Published on May 8th, 2019

The 69 Eyes by Ville Juurikkala

Any band that can stick around for 30 years playing rock ’n’ roll has, at the least, earned the respect of their peers. It’s a milestone almost nobody reaches without internal combustion and line-up changes.

It doesn’t hurt the very dedicated members of The 69 Eyes that they’re from Finland, a part of the world that does bad-ass rock ’n’ roll better than most. Add the fact that the band has only gotten darker and creepier with every passing year, and one could see how they still appeal to people who love both Motörhead and the Cramps.

The 69 Eyes started out in Helsinki embracing Mötley Crüe, Hanoi Rocks and any other band that embodied what the band calls “goth n’ roll.” So, lots of tight black leather, long hair and, except for the umlauts, all the rest of the accoutrements. 

Nicknamed “Helsinki Vampires,” the Eyes leaned progressively harder into the goth part of its equation over the course of 11 albums including “Bump ’n’ Grind,” (1992) “Paris Kills” (2002) and “X, (2012) absorbing elements of the Misfits and the Damned — excellent choices, to be sure, if you’re going to be a serious goth rock ’n’ roll project. And the biker-greaser-vampire aesthetic fits with the trappings of a rock ’n’ roll band, since if they couldn’t shred they would be total cheeseballs.

Likewise, if these guys were American or British the schtick might be dismissed as sad, but the Finland connection is a boon. These bands from the Baltics and the North Sea area have a particular take that is all balls-to-the-walls riffs and unique tone. Turbonegro, the Hellacopters, HIM, the Hives and Refused embody what’s best about rock ’n’ roll’s best with style and unrivaled showmanship on record and in concert.

After the last 69Eyes album, 2016’s “Universal Monsters,” frontman Jyrki69a.k.a. Jyrki Linnankivi — spun off for a bit to sing on an album, “Black Parade,” by his compatriots, Finnish post-punk goth lords Musta Paraati. Now The 69Eyes are back on their game and bringing their goth-rock juggernaut to America.

The 69 Eyes play 8pm May 10 at Respectable Street in West Palm Beach with MXMS and The Nocturnal Affair. ~ Tim Moffatt

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