Jimi Tenor was born in 1965 as Lassi O. T. Lehto in Lahti, Finland. The resemblance to the youngest member of The Osmonds, Little Jimmy Osmond, earned him his nickname of Jimi in the early '70s.
Just like his older brother Marko, Jimi had a passion for music. He studied for many years at a music institute and can play flute, piano and saxophone; his skills were further implemented by his work experience as the saxophone player for various bands.
At 16 he was the youngest member of Pallosalama (Thunderball), an orchestra which used to tour Finland with a sort of Saturday night dance shows for older people. This act was very popular then and also appeared on the Syksyn Sävel (Melody of Autumn), a song contest on Finnish Television.
Later on he was part of the Pop-Rock group Himo (Lust) as a saxophone and keyboards player. In 1986 the band gained some success in the Finnish Rock Championships and released a self-titled album along with a few singles on the Amulet and Cityboy labels. Tenor was also responsible for the music and lyrics of a couple of the band's songs.
Other groups in which Jimi was involved in the mid-80s include The Cherry Pickers, Iloinen Poika Milloin (Happy Boy When) - a band founded by his brother - and... Shaman!
Jimi Tenor, circa 1987
Jimi Tenor and His Shamans were founded during 1986; this new project was an experimental evolution of the more ordinary Rock band Shaman. At the time, Tenor had recently discovered the Industrial sound of Einstürzende Neubauten and Test Dept., and - as a twist of fate - had accepted a new job in a mayonnaise factory.
Other members of the group were Ilkka Mattila (guitar), Toni Kuusisto (bass) Niklas Häggblom (trumpet), and Enver Hoxha (real name Hannu Mäkelä, atonal alt bass), with Tero Kling playing drums as an added member. Jimi was the lead singer, played tenor saxophone and - just like all the other members of the band - banged on empty oil barrels, a trademark of their sound both in studio and live.
Matti Knaapi, a graphic designer and inventor, allowed the band to embrace a more experimental sound helping Jimi to create special equipment in the form of self-built musical instruments bearing names like Vera (an automatic trombone), Sirkka (a man-sized mechanical drum machine), Melukone (a noise machine) and The Liberace (a peculiar-looking stainless steel object which is hard to describe).
In late 1987, after a series of concerts in Finland, Jimi Tenor and His Shamans were ready to debut with their first single "X-Rays / Still In Love", the subject of this post.
...no image adorns the back of the photocopied insert used as cover of this single...
Here's the track list for this 7" single:
01. X-Rays (2:58)
02. Still In Love (3:28)
Both tracks were remastered in October 2014 and are available in FLAC lossless format or high-quality 320 Kbps MP3 files; both formats include scans of the complete original artwork.
Please have a look at the comments for the download links.
"X-Rays / Still In Love" was released by the band on their own JTS / Shamans label with catalogue number JTS 2001, probably a reference to Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odissey" since the catalogue numbers of the other releases of their label hint at various science fiction movies and books.
The single is housed in a transparent plastic sleeve, with a photocopied insert available in at least two different background colours: my copy is red, the copy pictured on Jimi Tenor's own website is grey. Both the tracks were later re-released on the band's debut album "Total Capacity of 216,5 Litres".
"X-Rays" is an aggressive track that showcases assorted metal percussions, obsessive lyrics, funky guitar and horns, and a determined bassline. This piece aptly depicts the band's ability at combining Industrial paraphernalia with more accessible elements.
With its walking bass, Jazzier feeling and overall more relaxed atmosphere, "Still In Love" wouldn't make a poor showing in one of the albums that Jimi Tenor released on Warp Records in the mid-90s, although something sinister is still floating around in the form of repeated background creakings... Cooool song!
The following clips offer a preview of the remastered single, enjoy "X-Rays" and "Still In Love"!
More information about Jimi Tenor is available here:
If you have any other useful information about this post, or if you spot any dead links, just get in touch with me at stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you!