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Jaska Raatikainen at the Ilosaarirock 2009 festival
|Birth name||Jaska Ilmari Raatikainen|
|Also known as||Jaska W. Raatikainen|
July 18, 1979|
|Genres||Melodic death metal, thrash metal, power metal, progressive metal|
|Instruments||Drums, piano, French horn|
|Labels||Nuclear Blast, Spinefarm, Century Media|
|Associated acts||Children of Bodom|
His first instrument was the piano, and during most of his childhood also played the French horn in a big band – a fact which later led him to be introduced to Alexander Kuoppala. It was only at the age of 12 that he began playing drums; he had his first double bass pedals before he owned a drum kit. He was inspired by musicians such as Scott Travis (from Judas Priest) and Mikkey Dee (from Motörhead).
Children of Bodom
When Raatikainen met Alexi Laiho at school in the year of 1993, they realised that they had similar ideas and musical taste. Thus, they began playing together and idealizing their band Inearthed which would one day become Children of Bodom. The band released their first demo, Ubiquitous Absence of Remission, which he contributed some keyboards. Jaska played a vital role in the formation of the band, since he was the one who brought both Alexander Kuoppala and Janne Wirman to their line-up. Jaska also provided backing vocals on the songs "Warheart", "Black Widow", and "Children of Bodom" from his band's album, Hatebreeder.
Other musical ventures
He has also helped quite a few bands when they needed a competent drummer. During Sinergy's 2000 European tour, he replaced Tommi Lillman, who had injured his leg. The problem, however, was that this happened three days before the start of the tour, which meant that Raatikainen had to quickly learn how to play ten of Sinergy's songs. Despite the high degree of difficulty, he managed to perform very well, and fans of both bands enjoyed seeing both Raatikainen and Laiho on stage together with Sinergy. On the Suicide by My Side album's booklet, the band wrote a dedicatory to Raatikainen for, on to their own words, "saving [their] tour".
Raatikainen has also played in Virtuocity and Evemaster albums, but since those are both studio bands, he does not have to worry greatly about Children of Bodom's tour schedule, which already has to be calculated ahead to some extent, due to Laiho's previously active participation in Sinergy.
On the 2002 tribute to Chuck Schuldiner – mastermind of one of the most notable death metal bands of all time, Death – Raatikainen, who is a fan of the band, played a couple of cover songs with Norther. A year later, Raatikainen formed a side project with Norther's guitarist Kristian Ranta entitled Gashouse Garden, which has not yet been signed to any recording label.
Equipment and sponsorships
Up to the recording of the album Hatebreeder, Raatikainen was endorsed by Sonor drums and by Sabian cymbals. He eventually lost the deal with Sonor and for some time played with different drumsets, until settling with Pearl drums in 2003. His drumsticks are custom Millennium II sticks from Pro Mark with his name engraved on them.
Pearl Reference Redline – Piano Black with Black Chrome Hardware
8"x8" Tom Tom
10"x8" Tom Tom
12"x9" Tom Tom
14"x12" Floor Tom
16"x16" Floor Tom
22"x18" Bass Drum x 2
14" Meinl Byzance Traditional Heavy Hi-Hat x2 (both sides)
20" Meinl Mb20 Heavy Ride (left)
8" Meinl Byzance Traditional Splash x2
18" Byzance Brilliant Medium Thin Crash x2
20" Meinl Byzance Traditional Heavy Ride (right)
20" Byzance Brilliant Medium Crash
18" Byzance Brilliant China
DR-503 Icon Rack + PCX-100 and PCX-200 Rack Clamps
H-2000 Eliminator Hi-hat Stand
Pearl Demon Drive Double Pedal
CLH-1000 Closed Hat
S-2000 Snare drum stand
CH-1000 Cymbal Holders
TH-100S Tom Holders
D-220 Roadster Throne
Promark Evelyn Glennie 740 drumsticks
Raatikainen has had some side projects, some of them unrelated to music. In the year of 2000 he was asked by the director of a popular Finnish soap opera (Siamin Tyttö) to play a special part on it. He played a character named Rauli for three episodes, until the character's death. He did have the chance to show some of his drumwork before that happened, though. According to Raatikainen, he had always dreamed of acting, but does not plan to take his career further.
Raatikainen has two brothers; Jussi, who plays for numerous professional Finnish metal bands, as well as Julius, who plays for melodic death metal band Kauna.
Raatikainen is a quiet and reserved person who spends a lot of time by himself. Most of the time, he stays in single rooms in hotels and generally picks the beds on upper corners while travelling on tour buses. Interviews with him are rare, and despite being one of the founding members, he lets Laiho and Henkka Seppälä do most of the talking.
In early 2010, Raatikainen became the father of a baby girl.
Although his last name is Raatikainen, he is not related to another Finnish guitarist, Sami Raatikainen.