Children Of Bodom's European tour with Slipknot brought the Finns to Düsseldorf, Germany, on November 24th where the Hate Crow rocked the Phillipshalle and warmed up the crowd for Machine Head and the headliner. To do this, Children Of Bodom only had time for seven songs, but all in all the guys were widely accepted by the mob. After the show I entered Children Of Bodom's slightly overcrowded backstage room to meet a cheerful Alexi, who once again was interrogated for about an hour, in which he revealed many interesting things. Enjoy.
Scythes Of Bodom: Alexi, first of all: Thanks for making an album like Blooddrunk. It's probably my favourite Children Of Bodom album and somehow this is how I always wanted you to sound like. It contains traditional trademarks of you as well as new elements. Why is it your favourite album?
Alexi: Yeah, it is. The songs on that album just work and they rock. We know that we released a strong album and we're pretty happy about it. It's always cool to release an album and we believe in it after hard times in the rehearsal room and studio. Some time after Are You Dead Yet? was released I said that I still prefer Hate Crew Deathroll to it but this time the new album is exactly how it was supposed to be.
Scythes Of Bodom: So would you say that this sound represents for what Children Of Bodom stand for in 2008?
Alexi: Well, obviously this is how Children Of Bodom sound like in 2008 and I'm pretty satisfied how things are at the moment so I guess that we do something right. I mean, every album represents a state of the band but Blooddrunk is exactly as I wanted to have it, so the whole situation couldn't be better.
Scythes Of Bodom: And only in 2008 - ok maybe also in the last years - it seems to be possible that you can tour with a band like Slipknot. In 2000 you once said that you don't like this Nu Metal stuff but at that time you haven't really checked them out and now you dig them a lot and are on tour with them.
Alexi: Yeah, it's true. In the past I said stuff like that but at that time I never heard a song from them so I just said that they would sound like Limp Bizkit and other crap like that but when I actually heard them, it blew me away. It was the most aggressive stuff I've ever heard - well, not ever but at least in the last years. When you see them on stage pulling off their show, you just feel the energy these guys create. Also, the new album is full of that. They definitely rock.
Scythes Of Bodom: Any message to the "sellout" criers?
Alexi: It's always the same. There are always people who have a problem when you're doing something new and tour with other bands they don't like for some reason. But we wanna move on, we always wanted to move on, so this is something completely natural for us. It was the same when we covered Britney a few years ago. People started to hate our band for that but that's ok for me.
Scythes Of Bodom: How's the audience on this tour?
Alexi: It's been diverse but for the most part it has been really good. But there have also been a couple of shows that... for example today the crowd wasn't that awesome but in Paris or Oslo it was fucking killer. The thing is, when we are playing these sort of venues it's a fact that most of the people don't even know who the fuck you are and then you go out there and convince them that you fucking rock. That's that we're trying to do and at the end of the show, when you see all the way to the back that the crowd is moving and they're raising their hands, then you know that you did good job.
Scythes Of Bodom: Did you ever had to stop a song when something crazy happened in the audience?
Alexi: Yeah, we did at least once. There is one time I remember... it was in Millvale in the states and the crowd went fucking nuts and then they broke the barricades. Dude, I'm always watching the front row because I don't want anybody to get hurt. If some people look like they're gonna fucking die, then I grab a bottle of water and hand it to them, even in the middle of a song or a guitar solo. But there I couldn't see shit and the security guards came to me and said "Dude, you're gonna fucking stop right now." and I was like "What the fuck happened?". The people broke down the god damn barricade and we had to have a five minute break. But my point was that we care about the people, even though it isn't our mistake.
Scythes Of Bodom: I heard that you once punched somebody in the audience during the Follow The Reaper tour because he was beating up a kid. Do you remember that?
Alexi: Oh yeah, yeah... I do... and I would still do it if I have to but fortunately I didn't have to do that in many years. I remember that there was this huge fucking biker dude and I saw him beating the shit out of a kid who was lying on the floor. I mean, you shouldn't beat up anybody who's on the floor but this was a fucking kid and he was this big biker dude. When I saw that I stopped playing and I kicked him in the head, at least a couple of times. I just had to because somebody just had to do something. There wasn't much security and they didn't give a fuck. So yeah, I kicked the motherfucker in the head a couple of times and then he stopped. After the show the kid came up to me and he had a broken nose, his head was swollen and stuff like that and he said "Thank you so much because this dude would have killed me.". That's just something that made me fucking happy. Well, not the fact that he got beat up but that I could stop it.
Scythes Of Bodom: Do you know where you played your best gig ever?
Alexi: Hmm... no!
Scythes Of Bodom: Maybe it's yet to come.
Alexi: Well, hopefully.
Scythes Of Bodom: You played a lot of support gigs for bigger bands in the last years. Are there still bigger bands left you'd like to support?
Alexi: We just wanna tour with the cool bands like Slayer which was awesome because this was one of the bands we wanted to tour anyway. When it comes to me then Slipknot is also one of the bands I wanted to open up for. Right now I don't know if there is any big band I wanna roll with... maybe with Metallica but I don't know if this would work but it would be something to try out - if it was possible. But everybody wants to support them so it's pretty difficult anyway.
Scythes Of Bodom: A lot of fans reported that you had some problems at some gigs in this year where you often ended up puking your guts out on stage, which also sometimes happened in the years before. Is it anything serious? Some fans worry about that.
Alexi: Well, there's nothing to worry about. Sometimes my stomach is fucking with me and it's my own fault. It's just that so many bottles of whiskey burnt a hole into my stomach and sometimes I'm fucked up but hey - you gotta remember this: If somebody ever comes up to me saying "You puked on the stage, you fucked it up", I tell him "Fuck you!" because puking your fucking guts out while playing a solo for "Blooddrunk" or "Hate Me!" is something that I can do. I never miss a god damn note.
I'd rather fucking die than fucking up the show. Also, I always come up for the vocals. You know, a lot of people do it, you'd be surprised. I could mention names but I'm just saying that even in the big bands people do that, so I'm not the only one and I definitely wouldn't fuck up the show because of that.
Scythes Of Bodom: After a long time you included songs like Mask Of Sanity and also Children Of Decadence in your live set again and played it with other songs as medleys which worked pretty good. Are there any other songs you didn't play often in the past that could be used for such mixes in shorter versions? Every song of you has good parts that could be used for something like that, especially on the Follow The Reaper album.
Alexi: Well, we can't do that right now because we only have like seven songs, so there is not really much room for anything like that. We've got the Hate Crew Deathroll/Downfall thingie but that's about it and that's probably the only thing that can be done when you only have seven songs in a 35 minutes set. I'm sure we will come up with something for future gigs but I can't think of anything right now.
Scythes Of Bodom: I noticed that you don't play that much Are You Dead Yet? songs anymore, only a few. Did you ever think about playing a longer medley of some songs of that album?
Alexi: Well, on our headlining gigs we do a couple of these songs, like Living Dead Beat, In Your Face... We used to play Are You Dead Yet?, the title track but we won't play it anymore. Ok, you gotta see it this way: We have six albums out and from our point of view that was the weakest one.
Scythes Of Bodom: What other songs from Blooddrunk do you plan to play live?
Alexi: So far we have done One Day You Will Cry, we have done...
Janne: Tie My Rope...
Alexi: Yeah and also... err...
Scythes Of Bodom: Banned From Heaven, Hellhounds On My Trail, Blooddrunk, Smile Pretty For The Devil...
Alexi: Yeah, as a matter of fact we have done a lot of stuff from that album.
Scythes Of Bodom: Ok, which are left? Do you also wanna try LoBodomy in the future? One of the hardest songs to play...
Janne: Oh... (laughs)
Alexi: Actually I made a pact with him (points to Janne) that we would never have to play this one live and I'm gonna hold on to it.
Scythes Of Bodom: Are there any Blooddrunk songs you won't play live anymore?
Alexi: I don't know, maybe "Tie My Rope". I still wanna play it but the other guys don't wanna play it.
Scythes Of Bodom: On the last headlining gigs you didn't have any guitar vs. keyboard duels or drum solos anymore. Is there a special reason why and will they return?
Alexi: There's no special reason and one day they could return. This time we just wanted to do something different as far as the whole show concerns. We're not gonna repeat ourselves like that we would play this amount of songs and then do the drum solo. This time we just wanna do a bunch of songs, like a lot of them as opposed to what we did before. Maybe it will come back, you never know...
Scythes Of Bodom: You already talked a lot about each song of Blooddrunk in other Interviews but I have the one or other general question about the topics of a few songs where I won't ask about obvious things like cutting yourself and spilling your own blood or hangovers. "Hellhounds On My Trail" is about bad things you've done to others in the past and still haunt you. What are the worst things you did to others?
Alexi: ... Well, that's something that you can't write. (laughs) It's better to leave it alone, it's just my personal shit and anybody can relate to it by thinking of the worst things they ever did to others.
Scythes Of Bodom: Yes, we all have our sins of the past... "LoBodomy" is about people who talk shit about the band on messageboards. So you never register at messageboards to tell one of your former favourite bands how much their new album sucks?
Alexi: Not really. (laughs) Well, first of all it is very true and... (laughs) I don't know, I mean I didn't even write the lyrics for the song anyway.
Scythes Of Bodom: Why did Kim Goss write the lyrics?
Alexi: Well, that is one of the reasons where she gets fucking pissed off once in a while, you know? When I got the lyrics, I was like "Alright, let's fucking use it." and that's it. It's not necessarily all the people in the internet, it's just the fact that I can get so fucking pissed off by people in general if they talk fucking bullshit but not to my face, you know? They can hide behind their god damn computer screens and can say anything that they want and hide behind their fucking bullshit nicknames or whatever the fuck. If you have an issue, then come right here and say it to me. I can deal with that but the other way is just bullshit.
Scythes Of Bodom: A title like "One Day You Will Cry" is pretty unusual for Children Of Bodom. Anyway, who do you mean with that?
Scythes Of Bodom: When was the last time you cried?
Alexi: I'm trying to think... it was... (after 15 seconds) almost a year ago. True men also cry... (loud laughter in the room)
Scythes Of Bodom: I heard "Smile Pretty For The Devil" is about a chick. So I don't even wanna go any further into that...
Alexi: Actually most of the songs on the Blooddrunk album somehow relate to girls anyway, how I let them down, like my ex-girlfriends. "Smile Pretty For The Devil" is just one of the songs that I tried to deal with that in the lyrics but however this doesn't mean much because I already know that I'm fucked up as a human being, sometimes I say "I can't do that for you." and after that they get mad at me and wanna kill me. (laughs)
Scythes Of Bodom: I see... Are the lyrics of "Tie My Rope" about when you get in trouble and fights? When you appeared at some Finnish TV Show to promote the Guitar Heroes album, you said you had a swollen right hand which you got in a fight the night before.
Alexi: Ah yeah... Well, I try not to have much fights but it happens.
Scythes Of Bodom: Do you usually win your fights?
Alexi: Well... a couple of times I can do alright but usually I'm gonna get my ass kicked anyway. (laughs) Actually I think the one you mentioned makes a good story: It was me and and a couple of other friends, Janne as well and we came out of some Metal bar in Helsinki and I was drunk out of my fucking ass, dude, I was so god damn loaded. I saw something going on at the front yard and I went there. There was some freaky looking dude and he was beating the shit out of... a girl! I was like "Hey, stop that shit, that's not cool!" and then I got into a fight with that dude but I was so fucking drunk that I was trying to punch him but missed him by at least 40 centimeters but he laid a pretty good one on me and I fell down. I woke up after three seconds and when I got up the funniest part was that... (laughs) This chick that I was fucking defending turned out to be a dude! (again loud laughter in the room) That kinda sucked but at least it was a nice move.
Scythes Of Bodom: Very interesting... Let's continue: "Banned From Heaven"... What means heaven to you? Do you mean this place up there with angels and all that crap?
Alexi: For me Heaven is like a state of mind, that's all.
Scythes Of Bodom: What's hell to you?
Alexi: How I'm feeling right now? (laughs)
Scythes Of Bodom: Blooddrunk is another album without any movie samples. Two years ago you told me that you have a very good idea for some movie samples. Is there a special reason why there aren't any on Blooddrunk?
Alexi: Not really... Actually that's a good question. I wanted to try some new stuff in a few songs but in the end we didn't do it. I think that Blooddrunk is a fucking straight, kicking your face sort of album anyway and so it doesn't really need anything of that. The only thing that we used was the speech that I made for the beginning of the song "BlooddrunK" where my voice was pitched down a little bit.
Scythes Of Bodom: By the way, what's this noise at the end of Roadkill Morning?
Alexi: Dude! You're the fucking first one who noticed that!
Scythes Of Bodom: Really?
Alexi: Yeah, man! I wanted to tell people that we were gonna make a contest out of it just to ask people if they know what the hell it is. Anyway, you can hear a horse running and somebody is taking a picture of it. This all comes back to the Waltari song "Hevosenkuva" which means "Picture Of A Horse" and this song has a riff that we "ripped off" at the very end of "Roadkill Morning" as a joke. After that one of us would say "Hevosenkuva" but instead of that we just sampled this fucking horse running and it was actually me behind the microphone pressing the button of my cellphone to make a sound of a picture that's shot. I know it's fucking stupid but so far nobody ever got it and I'm surprised.
Scythes Of Bodom: There was a song you once called Roundtrip 2 Hell And Back. Which song was it?
Alexi: Hmm, I must have changed it to another title but honestly I don't remember which song it was.
Scythes Of Bodom: You were thinking about recording Blooddrunk in L.A. but in the end you recorded it in Finland. Do you think the songs on the album would have sounded different if you recorded it in the USA? At least it would have been the exact opposite of Petrax studios when it comes to the whole environment.
Alexi: I definitely think it was a good idea to record at Petrax with the same crew and I'm pretty sure that's what we're gonna do from now on. Now I don't know if it makes any sense to actually go to the USA to record an album there because we can get it done in Finland really good as well. Recording in Petrax means that we live together in a wooden house in the middle of the woods and in Hollywood for example there are so many distractions in the city. Also, in Finland we have Mikko Karmila who is the sound engineer and he makes such good mixes, so there's no need for us to go anywhere else when it comes to recording albums. I know that a lot of people tried it to record at other places but it often just backfired.
Scythes Of Bodom: I would say that your first three albums sound pretty different compared to your last three albums. Would you say that Blooddrunk now closes a chapter that was opened with Hate Crew Deathroll?
Alexi: Well, I don't see the whole thing in chapters. After this album we can just come up with something else and we can progress to somewhere else.
Scythes Of Bodom: Were you ever thinking of adding some other elements into Children Of Bodom's sound, like acoustic guitars for example?
Alexi: Well, let me think about that when I write the songs but probably not.
Scythes Of Bodom: You already did that during Inearthed days.
Alexi: Yeah, that was like 15 years ago and I think it sounded like shit. (laughs)
Scythes Of Bodom: What do you think about instrumental songs and could you imagine to have one on a Children Of Bodom album?
Alexi: Well, I could make one but this doesn't fit on a Children Of Bodom album, that's what I think.
Scythes Of Bodom: Would you still be able to write 6 minutes songs like In The Shadows or The Nail for example, with riffs and melodies like you used on Something Wild?
Alexi: Yeah, of course! I could do it but I just don't want to. If somebody comes up to me challenging me if I should actually write one of such songs and I could write one for him right here and right now. I like songs which are catchy and that's it.
Scythes Of Bodom: You also like to play bass and also drums just for fun and some of the other guys in the band can also play another instrument. Did you ever think about recording a funny cover song where everybody plays a different instrument, like you on drums, Jaska playing keyboards and Roope is the singer?
Alexi: We thought about that actually and this is one of the things that we might do but nothing like that is planned, we just thought about it once.
Scythes Of Bodom: Do you know if some of the bands you covered in the past heard about your versions and what they think about them? At least Andrew W.K. was very excited.
Alexi: Yeah, he was and he also did a DVD spot for us and introduced the song on our Trashed, Lost & Strungout DVD. I don't know if Kerry King of Slayer actually heard our Silent Scream cover but it's better if he wouldn't. But Andrew was pretty psyched about it and I'm sure that other bands haven't heard our versions. I just know that some fucking Britney Spears fans have heard our cover and they were going crazy but I'm sure that the actual Britney doesn't have a clue. I just thought it was cool that some Britney fans got pissed off.
Scythes Of Bodom: Let's go back in time a little bit: When you recorded Something Wild the band was still called Inearthed. I guess the song Lake Bodom had another name back then because you came up with the whole Lake Bodom thing after you changed the name of the band to Children Of Bodom.
Alexi: It's true but actually the song wasn't written until the band name... No, fuck! Oh... you know, that's a really good question... The answer is: I don't fucking know!
Scythes Of Bodom: Maybe I should ask one of the other guys if they can remember.
Alexi: No, no, no... Hey, if I don't know, then they don't know either.
Scythes Of Bodom: You were signed to a Belgian label. Did this label ever sell the album under the name of Inearthed? (Thanks to UltimateMetal member innuenDO for these two questions!)
Alexi: I'm pretty sure they didn't. Hopefully not.
Scythes Of Bodom: Nowadays the band is getting bigger and bigger and increasing success often means compromises for bands because sometimes they have to change stuff and do things they don't like to open up for a bigger audiences and get more popular because their record labels tell them to do so. Where's your limit? Would you for example ever do a playback or half playback show to become more popular?
Alexi: Well, I would do anything for this band. I would die for this band, I would follow it to the gates of hell but I would never do a fucking playback show. Never! This is just so fucking gay.
Scythes Of Bodom: Is there something you'd call the biggest mistake in the career of the band or something that you really regret?
Alexi: A lot of bad stuff happens within ten years but when Alexander quit the band it was a very hard time for everyone of us, but especially for me. But with Roope we got a fucking kick-ass guitar player and it's better now and let me tell you something: This were bad times but I don't miss him for one fucking bit and I'm so happy that we are where we are right now.
Scythes Of Bodom: Ok, now a tricky and difficult question. Let's imagine the horror scenario that someone of the current line-up would leave the band. Would you say that this was finally the end of the band or do you know that you would continue?
Alexi: Well, it depends... Dude! What are you trying to do to me? You and your fucking questions... (laughs) I don't know, man. Everyone in the band is so important to me as people and musicians that I don't know what I would do or how I would feel. I don't even wanna think about that.
Scythes Of Bodom: Let's go back in time a bit further: You once played in a project called T.O.L.K. What exactly was it what's the meaning of the name?
Alexi: How the fuck do you know about that? Anyway, the meaning of the name is impossible to translate. We just did two demo tapes, some live gigs but that's it.
Scythes Of Bodom: In 2006 and 2007 you did a lot of guest appearances with awesome guitar solos in other bands. Don't you think that you maybe "waste" a good idea for a solo for another band when you could have also used it for Children Of Bodom?
Alexi: No, it's just a solo, it ain't no big deal. You just go there and just rock it out. It has nothing to do with writing songs because that's a different thing. For a guitar solo you just have to feel it, play it and get out.
Scythes Of Bodom: Is there a guest appearance you're really proud of?
Alexi: I'm pretty proud of the Pain solo for Just Think Again.
Scythes Of Bodom: Do you also compose music that's not Metal?
Alexi: Hmm, I just try to think... Yeah, I do but this is nothing that would ever come out.
Scythes Of Bodom: There are some pictures where you wear shirts of rappers like Eazy-E and Ice Cube. This is something that seemed to be impossible ten years ago.
Alexi: Well, I just got into it kind of accidentally and I'm talking about the old school rap, fuck that MTV shit you see now. I just love their attitude, they're so fucking angry and ruthless, they can say anything. N.W.A. for example, I just love it and when I got the first N.W.A. album somebody told me that I should get the Eazy-E album because it would be even better and then I got it. The beats and the lyrics on this one are just brilliant and an excellent choice if you wanna piss somebody off. It's like a big "Fuck you!" and if anybody got a problem with that, then you just kick him in the face. They don't hide anything out, they just say what they want and that's cool.
Scythes Of Bodom: Wearing such shirts is also a good way to provoke some Metal people who are too narrow-minded and take everything too seriously but I guess you'd never go so far and cover a rap song.
Alexi: No, fuck that. When it comes to rap, there's so musical factor in the whole thing. It's all about the vocals. Ok, they use samples, sometimes even of guitars. For example, Kerry King did something for the Beastie Boys. Anyway, even though I love old school rap from the late 80s, I would never cover something of that.
Scythes Of Bodom: How important is posing for you? You played some solos lying on your back...
Alexi: Posing is just a part of the whole fucking thing. When I learnt to play guitar, I saw how all the other guitar players played and how they posed so that's how I didn't only learnt their music but also their moves and I thought this looks pretty cool.
Scythes Of Bodom: You said that Steve Vai and Zakk Wylde were very nice people when you met them. But how would you have reacted if they turned out to be real assholes? Was this a lesson that you always have to be nice to fans?
Alexi: Well, I always was nice to fans before but of course it would have been a fucking downer if these two were big assholes but then again I wasn't expecting a lot. I was just expecting to meet the dudes and that's it but they turnt out to be cool and that was just a bonus for me. Anyway, I'm never gonna be a fucking dick to my fans. Never.
Scythes Of Bodom: You've chosen the rock and roll lifestyle, you tour around the world for like 9-10 months in a year, you go on stage and thousands of people celebrate you, you are on covers of countless Metal magazines, etc. It's always "Alexi here, Alexi there", everybody wants to get a picture with you or an autograph, you hear the same questions all the time and so on. Do you sometimes wish to be a "normal" person that nobody cares about?
Alexi: No, not really. Dude, I'm really loving this shit. Of course sometimes it gets too much but this is what I wanna do. Sometimes when I feel that I wanna be left alone, then I try to say that politely to fans. This whole thing is just the way it goes for me and I love it.
Scythes Of Bodom: Do you think success changed you or that it could change you in the future?
Alexi: Of course it changed me. I mean, everybody changes in ten years anyway but I would say that it changed me in a good way.
Scythes Of Bodom: This would have been my next question: Did success maybe even help you? From the depressed teenager to what you are today.
Alexi: It did, yeah! Definitely.
Scythes Of Bodom: Ok, the last question: Who is Alexi Laiho?
Alexi: What kind of question is that? (laughs) Who's Alexi Laiho... That's me, dude! It's just... Tons of Irish whiskey and American cars and that's... end of fucking story.