ABOUT ALEXI LAIHO Born April 8, 1979 in the city of Espoo, Finland , Alexi began his musical training at the age of five by learning the violin. However, influenced by the music his older sister Anna listened to (heavy metal bands such as W.A.S.P., Poison and Stone), he ended up dropping the classical instrument at the age of 11, in favour of guitars. A taped live performance of Steve Vai's song "For the Love of God" (from the Passion and Warfare album) was especially influential in Alexi's decision to become a guitarist. He soon began taking lessons at the Finnish Pop & Jazz Conservatory in order to study the instrument, at which he also studied the piano. The development of his playing style was heavily influenced by Stone's Roope Latvala (who many years later became his band-mate in Sinergy and then in Children of Bodom). His vocal influences came mostly from Phil Anselmo (from Pantera) and Mille Petrozza (from Kreator). He is involved with arts and crafts and building things out of sand. He is also classically trained which helps strengthen the backbone of his skilled musical writing.
After taking part of an experimetal music band named T.O.L.K. with friends from the conservatory, Alexi founded in 1993 the black/neo-classical metal band IneartheD (which later became Children of Bodom) together with drummer Jaska Raatikainen and then-bassist Samuli Miettinen - for information on IneartheD's career, refer to the Children of Bodom article.
At the age of sixteen, Alexi quit school in order to be able to dedicate himself fully to Children of Bodom. In 1997 he joined Thy Serpent, but did not remain for enough time in the band to record an album.
With the release of Children of Bodom's debut Something Wild, the band played a concert with Impaled Nazarene in Russia, and Alexi was invited to join the latter band as a lead guitarist. Alexi joined Impaled Nazarene and remained with them until 2001, but never held much interest in the band, always relegating it to second plan. One year after the release of Something Wild, at the age of nineteen, Alexi suffered a nervous breakdown. In his despair, he resorted to suicide and took thirty tranquilizers and a few shots of whiskey, slipping into unconsciousness. A friend found him soon after and took him to the hospital.
Once he had recovered, Alexi decided to skip regular treatment and instead embraced his love of music. He increased his already dedicated practice schedule and made the guitar playing on subsequent albums more skillful than their debut.
In 1999, Alexi was invited to join Sinergy by Kimberly Goss, as the lead guitarist and support keyboard player. In 2001, Roope Latvala joined Sinergy, and a "master against disciple" situation was created, resulting in several guitar battles on the solos of Sinergy's songs.
Alexi was a guest musician on a song by To/Die/For ("In the Heat of the Night") and on a few songs by Norther, he also co-produced the debut album of the band Griffin, all between 2001 and 2002.
In September of 2002, Alexi's custom Jackson guitars (one of them bearing the famous "Wildchild" sticker, which was the guitar with which he appeared in all of the early Children of Bodom pictures) were stolen by an unidentified thief while he was asleep after a night partying with the other members of the band after a successful concert. Alexi needed new instruments, but Jackson had just been sold to the Fender Musical Instrument Company and wouldn't be able to build a custom guitar for Alexi for at least one year. ESP Guitars, however, told Alexi they could build a replacement in three months, and he signed with the company.
In 2004, Alexi founded a punk rock side-project called Kylähullut, which was assembled together with Tommi Lillman (ex-Sinergy) and Vesa Jokinen (from Klamydia). The band was created merely for the entertainment of the musicians, and takes a carefree approach to their music. The band's discography includes a 4-track EP and a full-length 12-song album.
Alexi's life is dedicated almost entirely to music, and whenever he is not on tour with one of his bands, he is playing video games, drinking or practicing. His main hobby is cars; he was taught how to drive by his father at the age of 10. Alexi owns a Pontiac Firebird, a 1974 Dodge Monaco and a Buick. In February of 2002 Alexi married Kimberly Goss, front-woman of the band Sinergy, during a private ceremony in Finland. Prior to the marriage, they dated for four years. In 2004 they separated, because - as Alexi put it - "things were not working out."
More than once, Alexi has referred to his band-mates as "probably the only real friends I ever had". He has the letters "COBHC" (Children of Bodom Hate Crew) tattooed on his hand as an homage to Ozzy Osbourne, who has a similar tattoo. A couple of fans from across the world have reproduced the tattoo on their hands; a few of the more passionate ones reached the extreme of cutting it directly into their skin with knives and razors. Alexi has been featured on the cover of Young Guitar Magazine several times, as well as being on the cover of Guitar World along with master guitarists Steve Vai and Zakk Wylde. The "Wildchild" nickname comes from a song by the band W.A.S.P. His first guitar was a Tokai Stratocaster.
In April of 2005 Alexi generated a considerable amount of unrest in the metal guitar community when, in an interview with Guitar World magazine, he referred to popular prog metal act Dream Theater as "super lame" going on to say "It's not even music; it's sports." The magazine also referred to Dream Theater as Laiho's "favorite whipping boys." In January 2006 issue of the same magazine, reader Brad Bailey asked "Why did you make those lame comments about Dream Theater in GW? You're a fine player, but comments like those just make people lose respect for you. Did you know it caused a big stir?" to which Laiho responded "Fuck. Well, apparently it did. First of all, I think it's really funny that people trash bands and musicians every day on the internet, and nobody gives a shit. But once you say something like that - which wasn't even too bad - in a magazine, all of a sudden you're the biggest dick on the earth. But truthfully, I don't know why I said that. I was having a bad day or something. Obviously, John Petrucci is a better player than I am, and it's not my place to talk shit about him."
In January 2003, ESP Guitars announced a line of Alexi Laiho Signature Models. The US version guitars are a slightly different shape than what Alexi usually plays, as the RV shape is a copyrighted Jackson shape. So to avoid a lawsuit ESP made the bottom horn slightly larger among other differences. The guitar comes in two finishes: black w/yellow stripe and white w/black stripe. The guitar has a neck-thru 25.5” design, using a 3-pc maple neck with a 24-fret ebony fingerboard and pearl saw-tooth inlays. The ESP Alexi includes white binding on neck and head, the ESP custom shop version comes with a natural maple neck while the LTD is painted, and it comes with professional-quality components including a Floyd Rose original tremolo, Gotoh tuners, and a single EMG HZ H-4 pickup boosted with an EMG Afterburner. As of 2007, a cheaper model (the Alexi- 200) is also available, in either solid black or white finish. It's a bolt on, 25.5" Scale with the body made out of basswood, with a maple neck and rosewood fingerboard. It features a Floyd Rose Licensed bridge and one EMG-ESP LH-300 bridge pickup.
Children of Bodom's genre classification is debated amongst fans and critics. The band could be part of several musical genres, among them power metal, neo-classical metal, speed metal, black metal, and melodic death metal. Their more recent material, such as Blooddrunk, has been said to contain thrash metal elements. The term "Tuonela Metal", recently introduced by Finnish press, albeit rare should be taken into some consideration, due to its expressiveness (such as its reference to the Ade, the Reign of Shadows) and to its implicit tribute to Jean Sibelius, the most representative Finnish composer. Laiho says that he prefers to just be called a metal group and nothing other. However, in a recent interview for the Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, Laiho states that the band's genre is extreme metal, since he feels that all other alternatives are too restrictive.