This Finnish Punk Band With Learning Disabilities Is Making History
The annual Eurovision song contest is known for being a little out-there when it comes to winners. But this year, the competition could prove to be more inspiring than usual -- that is, if the first punk band ever to make it to the final round takes home the prize during the event, which runs May 19 to 23 in Austria.
Pertti Kurikan Nimipaivat (or PKN) is a Finnish punk band -- comprised of members who all live with Down syndrome and autism. The stars of the 2012 documentary "The Punk Syndrome," the band's entry into the contest is titled "Aina Mun Pitaa (I Always Have To)" -- a jam all about how, basically, chores and being healthy and whatnot suck. I think we can all get behind that. Plus, it's the shortest tune ever to make it to the competition. Fast and hard -- perfect for the pit.
"It was our singer [Kari Aalto] who wrote the song and it’s his opinion about things," bassist Sami Helle told MTV News after one of their many practices before the contest. "He sings what’s close to his heart.
"We met about seven years ago," he said. "I met the guys and we came together and we started a band."
The band met at a workshop for adults with learning disabilities, and is partly using the contest as a platform for awareness. Since their formation, the guys have put out multiple records, containing songs about the experiences and sometimes disrespect they have faced in their lives.
Helle himself told us he wasn't originally that into punk rock -- he used to play jazz and is more into '80s hair metal than anything else -- but the band definitely has found as outlet with the short, brash, fast songs common to the genre.
And those songs have won them a serious audience -- it was the popular ballot that earned them their spot in the Eurovision song contest.
If they win, they will be the first Finnish act to do so since 2006, when Lordi -- a band that dresses as monsters -- took home the gold. The odds are currently 5 to 1 that they'll triumph -- which are pretty good.
"I think [we were chosen] because we’re just ourselves," Helle said. "We’re not trying to be something that we’re not. We just let the music speak for itself. We’re just playing and having fun. So far everyone loves us."
So what do the guys plan to do if they take on the prize come May? "Just party. Party hard," Helle said.
Richard Hell would approve of that.