Go Back

Viljami Puustinen

Antti Viljami Puustinen
Born December 18, 1969, Helsinki

Master of Arts (Theatre Research) 2006, University of Helsinki
Vocational qualification in Business and Administration 1992, Espoonlahti Business College

Freelance journalist and writer of non-fiction 2011–
Editor-in-chief 2007–2011, Rumba-lehti
Assistant, inter alia, Ylioppilaslehti, Like Uutiset, Johnny Kniga kertoo, Kauppalehti, Bisnes.fi, Image, Iso Numero (Finnish version of the Big Issue)
Record shop salesman 1992–1994, Fazer Music Itäkeskus

Kingston Wall – Petri Wallin saaga, Like 2014
22-Pistepirkko, Like 2005
This is USA – Hellsinki rock&roll underground ‘89–‘99, Like 2000

Photo: Pete Leppänen / Like Kustannus

Written by Riitta-Ilona Hurmerinta
Translated by Matthew Billington

Truth and Reality but with Dramatic Structure

– My work is related to my studies, although I am not working in the theatre. A sense dramatic structure is needed as an author and a journalist. Aristotle’s three-part view of plot structure, with a beginning, middle and end, featured heavily in theatre research. It is very basic, but not always easy to do in practice.

Although Viljami Puustinen wrote theatre and film reviews at university, he did not feel that it would lead to an inspiring profession. He preferred different kinds of journalism. For a while he was an assistant at the music magazine Rumba until he was chosen as the editor-in-chief.

– Working at Rumba was an interesting and hectic time. Five years on that merry-go-round was, however, enough for me. I noticed that I had become too old to spend every waking hour following what was going on in rock and pop music around the world. I was glad to make room for younger people and concentrate on my own writing.

To date, Puustinen has published three non-fiction books on rock music. The first of these, This is USA – Hellsinki rock&roll underground ’89–’99 (2000, Like), was about alternative rock musicians in 1990s Helsinki. The second book was the story of 22-Pistepirkko (2005, Like).

– For that book, I conducted in-depth interviews with the members of the group. While writing the book, my child was born and I was finishing my studies at the University. The publishing process became drawn out for a variety of reasons, so it was a real relief to finally see it released.

His latest book, Kingston Wall – Petri Wallin saaga, was published in 2014. In the book Puustinen sketches a portrait of the front man of the band, Petri Walli, through interviews with his friends and relatives and other members of the band. At the same time he captures the atmosphere of the rock scene in Finland in the 1980s and 1990s.

The challenge of the book on Kingston Wall was how to deal with the tragic death of its main character in 1995. It was also necessary to interview those people close to Walli who were not used to talking to journalists. Puustinen says that he utilized the teachings of the professor of religious studies Juha Pentikäinen in his interaction with the “informants” and in creating mutual trust.

– Academic interviews strive for authenticity and truth. They are also meant to recreate the context of a certain time from the surrounding people and places, which can then be used to colour the text. When the book was released, those who I had interviewed told me I had done justice to their stories. Above all else, veracity is what I learned at the University: you must aim for truth and reality.



Kinston Wall—Petri Wallin saaga by Viljami Puustinen was published in 2014. Photo from Like publishing.


Go Back