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LONELINESS OF A THOUSAND YEARS
LONELINESS OF A THOUSAND YEARS
Only in the crushing loneliness You finally…you finally understand
I don’t remember when it happened. Was it when I was told by my mother that I have to eat all the food from my plate when I was seven years old… or else? No. That wasn’t so bad. Was it the day when my father
finally left after many years of fear and violence? When we finally escaped his rage? No. I felt happy. Was it when I understood, at 14, that there had been a thing called “World War 2” and that 70 million people were killed in it? And that even small children were killed in it just because they happened to be of a certain race. No, not that either. It made me think. Was it when my father, on one winter morning, decided to cut both of his arms with a fillet knife in a bath tub that had no water in it, and then jumped down to death from the fourth floor of his apartment? No. That’s when I started to run for my life. And I continued running for 32 years. It was none of these things. It was me. When I lost faith in myself. That is when it happened. I lost faith. In me. And that is the worst thing that can happen.
THE YEAR I DIED I am browsing the internet in a March winter morning of 2004. I feel a growing feeling of panic and my head feels like it’s bring pressed with giant hands. I am desperate. I call to few places and I get no help. The panic is getting bigger. This is not an ordinary panic attack, or whatever they call those. This is a result of years of living in a lie finally taking its toll. It wants to crush me. And it is succeeding. At that point I had been going to psychotherapy for seven years, on and off more or less. What I did not understand was that it was the therapy itself that had brought me to the origins of my pain. The floodgates were open and the floods could not be stopped after that. And that I had to die so I could live. Finally I was taken to a private hospital, but before that I had to wait half an hour in the waiting room with some other people. It was
one of the most horrible moments of my life. I could barely hold the terror inside while I was waiting to hear my name. Finally the doctor called me in and asked what he could do for me. I said that I didn’t know. That I just felt so utterly desperate and in panic that I thought I was going insane. I had this indescribable emotional pain flooding all over me from head to toe. A feeling of terror. From the corner of my eye I could see him writing on his notepad:”musician in a famous rock band”. There was no empathy in his attitude when he said: ”I guess I should send you to the State Mental Hospital”. I had heard about that place. I knew what it was like because a friend of mine had been committed there. Later he committed suicide. It was the ultimate place for people that have no hope. The place where nobody is really treated… where you don’t come back. I asked the doctor if I could stay in their hospital. His eyes brightened. “But of course you can.”, he answered. Why didn’t you ask before? Let me take you there
right away”. What he did not tell me was that it cost 1000 euros a day to stay in that hospital. But perhaps it saved me. I was given my own room, and for the first time in my life, I had a tranquilizer. I started feeling extremely heavy and numb. Like I did not exist at all. I was lying in my bed in that white room and I could see a tree outside. I did not feel the terror anymore. I did not feel anything at all because of the medication. I did not understand what was happening to me. I was truly scared. A doctor came to see me. A kind woman who looked very happy. I remember wondering how somebody could be so happy. She asked me some questions and then I had to take a depression test, which is basically just a series of questions. Like most doctors, she tried to define what is wrong with me in a mechanical way. But I was used to that already anyway. I remember telling her that in some
way I understand that I have all these emotions in me and that suddenly I felt them all. She said she was no psychiatrist and told me I would have a consultation on the following day. I told her that I had been in psychotherapy already for seven years in and out with breaks in between. She did not comment on that at all. So I spent the rest of the day like a zombie. Not feeling anything, not seeing anything, not hearing anything. Just staring at that tree. And hoping that one day I could be as alive as it was. The following day I met the psychiatrist. He was an older man, in his sixties, and he made me do series of questionnaires and asked me many questions. I told him about my life and I noticed a few tears running down his cheek. His diagnosis, as the doctors call it, was that I had bipolar disorder. I had no idea what that was until he explained it to me. It did make sense. I remembered that I had had
the symptoms for almost 10 years and he said that it is not uncommon that this illness goes untreated for 10 years, that it is actually quite common. I was wondering about all that time I had spent in therapy. Was it in vain? Now I know it was not. So what was the result? Medication. In the following weeks I was put on numerous different medicines. Most had horrible side effects and some had no effect at all. Finally I was given one of the modern and very expensive antidepressants and tranquilizers. Little did I know that to give antidepressants to someone who has a bipolar disorder is like a time bomb. It can launch a very vicious manic episode or alternatively and almost ironically, it can also make you depressed. For the next six months I mostly stayed in bed with curtains drawn. On some days the curtain was open for 10cm, but most days it was completely closed. I cried every single day for half a year. I did not
understand where it came from but something in me understood that this had been inside of me for a long time. It was desperate, deep crying. It came from somewhere deep inside of me. I understood that what I was going through had nothing to do with bipolar disorder. That it was something I had been hiding. Something terrible from the past and from my whole life. I had never mourned my father and my lost childhood. But then I was starting to. When I managed to go out, I often went to visit the places of my childhood. I remembered everything, even the little details. Pranks my friends and I did to people. Places we played football. All these places brought more emotions into the surface. It is not possible to describe how I was feeling if you haven’t experienced emotional pain yourself. It hurts. It is physical pain. Very much so, although people don’t usually understand that it really is extreme
physical pain. I don’t think it is possible to understand this if you haven’t had it yourself in your life. I often went to sit by the sea to a place where I went fishing when I was 11 years old. I sat on a rock and looked at the scenery. The snow had melted and the ice covered most of the sea, as well as covering the Gulf of Finland. Suddenly it started to snow. Yet I could see that the snow was only falling around me, in a 100 meter or so radius. I sat there looking at the beautiful scenery while the snow fell on me. I felt that all my life had been in vain, that my pain was so big that I just could not take it anymore. I did not realize that the place where my father had committed suicide was just 3km away from the place I was now. I had a bottle of pills with me, enough to end the pain. I was sitting there for a long time in the falling snow and staring into the distance. I was asking myself if this life mattered to me anymore and if this
pain and hopelessness was worth it. It would be easy, like fading away. And yet something in me could not do that. And still in that year, I died. That is how the whole thing felt. A slow death. It was impossible to make music. It was impossible most of the time even to get out of bed. Mornings were horrible. The first thing I felt when I woke up was hopelessness. I lived in that hopelessness for half a year. I really died in that year. So I could live. I have often heard some people say that suicide is “the easy way out”. I can tell from experience, both my own and after learning more about my father, that that it is nothing but a cliché. Suicide is far from being the easy way out. It takes courage to kill yourself because it is the ultimate end of your life as you know it. That’s why it is most often an escape from an intolerable situation or intolerable pain… or from both. But it is not easy. You can try to imagine, if you have some empathy left in you, how it might
have felt for somebody who really ended his life. Just before that and while it was happening. Trying to imagine what the person has felt while going through it. And yet I know, that only if you have been close enough to death yourself, only then, you are somehow able to understand the decision of that person who took his life. Like my father. Like one Finnish author, who one morning went for a walk from a mental hospital where he had committed himself voluntarily. He walked to the nearest subway station and waited for the train to arrive. Just before it did, he jumped in front of the train and stood facing the train without any movement. Without any fear. The train tried to slow down, but it had only 40 meters to do so. And the author had 40 meters to stand and face the train. He did not move an inch. Or like my best friend Mika, who jumped from 4th floor of his parents’ house to death five years ago, after a long struggle with depression and feelings of worthlessness.
Please don’t think that I am writing here as some kind of spokesman for suicide. Just that I truly understand people who have decided to end their lives. And that you most likely believe one of the many taboos suicide has in society. For me, I don’t believe in either one. Taboos or society. But so many people close to me have ended their lives by their own hand that I have thought about the subject a lot. And of course through my own pain and suffering it is far easier for me to understand their decision. Decisions which seem mostly absurd to people who are leading a happy life and have never been truly depressed. And so I continued to live with my pain and terror. Day by day. Year by year. It did not stop me from driving four hours to a concert my daughter wanted so much to see. And while she was at the concert, I stayed in a hotel and cried because it hurt so much. I felt everything at the same time: fear, anger, terror, sadness, abandonment. At that time I could not identify any emotions, I was just
suffering through them and tried to continue nevertheless. It just hurt so much. It did not stop me from driving my daughter to school in the morning and picking her up in the afternoon. It did not stop me from making breakfast for her. It did not stop me from doing two world tours in a metal band under very heavy conditions. It did not stop me from visiting my father’s grave and having imaginary conversations with him, or just sitting there for hours watching his grave and the cemetery. I realized that I never had said goodbye to my father. That I did not even understand that he was dead. It is possible for us humans to be like this. Intellectually I understood that he was dead, but emotionally on a deep level, he was very much alive. In me. I never truly had realized that he was dead. It took a lot of visits to his grave. It took a lot of pain, more than I ever thought was possible to take. Complete research of his suicide and the days before that. Returning to that
state of being a 12 year old boy, who had to go through something like that. Only then I started to understand what had happened. But it took years. And still today I am somehow struggling with it. Maybe it is not possible to heal all the painful moments of our lives. It is possible that I have to live with this for the rest of my life. I am now 11 years older than my father was when he died. That feels strange. But we all have our story to tell. It did stop me from fully living and experiencing life, and yet at the same time I felt it was in a way my destiny. Many painful things that I had locked inside were now coming into my consciousness. I felt them in my body. Some people say you cannot change who you really are. I did not even know who I was until my past finally broke free in me. From there I started a journey that would ultimately lead back to myself and who I really am. Not who I pretend to be. And that journey is the most painful journey in life. And yet, when this journey called upon
me, I had no choice but to jump into its stream and let it guide me. Life always finds a way. And of course I cannot deny the effect my painful childhood has had on me as an artist and why I became a musician. For sure many of my songs have that longing and missing element towards my father although I haven’t been aware of that while writing those songs. So in that light, my childhood could maybe have an entirely different meaning after all. Maybe. Now as I am writing this in the summer of 2010, I have lived with this pain for six years every single day. It has not gone away. I am still taking lithium and tranquilizers. The doctors say that you cannot cure bipolar disorder… that you have it for life. Maybe it is so, I don’t know. What I do know is that it is like a ghost on my shoulder, a companion that reminds me every morning when I wake up about the fragility of life and how easy it is to lose everything you have… in the flash of a second.
THERE WAS NO SORROW, THERE WAS NO PAIN
I spent most of my childhood being happy and feeling safe. When I write “childhood”, in my case it means up until when I was about nine years old. There seemed to be nothing wrong in our family. In fact, it seemed to be a true dream family. We had a nice home and financial security. My mother really took care of me with a love and devotion that gave me the tools to survive much later in my life. I remember that I loved Christmases especially. I can still somehow remember the magical feeling of Christmas when I was eight years old. I remember the smell. I remember the atmosphere. It felt safe. Everybody was together. Everybody was happy. Always when the family gathered together, my grandfather wanted me to sing one
song he liked. I was shy but he always gave me money if I sang so I did. I was singing in a classical boy’s choir called “Cantores Minores” at that time and often I sang at school parties. I remember having a huge self confidence about my voice. I really felt it was something I could do that came very easy for me. It felt completely natural to me to sing. When I was seven, I got my first guitar as a Christmas present. I had seen my cousin play an acoustic guitar when I was five years old and he instantly became my hero. I remember sneaking into his room just to look at his guitar. I still remember what it looked like. Very carefully I touched the strings and played them a little bit. It was love at first sight. I could not understand the magic of the guitar. My cousin taught me some chords and some Beatles songs. “Eight Days a Week” was one song he taught me to play. He also played in a band already which impressed me immensely. So of course very soon I wanted to
have my own guitar. That happened on the magical Christmas evening in 1973. Of course everybody who reads this knows that this instrument would take me to many places in the future. I never thought or dreamed of anything like that. I just really wanted to have a guitar. I couldn’t do much with it first because I couldn’t play. There was a “Guitar Class” in the school where they taught some very rudimentary basics of guitar. I went there and learned my first song. I was so happy. I went every week and learned more things. I had found music and it felt very natural to me. My mother has told me that when I was only three years old, I liked music and that I was listening to the TOP 40 program on the radio and that I knew the lyrics to all the hits and was always leaning against the radio and waiting for the hits to play and then sang along. Not everything was rosy. I remember that my grandmother
had cancer and both her legs were amputated. I still remember my father carrying her upstairs on Christmas evening and placing her on a couch. She said that in a way it is great to have cancer because at least now she got the attention she never had while still being healthy. I remember wondering if it’s possible to “make” the cancer within yourself. Now I think that that is in my opinion the basic mechanism for cancer. Not in all cases, but more than you would think. Everybody was around my grandmother giving her attention. Then she died in the next year. I don’t remember being in the funeral although it is possible. She is buried in the same graveyard as my grandfather and my father. I will not be buried there. Death is something abstract to children up until a certain age. It is not really understood. Or perhaps children understand and accept death in much more natural way than we adults are capable of, the
reason being that death is another great taboo of society. It is simply pushed out of sight. Nobody really understands that they really are going to die one day. Maybe even tomorrow. You never know when. Children seem to take death quite naturally. And my personal opinion is that children can be our biggest teachers if we are humble enough to receive what they want to tell us. And they have a lot to tell. What I miss maybe the most is that fresh feeling you have when you are eight years old and all your senses are still so sharp… how you look at the world through a child’s eyes. Despite of how you are being treated by your parents and school, being eight is still an age where you look at the world in a different way. You feel. You truly feel. You are not completely dead yet by the rules, dogmas and taboos that will be introduced later in your life. You run and play because that is what children do. It’s very pure. It’s very innocent. I remember it still very vividly. How the grass smelled. How
it was to play football with friends until the evening and then run home because I was so thirsty. How good the ice cream tasted in the summer. The feeling of freedom when the summer holiday started and you had the whole summer for yourself. How it was to tease girls. How it felt to smile and be happy. How it felt to skip school. How I hated mathematics and how I loved music. I remember all the places of my childhood with a certain kind of nostalgia. Those times will never come back. If I could have even 2% of that enthusiasm and happiness I had when I was a boy, I would be the happiest man on this earth. My father worked in a store that sold electronics, TV’s, radios and such. He had a vast collection of music at home and became really interested in that. The first band I ever started to like was ABBA. He gave me their cassette. I think it was their first album. I remember how much I loved those songs and how I tried to play them with my guitar. For a long time, ABBA
remained truly the only band for me. I still love their songs and I remember how fresh they sounded to me. I wanted to be like them. Their songs were just incredibly good. They had something like eight number one hits in a row beginning with “SOS”. A lot of Finnish music was also played in my childhood home and a lot of songs that I have written have their origins in there. There are even some embarrassing moments, but I never consciously copied anything in any song I have written. It just is a proof that your subconscious mind stores everything that happens to you when you are able to write songs when you are 40 years old and some of the melodies date back 30 years. So putting all this together it is not hard to imagine that music was getting more and more important in my life. But it happened very slowly. I don’t remember it consciously. Being a child still, I had so many other activities as well. I was playing
ice hockey on a team and also basketball. I was much taller than most boys my age and I remember really liking basketball very much. I really enjoyed swimming during the summers as well. It was a happy time, I would say I had a very happy childhood up until a certain point and then it turned to something completely different. A nightmare. The line in the song “Forever” that I wrote goes: “Oh how happy I was then, there was no sorrow, there was no pain. Walking through the green fields, sunshine in my eyes” truly reflects how most of my childhood was. Although this song was really composed for my father. Those green fields are still there. I just have to find them again somehow. Perhaps one day I will. Perhaps one day I find myself as a boy walking those green fields with sunshine in my eyes. In that moment I know for certain that I have arrived home. I have so many things to tell to myself as a boy. So many things to explain and so much to share. I hope we will meet on a
sunny road one day.
PLUNGING INTO PSYCHOSIS It happened gradually. Looking back, from around Christmas 2004 up until the autumn of 2005 I was in some kind of psychotic state of being. In 2004, before my nervous breakdown and I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I had put together a state of the art recording studio called Goldenworks. I put all the royalty advances and a bank loan into this studio, totaling around 150 000 euros. When the studio was completed, they started building a parking garage under it. That meant almost constant drilling and huge explosions many times a day. It was evident that no customers would come there to record and mix under such conditions. It was my dream. Something for my future. My own studio. And it failed even before it had begun. Only one album was recorded there: the “Black Album” of Stratovarius. Subsequently, I had to go to court with the landlord who
refused to let me go from the rental contract. She simply said that there is nothing happening in the building that would harm the studio business. It turned out that she had known about the parking garage already when I signed the rental contract with her. And not only that, she was one of the owners of the parking garage. Despite all this, I lost the first court case. I appealed to a higher degree court and finally won there, but all in all it took four years of my life, and those kinds of things are very draining for me. My landlord had to pay almost 50 000 euros of lawyer costs. And all I ever asked from her was to let me go from the rental contract. Everything truly comes back in this life. I still don’t know if it was the medicine, the anti- depressants, that started to drive me into psychosis. Certainly I was manic and felt really irritated about even trivial things. Loud noises made really angry. Everything made me angry. I think that mania slowly developed into psychosis. Being
psychotic means that you are basically out of touch with reality and you can see things that are not really there. It also can be labeled as “being insane”. For example, there was an E.T puppet in the studio that spoke six lines. One specifically when you squeezed its hand. Now this puppet was at times speaking itself without anybody touching it. Even Timo Kotipelto once heard E.T talking by itself when we were recording vocals for the “Black Album”. I remember having this weird sensation in my head. Like a mixture of fear and arrogance, but mostly fear. Once I went to a shop to buy some food and needed to buy butter. I was staring at this butter box because this brand had looked the same for 20 years. It still looked the same but the name had changed to a different one. It resembled the old one but was still new. I remember staring at that box of butter in terror thinking that I was losing it. I thought I saw the name wrongly in my mind. So it was
getting worse. One day a friend of the band called me while I was mixing the album and asked if he could come and listen to some songs. I said of course. Then I started to feel that this guy was Satan himself. It might sound comical in retrospect, but to me it was completely true. When he came to the studio, I was 100% sure he was the devil himself who had come to listen to our songs. So he was sitting at my mixing position and I was leaning against the mixing desk facing him. I looked at him in the eyes and I remember thinking: “You don’t fool me, I know who you are”. And I don’t even believe something like Satan exists. Yet perhaps on a deeper level I do. And this guy who came to listen to the songs is one of the kindest guys I have ever met in my life. I was plunging into the shadow world of psychosis. And not everybody comes back from that. Then came the time to go to Berlin to play some mixes for the record company. This was spring 2005. At the same time there was the Berlin
Film Festival. In the evening I wanted to go to drink, so I called one Finnish film producer that was there, but he was already leaving home. He suggested that I meet his friend from Iceland. I call him Yngvar. He called me and said he would come to the hotel and that he would bring his friend from Austria with him. He also told me on the phone that he is “the last viking”. So they arrived at my hotel and I was waiting for them at the bar. His first words to me were:”We know who you are but we don’t know what you look like”. That sounded very strange to me. Yngvar and Markus were very strange people. They said they were in the film business. They both had a black notebook and they asked me why I didn’t have one. They said Hemingway had one as well. The purpose of the black notebook became clear very soon. It started already in the hotel bar. They went to every woman who they thought was good looking and asked directly for their name and phone number or email address.
To my surprise, most women gave this information to them and they wrote it to their notebooks. All the time they were telling me that I have to get one myself. It felt really weird and absurd. But I was on a manic episode, so everything sort of made sense to me. When we were sitting in the hotel bar drinking beer, Yngvar started telling me things. He told me that he was the middleman between God and the devil and that he has come to pass the torch to me. He also told me that I would become world famous in 2.5 years, maybe sooner and that “people would come to me”. He said that I will die in my sleep peacefully when I am 70 years old. He also said that I would have a “bit bumpy road”, but it was going to be just fine. All this was very frightening talk to me considering the state I was in. I could not understand this man. We went to some club and there they did the same thing with the notebooks. I remember Yngvar giving me his jacket and asking me: “Can I trust
you”? I said yes and took the jacket. He returned after 10 minutes or so and took the jacket and thanked me and said that there was a gun in there because he “had to protect me”. The same thing continued in several clubs and Yngvar started to get really drunk. We took a taxi and he and Markus were in the backseat and I was sitting on the front seat. Suddenly I had a feeling that Yngvar was reading my thoughts. I don’t know why I had that feeling, but I had it nevertheless. I clearly remember this, and this is one of the first paranormal things that ever has happened to me. I held a thought in my mind: ”If you are reading my thoughts, knock me in the back two times”. In a few seconds, I felt him knocking my back two times. This man was really reading my thoughts. I know how tempting it would be to put this all in the manic realm, but this really was concrete. It did happen exactly this way. Naturally this really freaked me out. When we got out of
the car I was in some kind of shock. Yngvar told me that today I would finally let go of my father. How on earth did he know about my father? I shouted at him: ”What do you want?”. He said: ”Timo I want nothing from you. But I want you to know that now you have a friend”. We continued walking towards my hotel and sat in the lobby. Yngvar said that if there were 100 guys coming in from that door, he would take a bullet for me anytime. Then the worst thing happened. Something that haunts me still to this very day. Again it would be very tempting to jump into the manic realm, but this just felt so real. Yngvar was really drunk now and he was standing close to me, sort of sideways. He was looking at me with a weird grin on his face. I felt kind of humming in my head and then I looked at his back and I saw a pair of black wings on his back. They were not very long. Maybe 40cm, but they were black and looked horrible. And he clearly noticed that I saw them because by now he was grinning. I don’t know
what he did and how he did it but somehow he projected those wings into my mind. The humming in my head must have been because of that. I could not believe what I was seeing. Then he went again to sit in the lobby and started to complain that “he never sees his kids”. Then he said it was time to go and he left with Markus. I never again saw him. He was gone, leaving me in the state of shock, disbelief and terror. And a pile of questions. After this event, I really entered into psychotic realm. His suggestions worked because I allowed him into my mind. I started to think I am something special. God’s messenger on earth and fully protected so I could do anything. I could not see that he had simply played with me, maybe used telekinetic powers. I don’t know how he did it or if it was my mania. But he was playing with me for sure. Maybe some people get kicks from doing things like that to people. But these people do not have any morals. They are sociopaths that
just want to have fun with you and have no remorse. For me and the people close to me this episode cost a lot. Everything was chaotic in the summer of 2005. Wherever I went, I started seeing people crossing their fingers in a praying position. I always thought it was because of me. I thought that “they know who I am so they are praying but they keep quiet because they want to keep me as a secret”. It sounds insane afterwards, but in that summer it was reality for me. Or lack of reality. I live by the sea so I went to the sea shore when there was storm and told the sea to calm down, like Jesus supposedly. And I clearly remember that the sea calmed down. In the evening when I came home from the studio I usually listened to “Into the West” from “Return of the King”, hence the Messianic return. I remember looking at the night sky and having a thought that it would be nice to see a shooting star and in that exact moment there was a shooting star. So in my mind, I had plenty of evidence that I indeed was “special”
and that I was on a “mission”. One evening I washed one grey tshirt in a bathroom sink and left it on the sink for overnight. In the morning I rinsed it and to my absolute horror, I saw a black figure, about 10cm in size, in the shirt that the day before had been a plain ordinary grey t-shirt. It was a gunman with a rifle but he was not aiming at me. But he was looking at me. This gunman is still today in that t-shirt and I cannot explain how it ever got in there. So naturally all these things that happened to me affected a lot to my behavior and to the people close to me and to the people I worked with. It was impossible to tell these people what I was going through because everything was real to me. And I still believe that at least partially some things were real. Some things just cannot be simply explained with bipolar disorder. But I was getting more and more paranoid about everything. If I heard a loud explosion from a distance, to me that was a sign that was meant only
for me. But… at this point I was still under the wrong medication that was prescribed to me when I was hospitalized. I must have been in some sort of a semi-psychotic state, because I did realize something was terribly wrong. I did understand that I was very far from okay and that I needed to do something. My mother suggested a psychiatrist that had treated her in the 80’s. It turned out to be a blessing. Very quickly he concluded that my medication was totally wrong, and that we should first run some basic blood tests. After that he prescribed me lithium carbonate, which is the most commonly used medicine to treat bipolar disorder. For my anxiety and paranoid tendencies he also prescribed tranquilizers. This medication has been the same for me for five years and I probably have to take lithium until the end of my life. But since I started taking that, I haven’t had a major manic or depressive episode at all. Sometimes I feel the mania
creeping in, mostly during spring, and then I increase the dosage myself. As my psychiatrist says, I am the expert in my illness. But because of lithium, I was able to work again, to make music and tour. The drinking days were over. I haven’t touched alcohol in five years. Not a drop. I must say I don’t really miss it, although touring is a bit weird being sober. After all, I have done most of my tours being drunk almost every day. But I have also discovered that in sobriety lie many good things too. And oddly enough, it seems to be difficult for some other people to take.
THE BOY FROM BLUEBERRY HILL It really started without a warning. Out of nowhere. Before, my father had been almost a completely sober man, and now he started to drink. This started around 1975. He drank a lot and became very violent. To a nine year old boy who had been so happy before, that was a total shock. I could not understand why
he was like that. Sometimes he passed out on the floor naked. I remember that there were times when he cut himself with a razorblade. I still have a phobia about razorblades, those old fashioned ones that you rarely see anymore. When he was drunk, he was completely different… really mean and vicious, especially towards my mother. I remember once him chasing my mother in our apartment. I remember trying to stop him, grabbing him by his clothes and telling him to stop. For a nine year old, that was something beyond comprehension and that is when something broke in me. It is very evident in the school picture of the year 1976. In this picture is a boy who looks very sad. When I look at that picture now, it makes me cry because I was so happy before these events started to take place. It’s hard to describe the face I have in that picture. Maybe it is someone who didn’t understand, who was very disappointed and very sad. It is a photograph of a crushed ten year old boy.
On the back of the photo there is some writing that my father wrote. Sometimes he put me to sleep telling me how much “daddy loves you” with a burning cigarette in his other hand and being completely drunk. The only thing you can distinguish from the writing in the photograph are the words: “daddy will kill himself”. The rest was drunken scribbling that was unreadable. God knows what was in there. But I could read that one sentence. My parents had lots of fights and I always heard them through my door. They were mostly in the evenings. Things were thrown, but never by my mother. Loud, sharp and terrifying sounds. I remember being very scared in my bed. I remember that I cried myself to sleep every night. I still remember how the pillow that was wet from tears felt against my cheek. My mother had placed a painting of a Guardian Angel that had her hands upon two children next to my bed. I remember thinking that the angel
could help us a bit more because it was getting totally out of hand. Many times my father got so violent that me, my mother and my brother had to escape from our home. These happened frequently. I was ten years old. Once he threw the whole living room table through the window with a horrible scream. Once again we fled, to some relative. They started to get used to these night visits. They were always at nights. I still remember how the ice cold winter air felt when we fled in panic, wearing whatever we could when we had to leave. I remember the icy windows of my mother’s car and the terror of the thought that my father was going to follow us. He never did. Things were getting more and more out of hand. My father had threatened our neighbor with a knife. Other people were starting to be scared of him as well. He made my mother watch when he put out burning cigarettes on his arm. It was clearly getting very out of hand.
Once, I remember him being unconscious on the floor from alcohol and tranquilizers. My mother called an ambulance. I still have vividly the picture in my mind of my father being carried out by two paramedics. He was taken to the hospital and returned the next day like nothing happened. “Nothing is wrong with me”, he said. Often he also asked why we left when we returned the following day after escaping one of his drunken episodes. I answered to that with the logic of a 10 year old boy:”… because we were scared”. To that he answered: “You should not have left”. I remember my mother pouring full bottles of alcohol down the kitchen sink and I remember doing it myself too. It was a desperate attempt to stop an alcoholic from drinking. I also remember finding a brochure of body building equipment and I still remember the picture of Arnold Schwartzenegger with his giant muscles in the brochure. I actually ordered this device, at ten years old, because I wanted to have
similar muscles so I could protect my mother and brother from my father. It sounds absurd but it just illustrates the desperation of a young boy facing a terrible situation. The whole thing lasted about two years, from 1975 to 1977. In those two years I remember clearly that I developed some kind of safety mechanism. I shut my real self from the world. Sometimes when I was playing with my friend outside and we happened to run by one of our windows. My friend saw my father sitting in the room naked sipping gin, and my crying mother. He asked: “What is your daddy doing?” To that I simply replied: ”It’s just my father. He is like that”. I don’t understand how I managed to go to school daily and act like nothing happened. I guess that’s when I really started to develop what I call my “false personality”. The true one being locked inside unable to express what he truly feels about the insanity of it all. It was just too painful for a ten year
old to understand. I remember having plans of running away from home. I did not know where I would go, being only ten years old. But I do remember that I had those plans. I did have a place where I frequently went to escape the madness. It was in the middle of a forest near our home on a hill. I called it “Blueberry Hill”. Many evenings I sat there and cried. I found comfort and safety from that place that I could not have at home. It became my “Dreamspace”. I also don’t understand how my mother could cope with that situation and go to work every day like nothing happened. I guess she had developed a similar safety mechanism that I had. She had to experience her whole life collapsing underneath her and she was completely alone with two young boys. My mother has told me that I finally told her that if daddy doesn’t leave then I leave. I don’t remember that but I guess that must have been the point that she realized that
she had to do something. She filed for divorce. I don’t remember much from those days and how that was handled but I do remember one thing. I remember the day my father left and how it felt when he was gone. It was a bright and sunny day and we had bought a small black cat that had no tail since it was born. I still remember how it felt not being scared anymore. I felt happy that he was gone. In just two years my father had managed to destroy almost everything there was to destroy. But I was happy that he was gone and I don’t remember when I saw him next. I think it was at least half a year. And he was worse by then.
THEATRES OF THE MIND AND BODY
I entered psychotherapy in the year of 1999 in Helsinki. My life situation was in a place where I did not find any other solution than to go to therapy. I had just started to
investigate my father’s suicide and I think I was having a manic episode. My personal life was in ruins, my professional life flourished. I had just finished the “Visions” world tour. I looked for a therapist from the yellow pages. The first one I called had an answering machine. The second one I called answered. He was a man with a very soft voice. That I still remember. I had been ordering books regarding psychology and human behavior already for a few years and I must have gone through over a thousand books. I thought at that time that you can actually gain wisdom or self knowledge from books. I did not see them yet as another self defense and an escape. Although there are much worse forms of escaping. I told the therapist, let’s call him Jukka, that first we would have an interview and he would decide if you take me or not. “How do you know this?”, he replied. He did not know that I had read this from my books and later those books would act as a defense to a successful therapy.
When I went to see Jukka for the first time, I was really scared. I went to this room, before he had greeted me already at the door. I sat on a chair and he sat on his chair. The only thing I could say was: ”I’m really scared”. He just nodded and then he said that I am in some kind of a shock and asked if I am eating anything and that at least I should be drinking water. The hour went really fast and we agreed about the therapy schedule that was going to be once a week. Looking back now, I am sure he was wondering if I should be hospitalized due to my condition, but he had to make a quick decision. Eventually I could manage the situation somehow and I could really start the therapy. In the beginning of the therapy I was often late or even missed appointments without canceling them. He would call me at this point and ask where I was and if I am coming. He got really angry once when I did not cancel an appointment that I had and did not show up. I remember buying him
some books in the beginning as a present and asking what he thinks about me. He did not give many answers and sometimes we just sat there the whole hour and did not say much, just a few words. I spent the first years in therapy talking about Jesus, the universe and everything else except about myself. I was of course, again escaping the unavoidable: facing myself. Eventually I ran out of topics to talk about and I remember that I tried to ask about his life and what he did outside his work. This is not what the therapists usually do so I was really out of subjects. And yet every time I tried to talk about myself, I ran into this extremely heavy resistance in me. Jukka once said that maybe I have so much horror inside of me that I am too scared to talk. He was of course, completely right. My life situations changed, I went through a divorce and kept going to therapy. I started to understand its value and what it meant to sit on that chair every week. Jukka
sometimes held group seminars that I attended. I remember the first one especially because originally it was supposed to last for a week but I was there only one day. I thought that everybody was crazy and that I had to get away from there. I did not understand that it was me who had so many things to discover about myself and that most of those people had been going to those seminars for years. It was me who had many things to resolve in myself. Slowly I started to have more understanding what psychotherapy is all about. It was a slow and painful realization. My therapist’s humor was in its own class and many times I was roaring from laughter after I had been talking about some very painful thing, to which he had commented with just one sentence. That sentence turned the whole experience upside down and made it comical. Or maybe tragically comical. He told me that usually people stop therapy just when something starts to happen.
And of course, that happened to me as well. Many times. But I did always come back and he said that maybe something that has already been started cannot be stopped anymore. He was right. There was a process going in me that would transport into the original pain and terror in me and would ultimately lead to my collapse and after that to a series of self discoveries, all through pain until I arrived to a frozen lake where all my hidden childhood and boyhood experiences were waiting. They had been waiting for me. I started to feel more and more pain. Not remembering how I was years back when I entered therapy, I asked him if this is what therapy is like. His answers were many times very vague. I understand now why. I should of course have come up with the answers myself. When I was crying in my chair he was mainly just looking at me. That made me angry sometimes. I thought that he didn’t care. But basically he was just observing the unfolding of my true self and waiting. I always remember
what he said in one session when I was feeling very desperate. He said that if the therapy succeeds well, the person has to decide if he wants to live or not. That sounded so brutally cold to me that I got really angry at him. But he was right. He was not the one who put all those emotions in me. He didn’t do anything bad to me. He was just trying to help me. And he knew what he was doing. My therapy ended when I was hospitalized in 2004 and I am still convinced that it was the therapy that made it happen and that it was the only thing that could keep me alive. Otherwise I would for sure have followed in my father’s footsteps. And I did realize that I had already done that for many years when Jukka asked me if I am “trying to copy my father”. Then I realized that I had been doing many things exactly the same way that he had been doing. My neurotic structure had to collapse. It had to be broken so a new and healthier structure could grow. The old had to
die, giving way to the new. But it was a struggle that I could not anticipate and I was not prepared for how long it took, but of course when you have been burying very painful emotions inside of you for over 20 years and you start to feel them, it will take a long time. It is a process, like everything in this universe. I do not think I would be alive today without therapy and what it gave me. It didn’t really rescue me, I rescued myself. But it made me understand myself better and ironically, most of the self discoveries would come to me later after I had finished the therapy. I cannot deny how much the therapy also affected my music. For example, the songs I wrote in the “Infinite” album were really influenced by the therapeutic process. It was not a conscious thing, but it affected my whole creativity and personality. Or maybe it was an unfolding of my personality in a way that can be heard on that album, and on the
follow up “Elements pt 1” album. These are both very dear albums for me. I stopped the therapy in 2004 when I was hospitalized and went back for three sessions in 2006. I haven’t gone back after that. I feel that I already know what I need to know about myself and that further therapy is not necessary. At least now. Since 2006 I have been seeing a psychiatrist who treats me with medication for bipolar disorder. But I am not going to psychotherapy anymore.
SUICIDE It was March 10th, 1978 when my father ended his existence here on this earth. I was 12 years old and I had moved to a new home with my mother and brother. The place was much smaller because my mother could not afford better. I shared a room with my brother. But it was a place where we felt safe and it had nature around and the sea was very
close. I made frequent trips there to fish or just to marvel the wonders of the nature. I was still listening to ABBA and by now I also had found the Beatles, which I also really loved. I especially was fond of John Lennon and his humor and songs, but the whole group became as important for me as ABBA still was. I was playing my acoustic guitar still and was learning songs from both groups. The divorce and the events before that had affected me deeply. It made me withdraw from this world in a way that I cannot explain. I searched for consolation from nature and music. I did not have many friends like I had had when I was eight years old. Although by then, I had seen so much violence, I was not prepared to face the events that were about to come upon me. My father had moved relatively close to me and my brother. I think the distance between the apartments was only 2km or something like that. They had some kind of arrangement so brother and I would see my father. I think it was
supposed to be every other weekend but I remember going there only twice. I had not seen him in half a year or so and I still missed him. I was a very confused and scared 12-year old. I remember on either one of the visits I was watching TV with my father and he was stroking my head gently. I still remember his touch. It is one of the only positive things I physically remember about him. I remember that the atmosphere in his new home was very far from happy. He had a new girlfriend who also had a boy of eight years old. Apparently the same behavior had been continuing with his new family as well. He had been drinking heavily still and even his new family had to escape him. I really don’t remember going there more than few times, but since then I have returned to that house and even to that floor many times. In 1998 or so I felt the need to find out what really happened to my father. Nobody ever told me what really was going on there, how he
died or what the conditions were. In Finland you are entitled to have all the legal documents of a deceased one if you are related. So I called the police and I visited all the hospitals to get information about what had happened. I got a lot of documents and I was able to form a picture of what had happened to him in the previous weeks before his suicide. Twice there was a call to the paramedics because he had been drinking and taking tranquilizers. Once when he was taken to an ambulance on the way to the hospital his heart stopped. They managed to bring him back but it still amazes me that nobody was able to see what was about to happen. One day before he killed himself, he bought a bottle of cognac and took a taxi to the family’s summerhouse. He got drunk and apparently violent. He had gone to the neighbor cabin, which was empty, and he had smashed all the
windows. They were covered in blood. His. He passed out on a bed with a burning cigarette in his hand and soon the whole place was on fire. Somebody saw the flames and the fire brigade came and pulled him out in the last possible moment. The whole place burnt down without anything left. He was first taken to a hospital to get treatment for the wounds in his hands from beating the glass and from the flames. Then he was taken to a nearby police station and he was put into a cell for the time being. He was booked for breaking and entering but soon the police found out that he was part of the family that owned the building. Nevertheless, he was questioned many times. His replies were short and it took a long time. In between the questionings he tried to kill himself in his cell by attempting to take the screw of the light bulb off and using electricity. This did not succeed because one of the police officers noticed this. His father, my grandfather, was called to pick him up. He was the head of the family
business where my father was working. And he was angry. His behavior might have been the last thing that pushed my father into committing suicide. He took my father to see the burnt summer house and told him:”Look what you have done”. After that he took him to his home and told him that he was fired from his job. He was driving a company car and this was to be returned right away. My grandfather took his car keys. All these things I have read from official police documents. I had just turned 12 one week before. I remember that day because my father took me to a shop and bought me an aquarium as a birthday present. I remember him being incredibly serious all the time. That aquarium was a very dear present because I really wanted to have one. He always had aquariums and he was interested in the nature as well. The morning of March 12th , 1978 was the day that would change my
life forever. Never again would I look at the world in the same way as before. I left for the school around 7:30. It was a cold winter day and I always walked the 2km trip to the school. The house where my father was living was just before my school so I saw the house almost every day. The road did not go right by the house but a little further. On that sole morning, the only time I ever had, I changed the route. I still remember that I had a thought: ”Go the other way”. The other way took me right by my father’s house and I never before had taken that route. When I arrived to his house, I accidentally looked at the windows on the 4th floor where he was living with his new family. To my surprise I saw him at the bedroom window looking at the distance. I waved to him but he did not notice me. I did not know that I was waving goodbye to him. I clearly remember a thought that came into my mind: “Go inside”. But I ignored it and continued to my school which was just 200m away from his house. I went inside to the first class. After
that and in between the classes, we always had a ten minute break outside. So I was standing outside. By now it was around 8:55. Suddenly I saw an ambulance and a police car coming and driving to my father’s house. I saw the whole school running there but I did not go. Because I already knew. Somehow I already knew. When people started to come back, I nevertheless asked what was it happening there. Somebody said that some man had jumped. I asked what kind of clothes he had and the description matched the ones my father was often wearing. Incredibly I went inside for the next class and only after that I asked the teacher if I could go home because I felt sick. She said yes and I started to run and I ran all the way home. On my way I saw the balcony of the 4th floor covered completely in blood. When I arrived home, there was nobody there. The first thing I did was to call to my father’s house. A teary female voice answered and that was the final confirmation. Then I knew for sure that he was
dead. In a few minutes my grandmother arrived and took me in her arms. The whole family was gathered at my grandfather’s house and I do not remember much else about that day. When I called the police for the documents about my father’s suicide, I found out that there were also photographs from the scene. It is customary for police to take photos when they investigate a possible crime scene. In suicide cases, the only thing they need to determine is if there was a crime involved or not. I asked the police officers about the photos. He said that there were seven of them and that in two of them the body is visible. One close up and one from a distance. I asked him what they looked like and he said that he has seen so much of this during his career that he cannot really say. I ordered all the documents and the photographs without the body. When I went to pick them up my heart was pounding. I got the envelope and opened it and there
were five photographs inside and all the investigation material. I looked at the photos. They looked horrible. And to make it worse, in one of the pictures was the body from a distance. My father was lying in the snow under his balcony wearing only the outfit he used while being at home. Around 7:00 that fatal morning the new girlfriend of my father left for work: the day after he was brought from the police station and after he was fired from his work. Like I have written before, I left my home for school around 7:30 and reached my father’s house around 7:45. That was only one hour before his death, so I was the last one who saw him alive. What happened in that one hour became clear to me from the police documents. He had gone to kitchen and taken a sharp fillet knife. Then he went to the bathroom. He sat in the bathtub and cut both of the arteries in his arms. First one, then changed hands with the knife, I don’t know how, and cut the other arm. The first thing he did
was to make a deep cut in his finger that used to hold his wedding ring. Then he placed the knife neatly in the shampoo holder. Nobody knows how long he was bleeding in the bathtub, but there was no water found in the bath tub. When the police arrived, there was about 5cm of blood in the bathtub. That is almost all his blood. From the police photographs it can be determined that for some reason he had stood up from the tub, perhaps going into a state of shock. Then he had gone to the bedroom and had sat on a bed. There were bloodstains on the bed and blood drops on the white carpet from the bathroom to the bedroom. He was still bleeding. From the bedroom he had gone to the balcony, which was right beside the bedroom. Then he had raised his leg over the balcony. This was seen by a witness. He had reached the other side of the balcony and was now holding onto the metal bar of the balcony. This explains the huge amount of bloodstains on the outer side of the balcony. At some point he lost the grip from the bar
and fell from the 4th floor to the street. He died immediately. All this happened in one hour, and his time of death was 9:45. The photographs are gruesome and they were very hard for me to look at, but I needed to find out what had happened some 20 years ago. Now I knew. I even located his then girlfriend in 1999 and went to talk to her. She told me basically what I could read from the police documents. There was no suicide note. My father had had life insurance. My brother and I were the beneficiaries. He had changed this two months before his suicide. The new beneficiary was his new girlfriend. She told me that his behavior had been more and more violent and that she had been starting to think about terminating their relationship. She also told me about the last night before the suicide. She told me that my father was very restless and barely seemed to be sleeping. He probably had decided already to kill himself in the following morning after she
had left. She also told me that she woke up during the night and saw three black figures standing by the bed. But my visit was visibly upsetting her and I think she was not really telling everything how it really happened. The funeral was held in a few weeks. I remember the crematorium and the white casket being there. A priest was saying something. I remember my mother, me and my brother going to the casket and laying the flowers on it. I don’t remember what my mother said. They say funerals are a way to say goodbye. But I was still in shock. I did not even know what had happened and I was a 12-year old boy. It would take a long time before I could understand what had actually happened and why. And the effect all that had on me was that I started to withdraw more and more into myself. I guess I decided that you cannot really trust anybody here. And so my father was laid to rest, if
that phrase can be used here, and life went on. But nothing was ever the same again. Nothing felt the same. In some years in some strange way I myself managed to hide all these events from my consciousness and lived almost 20 years before the whole thing surfaced again. My mother has told me that she had taken me to a child psychologist after the suicide. Apparently I had gone there for a while but the therapist had said that it seems there wasn’t much she could do at that point. She just said that at some point in my life I will have to deal with this. And she was more than right.
LIVING WITH BIPOLAR DISORDER After I was diagnosed and given the wrong medication the first time, I really thought I would not make it. I remember being in the middle of a long depressive episode and thinking, for the first time, that I might not make it. I felt fear. I clearly remember the feeling of
helplessness and despair. I did fight that episode through and eventually got the right medication so I am still here. I am still recovering from a series of manic episodes and depressions, not to mention the psychotic episode and the paranormal. It can take years for the body to restore itself. The problem is that very few of us have the luxury of just resting. Neither have I, so collectively I am in a way burning my candle from both ends. It is not easy to live with this illness because everybody holds you responsible for your actions when you are manic and of course, to a certain extent, you are. But for example, someone with a cancer would not be looked upon in a similar way. My psychiatrist has told me that this illness can be used to negate some of the things a person has done during a manic episode and make them invalid in court. Some people buy a house or an expensive car or something just like that when they are having a manic episode. Those kinds of things can be reversed in court sometimes. I
think it is wrong to hold a person with bipolar disorder accountable for all their actions. First of all, the heightened suicide risk with people that have this illness is statistically 25 %, which proves how serious the illness is. And I know that the heightened suicide risk with people with a loved one that has committed suicide, is also 25%. Secondly, when you are in the heights of mania and your body is soaked with dopamine, you do not think about what you are doing. You are a machine that functions only with its instincts and impulses and there is no rational thinking. That always comes, if it does, during the depressive episode which always follows the manic one. I was recording and mixing the entire “Black Album” of Stratovarius almost completely alone, spending hundreds of hours in a studio where the sounds of drilling and explosions were my constant companions. Surrounded with the financial troubles of a failed recording studio, the pressures of the production and everything else that was going in
my personal life, I remember spending Christmas of 2004 by manually inserting tom samples to Jörg Michael’s drum kit. Every time he hit a tom, I inserted a sample underneath that. I inserted maybe 1000 tom hits manually during that Christmas, and then went for mixing. The thing I remember most from that album was that I was completely alone in the studio most of the time. And I worked really hard. Perhaps too hard. Remembering that at that time I was neither diagnosed having bipolar disorder yet, nor having a medication that could help me. Also, just eight months before that, I had been hospitalized due to a nervous breakdown. It is a bit of a miracle that this album was even completed. But it was. That kind of life situation can easily trigger a manic episode. For me it made me at least partially psychotic. People like me who are lucky to find a medication (or a combination of medication perhaps with therapy), can lead a relatively
normal life. It should be as stressfree as possible, which my work is not of course. Being in a rock band alone is extremely manic. I cannot think anything more manic than a rock and roll tour. But I am a musician. It is the only thing I can do and the only thing I have ever done so my choices are pretty narrow. I am taking four pills of lithium carbonate per day. That is 1,2 grams per day. Since lithium is a light metal, I am literally taking around 350 grams of metal each year. Now I have ingested around 1,5 kilograms of it so far. It’s a bit ironic when you consider the music I play. I have been lucky that I did not die before I was diagnosed and before I found the right medication for me. I cannot say that it feels the same. I do feel more tired than before I started taking the medication. But I have no alternatives really. After I started taking lithium, I haven’t had a long and major manic or depressive episode in my life except the ones
that have rational reasons. I don’t mean that it takes away all the sadness and depression out of your life. There are rational and natural things one should feel depressed about and should work through those feelings. That can take a long time. I mean those black depressions where you lie in a bed for half a year crying like I was doing before. Although in retrospect, that time was also out of rational reasons. I just did not know it. Many artists have had this illness. Ernst Hemingway and Virginia Wolfe both committed suicide. Beethoven is said to have it. Kurt Cobain had it. If there is one other reason than artistic expressiveness for me to write this book, it is to tell a story of a person, who has gone through a lot of things in his life and is still here today. I have been very open about my illness in public and in interviews and the reason is simply this: to give hope to people who are suffering from similar things. Sometimes I get mails from people
who are desperate and don’t know what to do and are asking for help. I always write to them. I consider it my obligation as a human being to help where I can. But not anymore at the expense of my own health or life. I don’t think I am Jesus. Anymore. I don’t want to save the world anymore simply because I don’t think it needs to be saved, and the arrogance of thinking that I could actually save it. The world simply is. And it is exactly the way we have designed it collectively. I am, like in a song I wrote, a “Drop in the Ocean” and I have finally understood that. And that alone is for me a huge leap from the person I was before.
GROWING UP IN THE BIRD FOREST AND FINDING A LIFE BOAT
In the late summer of 1978 we moved away from all those tragic events. Of course we all carried them inside of us, each of us in our
own way. I remember that we moved quite late in that summer so I had to continue in that same school until the summer holiday started and we moved. I remember returning to school and how scared I was because I felt ashamed of what my father had done. I had, like many children do, turned the whole thing upside down and somewhere deep inside had concluded that it must have been my fault that my father was gone. I was not aware of this and I still am not in a way, but I can reason that very well. Everybody was really nice and understanding. Teachers that had before been strict and almost mean, took an understanding and sorrowful attitude towards me. It was almost like my father’s suicide had touched the whole school and made some of the most basic human feelings surface and people were projecting them to me. I would learn more about projections when I would become a known musician 15 years later, but that is another story. It felt good to have that kind of attention because I had of course,
witnessed events that nobody should see. I understood somewhere deep inside of me how horrible those events had been. How brutally violent. So violent that my 12-year old mind could not comprehend such things from my own parent. In the summer of 1978 I felt that melancholic loneliness that would become a big part of my character later. I spent the entire summer alone, leaving my home when I woke up and returning in the evening. I spent a lot of time by the sea… in that same place where I would later go after my nervous breakdown. I would just sit there and look at the sea and feel this huge emptiness that I could not even connect to my father. I felt completely and utterly alone. Sometimes I would fish and I took whatever I caught home to my mother. I spent a lot of time in nature as well, just wandering and paying attention to the details of it... to the different kind of fish I saw in the forest river, or shiny leaves of
trees after the rain. I felt so at home in the nature. I guess I sensed no danger in there. I really had started to withdraw from the human race. Deep in me I must have decided that human beings are unpredictable and not trustworthy, and yet I must have understood that I would have to deal with them in the future anyway. These were big questions, big thoughts for a 12year old boy. That summer was also filled with ABBA and the Beatles. When my mother went to work I remember sometimes staying at home and crying about the loss of my father. It was the helpless crying of a 12-year old boy, who was caught in the web of a spider and could not escape, except into music and nature. Not many things have changed. It is still the same today for me. One of the days when I was alone at home I was playing an organ that was there and I remember I was crying while I was playing. This must have been just a few months after my father’s death. I came up with a melody that
every Stratovarius fan knows. I had Finnish lyrics to that melody that I was singing and playing with that organ. They were: ”Why did you leave me daddy, I love you.” The melody is now the beginning of a song called “Destiny”, sung by a 12year old choir boy from Cantores Minores… the same choir I was singing in. “Destiny” was recorded 20 years after that. It was the first thing I ever composed in my life, although I was not aware that I was “composing”. I was crying and playing and in the future my music would have a lot of sadness in it. Then at the end of that summer of 1978 we moved to a new place that in English would be called “Bird Forest”, translated directly from Finnish. It was some 40km from our previous home and it was a new start. It was truly a beautiful place in the middle of the Finnish countryside. It had a swimming pool outside and I had my own room. It had a wonderful view. A huge old birch tree was just a few steps from my window, lowering its leaves
beautifully over my window and giving me that nature-like feeling. I had my aquarium there, the one my father had given me as a birthday present one week before his death. I loved my room. Yet I did still withdraw from everybody, keeping my door closed. I explored the surroundings of my new home and found many places I liked. I remember being very often scared at nights without any particular reason. The fear was in me. I remember being very scared of something. I had dreams in which I was flying high above the world and then suddenly I started to fall. I fell very slowly and reached the ground and I remember really feeling my feet touch the ground in the dream. It felt so real. At this point the horrible events that took place some months or a year ago were pushed out of my consciousness. I am sure they were affecting me and my life, but I was not aware of them directly. Perhaps that fear was one of those things. I didn’t cry anymore, I felt more of a
melancholic longing, as I call it. But that emotion had no object. I did not feel that I was longing for someone. I just felt like that. I had no friends. Then I heard there was a new student coming to my class that had moved from Lapland to another village near the Bird Forest. His name was Mika. He played piano and we became friends very quickly. It felt like it was meant to be. His parents were overly religious and later he told me that he had been beaten up many times when he was younger and he often talked about God and religion, which at that point did not interest me at all. I remember thinking that he must be just telling the things his parents had repeatedly told him. But since he kept those to a minimum, it was no problem for me. We played together. I had my acoustic guitar and he played the piano. I still remember the first time we played together in his home. It felt so good. We started to play at the end of the year school parties and other places as a duo. We were
playing cover songs, mainly what the people wanted to hear. We had a lot of fun playing together. Later on he would become the first keyboard player in Stratovarius, some seven years from that time. Then I heard a band called The Shadows, which was playing some kind of instrumental music but with electric guitars. I really fell in love with them. Their music was beautiful and exciting. The melodies were excellent and memorable. So I asked my mother if I could have an electric guitar and so in one day we went to this shop in Helsinki, and I got my first electric guitar and a small amplifier. The guitar brand was called Aria, but I don’t remember the amplifier. I started to learn songs of The Shadows and very soon I could play along the records. Music filled my life and it filled something else too, a huge void inside of me. It gave me an identity. I played all the time. So the first three important groups for me were ABBA, The Beatles and The Shadows. Then one day my radio
was on and I heard something that was going to change my life forever. I heard “Smoke on the Water” of Deep Purple from the radio. That riff was so magical that I could not believe it. I had never heard music like that in my life. I became completely obsessed with Deep Purple and Rainbow, particularly with Ritchie Blackmore. He became my idol. He was my biggest hero. I inherited some money from my father that I was supposed to get when I would turn 18. By a special arrangement, my mother got enough money from that inheritance and bought me a Fender Stratocaster. It was silver colored. I think I was 14 years old when I got it. Soon my days were completely filled with music and guitar playing. I remember having a summer job in the family business, the same one where my father was fired, and that I was transporting things people bought from the store to their home with another guy who was driving this small truck. It was a heavy job because I had to carry heavy refrigerators and washing machines
to buildings that had no elevator. Those things were very heavy, although two people were carrying them. But I got my own money and I bought a new stereo system and a better amplifier for my guitar. I was basically in 7th heaven. I started to take guitar lessons once a week. They were mostly jazz and things I didn’t really like. But I learned some music theory and other styles of music. I was still playing with Mika in different places as a duo, only that I had an electric guitar now. I played J.S. Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in d minor” in church and I remember seeing my photo in a local newspaper, praising my playing. I played the same composition at the end of the semester school party with some 500 people as my audience. And I remember clearly that I was not scared the least bit. It doesn’t take an Einstein to conclude that guitar gave me an identity I never had. It was my life boat. I told my deepest secrets to it and it responded by being faithful. It was something I needed because of my earlier life
events. I did not really have an identity until I found a guitar. I would later notice that even guitar would not be a true identity. That a flower can grow through asphalt and the same applies to human beings and what we carry inside. But in the Bird Forest I grew up in the middle of music and nature. I have fond memories of that place because that is where my musical career basically started. My days were filled with practicing, playing and listening to music. Going on nature trips and taking care of my aquarium. I read lot of books by Kondrad Lorentz that were about animal behavior and territoriality. I found the animal behavior not much different from human behavior. My favorite TV series was “World War 2”, which I watched with disbelief. I learned about Adolf Hitler and how many people were killed and why. It did not reinforce my faith in humanity. I could not understand how 80 million people could be killed and why. It did not make any sense to me. I could not understand
the concept of “borders” that exist to prevent countries from attacking other countries… basically. And yet they did anyway. So these borders had to be “protected”. And this meant a thing existed called the army. What I did not understand at that point was that why people agreed to protect those borders. I had not heard of nationalism at that point yet. I was really starting to have a very bleak view of humanity as a whole. In December 1980 one of my heroes, John Lennon, was shot to death in front of his home. I remember that I was at school when this happened. I could not understand this and I remember how bad it felt because I was a huge John Lennon fan and still am. He was shot coldly in the back with his wife standing next to him. Twentysix years later I would visit this place in New York when I was on tour. I stood there and was thinking about what happened to him right there and then. He had done his last interview just hours before the
assassination. In that he eerily had said: ”What does it mean when a pacifist gets shot?”. I visited “Strawberry Fields” park next to his home and saw the concrete “Imagine” plate and hundreds of people gathered there singing and playing his songs. At some point I found some people that were interested in a similar kind of music that I was and we formed some bands and did some gigs too. I think it was as early as 1982. One of those bands was called Roadblock and the original Stratovarius drummer Tuomo Lassila was singing in that. One of the bands was called Thunderbird. We played mostly covers and my songs which were mostly Rainbow pastiches. I found out that girls are much more interested in you if you play in a rock band. Or maybe they are interested in your image. I wasn’t very much interested in girls before, mainly because I was so shy. I remember when I was around 15 that some girl, that I did not know, called my home and asked if
she could visit me. I was stuttering something like yes and she came. I still remember her. She had a long blond hair and she was kind of short. I was very tall at 15 already. She came in and sat on a couch, and I sat on a chair opposite of her having a pillow on my lap. I remember being completely out of my territory and did not know what to say or do. She said to me that: ”You don’t talk much” to which I responded: “I guess I don’t”. Then she explained to me that she always saw me alone at the bus stop every morning when we went to school and that she felt sorry for me being alone. I don’t remember ever seeing her before. I put some music on and I even remember the record. It was “The Wanderer” by Donna Summer that I sometimes listened to. She left after sometime and we hugged and kissed at the door. That felt nice. It was my first kiss. I never saw her again. Then in 1984 I got that phone call to ask me to join Stratovarius and I accepted. I had found an even
bigger identity. Around 1986 Mika joined Stratovarius as well but he left just before we got a record deal with CBS. I still don’t understand why he left. It was some vague reason. I did not see him for ten years but we got in touch again around the time I entered therapy and stayed in touch until the summer of 2005. In that year he had tried to commit suicide by driving his car to another lane. He was committed to a mental institute. I remember calling him there. I sent him a CD player, music and books. He sent me very confusing letters where he wrote that “he wanted to dedicate the rest of his life to serve God,” and things like that. It sounded to me the same things he was telling me when we were 14. When he got out, he moved back in with his parents. I was on a holiday in Dubrovnik in the summer of 2005 when I got a text message from him that just said: “How are you?”. I never responded to that. Now I wish I would have. One week after that he jumped from the balcony of his parents’ home
and died immediately. My friend was dead. I was not invited to the funeral and I haven’t been able to even visit his grave. It is too painful. He was an extremely sensitive guy that was deeply wounded by the thorns of life, or more likely thorns of certain human beings. And although he was a world class keyboard player that was playing all the time, he always considered himself a nobody. And when that part of him got a hold of him, nothing could have saved him anymore. I don’t have any doubt whatsoever in my mind that if he was alive today, we would be making music together. One day I will have the courage to visit his grave. I miss him so much.
GUITAR, MUSIC, FAME AND GLORY The headline is intentionally provocative. The first two words are real. The following two are not. When I really started playing guitar, it gave me a real sense of identity.
What I did not realize was that it was a very lonely identity nevertheless. Identity can only be complete if you have self-respect and you accept yourself as you are as a human being. And I was very far from that. My identity was largely based on mimicking other players and their styles but I was very far from creating something that would really reflect who I was. Writing music is not a conscious process for me. In the early days it was of course more about practicing and practicing or having similar clothes as Ritchie Blackmore. The word practicing sounds unnatural to me in the context of music. It sounds like it should have something to do with sports. Of course later when I did start to learn a bit about who I was, I could let the music flow more freely. It is one of the most difficult things to do. To switch your brain off and let the music flow. I did a series of Music Seminars in 2009-2010 in South America and in Europe concentrating on this aspect of
music and playing. Based on my experience, this is not taught in music schools or in guitar lessons. And unfortunately, it is very hard to teach. But not impossible. We are human beings and we all have feelings and emotions. They connect back and forth with music. Therefore it is natural that music has something to do with emotions. And yet, nobody was talking about them. It was always just: “How can I learn to play as fast as you?”. Guitar playing has, in my opinion, nothing to do with scales. It is not mathematics. It is not mechanical. I do know that everybody plays guitar or any other instrument exactly identically to their character. And if you are not aware of your character, that is, who you really are, you cannot be in touch with your emotions and fully express yourself through your instrument. As my band Stratovarius started to get more popular and I got to tour around the world and play in front of thousands of people, I learned about fame and glory. In those days it was
very easy to get confused because everybody was calling you “god”, “master” and all sorts of other glorifying words. Only later I realized what all those things meant. It is a very dangerous thing for a person to fall into the trap of fame and glory. There are a lot of sad examples of what can happen if you truly start believing that you are a god. There are lots of egos in music and in the music business. I have learned that being a musician has really a lot to do with being an entertainer. It could be something you are born to do. Or it could be that your life events just in a way guided you to that direction. Being an entertainer might sound weird, but to me it means to show up to some place where there are people who want to hear you and see you play. And that it is an exchange of energy between you and these people, and that you really are a servant. You are there to serve these people and raise them up with your music and playing. So being a musician and an entertainer means ultimately to express your true self
through music and it means to serve. I do not mean that I am writing my music to please certain people or groups of people. If I would do that, I would be just fake. I would be lying to myself. It means that when I am composing new songs, I disconnect myself from everybody, which in my case is relatively easy, and really go deep in me and just let the music flow. I just let it be born because it wants to be born. I don’t spend countless hours waiting for the inspiration because I compose from my source. It is not an act of will, it is more listening than playing. It is more receiving than recording. It is at that point something that belongs only to myself and to nobody else. It is a very intimate process. Then later when that music is being recorded and other people start being involved, it largely depends on those people and their level of awareness, on what kind of record it will become. This is something that I have struggled a lot with. Egos disgust me. I have one myself, like everybody, but the difference
nowadays is that the ego hasn’t me. But it is very clever and it whispers into my ear every day all kinds of things. I have learned to distinguish its ugly voice and a few times it has tricked me in a really bad way, but I have learned my lesson and it will not happen again. When I am writing this sentence, I feel fear inside. It is my ego. I have played close to 3,000 shows during my career. I have met a lot of people and been to over 60 countries. I have seen a lot of cultures and how they vary from each other. And yet, the most memorable moments during my career have conversations with fans before or after the shows… when they are scared and kind of sensing if it is okay for them to come and talk. Of course there are a lot of really arrogant people as well and things tend to get out of hand when there are lot of people, but sometimes I have really had a lot of really touching conversations. A father with his two sons who both played guitar asking questions and
wondering how could I spend an hour talking to them and not knowing that they gave me much more than I was giving to them. A guy who was heartbroken because his girlfriend had left him. Inviting him on stage to sing (he was a singer) listening to him after the show and talking with him made him feel like he was accepted and that at least somebody was listening to him. He was moved to tears and so was I when I watched him singing, his eyes closed. Those moments don’t come back in your career and it is in those moments, at least for me, when you find the true meaning of being an entertainer. A musician. A human being. Being famous means that you have a lot of power over certain people. This power can be used and channeled in many ways. When it is used in a positive way, it really can save lives. I have received over the years hundreds of letters from people who write how my music has saved their lives and given them hope and the will to go on. Those kind of words make me very humble
because I don’t really feel I can take the whole credit for what I am doing. Some, but not the whole. My ego would be there immediately to accept the medal and shouting “Hurrah! Hurrah!”, but he has to stay under lock and key and he doesn’t like that. But that is the way things are. There was a time when I woke up in my bed in a tour bus, my cheek in my own vomit on my pillow. I had been crawling to my bed and vomited. It was everywhere. Most shows from 1996 to 2003 I played completely drunk. And of course the drinking continued after the show until the morning. Now I haven’t touched any kind of alcohol for five years and I don’t miss it at all. I feel much clearer and playing feels different. It is hard to express emotions when you have ten beers in you. So of course, the “god syndrome”, happened to me too. But due to a series of life events, I had to make certain choices and decided what is really important. I was scared to death when I played
my first gigs without being drunk. I felt like a fish out of the water, although the reality was exactly the other way around. I felt really strange. I felt naked. But I felt. And I realized that I was really feeling things when I was playing without alcohol. For me, it meant a complete change both in my playing and in my being. And it was then that I started to realize what it meant to be a musician and an entertainer. And I haven’t looked back. I do feel blessed with the gift of music and everything that it has given to me. It has been quite a long road, and yet now when I am writing this, in a strange way I feel like I have come home. From where I started.
WHERE DO I BELONG? I have never felt that I belong. A sense of belonging to something or somewhere is very important for human beings they say. I once was, on those rare occasions, in a party where ten Chinese people were
eagerly talking to each other. I was sitting on a couch and watching this. I tried to take part to the conversation but anything I said felt really idiotic to me. Now notice that these Chinese people were in a Finnish home invited by a Finnish couple. So this did not happen in China. These people looked so happy and alive when they were talking. They were smiling and moving their hands a lot when they were speaking. Suddenly I felt sadness. I felt sad that I could not be like them. That I could not just take part in the conversation happily. That I could not be like a normal human being. That I did not belong. Instead I sat on a couch and did not say a word. I can act the part very well. I can do the act of socializing but it is extremely energy draining because it is basically acting and not being who I really am. I was once talking with my therapist about being a hermit and that I did not want to be one my whole life. He said to that: ”But
what if you are?”. Slowly it dawned to me that I had isolated myself because I felt that I did not fit anywhere. I felt like E.T. and I wanted to go home. Except that I had no home. Home is not just a place or a building. It is not an easy realization when you understand that your core being is very isolated. And that you don’t belong. Of course I can intellectually understand why it is so. But that doesn’t help a least bit. But could it be possible to accept myself as I am? With everything I have in me and still accept myself as a worthwhile human being? I believe the answer is yes, but it is not an easy yes. It is a long struggle through a desert where many times I have thought that “this is the end”. I cannot anymore. But I have kept going and I have started to see little green patches. I have met a few people that have given me hope. I have even met a family that has a mother and father with six children. I spent a weekend with them and I could not believe that
there was absolutely no fear present in this home. It was a great experience for me and when they took me to the airport I thanked them and told them that they probably did not understand what they had given to me. I said to them that they had given me hope. I have lost a lot of people when I have had the courage to be myself. When you have a fight with someone, very few people have the understanding to take a look at the mirror and see and also acknowledge their part in the fight, separation, or in a divorce example. Nothing happens suddenly. Everything happens as a result of some kind of process. How many times you have felt that you have been treated really unfairly in your life by some people? So much that you have started to hate someone. But have you ever given some thought to the possibility that you have overlooked your own role in the whole scheme of things? Very few people are mature enough to do that. And yet that, for certain, is a sign of a healthy personality. To always to ask first: ”Wait. What is
my role in this? What have I done to make this all possible? Could I have done something differently?. Could this be my fault as well?.” Next comes a horrifying thought: “Could it be possible that I belong to myself?” I have never thought of that before. And yet, it is so simple. To whom else could you really belong? I haven’t usually had the courage to even be myself in a public place. I have always had some kind of a role. I have been acting. I love to give people advice that I cannot follow in my own life. When my ego manages to surface without me understanding that it is in control, it usually plays a “wise man” or “guru” or something. But to belong to myself? What would that mean? I guess it would mean to fully and wholly accept who I am, accept my whole story and forgive myself and ask for forgiveness from all those people I feel I have hurt. Now this could be difficult because as I wrote that it almost always takes at least two to tango. So you might end up asking for forgiveness from
someone that has hurt you really badly as well and not at all having the understanding of doing so. But ultimately this is not about the other person. He has his own struggle ahead. This is about you. So you are asking for forgiveness partially because of yourself and because you feel you have hurt or mistreated some person. Partially this is what I have done. But it is not easy. Selfrespect and self-love come from acts. They are not things you can do with your will. You either respect and love yourself or you don’t. And if you don’t love and respect yourself, I think it is very hard to love and respect anybody else either. In many of my long depressions I have felt enormous amounts of selfhate and despair. I have felt weak. In society, admitting that you are weak is considered ridiculous. And yet, in my opinion, most people who appear strong are in fact quite arrogant and not strong at all. They just act the role of being strong. They love to talk a lot, and mostly
about themselves. They do not ask questions of you and if they do, they quickly turn the discussion back to them. In my opinion there is only one way to a strong character. That is to become weak first. That is to become humble. It is another thing that is not an act of will. You cannot command yourself to be weak or strong. You must understand the path of your own life, what was done to you, mourn whatever it is that you have lost. In my case it was my father, basically most of my lost childhood and a number of other things to this very day. And yet I know that in those moments when the fear has driven me on my knees and I have suffered enormous amounts of emotional pain and sorrow, it is in those moments where I ironically become strong. It is a slow and painful process but it is happening. Life seems to be full of paradoxes and this is certainly one. How can you become strong by becoming weak? Paradox as it may be, in my opinion this is true. And when you are on your knees feeling your whole essence and your whole
pain, you start to understand other people better as well. It makes you more humble and more tolerant. And never forget that diamonds are born in extremely heavy pressure.
HUMANITY Albert Einstein once said: ”There are only two certainties in the universe: the stupidity of human beings and the infinity. And I am not sure about the latter.” I have always written music about the universe, love and spiritual questions. I have done so because I have felt like doing so. I do not know why. Ever since I was a teenager I have been interested in the destructiveness of human beings. First watching that “World War 2” TV series. Then witnessing the horrible events in my own family and later understanding my own destructiveness. And finally, understanding the whole scheme of things. How things really are on this planet. It always amazes me when
some people talk about that we have to save the nature. Nature is much more powerful than we can ever understand. I believe that there existed five or six cultures on this planet before us… a long time ago. And they all perished because of their own actions. Our present culture has really existed only a few hundred years at the most. We have developed all kinds of things to ease the every day life. We have sent men to the moon. We are exploring Mars and the outer territories of the universe. We know a lot of things but we cannot explain them. What has always amazed me is how little the human being itself has been studied. The marvelous mechanisms of human body have been studied. But the behavior and the destructiveness… have they been touched? Why is it such a taboo to study the reasons why eight million people were killed in concentration camps just 65 years ago? Why is it a taboo to study the mechanisms that were operating when Hitler came to power and what happened in the whole Nazi movement? We know
what happened, but do we know why it happened? Nobody seems to ask the most important question which is: ”How is it possible that it happened?” Because those very same mechanisms are still operating among the six billion people on this planet. And those mechanisms serve a certain group of people that are aware of them. As you know by now, my view of humanity is quite pessimistic and bleak. We don’t really want to know about these things. We need to fix our car. The grass has grown too long, it’s time to grab the lawnmower. We have to play poker tonight. But as it happens, the time is running out. In just 100 years the so called “industrial revolution” has managed to cause unbelievable destruction for this planet and to its citizens. If you look at the world, it is neatly organized and very controlled. But you don’t really see it. And you are not supposed to see it. Or at least understand it. You are supposed to play poker and fix your car. As I wrote before, the planet is
divided in regions that are called borders. Once there was a time when there were no borders. We did not have passports before World War 1. The borders were established later and the land inside these borders is called a country. And within a country exist its citizens living various kinds of lives. And these citizens very often form a unit called a family. And that is the place where the whole thing starts. When you are born into this world you are white as snow. Tabula Rasa. I resist the temptation of going into the debate wondering if we have what they call “a spiritual DNA” that is supposed to determine our future. Nevertheless, you are born free from everything that the industrialized revolution represents. And that is: family, school, country and religion. Each one of these is serving a certain purpose to produce obeying citizens to the country. The church and religion are losing a lot of people nowadays but the nucleus family and the country remain untouched. Again I am quoting Albert Einstein here.
“Nationalism is an infantile sickness. It is the measles of the human race”. Strong words coming from a man who won the Nobel Peace Prize. I am trying to look for the reasons here. The family usually consists of a father and mother, who also grew up in a similar environment. So it is likely that the way their children are brought up is similar to the way they were brought up. It is my firm opinion that this is where the problems start. It is simply that most parents do not know how to raise their children in an environment that provides safety, but has limits. Instead, mostly fear and punishment are used to control the child, to make him obey. And this ultimately leads to the very thing that will produce obeying citizens and gives therapists so much work. But children are wise and strong. They do not give up easily. But the machinery is ruthless. And at some point the children have no choice. They will lose their true identity and develop an identity that fits into the conditions. But it is a false identity.
It continues in school, where competition really starts. You are being measured by numbers and you are being taught history so you know how things have been. Nobody is really interested, but you have to. What happens if you resist school? Your parents will force you to go there. What if your parents do not force you to go to school? Then some part of society will quickly come, probably some social worker, and start investigating if there is something wrong with you or what would be the right place for you if not the school. Why isn’t anybody asking the obvious question? Why do there have to be mandatory schools to begin with? What purpose do they really serve underneath the surface of “Napoleon did this and that?”. I think many children are aware that something is wrong and start rebelling against the whole system. But it is in vain. So they adapt. Slowly but surely. A school system that is not based on competitiveness and that would
take into account individual children and their uniqueness would be much better. But that would the produce wrong kind of citizens to the society. “Fight for your country”. “Defend your Fatherland”. A country is the most powerful system and it is usually tied to the church and religion. That can be a powerful combination. “God protects our country”. Here again we find the borders. To me, I have always considered myself not as a Finnish person but as a citizen of Planet Earth. There is no land or piece of land I am “prepared to die for”. But the nucleus family and the school have paved the way for children to become part of the machinery called a country. And the country is the same as the society. It is not possible for nationalism to exist if there were no countries. But at this point most people are already “proud of their countries”. They have become a part of the system. Some people complain about the system. Some loudly, some in a
more quiet way. There are still countless wars going on in the world as I write this. There have been the two most devastating wars in the history of the whole mankind in the last century. There are no signs that the human race has learned anything at all from the past. Instead, it looks like things are getting more and more violent. Genocide has been happening in the last 20 years as well. And it is happening right now as well. The same mechanism that voted and supported Adolf Hitler is still very much alive and operating here on planet earth. And people are more and more scared. Nobody knows what will happen in the future. Except that it is not so difficult to predict. It is just that we don’t want to know. The churches in their different forms all claim they represent God’s power manifested here on earth. With various different stories and dogmatic beliefs they have a lot of followers on this planet. We humans
have always had the need to believe something higher or worship something. Some people don’t care, some people dedicate their entire lives to different forms of religion. I have posed a question in one of my songs, what would happen if there would be no religion? If there would be no God? If there would be no military forces and weapons. No racism, in whatever form it takes. These are of course just hypothetical ideas, and yet what would the world be without these? One of the things that I dislike the most in religion is the presence of fear in them. It is mostly hidden in a very clever way, but fear is used by both society and the church. And it is used to control. When you are scared, you obey much better. And the more scared you are, the fewer questions you ask. In some religions the afterlife is divided into heaven and hell. And your deeds during your stay here on earth determine which place you go. But basically all the religions tell the same story. They are just in different forms and have differently named gods. I don’t
want to go into details about different religions. My point here is only that they usually serve the needs of the society or each particular country they happen to spread. Then there are people who are atheists. Or people who believe in New Age kinds of religions. There are people who call themselves spiritual. You name it, it is right here on earth. And yet, there are so many different beliefs and systems. Why are things getting worse and worse? Shouldn’t they be getting better? Half of the world’s population lives with less than two U.S. dollars per day. Every day, over 20,000 children die of hunger and completely treatable diseases in Africa. Every year, 800 billion U.S. dollars are being used for military purposes in the world. One billion is a thousand millions. The figure is: 800,000,000,000 U.S. dollars. That alone is an insane figure. It is an even more insane figure when you think about the terrible poverty in which all those three billion people
live each day. How is this possible? How is it possible, that this kind of insane amount of money goes every single year to defense budgets and to weapon systems that are designed to either attack or to prevent one human being from attacking another human being? The command to start the attack or “defend the fatherland” always comes from a higher source of power and the capacity of any military force depends solely on how each country’s citizens view things. My opinion about this matter is clear. We do not care what is happening because we think that it does not concern us. But I say that it very much concerns us. Do we really have even the right to eat before every single child on this planet has food to eat and clothes to wear? What has happened to us? When did it happen that we stopped caring? Or have we ever? These are horrible questions and yet these are the very questions that come to my mind when I look at the factual figures and see how things are on this planet. These are not just some
imaginary figures. These are actual figures that are really true. So what to make of all this? What is going to happen to us? Do we have hope? The global climate change is a scientific fact. Only a few disagree about that anymore. And still, the governments and countries are doing little or nothing to change the course on which we are heading. The political decisions and cuts made to make things better are ridiculous. By the year 2050, Earth’s population will be around 12 billion people. This planet can sustain maybe one to two billion people. So once again Mr. Einstein comes into the picture and says it doesn’t take much to figure out what will happen in the next 50 years. Our need to control and exploit nature is contradictory to the reality that we could actually be part of nature. So once again, we will see events unfolding that planet Earth is doing. One scientist made an interesting point. He said that it is possible that Earth is a conscious entity and as a result of that, our actions, like all
actions, have their consequences. I am not joining those who praise the doomsday prophecies or seem to have some kind of joy about the upcoming events. I feel sad because I know the potential we humans have. I know how things could be. We really could make things right here. Right now. But when I look at the world as it really is, I don’t see that happening. So how could things be changed then? It could be that it is too late already. One thing is for sure... using violence against the structure will not help. Our countries and societies are there because we have built them. The change can only happen on an individual level. That means starting with you. Ironically, it can be said that the fate of the human race lies in the ability of the human race to see how things really are. And how we truly are and are programmed to think and act. If we are able to see the amount of programming, the structure of our societies and how they function, our destructiveness and start working
on our own character, then the change truly is possible. If every single person would do this, it would be a revolution like this planet has never seen. But the unstable conditions of the Earth prevent this from happening. It is hard to think about global climate change when you don’t have food to eat or clothes to wear. And since these basic needs will not be governed by the governments of the world, and this is truly on purpose to keep the instability, then the change on an individual level on the scale that would be needed is highly unlikely. So what remains is that we at least try. I thought a long time whether I should include this chapter in this book because I know very well that it is like giving a loaded gun to the critics. But I am not writing this with a “holier than thou” attitude. I really am writing facts. And the final reason for me to include this chapter in this book is that it is a result of almost two decades of thinking. First, seeing on an individual level, being very young, how your own parent can become
completely destructive. And then starting to think through things slowly on a larger scale and coming to these conclusions. These lines just have to be here because they represent a very large part of who I am.
TIMO, DOES GOD EXIST? This is the other subject that I hesitated for a long time if I should include in this book. And I came to a conclusion that spirituality is such a big part of me that I simply have to write about it. Along the years, perhaps because of my song lyrics, a lot of people have approached me and asked me various kinds of questions about God, the devil, hell, heaven… You name it and I have been asked about that. I don’t know how it is that all these people expect me to have the answers to their questions. How would I know? Whatever I know
about God or if He exists is based entirely on my own experience. How could that be identical to somebody else’s experience? I do know that the words “God”, “religion” and so on, mean nothing today. They have completely lost their meaning. Some people say that all these children are dying in Africa and God doesn’t do anything. It is because this “God” doesn’t exist! This kind of attitude makes God some kind of a vending machine that gives mankind what it wants. “Thy will be done” is another one I have never been able to understand. I simply cannot understand this kind of punitive God force that keeps his children in fear. It reminds me a lot of the parental figure that uses fear and punishment as a way to control. And that I simply cannot believe it to be true. I see a lot of different kinds of modern day gurus preaching about life and giving answers to people, all kinds of people telling the “future” and how it is going to be, psychics in their “sessions” scaring people.
What is common to all these people is, first of all, that they are all nonsense. And secondly that they spread fear and are dangerous. It is a big money making business and people want their answers. If you ever encounter a truly spiritual person, do you even recognize him? You don’t. You would never know. He doesn’t act the part, he doesn’t look the part. You just don’t know. These people are humble and would never hurt other people by “telling their future” or giving quick fixes to people’s life questions… because there aren’t any. Again, like everything else here, life, more than anything, is a process. I believe that spirituality cannot be taught or acquired by the means of knowledge. I don’t think it has anything to do with intelligence or knowledge. It is a journey. And life, more than anything else, is a journey, it is not a destination. There are some people that in their lives encounter enormously difficult situations and face enormous amounts of emotional pain. These
are people who are ready for the spiritual journey. It is a journey that completely takes over you and your life. It turns everything upside down and there are moments when you think that you will not make it. That journey means to step away from the common road to the road less traveled. And that road is the one you make yourself. It won’t be easy. You will give up many times. But you will always continue. No matter what, you will not give up. And one day, perhaps in three years, perhaps in ten, perhaps in twenty, you will see a forest. This forest looks particularly beautiful and yet somehow familiar. You go closer and you see somebody standing in the forest. The figure looks strangely familiar. You step even closer. That figure is you when you were a child, before your brainwashing and programming started. It has been waiting for you all these years because it is patient. This is the very hideaway you constructed for yourself when you could not bear the world and your parents anymore. But now, finally,
you have come home and you can take the hand of that little girl who is still very scared and you can show her that there is at least one person in this world she can trust… that you can be the parents to that little girl she never had. And you can tell her it will be okay now. In this moment, you have truly arrived to your core. That is the spiritual journey. But what about God you ask? Does He exist? This question is so utterly personal that I have never answered this question. My ego has. Many times. Spiritual matters are the special favorite for the ego. In that it can really shine and feel its ugly self importance. So instead of answering this question, I will tell you a small story. A boy was walking in the forest 200 years ago. He walked for quite a bit, further and further to the undergrowth. Suddenly he saw something lying in the ground. It was a clock, one of those old clocks that are exceptionally well crafted
manually. The boy opened the clock, and inside he could see the machinery that was operating the clock. It was perfect and kept the clock perfectly in time. The whole clock was a masterful piece of craftsmanship.
THE FUTURE: BACK TO THE BEGINNING Life goes on. That’s what they always say. But does it? Is it possible to carry on with all the scars and wounds? Yes and no. Forever I will carry some of them in me, unable to erase their memory. But maybe it is not meant to be erased. This is my life. For some reason they are part of it. And will be until the day I die. Maybe they have something to tell me. A message perhaps? If you could, would you change some things in your life that happened before? The answer is always: ”No I would not. I would not change a day”. But I would. I would
change many things that have happened or that I have done but I cannot. And some of those things come daily to haunt me. They are ghosts of the past reminding me of my life and how it has been. I cannot make them go away. I can only welcome them as guests of my life and look at them in the eye. Every day. Thanks to the medication I haven’t had a major manic or depressive episode in five years now. It gives me the ability to work and live a relatively normal life. So I carry on, wounded from the battle, but carry on nevertheless. I have a vague remembrance how life was when it was not a battle. That was a long time ago. I have traveled so far, learnt so many things and all I really have done is… I have come home. And that the more I know, the less I understand. Maybe life is not meant to be understood. Maybe it is meant to be lived. To each his own. From my own process I know that I have healed myself when I stop asking the question: ”Why?” Then I know I
have gotten far. I am aware of the things that lie ahead in my life, the hurdles and the obstacles. But I am not scared. I know life is made from those. Nobody ever said life will be easy. But sometimes I think it could be at least a little easier. I consider myself an extremely sensitive person. That sensitivity is everywhere in my art. And sensitivity and beauty belong together in some invisible way. I have been writing this book very isolated in the middle of the deepest Finnish forest in a cabin. This place is far, far away from modern “civilization”. There is nobody here. It is so quiet in here that the only sound I hear is my own inner voice. Different kinds of trees surround the cabin. The yard is filled with long uncut grass mixed with clovers. There are a lot of bees and wasps. The other day I saw a deer. This place is vibrant with life and colors. It breathes the mystery of life itself. And when you look at it more closely, it doesn’t feel like a mystery at all anymore. It feels
natural, like something I have forgotten a very long time ago. In the evenings I sit alone outside and watch the everlasting sky and stars. They look so beautiful it makes me cry. I feel a huge emptiness in this isolation and I understand that the isolation is in me. The outside world and universe is perfect. It tells me to participate in life. It tells me to hurry up, there is so little time. I try to tell it that I have already done so much and that maybe my time is up. But with a gentle smile on its face it tells me to go back. To the very beginning. So while I am looking at the Milky Way galaxy, our home, I go back to the time when I was young, when every single thing was a miracle. When I saw the world simply as it was, beautiful. When it gave me all I needed. But the universe tells me to go even further. To the time when I was born. Today is 3.3.1966 and I have just been born. I am looking at a person who looks infinitely beautiful with a
radiating face. She is holding me gently and looking me with a loving gaze. She looks so happy. After nine months and all the pressures I felt in that dark place, I have finally met my mother. I have arrived home.
AFTERWORD There have been many songs and poems on my journey that have given me hope and courage to carry on. I would like to share one of the dearest poems with you. I think it is impossible to live the way this poem teaches. But it truly has something in it that has helped, at least for me. If it helps you in the middle of your struggle, then I am very happy.
(Rudyard Kipling) If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you, If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too; If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or being lied about, don't deal in lies, Or being hated, don't give way to hating, And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise: If you can dream - and not make dreams your master; If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim; If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same; If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-andtoss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings And never breathe a word about your loss; If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!' If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, ' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch, if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, If all men count with you, but none too much; If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds' worth of distance run, Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it, And - which is more - you'll be a
Man, my son! -Rudyard Kipling
I want to thank you for reading this book. It is my first one and I haven’t thought of this as a literary masterpiece but simply as a way to partially tell something of my story.
The whole story is not possible to tell in a book. I wish you well. I hope blessings and truth will guide your path. I wish you luck and courage to stay on the path you have chosen. And above all, I wish you Love. Until we meet again. Timo
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