Rattus – Toilet Blows Up (1984)

June 16th 2014 – Mutha testpress

Rattus – Toilet Blows Up

Mutha Records ‎– Mutha 013 – 1984 – LP- RE – Testpress

This article started as a short text about this test press but ended as a full story on Finish hardcore gods Rattus including interviews with guitarist Jarkko “Jake” Marjamäki and Voitto “Vote” Vasko who was close to the bands for many years.

Few bands made the transition from punk to hardcore; Rattus from Finland is however a brilliant example; the 98 second trashy slammer ♬ Why Do You Want To Fight? (MP3 320 kbps) is a perfect example. Hailed from Vilppula in 1978 the band put out two seven-inches; “Khomeini Rock” (1980) and “Fucking Disco” the following year. In a transition into hardcore, Poko rekords released the 12″ “Rattus on Rautaa” in 1981. For sure a mediocre records, according to “Vote” Vasko the guys in Rattus call the record ROP or “Rattus on Paskaa” which means “Rattus is shit”. There is nothing as refreshing as a band which have self-distance!!! At that time they got Vote (P.Tuotanto) on their side and with influences mainly from the UK hardcore scene. Jake mentioned that the band supported the Exploited: It was in the winter of 1981. The guys in the band were really okay. I remembered that Wattie had his strong ego, kind of a “Really Nasty Boy – thing”. However he came along being a nice guy. After the show in Tampere the police showed up to pick-up Wattie for aggressive behavior, can’t remember how that ended! We are actually going to support Dead Kennedys when they played in Finland but the record label wanted another band, I’m glad to hear that Jello was not happy about that, he wanted Rattus to play.

The new Rattus can first be heard on the 1982 Rajoitettu Ydinsota EP which this site also has nominated as one of the most essential records in the Nordic Countries…[more]. Jake: It’s a good EP, considering that we recorded it in three and half hour. . An important influence for the band was Discharge. – Jake. We first got influenced by bands like Sex Pistols, the Clash and the Damned but they changed their style and became less rough. We are still young and got into raw punk. At some time we found Discharge and specially the Why? 12″. It was a very important record to me. When I heard it the first time it was like everything just blew-up. It was simple, aggressive, tight… Everything on that record is just perfect. The sound! Cal is in his best. So it gave us a new line to go on.


Image above: Rattus support the Exploited at Metsakyla in 1981. Photography by Voitto “Vote” Vasko

Fueled with the success of this EP the two brothers Jake (guitar & vox) and Tomppa (bass) together with drummer Vellu were ready to write hardcore history. Compared to many other Finnish bands (except Terveet Kädet) the band had spent enough time in the rehearsal studio to make ’em skilled musicians. Jake: Teveet Kädet was an excellent band we were good friends. “Ääretön tön Joulu” -EP was made for Poko rekords ‘cos I told the boss of the record label that they really should make a record with Terveet Kädet. I don´t even know if Terveet Kädet knows this. I think I mentioned it to Läjä at the time. On October 2nd and 3rd of 1982 the band hit the MSL studio where most Poko recording were done and 14 brand new songs were ready for the “WC Räjähtää” LP on Poko rekords. It was an absolute success when it was released in January 1983 – a trashy hardcore record, super tight and aggressive. Writing this article I realize that this is possible the best release in the LP format in the Nordic Countries.

Rattus-Lepakko- Helsinki-1982-S

Image above: Rattus at Lepakko in Helsinki 1982. Photography by Voitto “Vote” Vasko

Jake: It’s a good record – we also had Pushead doing the artwork for the album which makes it complete. We had at that time worked with Vote since a few years. He delivered all the Rattus abroad and he really supported us. It was him that made sure we could tour outside Finland.

In 1983 Jake wanted to concentrate on the guitar and Annikki took the position behind the microphone in March 1983. Jake: Annikki was my closest friend and “roadie” for Rattus. I asked him to replace my on vocals so I could concentrate on guitar. I didn´t like to be on lights at stage. I always preferred to be more like a player in the background. In the beginning I took the position as vocalist because no one else wanted to do it.. I hated it actually.

The same year the band did their first gig abroad, first out was Aarhus in Denmark (Saturday October 29th). At that gig Johnny Concrete of Dream Police got a copy of the record , a copy that currently sits in my collection, thanks Johnny. In 1984 thy band quickly recorded the “Ihmiset On Sairaita” EP, not released until ’85. Jake: Being ask which is my favorite record by Rattus, it’s a hard pick. I got to go for “Ihmiset On Sairaita” as it’s the tightest record we did, Medley is a good example.

More recording followed: “Uskonto On Vaara” LP, first released on Poko in 1984 and re-pressed in Brazil the following year with additional songs. That LP also came again with a cool Pushead artwork. The most known international release was the re-recording of songs that ended up on the Ratcage release of 1984. The band also made a 4 week tour the same year – busy year. Jake: We did a lot of work in 1984. The tour was made during our holiday from work or school. It seems like a lot of recording was done that year but we did frankly not spend much time in the studio.

As from the end of 1985 the band went into a metal period something that confused the purist fans: Jake: My opinion is that Rattus should have been quit after 1986. Tomppa and Vellu got into the new metal wave and started to listen Iron Maiden and Metallica etc. -whatsoever came out. I never was interested at all unless I heard Venom’s early stuff but also Metallica’s Master of Puppet. Those records were still quite different from other metal stuff. It was more punky and HC than just metal. And they really played fucking tightly at the time. No stupid digital studio tricks as every band does now. Anyway, Rattus took another guitar player who was pure metal guitarist. Nice guy though. But we did nothing good at that time moment. Not only the audience was confused, we were quite confused what we really were as a band. So it was natural that we quit very soon after.

Rattus live at Leeds, UK

Image above: Rattus playing in Leeds, UK – May 19th 1984. Photography by Voitto “Vote” Vasko

This version of “WC Räjähtää” was an attempt by Mutha records to release the album. Mutha was run by Mark “Mutha” Chesley who managed the Worst which was the first release on the label. Mutha focused first on bands from the New Jersey shore and some from New York. Much has been said how he dealt with business, never meet the dude, but few bands claim to have seen any cash from the record sales. According to Vote the master tapes and the artwork of “WC Räjähtää” was send to Mark “Mutha” Chesley but they never heard anything from him. Jake just vaguely remembers the story. Apparently some test pressings were made, the most credible number is that either 23 or 27 copies were pressed. These records got labels with the song titles in English despite that the songs are in Finnish. I have tried to investigate why Mutha 013 was never released. One story is that the pressing plant was raided for bootlegging and the masterdisk disappeared, but no-one can really tell the story. According to Vote they never heard anything from Mark. In the autumn of 2011 ten of these test presses surfaced eBay as a friend of Mark sold copies he had acquired from him. In the first auction the test press went for an insane amount but prices quickly dropped as the market got flooded. This is the evidence that there are a limited number of people in the work that are willing to pay top dollars for these records. The record did not come with a sleeve. It said that one sleeve was made which can be viewed on finnmusic.net

As I write this I ask myself, why I even own this record, it is really out of my scope. I collect first presses vinyl. This is technically a re-issue of the Poko release. I guess that a test press that never got releases is something a collector-scum like. But it is not the testpress of the first pressing. After some contemplating I will most likely sell this record if I get a ridiculous offer

Heritage: The Finnish hardcore scene influenced the South American scene. As I made a short interview with Fabio of the Brazilian hardcore pioneers Olho Seco he mentioned that the influences from Finland was very important. This much as Vote traded records with Fabio who had a record store and label called punk rock discos. The records were copied to tapes and bands like Ratos de Porão, Cólera and Inocentes all got there dose of trashy punk from Finland. In the book The Swedish Death Metal, the author Daniel Ekeroth argues that the extreme metal in Sweden had its roots in extreme punk. I believe that the vital Sao Paulo hardcore scene influenced bands like Sepeltura, Vulcano and Sarcofago. Max Cavalera has repeatedly mentioned that he listened to hardcore back in 1982 – 1983. I would not be surprised of Rattus was on one of all those tapes he traded back then.

Epilogue: Around the millennium Rattus started to play some festival show with the original 4-piece set up. A few releases were made including a split with Holokaust which got good reviews. The band played in times as a 3 piece and sometimes as a 4 piece band. The band toured South America and North America and Europe. I don’t think they made it to Japan however.. In 2011 Jake left the band and was replaced by Jouni Jopo Rantanen. Jake: My opinion is that Rattus never should made any re-union. In a way we ruined the reputation of the band. There is nothing we did better after re-union. The band became institution, conservative, harmless. Of course we did some really great shows and had good time, but we did nothing new. The re-union was based on the reputation of Rattus. I think the band got ill of the vanity of the legendary name. Me as well.. Asking Jake on this view on kids around the world wearing Rattus T-shirt, doing recording with old-school Finnish hardcore, even singing in the Finnish language he responds: Heh… well I always said that early Finnish punk/HC bands should have had medal from government ‘cos we spread Finnish language better than any other institution of Finland! And lots of people speak Finnish all over the world cos of it. At least the words of songs. I think it is wonderful. I don´t know how much kids really knows nowadays about the bands which T-shirts they are wearing. Could it be more like a style? I think so ‘cos back then there was kind of kids that were more into the style than the bands.

Jake today: Jake has a band called Ahneus which is trio as well. Jake: It’s was like starting all over with new guys and making new songs. The band is really tight. Check us out on youtube. I’m is also in a project with members which were the pioneers of Finnish -77 punk. A brand new thing and this summer I will spend time with this project.

Full LP: ♬ Side A / ♬ Side B (MP3 320 kbps)

Click on the images to expand them to higher resolution. The rips and images are from my record.


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