Sam Yaffa

1977-1978 – Espoo
Sami Takamäki (later known as Sam Yaffa) started his musical career in 1977 as a bass player in a band called Babblers. Arto Tamminen played guitar and Pepe Seivo drums.

1978-1979 – Espoo
After Babblers Sami played in a band with Janne Haavisto and Mikko Lankinen (both play later at J. Karjalainen & Mustat Lasit and Laika And The Cosmonauts). Nobody can remember anymore who were the other members or what even was the band's name.

1979 – Espoo
After this Sami and Babblers drummer Pepe Seivo formed a band called Suopo. Line-up included singer Kobo Rautavaara and guitarists Ile Hilden and Ilari (who's surname's long forgotten). Although they never reached the studio facilities, their energetic stage performance was noticed at Finnish punk-scene and there were whispers on the streets about a new promising bass player. Sami also played bass in a band called Pohjanoteeraus (Rock Bottom in English) with singer Panu, guitarist Olli Hilden who turned out to be Makke Fagerholm's cousin and then there was a drummer whose name's also long forgotten.

1980 – Helsinki
When Sami was only sixteen he was asked to join perhaps the most popular Finnish band at that time – Pelle Miljoona OY. Little bit earlier Pelle had hired Andy McCoy as their second guitarist. During that year they recorded their most famous album – Moottoritie On Kuuma (Highway Is Hot in English). Although their popularity was enormous, Sami and Andy left the band just before a Lappland Tour to join re-formed Hanoi Rocks and therefore boys moved to Stockholm with other band members.

1980-1985 – Hanoi Rocks

In 1983 Sami, Andy and Razzle visited Japanese Yasuaki Honda's album Angel Of Glass. Same year Sami, Nasty and Razzle recorded with Knox (Vibrators) an album called Fallen Angels. Although Knox continued performing under name Fallen Angels, no Hanoi members were included in the line-up.

1985-1987 – Stockholm
Four years of active touring started to show each of the members different kind of bad signs. The most expensive price of rock stardom was paid by Razzle but others were also having problems. Sami decided before the US Tour in 1984 to leave the band. The final decision was made after the concert for Razzle at Helsinki's Kulttuuritalo. There Michael announced this concert to be the last one for Sami. After this Sami moved to Stockholm where soon he formed a shortlived band called Chain Gang with Pelle Almgren. In 1986 Sami and Pelle released an EP that was simply titled as Pelle Almgren & Sam Yaffa. Later they toured under name Pelle Almgren/Sami Yaffa & The Babysharks. Other members were Conny Blomqvist and Danne Lagerstedt (Road Rats) and Sami's brother Jone Takamäki. In the early 1987 Sami played with Johnny Thunders who was living at that time in Stockholm and Jerry Nolan (New York Dolls). After the offers to perform started to decrease radically, Sami thought of leaving the music business and going to real work.

1987-2002 – Sami here, Sami there... Sami everywhere!
Later in 1987 Sami was asked to join Jet Boy from San Francisco. He did so and played with them for the next three years. During that time they recorded two albums: Feel The Shake and Damned Nation. He also started to visit many other bands and while Jet Boy was touring in America (e.g. as a warm-up band for Cheap Trick) and Japan, Sami played also bass for Johnny Thunders and Stronzo where other members were e.g. Mark Ford (Black Crowes) and Craig Ross (Lenny Kravitz band). Sami also formed a temporary band for Michael Monroe and also played once in it at L.A. in 1988.

After leaving Jet Boy Sami played for a while for Finnish band Smack. It was so short period that he didn't officially record for them but still his bass can be heard at songs Can You Dig It and Crazy River (bonus songs for CD's Salvation and Radical). For reasons unknown Sami was using a pseudonym Ulan Bator.

Early 1990 Sami moved to New York where he joined Michael Monroe's band. Sami came up with an idea of new name: Jerusalem Slim. Band's guitarist was Steve Stevens who had worked with Billy Idol. Band was alive about a year and they made one album: Jerusalem Slim. Band came to an end in 1992 because Monroe and Stevens had huge musical disputes. Ironically Steve Stevens joined Vince Neil's band – the man who had caused Razzle's death. In the same year Sami and Nasty toured with Michael Monroe in Japan and USA.

In 1990-1993 Sami influenced in Love Pirates which was Gass Wylden's (Pretenders) band. Every now and then Michael Monroe joined them on stage playing harmonica.

In 1991-1994 Sami played with Alison Gordy – man who had had minor TV and movie castings and who had played with Johnny Thunders. Nasty was seen visiting the band every now and then. In 1993 Sami played at Gordy's album Blonde And Blue.

In 1992 Sami, Michael, Little Steven (Bruce Springsteen's E-Street Band) and Rat Scabies (The Damned) formed a band that was to be called Demolition23. Little Steven and Rat were later replaced with Jay Henning (Star Star) and Jimmy Clark (Blondie).

In 1993 Michael Monroe and Sami recorded a song Magic Carpet Ride with Slash (GNR). Later this song was used in a movie Coneheads.

In 1994 Demolition23 released their first and only album: Demolition23. When they were supposed to start touring in Europe, guitarist Jay Henning had some problems about his passport and he couldn't attend. Nasty Suicide was hired as a replacement. During that summer Sami, Michael and Nasty visited the tribute album for Johnny Thunders: I Only Wrote This Song For You.

In 1995, in the middle of European Tour, Nasty announced his departure and soon after that Demolition23, although they had a very promising start, broke up. In 1997 sad news of Jay Henning's suicide in Virginia reached Finland.

After Demolition23 Sami formed a band in New York called Lewd Vagrant with his wife Karmen Guy. That was scraped together from local musicians and Sami's Finnish friends. Later that year the name was changed to Mad Juana and the line-up has changed very often and many talented musicians have come and gone. In 1996 Sami came to Finland to help Jan Stenfors (not anymore known as Nasty Suicide) with his solo album: Vinegar Blood. He also attended Jan's band when he was touring in Finland. Sami also had in mind of playing in Michael Monroe's album Peace Of Mind but because he was attached to Jan's band he had to leave these plans behind. Since 1999 in addition to Mad Juana, Sami had played every now and then at the band called Vasquez and in 1999-2000 he played in a band called The Waldos. In 2002 Sami toured in Japan and in USA with Murphy's Law. In addition to these bands, Sami and Karmen perform with different kind of line-ups just to amuse themselves.

In the spring of 2003 Sami joined Joan Jett And The Blackhearts. In 2004 Sami was invited to join his childhood favourites – New York Dolls. Mad Juana though is still very much alive and kicking.


When Sami was only sixteen he was asked to join perhaps the most popular Finnish band at that time – Pelle Miljoona Oy.