The origins of SHAM can be traced back to the summer of 2003 in the Lappeenranta harbour area where Esa Karhula, Kari Keskisaari, Risto Multaharju and Arto Ritala were watching the local band Farout perform. In 1978 Farout had won the progressive category in the annual Finnish rock competition. Around the same time other local artists, such as Jimi Sumen, Sukellusvene and Jam Rock Band, were enjoying success of their own. Inspired by the Farout gig and frustrated by years of disappointing musical projects, the quartet wanted to play in a band in which only the music mattered.
The quartet were still looking to recruit a guitarist and a second keyboardist. They ended up finding the right musicians from that same harbour area, and Tarmo Hämäläinen and Harri Viisainen were familiar faces from previous band projects. The band was formed but had no name at this stage. The group was searching for its musical identity by playing songs by J.J Cale, Lee Ritenour, Steely Dan and Toto.
When Esa Karhula left the band in 2005, Reijo Kurvinen briefly took over the drumming duties. Then Petri Parkko got hooked and he provided the beat until 2006. Prior to this another familiar name from several local bands, Asko Kavala, had joined the band as the second guitarist. 2006 turned out to be a milestone for the band in many respects. On March 4th, they played their first live concert in Ravintola Rillikka. The band obviously needed a name for this gig, and it was to be SHAM. During this same year vocalist Arto Ritala left and Anssi Keskisaari joined as the new drummer. Towards the end of 2006, Risto Multaharju left the country for a 12-month work trip in North America. SHAM was practically in hibernation, the remaining band members concentrated mostly on fine-tuning their band practice space and waiting for more favourable times.
Da capo al fine
When their bass player returned home in the autumn of 2007, SHAM became active again and in January 2008 Pekka Melanen joined as the new vocalist. In the spring the band performed in the Räminää & Pauketta festival as SHAM Ensemble, with Esa Niiva on saxophone and Sami Heinilä on trumpet. With the addition of Timo Jaakkola on trombone, as well as Tiina Keskisaari and Hanna Tapiolinna on backing vocals, the lineup now has twelve members. Since it was never about fame or fortune, SHAM stick to their original motto: Only the music matters!
And the band plays on...