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Children of Bodom

Children of Bodom frontman Alexi Laiho talks shop ahead of the release of their latest album

Deepti Unni Mar 10, 2011
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First Britney’s ”˜Oops I Did It Again’ and then Rihanna’s ”˜Umbrella’ at Wacken in 2008”¦

[Laughs] That was just another spontaneous thing; it was not a planned cover.

But you did know all the words”¦

[Laughing uproariously] Well, yeah, I did know the words but it was just something that Janne [Wirman], our keyboard player started playing and then our drummer started playing. It was fun, it was not like a proper cover or anything. Then I just started singing that shit and it was so funny, you could see over ten thousand fuckin’ crazy metalheads singing along to ”˜Umbrella.’ It was just funny as hell.

So secretly every metalhead is a pop fan too”¦

I think everybody is, but secretly, of course.

Did you guys know that you had a fan base in India at all?

No, not really. I didn’t know but we’d been offered a show there about two years ago but somehow I guess the promoter fucked it up or something like that. I don’t know how the story went. I would have been really psyched to go to India to play shows there. I’ve never been there and it just would have been really cool just to realise that there are Children of Bodom fans in India as well. If we get an offer, we’ll definitely come down there.

You’ve been hailed as one of the best guitarists to come out of the metal scene. Do you ever stop and think about that?

Well I try not to really, because the thing is that honestly I just love music and I fucking love playing the guitar, I just love it, that’s my thing and of course it’s really rewarding to hear that I’ve been called the Number One metal guitar player or whatever and it’s great. I really do appreciate it but the thing is if you start thinking about stuff like that it gets into your head and I don’t know, it’s just weird.

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Did you actually study music or was it all self-taught?

Yeah, I went to music school for about five years.

Do you think it’s important to get a formal education in music?

I mean, it depends now. With rock or metal music, it’s not necessary that you know musical theory and stuff like that but it helps to know what the hell’s going on. And for me, taking guitar lessons”¦ they would never teach me metal songs or anything like that. For me, that kinda shit I had to learn on my own but I learned other stuff like jazz and blues which I could incorporate into my own playing. So that’s why even though I play metal and stuff there are like some jazz elements in there”¦ not necessarily jazz but more blues or whatever.

You’ve also become one of the poster boys for metal, a kind of sex symbol on the metal scene. What are your thoughts on that?

Well I never try to be a sex symbol or anything but I just do my own thing and that’s that. But of course that’s very nice to hear.

I’ve also been told that CoB has some of the most outrageous tour stories. Tell us a few.

There’s a lot of them. A lot of crazy shit happens in my life even though. I used to be a lot crazier but I think I’ve calmed down a little which is a good thing, but one story I could tell you. Some time ago, I was writing a song and I came up with this fucking awesome riff and it was just a whole part of a song. And I was just so happy, I was on fucking cloud nine. I was like ”˜This is the best thing ever!’ But then all of a sudden when I was listening to it I was like ”˜Shit, you know what, this sounds way too familiar.’ And I started flipping through my albums and CDs and stuff and it ended up being a fucking Pantera song. It was just somewhere in my subconscious, I guess. I was so goddamned pissed off to realise that it wasn’t mine so I kinda flipped out and drank every single drop of fucking alcohol that I had in my house and at some point I grabbed one of our gold CDs and I was looking at it, and I was still so pissed off, so I smashed the whole thing on my face. I have this big fucking scar on my forehead. And after that there was like broken glass all over my carpet and I decided that I’m going to vacuum the whole carpet. But I was so fucking drunk that I tripped over the vacuum cleaner and I smashed my head against the wall and I’ve got a fucking gnarly bump on my forehead [laughs]. It wasn’t pretty at all.

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