This is something I hate to write about – therefore I hardly ever do it and stick to social media posts. However, I need to make an exception in this case, still feeling a bit shell shocked. Because it’s only a few weeks ago when we reported about his last – his very last – gig …
The official statement, released this morning, via Children Of Bodom social media:
One of the most renowned guitarists in the world, Alexi Laiho, has passed away. The musician, most notably known as the front man of Children of Bodom, died in his home in Helsinki, Finland, last week. Laiho had suffered from long-term health issues during his last years.
More than 25 years of friendship. We lost a brother. The world lost a phenomenal song writer and one of the greatest guitarists of all time. Memories and Alexi’s music will live forever.
Our thoughts are with Alexi’s family during this difficult time.
– Henkka, Janne and Jaska
Nothing to add to this. Instead I try to share something more personal …
As a Rock journalist I have had the honor and the pleasure of meeting Alexi several times, partly in official mission for interviews, partly quite unplanned and accidentally, at festivals or in the usual Helsinki Metal clubs … and during one of those occasions I had my cartoon signed by the band (a photo copy, therefore you see the folds) and I remember some LOLs because of those huge diapers…
Back then, maybe previous decade, it was easy to meet Finnish Metal VIPs at those numerous Metal clubs in Helsinki and it was quite easy for fans to chat with their idols. Finnish Metal musicians are quite accessible and pretty down to earth – and also Alexi has always been someone treating fans with respect – despite the fact that even as a very young musician he had this huge following of admirers due to his reputation as guitar genius. So imagine, one of those typical evenings in a Metal bar, sitting with people at a table – some well-known, some you just met … and I was sitting next to Alexi, chatting with him for at least one hour, and didn’t recognize him. Well, after a while, noticing those tattoos, the wrist-cast and those black fingernails, finally the penny dropped … the reason: those Children Of Bodom guys stopped shaving whenever they were working on a new release in studio, and Alexi was hidden behind this huge hobgoblin beard. Sorry, have never been the “Selfie mit Stars” type, therefore no photo evidence of this rare sight.
Surprisingly, at the local store I discovered the perfect beer for a farewell drink – kippis & RIP Alexi, thank you for the music.
PS: and a little smile, his short but sweet guest appearance in a Finnish TV show: Country dude asks if he can pay via phone app, Alexi: nah, that’s still cash business – the gag here, dude tried 20 times before, in vain, to pay for stuff in Helsinki with cash, so he’s basically glad to finally get rid of it