Nightmare Le Cardinal India Fall Riitala Index Nightmare

Nightmare was the beginning of my musical career what comes to playing in bands. We started as total, absolute rookies and graduated as... well, not really seasoned veterans but at least we had learned something.

Late in my seventh school year in 1981, I was approached by a classmate, Pasi, who I had become friends with. He knew I had been playing organ for some years. He and a few other guys from his football team had this skeleton of a band and wanted to find out if I was interested in joining. Why not. So we rehearsed the summer and autumn. For a while in the beginning, we were called The Babbles (whatever that means?) but quite soon it became obvious that a new name was due. Nightmare was the final result of some brainstorming and a voting, quite apparently representing a kind of teen humor about how good our music could possibly be...

Finally, in mid-December we did a spectacular first performance at a school party. Well, a performance anyway whether worth the name, I can't tell, you would have to ask the listeners... if any survive. An indication of future inclinations, we managed to fit a whopping three own compositions to our ten-song set. Not bad for a first gig. 

Nightmare Mk I

  • Harri Hiltunen lead guitar
  • Pasi Läpinen lead vocals, rhythm guitar
  • Jari Riitala keys, vocals
  • Petteri Sinervo bass
  • Jari Ventelä drums


However, it had become obvious that the drummer and the bass player were not as keen on the music business as the rest of the crew, so we fantasized an improved version of the band. By end of January that materialized in the first rehearsal with me trading the keys for bass (figuratively that is in real life the organ used wasn't mine), Pasi taking over the drums, and another classmate Pete joining in on the second guitar. At first we did not have any keyboards but after some three months Rolf joined to cover that base (you can probably guess which class he was in...).

Writing our own music really took wings in Mk II and most subsequent gigs featured only one or two covers. Almost everybody was writing but in the end of the day HiltunenLäpinen was closest to LennonMcCartney in this band. Probably the third most active writer was me, actively taking part in collaborations, but I also got a few of my solo-written numbers through the critique into the set.

Nightmare Mk II

  • Harri Hiltunen lead guitar
  • Pasi Läpinen lead vocals, drums
  • Jari Riitala bass, vocals
  • Petri Suominen rhythm guitar
  • Rolf Lehtonen keys, vocals (late arrival)


Months went by bringing rehearsals and a few gigs. By himself Rolf had taken up playing guitar as well, and in the summer Pete was the next one to be replaced, never really filling the place we had desired and as far as I can see, the dissatisfaction was mutual. Almost at the same time Asko, one more schoolmate different class this time – joined the ranks, not as a musician but as a manager :) 
Now we finally had the first really motivated group of people carrying the same torch.

Nightmare Mk III

  • Harri Hiltunen lead guitar
  • Rolf Lehtonen rhythm guitar, vocals
  • Pasi Läpinen lead vocals, drums
  • Jari Riitala bass, vocals
  • Asko Haahtela – management :)


Asko proved to be quite good in his managerial tasks and we got quite a few gigs and even some minor monetary compensation. Rolf's dad's contacts also proved invaluable: we got to make two visits in a local commercial (i.e. "real") studio to record a few of our songs and also received some great tutoring from a then young, aspiring guitarist/studio engineer who later rose to fame in Bogart Co., one of Finland's best ever selling disco acts. And all this for free!

So we continued the fall, winter and spring, and by practicing almost twice a week we actually got reasonably good maybe not so in the absolute scale but the transformation from the beginning was quite huge anyway. 

In the summer of 1983, I was the next one to go. True to earlier mentality, it was another 'you're out'. In hindsight that was certainly a good thing, it really opened up my musical horizons. At the time, however, it did mess me up a bit. Subsequent band divorces have been much less painful but maybe it was just because of this being the first one.

The replacement was also found within own troops – Asko took up bass and singing, having never done either before. The guys went on a few years, later changing their name first to Fox Chase and then to Sixskin. After Rolf dropped out, to go with his own band, Pasi came back to the front with guitar and, once again, another rookie Tom Virtanen was taken in on drums. After finally folding the band, Tom and Harri carried on to Lipattomat but that is already another story.


  • For Our Audience (1982, unofficial)

    Let's Do Something Special
    It's A Miracle
    No Place
    Phlegmatic Blues
    Frozen Heart
    Don't Hang On Me
    What Is Gonna Happen
    I Tell You Straight
    For Our Audience
    Why Don't You See Me


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Last modified: 2010-04-19