The Toreadors was founded in the fall of 2008 and made few gigs. The band got properly started in the fall of 2009 when they started to rehearsal for backing up Mick Lewis of Whirlwind in January 2010 in Helsinki. After that gig we played few years as a Rockabilly Trio and backed up Nick Dadd and Mick Lewis of Whirlwind on their Finland gig.
After few years the band increased with a Saxophone player and a year ago with a Piano player, so the current line up is a quintet including Marko Lamminmäki on Drums, Timo Tarkela Saxophone and Vocals, Tomi Valasvuo Double Bass and Vocals, Hessu Pirhonen Piano and Tommy Dahlström Guitar and Vocals.
The Toreadors are active playing gigs and recording and sounding better than ever.
Band Member’s Biographies
Tommy, Guitar and Vocals
Tommy’s first contact with live music was in the beginning of 1970’s. Older guy’s rehearsed weekly British Blues in the shelter of the house. Tommy hanged there listening to the music. Sometimes drummer was late, and Tommy had a chance to play a little bit. The interest in playing drums woke up.
There was an acoustic guitar at home at that time, and Tommy played it a little bit, but the drums was the real thing on his mind and the desire to play was tough.
Hurriganes music and it’s LP Rock ’n’ Roll All Night Long got Tommy’s all interest. He got that LP as c-cassette. There was a Hurriganes Sunday gig for under-age kids at Tavastia in 1974 where of course Tommy was in the audience. Tommy knew exactly what he wanted to do after that gig.
The music of the film American Graffiti enchanted Tommy’s mind in 1975. The style, music and general atmosphere of 1950’s have been important until today.
His biggest source of inspiration is still Eddie Cochran. After him come other artists from the 50’s. The guitarist idols of Tommy are Albert Järvinen, Scotty Moore, Mickey Baker and Grady Martin.
The first own band was founded in 1974 ant the first gig was next year in private party. The first own drums he had as fifteen-year-old. 1978 he played also guitar at the same time in different bands. The most important, gigging and recorded bands are The Rhythm Hogs, The Midnight Blue Band and The Greyhound. The Flanders and aquick trip in Cosh Boys, and current bands The Toreadors and B. Cupp. Combo. The first love drums are his instrument in Gary Hiland Trio.
Rock’n’Roll is a happy thing and keeps you young, and that kind of person is his intention to be.
Tomi, Double Bass, Rhythm Guitar and Backing Vocals
Tomi’s interest in music began when he was nine years old. He was browsing his sisters Suosikki magazines and found Elvis in there. After a while the shelf was full of Elvis’ records and c-cassettes. His goal was to collect all of Elvis stuff. Later he understood that was mission impossible, but though he had a lot of recordings.
Piano guides changed to Elvis notes in piano lessons. His parents brought children’s acoustic guitar as a souvenir from Sovjet Union. It was totally shit, but he learned the first chords with that guitar.
In the seventh grade in woodwork lessons at school he built the first “real” electric guitar, another guitar very soon and then a guitar cabinet too. Guess who was the first sound engineer of the band? Band activities were ready to start.
The Rockabilly band called Backkick with five boys existed 1983 – 1985. Clearly it was backwater after Rockabilly boom, but there were still lot of gigs in different youth clubs and couple of times Rockabilly parties in Lepakko and warming Gene Summers’s at Pormestari.
When the band hobby progressed, the musical influences were changed to bands like Dr. Feelgood, Dave Edmunds, George Thorogood and the Melrose. Eventually the band was re-formed with a bit of a different band members and the vocal language changed to Finnish. Fortunately, the year in the Army saved them from this evil in 1988.
It was time to move the other side of the loudspeakers, among the audience. That started swimming in the deep waters. Fabulous Thunderbirds, Ronnie Earl, Blasters, Duke Robillard, T-bone Walker, Elmore James, Hound Dog Taylor, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Los Lobos and many, many more. He listened these bands for 15 years.
It was time to Tomi get the guitar back 2004. Much more tuffer Stray Cats, Hillbilly Casino, Restless, Reverend Horton Heat were played on the Tomi’s record board. It wasn’t so easy to do solos like Brian Setzer, Tomi changed guitar to double bass. It was instrument for real men, and there wass less strings in the bass too! With good advice and hard training, and results began to emerge and the bands were established. The Toreadors Trio. Million Dollar Tones, Buddy Gas & the Welders, Two Cats & the Doghouse.
Tomi has been playing for 10 years now in The Toreadors which is R&B oriented band with five band members. He is training in Tinkerbella & The Whistling Wolves rockabilly band and playing acoustically in jazz-inspired band called SlowDown.
Timo, Tenor and Baritone Saxophone, Lead and Backing Vocals
Music has played an important role throughout Timo’s life. He has been listening to music since a young child. When the 1970’s came his musical preferences began to focus on the 1950’s Rock’n’Roll. Every time he heard Rock’n’Roll it was specially fascinating. The movie American Graffiti and its soundrack was the last staple and external appearance of haircut changed to the 1950’s style. Hurriganes also had a significant impact. After that it was obvious that Rockabilly Boom of 1970’s had a strong influence on him and he focused on music as a hobby on very much deeper way.
Timo started playing guitar in 1970’s. When they started to play together in the band 1980’s Timo had an idea to bring Saxophone to their music. At that time he listened a lot of music like Bill Haley. Saxophone played an important role in that kind of music. He bought his first saxophone in the spring 1982. After that, Timo created his most long-life band project The Rhythm Hogs/ Dr. Snout and His Hogs of Rhythm. The band is still alive, even though in recent years the band hasn’t had gigs very often.
In 1990’s Timo played in the band called Silver Bullets which was leaded by Kekka. Around 2006 was established a band called The Relics, and he was one of the founding members. Pete Näsman is still another original member of the band. At the same time with Relics he joined the Duke and The Vikings lineup, which changed its name to Del Rays. Del Rays worked for ten years, but as a result of unfortunate events the band’s story ended at the end of 2016. After that Timo joined The Toreadors. First Timo was as a fill-in saxophonist, but he became a permanent member quite soon. Arsu Ahvonen asked him to join the band called Greyhound, which trains actively and performs sometimes.
Timo’s Musical idols are strongly present key artists from the 1950’s: Gene Vincent, Elvis Presley, Eddie Cochran, Fats Domino, Little Richards, Bill Haley, Larry Williams. Black shouters like Wynonie Harris and Roy Brown have opened the doors to black music. Timo also likes very much about vocal groups . He listens to Roots Music with wide scale from Country to Jazz.
Over the decades Timo has played all over Europe. He has been in USA with Hogs for the massive parties of Greenbay 2015. He has also been honored to play in the background of many artists. These artists are for example Jack Scot, Dale Hawkins, Larry Donn, Vernon Taylor, Bill and Sid King, Joe Clay, Hayden Thompson, Tommy Brown, Tommy Hunt (The Flamingos), Roddy Jackson, Nick Curran and Barrence Whitfield.
Marko, Drums and Percussion
Marko was fifteen years old when he started to play drums. His role models have always been Big Band, Jazz, Blues and Soul drummers. The most important names to him are Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich, John Bonham, Jeff Porcaro, Art Blakey, Bernard Purdie and Earl Palmer.
The main bands where Marko has played are The Toreadors, B. Cupp Combo, T55, Pasifix and Noidankehä.
Hessu has played piano since 1970’s. He has been band member of following bands: The Rhythm Hogs, Dr Snout and his Hogs of Rhythm 1990 – 1999, The Silver Bullets 1996 – 1999, The Del Rays 2012 – 2014. Current bands today are Dr. Snout & His Hogs of Rhythm since 2012, Fat Chance since 2014 and The Toreadors since 2017.
He has played gigs behind original R&B and Rock`n Roll artists like Jack Scott, Tommy Brown, Tommy Hunt of The Flamingos, Wee Willie Harris and Mike Waggoner
Hessu worked as DJ on the Radio Syke 1988 -1990 and on Radio ykkönen 1991 and still on Roll FM. He was DJ on the different clubs of 80´s and 90´s.
Old black Rhythm and Blues, Doowop and Rock and Roll, Ska
Home Town of the Band
Capital Region, Finland
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© 2019 THE TOREADORS, Website & Photos Anita Salmi