22-Pistepirkko consists of brothers Asko and PK Keränen and childhood friend Espe Haverinen. Founded around 1980 in the small village of Utarjärvi, Northern Finland, the band has been around for over 30 years. Starting off as a Ramones-Coverband, soon they were looking out for something of their own. They went through various phases of influences, beside the punk rock there's been the fragile sides of Velvet Underground shining through on their finish sung debut, for which they got awarded as best new Ffinnish band, to the shock of many musician collegues. They’ve been just too far out from the rest.
With the following album they’ve switched to english vocals only and have started the foundation of their signature sound. “Kings Of Hong Kong” was a speedy garage rock’n’roll album, mixing Bo Diddley beat, with Shangri-La Pop and cinematic sound effects.
The next album “Bare Bone Nest” in 1989 integrated the blues into their sound. It was the first which got some good attention outside of Finland. The song “Frankenstein” even turned into some Underground-Club-Hit, UK music press started to investigate about them and the band have played first tours outside of Finland.
Attention and success was topped by the bigger production of “Big Lupu”, which went straight up to the Finnish sales charts, also featuring the single “Birdy”, still one of their classic Pop-Songs. The band played even more outside of their homecountry, especially well received in France, Germany and Benelux and had good spots at big Festivals, like Roskilde a.o..
Various turmoils in management and record label set up accompanied their following years. Though the band kept together, active and made some remarkably beautiful albums, by digging deeper into the pleasures of using electronic devices for their music. They also got fascinated by hiphop or west-african guitar music, without missing their initial interest in Garage, Blues, Pop, Rock. So somehow they designed an eclectic pop sound of their own, before acts like Beck got famous with such.
Studio albums of this period were “Rumble City Lala Land” (’94, feat. “Just A Little Bit More”, a late underground hit in the USA, after appearing on a Snowboard DVD), “Eleven” and the related “Downhill City” soundtrack. And finally, their peak in electronic produced 22pp Pop, “Rally Of Love” (2001), kind of their Europopdream, produced with the help of some Swedish specialists. Extensive touring from this period was documented by danish filmdirector Andreas Christiansen, and compiled later to a compelling inside view about the trio (docu on youtube).
The experiences with Rally of Love also made them rethink their approach and they’ve decided to go back to a more reduced, plain and rocking trio playing. Without skipping their prior achievements during their trip through the pop music universe, the songwriting got a slight new twist towards early recordings in american folk. When they had their regular coffee meetings they used to listen a lot to Alan Lomax’ grand “Anthology of American Folk Music” in those days. It was also during those coffee (strong, black, sweet, good) meetings that they’ve simplified their release set-up, going strictly independent. Their own Bone Voyage label was founded, together with their new manager, with whom they’ve been working since their Eleven release.
In 2005 they have released their 9th album “Drops & Kicks”, followed by the release of afore mentioned documentary DVD “Sleep Good - Rock Well” and an album of their side project The Others aka 22pp, entitled “Monochromeset”. The next release has been in 2008, album entitled “(Well You Know) Stuff Is Like We Yeah”, recorded in a couple of days only at the own Altai Studio, Helsinki, the stationary follow up to the earlier Bare Bone Studios.
While for “(Well You Know) Stuff is…”, they had teamed up with US underground producer Kramer, they’ve decided to self-produce again with their follow up in 2011 - “Lime Green Delorean”. It turned out to become a late critics favorite. 2011 have been also their 30th anniversary. “The Singles”, a special, small formatted 5 CD+1DVD Box has been compiled and released in 2012. As the name implies it holds singles and flipsides, live bootlegs and videos. US Rolling Stone editor David Fricke wrote in his linernotes:
“…Imagine if the early classic-riff Kinks had been a power trio. Or the Ramones had been Cream. Or Cream had been around long enough to make their 1967 psychedelic delicacy, Disraeli Gears, with the city-life soul of the Velvet Underground’s Loaded, the pure-pop gleam of Big Star and the beatnik-hip-hop fallout from Beck’s Odelay. 22 Pistepirkko (...) have been all that and more, with hits, since “Ou Wee,” their seven-inch hello in 1986. This set is a fistful of that ambition, cool and just reward. (...) The Singles isn’t the best of 22-Pistepirkko. It’s better than that. It’s a great rock & roll story, told in classic style...“