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Famous Firsts: Nightwish

The musical firsts of Nightwish's Tuomas Holopainen

Nightwish visionary Tuomas Holopainen is the latest star of Metal Hammer's Famous Firsts series in which we discuss his first exposure to Metallica and why his generous parents basically kickstarted the entire Nightwish train.

What was the first album that you ever bought? 

"The first album I ever bought was Asylum by Kiss. I studied the classical clarinet and the piano in a music school from the age of six, so it was all classical music to me – I had to know my Beethoven and Bach. But my big brother who’s ten years older than me was always into rock ‘n’ roll. For him it was all Iron Maiden, Kiss and Slade – all that kind of stuff. I kind of wanted to impress him so that’s why I bought Asylum and I remember I didn’t like it at all. Of course these days when I listen to the album it sounds much better and I understand it, but for a kid of nine years old who’d heard nothing but classical music for the last three years, it was quite the shock ha ha!"

What was the first single that you ever bought? 

"If I remember correctly, my first single would’ve been Enter Sandman by Metallica. This was in 1992 when I was spending some time as an exchange student in Kansas for a year, and my host family took me to a Metallica and Guns N' Roses concert. The two of them toured together for about a year I think, and I got to see them in Kansas City. There were 80,000 people in the city’s football stadium and it completely blew my mind. I didn’t know about Metallica back then. I was still all about classical, maybe a little bit of Gary Moore and Queen every now and then, but no heavy music at all. I only went because they’d been kind enough to buy me a ticket as a surprise – but when Metallica started playing it changed my life. It sounds romantic but that’s truly what happened. When I got home from that trip I went to the nearest record store and literally bought everything by Metallica that I could find, including the Enter Sandman single. That song is still a perfect metal song to me. Everybody on the planet knows the riff, even if they’re not a metal fan, and I’m still not tired of hearing it."

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