right now on tour in Sante Fe. I'll be heading through Denver and on my way to a concert in Wyoming. From what I know, I believe I will be performing a concert in Wyoming the same night that Nightwish will be performing a concert in Denver. So we are probably going to drive right past each other. We're going to try they have our contact info and maybe we'll make a connection here and maybe we'll be able to do a lunch or something. You know it's funny we were there in Finland only a week or so and we made what I consider to be life long friends. So it would be great to see them.


BEC: He told me that you gave him an Indian name. I'm not going to ask specifically about that, because he felt it was kind of personal, but I'm curious, how does the inspiration for anyone's name come to you?


JTH: Well, I tell you what , I can't take credit for the name coming, because the name really came from my wife (Peggy). And I was just there to, we don't do this, I've gotta be honest with you, this is something that happened this one time only. We've never done an naming ceremony ever. My wife had dreams when she was in Finland and they were all about Tuomas and they all had to do with certain things. So a name came to her. So we did the ceremony, a small private ceremony with Tuomas and that's how he received the name. As he's probably said or implied it is sort of personal and private. It was beautiful, it really was.


BEC:Your website says you are an, (and I'll probably pronounce this wrong), Oglala Lakota man, what does that mean exactly?


JTH: By the way, you said that perfectly. Oglala Lakota that's the name of my American Indian nation and the tribe or band or clan, I like to use the word clan. Within the Lakota there's seven clans and one of them is the Oglala. You probably have heard us called Sioux but that's kind of a misnomer, it was given to us by our enemies. We traditionally call ourselves Lakota or Dakota or Nakota depending on the group of people you come from. Prairie Dwelling people, that's where the word Teton comes from. (Tetonwan) means to live on a prairie. So the Lakota people are prairie people.

BEC : When you speak on North American Indian culture, what is your inspiration? Are you trying to educate people?


JTH: Most of what I do, I'll be quite honest with you Ann Marie, is concerts but I do get occasions to do education programs if you will, at universities and I do conferences for corporations, the list is endless, including the Food and Drug Administration. A lot of stuff. The journey is wonderful. The purpose I have for doing what I do when I do get a chance to do education on the culture really I thinks its to share with people the TRUE culture and history of American Indians. So often its misunderstood, misinterpreted, misrepresented, and even stereotyped. My purpose when I go into a theater or where ever it is I may do an educational program is to dispel the stereotypes; to erase the misconceptions and to impart correct and accurate, truthful and honest history and culture so people REALLY have and authentic understanding of who what and why we are as American Indian people. You know I think that's really important because without American Indian people, without the indigenous first nation people there is no United States. There is no American people. Everything that we've given, it just expands. The language, the art, that's in the land itself. You can take it from the field all the way to the President of the United States. That's why I share the message of what we've given as far as contributions.

BEC: I understand you play over 20 instruments. What are some of the other instruments do you play?

JTH: The cedar flute is obviously the one I'm known for. Oh geez, let me throw some at you. I play all the different versions of guitar you can think of. I play the classical and folk guitar I play the 4, 6 and 12 string version of those. I play all kinds of stringed instruments including mandolin. I got an instrument while I was in Finland. Every time I'm on tour in different countries I always endeavor to pick up the traditional instrument of that particular people. And while I was in Finland, I asked Ewo, "What is the traditional instrument of the people of Finland?" and he explained to me that it was called the kantele. It's a stringed instrument and so I said "Well, Ewo take me to a store. I must buy one." So, he took me and I bought a kantele. It was really neat because on the way out of the store Ewo said, "I have taken many people to look at the kantele. You are the first to buy one." I was really really honored by that. The kantele I have just used actually on a song that I composed for the new dvd that I had out it's called "Wild Eagle." The dvd just came out. It's the newest product and the makers of the dvd series, it's called Cedar Lake Nature series, they asked me to compose a song specifically for this dvd so I did. I composed a song called "Wild Eagle" and I used the kantele.

Also I play piano, synthesizers and I know how to play several different kinds of horn but I don't use those in my music. I also play lots of percussion instruments. I am a percussionist. All the percussion I use is the traditional American Indian percussion, though I've also recently incorporated some African percussion. And I'm also a singer. My voice was really my first instrument. I've been a singer for a very long time. That's one of the things I love to do as much as play the flute. I try to incorporate all of that musical instrumentation in with the American Indian influence but I do it in a way that I use it as background. The flute is to me where it's at. The power of my music comes from the flute. And I'm giving the accents just fills it in and just making it that much more powerful.

BEC: What other countries have you played in?

JTH: Well, let's see here, one particular place that sticks out in my mind is England. That was a real special, special concert tour. I had some really wonderful experiences there. And it's interesting too, in America when you do a concert and the concert starts at 8:00, it usually doesn't start until a quarter after, because you always have stragglers, in England if the concert starts at 8:00, people are there at 10 minutes to 8:00 and nobody else shows up. Everybody's there at 8:00 sitting in their seat waiting for the show to start. That was my experience over there. It was interesting.

BEC: How long have you been performing?

JTH: I've been performing professionally, or semi-professionally for 15 years. I've been performing on the cedar flute for about 10 years.

BEC: What other types of music are you interested in?

JTH: As I said before, I'm kind of musically eclectic. I describe myself as a musical extremists and a bit of a musical perfectionist. I guess I'm sort of a mad scientist. When I'm composing I like things to be a certain way and when I'm listening I like things to be a certain way. I like music that means something, so when a song or piece of music is passionate that what's means something to me. I enjoy listening to songs by Simon and Garfunkle that were written in the 60's. Bob Dylan, the song that he wrote about war, how many years must one man have before he learns to cry, those things mean something. He's saying that with passion. And that song, because he sang with passion, means something to me. Songs that are kind of like "bubble gummy" I can't get into too much. I need something to have a point. Because he sings with passion that's why it means something to me.

As much as I like Simon and Garfunkle and Bob Dylan and Jim Croce and those kinds of songs, I also like Metallica and Ozzy Osbourne. I'm a huge Ozzy fanatic. I love his music and I just love the depth of his writing. He's incredible. I appreciate the stuff by Eminem. Whether you agree with him or not, he means what he's saying and he's passionate. And besides being passionate, he's a lyrical genius. He can put together lyrics like nobody I've ever seen. I really enjoy everything from metal to thrash metal to hip hop, some rap, to folk music and even classical music. And that was what I really loved about Nightwish's music is that they were passionate. When I read the lyrics, which I understand Tuomas writes, when I read those lyrics, Phew! here's a guy writing from the heart. Here's a guy writing with passion! The music is also incredibly ingenious and passionate. You can tell just by listening to the music that it says something; it means something. I like when the listener has to think. And Tuomas make you think with his writing. He writes in a way that makes you have to dig a little bit. The lyrics in the song Creek Mary's Blood, oh they mean something. What he wrote really comes from his heart.

BEC: What did you think of the poem at the end of the song that you sing in your native language?

JTH: I think what he summed up really, in that poem was a spiritual truth. What it is, is our understanding of the whole circle, the whole perspective. We, in this society now a days, we look at things really close and when we do, we lose our perspective. But American Indian people, having been on the continent as long as we have, we have a tendency to look at things much further back, to see the whole picture. Tuomas with his poem kind of zeroed in on this and he captured with words the thoughts and the sense of feeling that American Indian people have about North America, about what happened to us here, but not only that, but about what is to come and what we see in the future, how we see this circle will come back around. Those that are of the earth, shall return to the earth and Tuomas kind of called that out in that poem. It's like he transformed himself into an American Indian just for a moment in time. Maybe in someway he sort of stepped into our moccasin and really was seeing our world through our eyes when he wrote that. That's what I think I think he wept, I think he probably cried in a quiet, private way. Maybe he clenched his teeth and his fist and felt emotion.

You know, no one has ever asked me what I'm saying in the beginning of the song, (CMB). It is "All of my relations are all still here" I did that on purpose. Then Tarja sings the words, "Soon I will be here no more." I wanted to lend a balance to that. For American Indian people, we understand that all of our ancestors are still with us. What Tuomas is saying when he wrote that, was that all of the evils that have happned to American Indian people (are) very true. But I will be here and so that is very real, very powerful. So both expressions are right and are important to understand and so it is beautiful that in English it is saying one thing but in Lakota it's saying another. So underneath, sort of the undercurrent is even though I am not here for you to see, I am still here."

We gifted Tuomas an American Indian cedar flute.  I think he paid for it (laughing) But he really wanted one. He was very, very explicit about that when they were arranging for me to come over there. He wanted an Indian flute, so we had our maker make him one. I think he's (the maker) on one of the websites. NativeCircle.com, his flutes are on there. So he made him a beautiful, beautiful flute and we have some private pictures in the private collection of Tuomas receiving the flute from me and me doing kind of a blessing. He can play it to, that guy! He's pretty good at it. I wrote him and said, "So are you going to challenge me pretty soon?" and he wrote me back and said, "I've been playing it but I know I'm no where good enough" (and these are his words), "to challenge the great champion," he said, (laughs). It's a perfect fit for him too because he such a deeply introspective kind of a guy as I am. We get along in that way."


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