Hank J. Newman
I was born to a musical family in Southern Finland. My great grandfather was a famous fiddler at the local folk band back in time. Unfortunately he died before I was born, so I never had a chance to meet him.
I was 6 years old when I started to play keyboards. I also started to write my own songs at a pretty young age. I think I was something like seven or eight when I wrote my first songs. And we performed them with my very first "band" (or actually a duo) at 3rd grade in school. Our teacher was amazed by my composing skills and our performance. And yes, we had some fans!!!
School was never really "my thing", and music was the only thing I enjoyed at school. Neither the theory nor the music history, but the times when I got to play some instruments. I just loved to play!!!
So from the beginning it was clear to me that I wanted to become a self-taught musician. More like a rock star instead of an academic musician. So I decided to learn and practice by myself, and to become a musician who would play and write songs from his heart and soul.
I think I was about 14 when I heard Helloween for the first time. I had just started to play electric guitar for real and asked my brother to lend me some metal CDs. After hearing those speeding bass drums and roaring guitars with shredding solos, my soul was sold to the gods of Power Metal. At the same time, I started to listen to Yngwie Malmsteen who became my true inspiration for playing guitar.
I was at the junior high when I formed my first real band. We played some melodic metal. I was the guitar player and the singer of the band. We didn't even have a bass player 'cause the only bass player that we knew was too stoned all the time. In spite of that, we made one gig (without a bass player). Pretty soon, however, it became clear that our musical visions were miles apart. After that, many bands of different music styles were formed and dissolved, one after another, and lots of gigs were played.
In the spring of 2011, drummer Tom Wallen from our former band called me and asked if I wanted to form a traditional power metal band with him. At the time, I was touring around Finland with my acoustic rock cover duo called Hellnews, and I said that I'm pretty busy at the moment but I would like to hear some more about the project.
Tom told me that he had sent one of my demo songs to singer Ian E. Highhill, who had written lyrics and composed vocal melodies to that song. My first thought was "What the fuck, should I beat up this guy for sending my songs behind my back". But right after I heard the song with Ian's vocals I was like THIS IS IT!!! I finally found the band that I'd been looking for over ten years...