WINTERSUN’s JARI MÄENPÄÄ Drops Live Guitar, Becomes Solely A Live Vocalist


WINTERSUN guitarist and vocalist Jari Mäenpää decided to drop live guitar and only to focus on vocals on band’s shows.

Here is the entire WINTERSUN statement:

It is time to start opening the curtains what is happening in the Wintersun camp regarding the future. Negotiations are going well with Nuclear Blast and we hope we can tell you soon more about “IT” and everything else in detail, but first of all we would like to start from a necessary decision concerning Jari’s role for our future shows.

Here’s Jari’s statement:

“After thinking about it for a long time I have made the decision to drop the live guitar, which means that I will solely become 100% live vocalist. This must be a shock to many, but this is something that I need to do. I want everyone to know that I will not stop playing guitar (ever!) or recording guitar on the Wintersun albums. On the contrary this decision will give me more time to play the guitar and learn new stuff in the “studio side of things”. I can focus the playing on writing and recording new Wintersun material. Here’s my reasons in a nutshell and I’m sure if you read them you will understand why this decision is actually a good thing:

– The main reason is that I’ve always loved to play the guitar and I’ve always loved to sing, but I’ve never truly enjoyed doing them both at the same time. It was just something that I started doing when I was young and kinda was “branded” by it early on, but actually I enjoy singing and playing the guitar much more separately.

– Some of the future Wintersun material is too complicated for me to sing and play the guitar at the same time. During the past writing processes I’ve always had the thought in the back of my mind that “how am I gonna do this live?” or “I can’t make a verse part from this riff, because it’s too difficult to play and sing live at the same time”.
I don’t like that, I want more freedom when I’m writing and performing. Don’t get me wrong, there is probably nothing I couldn’t play and sing at the same time, if I would put a lot of time to practise the parts. But I have come to the realisation that time is very limited and I already have so much unreleased Wintersun material, that I won’t be even able to release it all before I die. So I need to spend the time now wisely to write, record and perform the future Wintersun albums live! Hopefully this decision will at least help to release most of the Wintersun material for you guys! Of course depending also on whether we’ll get funding for the albums.

– I’m constantly writing new music, so I need to focus my brains on the new material. If I have to always keep the old material fresh and remember all of it, it “locks” and limits my creativity. There’s a limit on my brains’ “hard drive”, I need to create some free space in there.

– I’m already “wearing too many hats” in Wintersun. I do all the music and lyric writing. I produce, record, mix and master the albums. I’ve been already playing and singing live for over twenty years, not just doing the rhythm guitar, but doing all the pretty difficult solos too, not to mention the variety and difficulty of the Wintersun vocals. It is essentially a two man job and that has caught up on me! Lately I’ve been also doing lots of photography and video work for the band too. Although we hope that in the future we can afford to hire other people to do that work, so I can focus on the music. The point is, something has got to give. There’s a limit for everyone and I have reached mine.

– As some of you may know, I had a lung operation when I was in my early twenties and I lost 1/4 of my lungs. So touring has been hard for me. Dropping the guitar will make performing easier for me, which means we can do more touring and that’s what we want to do.

– I’ve always hated that my guitar playing and singing both have been a compromise live, because they “eat each other”. So this will enable me to focus 100% on my singing live.

– The Wintersun vocal parts are pretty challenging already without the guitar… mixing growling, clean, raspy and high screaming vocals, not to mention there’s quite a lot of remembering to do with the lyrics as well.

– Normally I like to sing with hand held mics, because I like to move my body quite a lot when I sing. Having the guitar hanging on my body and singing to a mic with a mic stand is quite hard for me, because I can’t move and I have to stand stiff in one position. This gives me back&neck problems. For me it’s a bad work position. I need to be able to move freely when I sing.

So these are the main reasons for this decision, but the biggest reason is using the time more efficiently and getting the Wintersun albums out there for you guys!

This means Teemu will take the solo guitarist role. Will he be able to to survive the ‘Winter Madness’ solo? We shall see! If not, Jukka will play it with the bass! 😀

Thanks for listening! I hope you understand my decision, because it is absolutely necessary in order to get the Wintersun albums out there and to play more live shows! I’m sure you agree! 😉

Tomorrow we’ll announce our search for the 2nd guitar player for Wintersun. A new member will help the band also with the overall work load and bring new energy to the band. The more the merrier! 🙂 So stay tuned! Especially if you want the job!