Whistle Bait was formed when a couple of boys from a small town called Hamina -Vesa Haaja (vocals and guitar), Vesa Tynkkynen (guitar), Juha Tynkkynen (drums), and Marko Mäkelä (bass) - joined forces in the spring of '84 and started a band. The Tynkkynen bros and Marko had had couple of bands before this, as The Ghostriders and Pink And Black. Soon after their first gig (May 1984) the band got a fifth member when Jarkko Ravi and his saxophone joined the crew. Now the music that had been pure 50's rock'n'roll and rockabilly slowly changed into jive and swingrock á la Bill Haley. During the first year the band concentrated on learning how to play their instruments and had a few gigs in Hamina. Their first gig away from home was in '85 in the Finnish capital Helsinki, warming up bands like The Rapiers, and from that day on Whistle Bait have been a familiar sight in clubs all over Finland. In '86 the boys went to the studio for the first time and made a 7-track demo. For the studio sessions, a piano player was needed, and this is when Kim Drockila stepped in. In '86 the band worked hard touring a lot and as a result of their growing reputation as a good up-and-coming band, they got a record contract at Goofin' Records and in the beginning of '87 the EP Whistlin' for You was released. That time WB also joined national competition for young pop bands of all genres and the result was a ranking for 2nd-5th place. The EP opened up more doors for the band and in '88 the single "Honeysuckle Jump" was released. By now their reputation had grown and the audiences had gotten larger. The band went on a promotional tour that included Sweden, Germany and Holland. In the summer of '88 the Finnish music magazine Rumba ranked "Honeysuckle Jump" as the 7th most sold indie single in the country. In '89 Whistle Bait recorded their first finnish single "Tiikerihai", which strangely enough still sells in Japan. By the end of '89 My Way Records signed the band and in the beginning of '90 the first full length record "Can't Beat the Whistle Beat" was released. That time Whistle Bait was also contacted by Roundtown Music booking agency (later Knox Ltd) and Whistle Bait began to tour widely Finland. The band toured at a pace that got to be too hectic for Jarkko Ravi, and by the end of '90 the saxophonist left the band. 1991-1992 Whistle Bait toured steadily, trying first to find new sax player but then decided to concentrate more into piano pumping/guitar twanging style.
In the summer the new Whistle Bait album What Happened to the Girl Next Door? was released on Bluelight Records. The record was highly praised by critics and the band got much attention in the media too. Encouraged by the positive critiques, the band went on a tour that lasted over half a year and included about 100 gigs!
On the 23rd of January 1999, sad news reached the band. Their bass player Marko Mäkelä had died. Marko's death deeply shocked the band, who always had been a close bunch of friends and through all times had considered the band a family business. After a stop for breath and some deep thinking the band decided to continue, as they knew Marko would have wanted them to. Whistle Bait found a new bass player, Lasse Sirkko, who also plays bass or steel guitar in numerous bands like Red Hot, Bloodshot Eyes, Saimaa, Heartworn, Tennessee Plates etc. With Lasse the band hit the road again with great success.
Through the years the band has had the pleasure of working with many other artists, for example, backing for legends like Ronnie Dawson (r.i.p.) and the queen of rock'n'roll, Wanda Jackson. During the early 2000's WB decided to bring also some old finnish rock'n'roll / teen stars from 50's back on the stage and has worked with Lasse Liemola, Pirkko Mannola and Rock-Jerry since. For that work they needed again saxophone player and they met a young guy, Juho Hurskainen. Juho has played and still plays in various groups. Juho's sax fit the Whistle Bait sound so well that they decided to add it in the regular group and in 2002 Whistle Bait was a 6-piece band again. The same year earlier the band had visited USA first time and played a show in big Rockin' Fest in Green Bay, WI. Whistle Bait has also done some tribute shows for the King – playing Elvis Presley's 60's obscure movie material.
The story of Whistle Bait continues as long as the van, the gear and the guys can handle it, and if you happen to hear the Whistle Bait van coughin' in your neighborhood, get into a party mood, put on your dancing shoes and join the fun - you won't be disappointed!
The Whistle Bait are
Vesa Haaja - vocals, guitar, percussions
Kim Drockila - piano, organ, backing vocals
Lasse Sirkko - bass, backing vocals
Vesa Tynkkynen - lead guitar
Juho Hurskainen - saxophone, backing vocals
Juha Tynkkynen - drums