Column #22 - published June 5, 1999
!! FINLAND IS A
ROCKABILLY LAND !!
It was the end of the decade, the end of the 1970's, when all of a sudden a few fan letters start showing up from Finland. I didn't pay much attention to those Finnish letters since Rollin' Rock Records had been well received in Scandinavia, by which, until then, I was thinking of Sweden and Norway.
So, now Finland, ummmmh....., isn't that the place where the Laps fool around with the reindeers, and then lay back into saunas, and don't come out until they sweated away half of their weight?
The trickle of fan letters turns into a flood in a matter of weeks, and stays at fever pitch level for a few years. It didn't take a genius to figure out something unusual was happening!!
A fan letter from a Finnish kid. Typical of the avalanche!
Suosikki Top 20 popularity poll with Ray Campi at number 15, BEFORE any records had been released in Finland!
Next thing you know, K-Tel Records Finland, and other record companies, are calling me, in order to license my product over there, because apparently RAY CAMPI, without any record release officially out in Finland yet, has become a Top 20 Superstar!!
Check out the age of this fan mail!
A real cool rockabilly kid!
How and why did this happen, to this day I haven't been able to find out!!
How could he be selected Nr.15 in the yearly poll of Suosikki magazine (the most popular Finnish music magazine) for 1980, without having any record out in Finland at that time??? Maybe through airplay in Sweden or Norway, or maybe records were imported from England? I don't know. Very unique situation!
So I signed a licensing deal with K-Tel Records, and another deal with Rebel Records, and Rollin' Rock product is finally being manufactured and released in Finland.
Several Rollin' Rock Records race up the Finnish Pop charts competing with David Bowie, Donna Summers, Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Billy Joel, etc., etc.
A commentary on the concerts.
Next follow suit MAC CURTIS, JOHNNY LEGEND, JIMMIE LEE MASLON, JACKIE LEE COCHRAN, and other ROLLIN' ROCK artists! All my artists fly over there, and tour to enthusiastic audiences of eight to thirteen year olds!!
RAY CAMPI becomes a bona fide super star!!
Here is Ray Campi, a school teacher in his fifties from Van Nuys, performing in front of screaming 12-13 year old teenage girls half away across the world in Finland!
If I were to guess the average age of my fan mail from Finland, I would say 11-12 years old! At the same time the English fans were around 18-22 years old.
Check out this shot!! Ray Campi himself from the stage took this photo of the very youthful and enthusiastic Finnish audience of Rockabilly Rebels! Really a great pic which summarizes the whole Finland-Rollin' Rock extravaganza!
One of those Finnish teenagers was Pete Hakonen, who later founded GOOFIN' RECORDS, a very highly rated Rockabilly label, currently releasing my CD "NARVEL FELTS AT ROLLIN' ROCK: Those Pink & Black Days".
My dream of course is that one day, what happened in Finland in the early 1980s, will happen in America in the early 2000s!
Will I see this dream become reality?
Always Rollin' The Rock,
Rockin' Ronny Weiser,
The Rockabilly Rebel Westerner from Las Vegas, The Wildest West Possible
ROCKIN' RONNY WEISER - See his on-site Rockabilly HOF web page