Shitter Limited - Finnish "tabloid" punk
Most of Finns should be aware of Shitter Limited and their reputation in the field of uncompromising punk abuse and direct insulting of Finnish politicians, as well as multinational corporations, in their songs. When everyone and everything had been insulted, they even mocked themselves to the ground with the song 'Huonoa musaa' ('Bad music') on their last mlp 'Nyt ammutaan ministeri Pertti Salolainen' ('Now, let's shoot minister P.S.') in 1994.
Being formed already in 1979, Shitter Limited released their first mlp 'Anna pillua Helena Pesola' ('Give me pussy H.P.') in 1989. The band actually existed only in the beginning of 80's and appr. five years after the "re-union" in 1989.
They made a sort of "one-time-only" comeback gig in 1997's DBTL city festival in Turku, and that gig was released as a live album called 'Nyt tapetaan kaikki!' ('Now we'll kill everyone!'). This live album is less than 30 minutes short… Also, a compilation of band's material was released in the same year, surprisingly in English, called 'No more lies' to bring the fans in Finland and abroad the correct information about SL and enlighten the past of the band. These both albums were released by Miettinen's own label, Mefisto productions.
'Though now split up for good, the nasty remembrance of Finnish punk rockers Shitter Limited still lives on. I have always liked the band's attitude and scandalous releases, 'though I don't listen to punk at all and the idea of interviewing the band had been in my mind for a while. Then I heard that their guitarist/vocalist and the frontman, Miettinen, actually has lived in my home town for many years… I phoned to him and we agreed a meeting for a live interview in a bar in downtown Turku on one chilly Thursday evening. Let's see what this 36-years-old "living punk legend" had to say about Shitter Limited's scandalous and controversial existence, for example.
-I was 16 when Shitter Limited was formed, influenced by Sex Pistols, Cockney Rejects, Dead Kennedys etc. and wanted to make similar music. Of course my musical skills were not too good back then…, begins Miettinen and continues: I had, and still have, a strong urge to rebel and be not like others, so that was the driving force behind forming a punk band. Yet, 'though I looked like a typical punk that time, hair and everything, I have always been more a hippie than a punk.
We couldn't play any covers, so we had to make own songs.
So, what kind of situation was in Jyväskylä's punk scene back then?
-If was difficult to find musicians because they simply didn't exist. During the first years of band's existence in 1979-83 we didn't actually record anything official. We played a couple of gigs to a certain inside circle of few people and those gigs were quite horrible, I say!.
And so the band was put to rest for 6 years…
-We didn't have any special reason for splitting up in '83, it just happened. But, coincidentally I joined a band in '89 which had two same members with whom I was playing in Shitter Limited, and once we began to jam the old SL tunes just for fun, explains Miettinen.
-Then we thought, whatta hell, why not record the songs, and make a mlp that would certainly irritate everyone, he laughs and agrees: -Yes, it was purely made to irritate and insult, and I think we succeeded more than well.
The result was 'Anna pillua…'-mlp, with a title song telling about Helena Pesola, the minister of Health and Social Services (or something like that) in Finland at that time. The album cover showed a woman spreading her pussy with her face covered and the lyrics were simply to the point: "Helena Pesola is a whore (repeated several times) - Give me pussy (repeated several times)". Minister Pesola sued the band for public insult, and the band was this close from being accused in the court, when Miettinen sent an invitation to all important media representatives to arrive to see the trial. The contact phone number for further info was Pesola's… "Strangely" Pesola canceled the sueing, only a couple of days before trial.
Miettinen agrees with me with the fact that "all publicity is good publicity", and Shitter Limited is a fine example of this. -The tabloid headlines helped us more than any promotion, grins Miettinen mischievously.
-Actually the public sensation was a lot bigger than we had imagined. Of course we knew that that kind of material would not be left unnoticed, but we were really surprised and for a while we didn't know how we should react to the sensation, Miettinen recalls the fuss around Shitter Limited in the very end of 1989.
-Also, as I was older, I dared to write more extreme and over-the-edge songs; I knew why I had to rebel, on the contrary to my youth, he explains furthermore. At this point of time Miettinen had already founded an own sound engineering company…
Miettinen continues the rumour-ridden saga: -On the basis of our debut mlp even a radio show was made, dealing with the public annoyance that the mlp had created. "Experts" were interviewed, as well as some more or less famous musicians, yet no one bothered to interview me, for example!.
-The Finnish national radio station's program council received twice complaints about our song played in some radio shows, and our albums were marked as "be careful when playing these on air"-stickers, or something like that.
The gigs after the release of 'Anna pillua…' were stories of their own as well: -Once we supported Raptori (a shitty rap group in Finland back then) in Turku, we were even called back to play an encore, and after the gig guys in suits and ties came to ask for our autographs. When Raptori performed with a playback tape, people threw bottles at them!".
Shitter Limited played only a couple of dozen gigs during its existence. -On most of the gigs we had my company's PA equipment and an own sound engineer with us; he mixed our gig and I did the other bands' mixing, our hippiepunk explains.
In some gigs SL had also a male stripper on stage during the 'Pesola' song. Also in some other parts of the gig a real chainsaw was turned on by Miettinen. Coincidentally: -At one gig the male stripper was not supposed to do his show, but somehow he had come to see our gig. He was drunk like a pig, and when I started to wave around with the chainsaw, I didn't notice he was actually on stage as well, right behind me. It was very close that gig didn't turn to a bloodbath!, recalls Miettinen that night of real-life horror.
-A couple of times we also did a sort of etno-SL gigs in some middle-aged people's dance restaurants; we had nice suits on, sat on a tall bar chair and played our own songs acoustically. These gigs were actually the most profitable we've ever done - we got something like 3000 marks off each, 'though the restaurant/club owners weren't not that pleased after the gigs… They thought we'd be just another peaceful dance quartet playing familiar songs for those middle-aged losers, laughs Miettinen when telling about their "cash-in" gigs. One of Shitter Limited's songs tells about a certain Pekka Siitoin, a nazi "leader" in Finland. For some strange reason that song wasn't played at a gig where the majority of fans in the front row consisted of local skinheads… We didn't agree not to play '…Siitoin', it just wasn't played - was it unconscious instinct of self-preservation, I don't know…, Miettinen says.
The continuation to their scandalous debut release was another mlp only a couple of months after the first one, called 'Saanko nuolla persettäsi, Harri Holkeri?' ('May I lick your ass, H.H.?'). Holkeri was the Prime Minister in Finland back then. Almost unfortunately, this release didn't create such a stir, 'though something had to be censored: -The gig posters showing the album cover (a pig licking a man's arse) were banned by the government of the city of Jyväskylä, after several complaints by the citizens.
The second mlp included newspaper clips of the articles about Shitter Limited's debut, and the 7"ep 'Wanted Yrjö Pessi, released in the same year, included a song that "agitated to kill politicians' children", as one tabloid screamed in 1990. Mr. Pessi was the manager of a Finnish company Kemira, that delivered army material to countries in war, against all laws. Everyone got their share, and everything was killed, raped or humiliated otherwise. Nothing was sacred to SL, and the lyrics continued in the same merciless, tongue-in-cheek line as before.
But the biggest scandal was still to come… In 1992 Shitter Limited released an ep called 'Syö paskaa' ('Eat shit') with the McDonald's logo in the front cover. Of course, one song told about the quality food offered by this multinational company.
Miettinen tells: -At first everything seemed to go well, since almost all the records were distributed to stores around Finland. But, one of the first stores, Poko Records in Tampere, happened to locate right next to a McDonald's restaurant. So, the guys at Poko filled their window with our ep's to make them sell more, which wasn't liked very much in the restaurant next door… After having heard our song about McDonald's the manager of that local restaurant demanded the record store to remove all the ep's from the window. And as the store owner refused to do that, the manager bought every single ep from that store, laughs Miettinen.
But then, the Big Brother in the States heard about this "rebellion" against a mighty multinational corporation… The record company that released 'Syö paskaa' was forced to take back all the remaining copies of the ep from the distributors and destroy then under police observation. Only less than 200 copies were saved from the edition of 1000 ep's. -We went to a bit more dangerous level with each release, and this was our most extreme "fuck you!" to everyone and everything, ponders Miettinen about their "world conquering".
Sadly, only a couple of gigs after the release of 'Syö paskaa', Shitter Limited decided to call it quits in its original line-up. But yet one mlp was recorded, Miettinen being the only original member. In 1994, he asked a couple of friend, all professional musicians, to participate this project as session members: -There were not a single rehearsal before the recordings, I only sent tapes to my friend to another town with the simple song structures on them. I think they never listened to the tapes, though, grins Miettinen and confesses that it took "a lot more beers than hours" to record the last
Shitter Limited mlp, entitled 'Nyt ammutaan ministeri Pertti Salolainen' ('Now, let's shoot Minister P.S.'). 'Nyt ammutaan…' was released on Miettinen's own record label, Mefisto Production, which "is just a hobby and it's not an intention to gain big profits, only to get back my own investment", as Miettinen describes his label's goals.
After this release, without any bigger fuss, Shitter Limited's story was officially at its end.
Though, as said in the beginning, the band made yet one gig in Turku in the Summer 1997, and a live "album" was released of that gig later the same year. The release party of that album went like this: -We had a table and chairs on stage and just drank booze and played our own favourire punk etc. albums; not a single note was played live that night. The tickets cost 30 marks which actually was the price for any of our releases, except 'Syö paskaa', because it simply wasn't available, tells Miettinen about this "gig".
Nowadays Miettinen concentrates only in his work as a sound engineer (in Turun Audio-Tiimi, to be precise) and releases some stuff once in a while via his hobby, Mefisto Productions. -These days I hardly even listen to music anymore, not to talk about playing, since I hear so much live music all the time; I have mixed more than 1300 gigs since 1987…, explains Miettinen, yet reveals: -I think it's not completely out of question that Shitter Limited would be reunited some day for a gig or two, but that's not certainly my main interest at the moment. Though: -Of course it would be cool to play those same songs live once I'm 60 years old or something… heh heh…
Also Miettinen has a dream-not-yet-to-have-come-true: -I'd still like to make a song that would piss every one off so much that I'd be banished frist from Finland, then from Europe, and finally from this goddamn planet!!”.
I ain't yer baby shitter, man!!!