The 69 Eyes may not be the most popular rock band to come out of Finland, but if not, they're right up there. And what does all of that success translate to in terms of mainstream American recognition? Zilch.
Of course it's not surprising that commercial radio doesn't play their songs, and granted, their Gothic style and vampire-themed songs have a built-in limited audience appeal. Nevertheless, when I recently attended a concert in Minneapolis promoting their latest album Back in Blood, I was more than a little shocked to see the venue. It was just a hole-in-wall bar in a very generic-looking strip mall.
I hadn't ordered advanced tickets, but when I arrived just before show time, maybe 100 people were there for the concert. On the other half of the bar, people watched the World Series and played pool. They didn't seem to know that the Helsinki Vampires had flown all the way to America to play for just us.
So, one of the most popular bands from Finland, a band that can sell out much bigger venues across Europe, drew maybe 200 souls at fifteen bucks a pop. Was the show good? Sure, but how disheartening it must be to work your tail off for twenty years, make ten solid studio albums, and still have almost no name recognition outside your home continent.
How important is it to be popular?
"Seek not the favor of the multitude; it is seldom got by honest and lawful means. But seek the testimony of few; and number not voices, but weigh them.” -- Immanuel Kant