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Discussion in 'Children Of Bodom' started by COBHC Webmaster, Oct 17, 2005.
Jari Mäenpää from Wintersun.
Oh damn, I always forget where to put or not those dots when I write in Finnish...
Päivää - paivaa
Mäenpää - Maenpaa
Voi saatanan perkeleen vittu!
It's no wonder it's a challenge to remember where they belong and where they don't as the å, ä and ö letters don't exist in English. If you know how to pronounce Finnish words and names it's easy as a, ä, o and ö are all pronounced in a distinctively different manner. The odd one out is å which is pronounced the same as o and almost never used (Can't think of a single word with it).
Well, måne, båt, blå, nå, så, også, slått, etc.. (Yup, I learnt Norwegian)
As for Finnish, I learnt it but "en puhu suomeä" now haha. So I know the pronunciation difference between a ä and o ö, but I meant that I have difficulties since its been such a long time.
suomea* I know some Swedish words with å in them, I just meant that I can't think of any Finnish ones with it. Anyway, Finnish is a hard language and it doesn't really matter whether you get the dots right; though it might look and sound a bit funny, people will still understand you just fine.
Well, I started learning Finnish because of CoB, but then I grew up and started the languages which I actually liked like Russian, Norwegian, English.
But Finnish is still a language I'd like to learn. Probably I after I learned some Asian language
Jaska, on Facebook about 3 hours ago:
It’s time to wrap up 2016. So, what happened this year?
First of all a new guitar player Daniel (who is a Finnish guy FYI, if somebody is still wondering) joined the band. It has been great times with him on and off stage. Our band has had quite a solid group of people working together in the past and we are not eager to change that. There is always a lot of work to integrate a new guy into the group. We don’t want to do that very often. Hopefully this answers the question if he (Daniel) is gonna continue with us or not.
The year started with a tour in the US with Megadeth. Later we headed to South America. In the summer we continued with lots of festivals all around the Europe. After a little break in the end of the summer we were on our way to Japan for a couple of shows. Finally in the end of the year we went to the US again for a month and came back for holiday season.
One of my dreams came true this year as I had a chance to take my older daughter with me to Japan. My only concern was who could take care of her when I was on stage? Well, luckily I had friends there who could look after her. Also, I finally (sadly) had to admit to myself that she is not interested about my work at all. During the both shows she was playing games with my cell phone. Yeah, I can imagine her thinking like “Dad, I don’t wanna watch the show, it is so damn boring what you guys do!” She has seen our show for maybe 20 times so there’s nothing new to her.
Being on the road and having two small kids is quite rough. Being frustrated, tired, busy and absent-minded (and absent) I felt bad not being able to be there more for my kids. They are high maintenance but give you so much. I held on to the thought how lucky I was to have my daughters. I am happy that they are so active and energetic, and never stay on one place, but for crying out loud…
Even though so many great things happened to me this year it was still overshadowed by severe back pain that made me really frustrated and anxious. I needed pain killers to be able to perform a show and still wasn’t able to enjoy it. Sometimes it was just surviving through the set. The days I didn’t have pain and I could play normally were rare. Those shows I played like it could be my last show and just couldn’t help thinking that this great thing what I was doing on stage could end any day. The tour in South America and all the festivals in the summer made me think my life and career more deeply. Being a drummer with a body that is a total wreck is probably the worst combo. All the flying and suffering from sleep deprivation was just too rough for me. It really made me think if this all work is worth the pain. Though, I don’t give up very easily when it comes to what I love the most.
Luckily I always want to focus on the future and right now the upcoming celebration and making a new album helps keeping it all together. A 20 year career is a long time for anyone. For me and Alexi it actually means 25 years together. Two thirds of my life I have been playing drums in a band and performing around the world. I am very proud of that. I cannot wait for the tour in the spring and playing some old songs. The set will include some rarities and also some songs we have never played live. Practically we have played some of the songs in -97 or -98, 20 years ago! We really have to dig deeper to the first two albums and try to figure out what exactly was the thing each of us wanted to express with our music.
We will start creating new songs during spring and summer, and will head to the studio during fall. The album will be our tenth studio album, which is also quite a milestone. It seems that after the studio I will have some time to get my back better somehow, possibly an operation if all the other options have been tried out.
I hope next year will bring good moments and memories to everybody. I also hope the world situation would not be so tense.
See you on the road somewhere around the world and may the force be with you all!!!
Peace and love,
I underlined the part which sounded pretty nice to me.
Jaska has read some books, his writing is colourful and orchestrated, very different to his laconic talking. Interesting read. Too bad for the back pain. He should do some eastern martial art kicking and stances to improve the corset strength to support the spine, this healed my lower back in a short while, long time ago. No other type of physical activity will do that.
Honestly, my back's a mess too and the only thing that ever helped was swimming.
When you go through guided, vigorous exercises in karate going from deep stances to dynamic kicks until you drop but still somehow find extra energy to perform, your lower back becomes truly alive. You're forced to become a robot and discover new performance ability and mental coolness to survive through the 1,5 hours. It's hard to push to discomfort zone on your own. I cracked my lower back when I was 15, and still suffered from pain when I was 17, but still took the chance and went to the classes, and to my surprise it didn't get worse but instead the issue disappeared. The ancient Chinese really knew the secrets of conditioning. Find a proper club. Physiotherapy I think is good only when you suffer from a whiplash of birth trauma that requires special attention, but if it's a chronic or temporary issue caused by sitting and turning on the drum bench, try this before settling for physiotherapy or surgery.
Drummer Jaska Raatikainen of Finnish metallers CHILDREN OF BODOM says that "severe back pain" has made it difficult for him to enjoy the band's live shows.
Raatikainen, who co-founded CHILDREN OF BODOM in 1993 under the name INEARTHED, revealed his condition in a Facebook post recapping 2016. He wrote in part: "Even though so many great things happened to me this year, it was still overshadowed by severe back pain that made me really frustrated and anxious. I needed painkillers to be able to perform a show and still wasn't able to enjoy it. Sometimes it was just surviving through the set. The days I didn't have pain and I could play normally were rare. Those shows I played like it could be my last show and just couldn't help thinking that this great thing what I was doing on stage could end any day."
He continued: "The tour in South America and all the festivals in the summer made me think my life and career more deeply. Being a drummer with a body that is a total wreck is probably the worst combo. All the flying and suffering from sleep deprivation was just too rough for me. It really made me think if this all work is worth the pain. Though, I don't give up very easily when it comes to what I love the most."
The drummer added that he hoped his condition would improve by the time CHILDREN OF BODOM was done recording its next studio album, which will happen in late 2017. He wrote: "We will start creating new songs during spring and summer, and will head to the studio during fall. The album will be our tenth studio album, which is also quite a milestone. It seems that after the studio I will have some time to get my back better somehow, possibly an operation if all the other options have been tried out."
As previously reported, CHILDREN OF BODOM will perform most of their debut album, "Something Wild", on a European tour early next year to celebrate the record's twentieth anniversary. The month-long trek, dubbed "20 Years Down & Dirty", will kick off on March 8 in Hanover, Germany and conclude on April 4 in Stockholm, Sweden.
Said Jaska: "A 20-year career is a long time for anyone. For me and Alexi [Laiho, CHILDREN OF BODOM frontman], it actually means 25 years together. Two thirds of my life I have been playing drums in a band and performing around the world. I am very proud of that.
"I cannot wait for the tour in the spring and playing some old songs. The set will include some rarities and also some songs we have never played live. Practically we have played some of the songs in '97 or '98 — 20 years ago!
"We really have to dig deeper to the first two albums and try to figure out what exactly was the thing each of us wanted to express with our music."
CHILDREN OF BODOM last month embarked on a 21-date North American tour with special guests iconic black metal artist ABBATH, California-based metal act EXMORTUS, and Canada's progressive metallers ONI. The trek commenced in Quebec on November 23 and concluded in Brooklyn on December 19.
A year ago, CHILDREN OF BODOM announced the addition of guitarist Daniel Freyberg (NAILDOWN, NORTHER) to the group's ranks.
Re-reading this interview really gives me the impression that we might get to hear some stuff like "Talking to the trees" during the year... It's still pretty unlikely, but not impossible.
I think it's quite likely since there was some secret regarding that song for next year. Fans have been screaming to play Talking of the Trees for over a decade, and it's way better than many other songs they've been playing.
What's Finnish about Daniel, I thought he was Swedish?
Just from reading Jaska, it doesn't sound like he will be around for much longer in the band or performing live. After the new album, they've got to tour and if he plans on back surgery...
Daniel has a Swedish name but that's actually quite common in Finland. I, for example, have friends who have Swedish surnames but no Swedish relatives.
About Jaska... well, I got a somewhat similar feeling, but I hope I'm wrong and that he'll stay in the band for as long as it exists.
I really hope he gets better... I mean Jaska started COB with Alexi, so it's never going to be the same if he has to leave.
As for the upcoming tour, it would be awesome if they did Talking of the Trees, otherwise I don't really care what songs they play, a COB show is always a good one. In the Shadows is one of my favorites though. Or what if for this special occasion they play/release that Tytöt Tykkää cover that Janne has mentioned a couple times I fuckin hate that song but it's so nostalgic
(also I'm translating a pretty long interview that was on the radio in october)
Supla- Läpivalaisu; Alexi Laiho. Part 1
[the radio interview I was talking about, I have linked this in the finnish interview thread recently. nothing new much, and the interviewer made some mistakes (mostly I just find it annoying that finnish reporters say Alexi just simply is the best guitarist in the world like it's just a fact that no one can deny when all it really was it was a vote in a music magazine. A reason to be proud yes, but not like he won in the olympics or something lol) and also this was partially a little awkward imo but I'm so far up Alexi's ass it really doesn't matter what he's talking about I'm gonna listen. So this is the first half of that interview, i thought this was pretty nice.]
I have never, anywhere, in this world... And I mean, I have been in some pretty bad places... Places where people get shot... But I have gotten into fights only in the suburbs of Finland. ...And they did things that I don't think I can say out loud right now. I have never for even a second been afraid of a fistfight, but when people grab you and run towards you with a knife... Whatever, of course I'll run away...
Today I'm meeting Alexi Laiho. Alexi is the best metal guitarist in the world, or, just, the best guitarist in the world, as the book Mitä Missä Milloin 2011 states. Alexi is a lot of other things too; he was bullied at school. He never sleeps at night. He used to be an alcoholic, and also a telemarketer. Actually a good one as a matter of fact.
But we'll get into that later, because now I'm a little concerned if he'll arrive at all, because I hear he has a reputation of messing up.
You arrived a little ahead of time, which was a little surprising, because I was... kind of vaguely warned that you might not come here at all, if no one reminds you.
Yeah. I guess I have that kind of a reputation... But usually I arrive on time. Like today, I had my driver/assistant/friend who made sure I'm awake and stuff. I don't really know, according to him we had to leave earlier because there was some sort of a fuckin... Luxembourg's... king... or whatever coming and it would interfere with the traffic but there was nothing like that going on.
How many people are there working with you. Do you have a big team around you making sure you're in the right place at the right time, even when the king of Luxembourg is in town?
Depends on if we're touring or not, but Finland I have this one assistant who takes care of things here when I'm not here, which is most of the time. He drives me around to interviews and stuff. Then, in management, we have two dudes, one in Finland... On tour there's a whole crew, tour managers, guitar techs and all that.. Making sure I'm on stage when I have to be...
How alienated from normal people's life are you? Like, do you ever buy milk, or socks? Normal things?
I actually bought socks yesterday!
What kind of socks? From where?
From Citymarket, black socks.
Black, how surprising.
Yeah... But no actually I really like the kind of socks that really make no sense, socks that have like, lobsters on them and I like to mix them, I always wear mismatched socks. Maybe even now I'm not sure.
But more about the alienated thing. For me it usually takes a week or two to understand where I am and stuff. After tours usually I have this problem that at least for a week I wake up in the middle of the night, panicking like ”Oh shit I gotta be on stage now?!?!? I'm late?!??”. This like, horrible anxiety thing, but then I suddenly realize I'm at home, in my own bed and there's no need to do anything at all, don't need to be anywhere. The relief is really worth it though, because it really isn't the most pleasant thing to wake up in panic like that.
Alexi, whom his friends call Allu, spends most of his life on tours, that seem to last forever. Maybe that's why buying socks from Citymarket feels like something you need to mention. Many musicians are depressed after tours; when the bandmembers, planes, bus walls, fans, parties and schedules disappear and you're left alone with yourself, then who is that anymore? And how does that person make the time pass without all this?
I play with cars, american cars are my hobby... I hang out with my friends as much as I can. And then I just try to rest. Try to sleep... Which is extremely important. At this age especially.
About that sleeping...
Hypnos, the god of sleep, really isn't Alexi's biggest supporter. Alexi may be awake for days, long after anyone with normal sleep schedules may have ended up in a hospital because of sleep deprivation.
Can you sleep nowadays?
No. (laughs) Actually last night I got three hours which is pretty luxurious as I thought I wouldn't even get a single second of sleep. I really have like, a proper insomnia so... If I know there's some promotional things like this in the morning, I usually don't sleep at all. But now I got three hours which is great.
Have you found anything that would help you, even just for a moment?
Meds. Nothing else helps. That's just how it is. And sometimes just knowing I have medication that I could take helps me fall asleep. Because my problem is that my head is constantly working on overdrive and when I try to go to sleep, my head just won't turn off. And then, if I know that I have no sleeping pills, I start to get anxious and angry. And if I get angry, then I can just completely forget about sleeping because it's not going to happen. It's some sort of a psychological thing like that, so I just have to have them. I may not always have to take them, but I have to have them. And it gets worse and worse the older I get.
How does it affect your life when you're not getting any sleep?
I get really fucking angry and antisocial. And when it's been going out for several days... I've stayed awake for like, three days in a row, without even a second of sleep in between... You really start going a little crazy there. I don't know... These situations sometimes turn out to be useful; I've sometimes written songs, lyrics in a state that I can't remember at all and it has nothing to do with drugs or alcohol or anything like that, just plain lack of sleep. Then later I've fallen asleep and woken up and looked at those songs and been like ”What is this, when have I written this? This must be the best thing I've ever done?”
So I guess this can be useful to me too. At least that's how I try to look at this problem. At least there's something positive about it.
Well that's a very good way to think. If you can't help it then you just find the way to use it to your advantage. But it's strange how your body can do that.
I don't get it either. I've been thinking about that a lot on many nights; how is it possible that I'm so fucking tired, but something in me is fighting against like ”No, you won't get any sleep!”. The problem's in the brain, but I don't know how my body deals with it.
One time on stage, I had been up for two days, and I was really fucked up from just not sleeping and in the middle of a song I was suddenly like ”Wait a sec. Where am I? What am I doing? What song is this? Have I played this part already?” and those thoughts get building up bigger and bigger and I was like ”Fuck” and stopped playing for ten seconds. I got a beer and just drank it in one go. Usually I don't drink. Nowadays I don't drink on tour at all, but anyway, the beer got me sort of back to normal, which sounds weird but I got back to playing.
Did you fall asleep?
I really don't know? Maybe? It could be possible but I don't get how you could fall asleep on stage with the kind of music we play.
Maybe if you're used to it? But anyway, you said you like american cars, so what's your favorite? ...Or like... Okay I don't know anything about cars. Why are they a big deal to you?
I guess to me this isn't a hobby, it's more like a lifestyle. They are for everyday use and just... The character, the sound, how they look, how they feel... And if I'm having a bad day, I just drive around a little, maybe go to the store, I instantly start feeling better about myself when I'm driving that car. It's just a cool thing like that. I've had different kinds of cars but the one I've had for the longest in the family is '74 Dodge Monaco, which you may recognize from the movie Blues Brothers. I bought it in 2002, and I still have it, will forever have, as long as I'm alive.
Does it have a name?
Well it's Monica. You know, Dodge Monaco, it became Monica. It's not very original but Monica it just is.
Is Monica maybe like a child to you?
Nah, It's more like my mom. (laughs)
Wow. Alright. So Dodge Monaco is Alexi's mom. And then there's the other mom: Your parents are both musicians. What kind of music did they play, what kind of a musical environment did you grow up in?
They're not professional musicians, but they both do play instruments.
Ah okay, sorry.
It's alright. So yeah my dad plays the keyboards. Mom played the flute in an orchestra for a pretty long time. She sings in a choir and plays the piano.
So you were then put to music lessons too.
What was it like? Was it fun, even if guitar wasn't the first instrument you got?
I was put to piano lessons when I was 5, and out of what does a five year old know about music, I guess it felt a little more boring than ”wow I'm super excited”. Then I switched to violin when I was 7 years old. And even if it may not have been the coolest instrument, I actually really liked it and became pretty good at it. But the more I grew up and listened to rock, the more I wanted to start playing the guitar. And so when I was 11 I got my first guitar and that was it then.
But you had to wait, or more like, whine, for the guitar for a while before you got one.
Yeah. Whine. Absolutely.
It surely did piss you off that you couldn't get it right when you wanted it?
Yes it did. A lot. It was really an obsession to me. I would pose in front of the mirror with the violin, playing it was a guitar with Guns n Roses playing in the background. But then when I got the guitar, that was easily one of the best moments of my life.
How did it happen? Did you go into a music shop with your dad or?
I was in the elementary school back then and one morning my dad was like ”Hey I'm gonna pick you up from school today” and I usually took the bus so it was a little weird. So I was like ”Oh okay.”
Then he came to pick me up and in the car he said ”Let's go to the grocery store real quick”. But then he took me to a music shop. And I couldn't believe it. And that's how it happened. That's how I got my first guitar and amp. It was a surprise.
And it wasn't your birthday or anything?
No. No it was just a normal day. Forever grateful. Thanks dad.
Did you get to choose it yourself, was there one that you especially wanted?
No because at that time I would have taken any kind of a shit guitar I could possibly get, I was so desperate. But dad knew enough about guitars to say which one would be good for a beginner kid like me. So I got this pretty good japanese stratocaster copy. But that's where it begun.
According to Malcolm Gladwell, 10 000 hours of practice will give anyone internationally successful level skills. For Alexi, these 10 000 hours of practice were already done as a kid... So it already went to that level where you slept next to the guitar?
Yes. Well I was asleep and awake with it, yeah. Many people have asked if I was the kind of guy that I just sat in the basement and never saw anyone, but it wasn't like that. I was actually a quite social kid and I had a lot of friends. I went outside too and did the kind of things that normal guys that age were doing too. But anything that had to do with school was kinda forgotten... Back then, I did practice about six hours a day, sometimes ten.
Was there anything really difficult about it to you? Were you frustrated, like you didn't think you were going to learn something?
Of course, and still there are moments like that. But challenges have always been important to me, I always want to prove everyone and my self too that I can do this. Because if I can't then I get so pissed off about it that I can't deal with it. So I guess challenges are what keep me alive. And I guess that's kind of what the obsessive practicing was about.
So music was really important in your family? What other things were there? What kind of things did your parents teach you about life?
First of all; you always must work. You can't be a bum. That has always been an important thing. Me and my sister were taught this, that if you want something you always have to work for it. For weekly allowances I had to was my dad's car or something like that or it I wanted something I always was told to do something, without any exceptions. Nothing is for free. And I think that's a very good way to raise a kid.
You said earlier that school didn't really interest you at all... What kind of a pupil were you?
I was a bit of a restless kid. Exactly because I wasn't interested in anything, and to me it all just felt like a waste of time. So well, apparently I was restless and constantly interrupting the class, so I was often thrown into the hallway. But it wasn't that extreme really. You know, every classroom has that one guy, I was that guy. Haha. And it was all just because I was so frustrated, why am I here? Why am I listening to this shit? Why do I need to know what a polynomial is? What will I ever need this fuckin information for? I actually still don't know what that is and I don't really want to either. And I'm doing just fine, thank you.
Thank you on the behalf of all us parents too.
Was there any subject that interested you even just a little bit?
English. It was the only one that I actually got good grades from. Everything else was a 5. [the finnish school grading system is from 4 to 10 if anyone's confused] And... Well obviously music was important, I was actually in a music focused class... So from music I got a 10. That doesn't really count because music was my thing but yeah there weren't many interesting subjects for me in there...
What was your group of friends like? And what was your position in it? Where were you in the hierarchy?
….Umm I was a pretty avid skateboarder for many years so I was hanging out with those people a lot. Then when I was 15, me and our drummer Jaska and a couple of girls from our school who were also into metal music decided that Espoo sucked and we need to get out of here. So we started hanging out in Helsinki. So of course we always took the bus and went to Lepakko. And back then the basements of Lepakko were always open and there were all kinds of people, punks, blackmetallers, whatever, drinking and hanging out. So we went there and got some new friends and the whole peer group changed completely.
Then, let's think about Espoo for a moment. The usual thought of Espoo is the home of finnish middle class, the engineers, the nurses, where in the kindergartens people argue about the right kinds of edible fats. A flat in Espoo is a finnish dream, and if you get that, it's better to live in a way that gives the neighbors no reason to gossip. Guess who didn't fit in?
You're from Espoo. What kind of an area did you live in?
I was born and raised in Mankkaa, Espoo. And back then it wasn't much else than just forests and some random houses here and there. And a mall. And a gas station. I guess that was it. ...Or still is...I don't know anything about Espoo anymore. I moved away from there when I was 17 and after that I haven't really thought of it.
When you hear the word Espoo, you think of well maintained houses, engineers and nurses and estate cars. But to you it was a very different reality, you almost got killed, twice actually.
And you were quite young.
Yeah it really looks like Espoo is all full of that happy suburb life but there are all kind of psychopaths there. I think in any place in Espoo you have to be more careful than in the centrum of Helsinki... Or in a ghetto in LA. Really.
I have never, anywhere, in this world... And I mean, I have been in some pretty bad places... Places where people get shot... I have been just fine. But I have been in fights only in the suburbs of Finland. And in Espoo there were extremely evil people. ….They did things that I can't really say out loud now. So it isn't like what everyone thinks it is.
So there was this group of people who started to harass and persecute you because of your relationship at the time or something? Why did they choose you?
I don't know. That's a very good question. So I guess one of the psychos was dating my ex girlfriend and he thought she was still in love with me or something so that's where it began. And then suddenly I had all these people after me.
So what kind of things did they do?
They would grab me and they actually tried to kill me. With a knife. And they would harass me. Send death threats to me. It was actually the reason I had to move out because those guys would be around our house all the time so I couldn't be there, I would have died if I stayed.
Did you tell anyone about it?
Yes I told everyone like this isn't okay at all. And then my sister who had already moved out and had an apartment in Helsinki, she was like ”You need to get the fuck out of there, come live with me.” It didn't really end the problem there but if helped enough that I could freely go wherever I wanted because those guys were in Espoo and they couldn't find me in Helsinki.
That's horrible. You're a 15-16 year old whose life is in danger and no one does anything?
Yeah. No one did anything.
Well there wasn't much people could do. Even the police. Maybe then they would have done something if I had died... I have never been afraid of a fistfight, not even for a second, but when people grab me and threaten me with a knife... Whatever dude, of course I'm gonna run.
How did you survive? You were really young. ...And small. How can you deal with that?
It was a time in my life when I changed as a person a lot. Now that I look at it later I think I tried to relate to those people and I decided that being a nice person wouldn't help me in life. That I have to be just like those guys to be able to make it. And I became a really angry person and that's how I dealt with it all. Of course a big part of the anger was me hiding fear and depression and anxiety and all kinds of stuff but the anger really was genuine. So with that and of course music. This sounds really cliche right now but without music I absolutely wouldn't have survived. It saved me. So fortunately I started playing.
Have you met these people afterwards or heard about them, how are they doing?
No, I haven't met them anymore, and I can say now that none of them could hurt me anymore anyway because it wouldn't end well for them. But I've heard that a couple of them have died and then there's one who still keeps talking that one day he'll kill me.
A little analysis here; If as a child you've had to fear for your life, it really isn't a big surprise that getting sleep is still a problem as an adult. For many people, bullying becomes a lifelong burden, that disables them and distances them, at least mentally. For Alexi, music was a savior.
So school didn't interest you at all, and at the age of 15 you confidently told your parents you were going to be a musician, or even a rockstar.
Oh at 13 already, Ok. What did they say?
At the time they had already noticed that there was nothing that would motivate me enough to study anything else, so it was a better option for them too just to start supporting me in the thing I actually was passionate about. And I wouldn't have gotten into any schools anyway even if I applied so when I told them I'm not going to go to high school ar anything, they just said I have to get a job. And I got one, and also kept writing and practicing.
What did you do for living then?
Believe if or not, I was actually a telemarketer for two months.
But it's true! I was selling dictionaries that were meant for secondary school kids or something like that.
Can you still remember the whole thing you were supposed to say?
No I can't remember it but I was supposed to learn this short speech to start the call with. Believe it or not I actually did quite well in it. But then fortunately a friend of mine was a construction worker and he said there was a place open and I just went ”please just help me get to an interview there so I'll get out of this telemarketing shit”. And I got the interview... And I got the job. It was very hard physical work and the days were long but I got paid well so I could support myself. And that's what I did until we started getting enough money from our music too, which was around the time when our second album came out... In 1999.
I have to wask about the telemarketing still... How did you get yourself in the mood to do it? Was it difficult to pick up the phone at first?
Well I thought of it as a challenge. So in my head I managed to convince myself that this is something extremely important. I thought that this is so important that this job gets done and this fuckin book gets sold... I don't think I would have been able to do that otherwise. I wasn't like, sounding all depressed there repeating the same things, I actually got into the mood that I was somehow very excited about the dictionaries that I was selling like ”this is the shit!” (laughs)
From memory (correct me if i'm wrong) the songs from the first 2 albums that haven't been played live are In the Shadows, The Nail, Red Light In My Eyes Part II & Wrath Within. That's only 4 songs.
Not that many never before played songs. It would be cool if they played Taste of my Scythe & Northern Comfort from FTR & maybe Triplecorpse Hammer Blow from HCDR although I heard Alexi hates it.
I really wish though that they would play Downfall as I've been dying to hear it live.
Deep interview about the past.
And here's the second part!!!
Supla - Läpivalaisu: Alexi Laiho part 2
I'm having a hard time getting over this telemarketing thing. This picture is so weird compared to the image of a guitar god who's playing to screaming metal fans. But at the same time I kind of feel like it would be hard to not buy the dictionary from this guy.
There's something completely exceptional about Alexi's presence. He's like a drink mixed in the lobby bar of Rocknroll Hall Of Fame, in which mixed with whiskey there's ink that's been extracted from a stubborn demon's horns. A charisma like this in the world of rock n roll really isn't a bad thing.
When was the first time that you felt like the band's really going to make it?
I always knew and believed that I would work out somehow. And that It will be something special. But I think when we got our first record deal from Spinefarm, that was when I knew that this is going to really happen. And I don't mean that I was expecting us to be the next Metallica, it was more like now this is one chance and we're going to take it and we're going to work hard and do it better than anyone ever.
I read from an interview about this situation where you had happened to be in the same bar with Zakk Wylde. And then your friend has told you to go say hello. At first you were too nervous to go, but then you went after all.
Yeah. (laughs) That's very true. I was maybeee 23 or 24 years old and we were doing our first USA tours. And we were in LA in the legendary bar called Rainbow. At some point Jaska came up to me and said ”Hey Allu, Zakk Wylde is sitting right there!” and I said ”No he's not” so he went ”Yeah yeah he is, take a look!” And I did look, he was sitting there with a huge group of people. I was just like ”Oh my fucking god.” Then Jaska told me to go say hi, and I refused, I didn't want to be annoying and interrupt his night. But he kept insisting, ”Just go say hi, shake his hand and then leave” and I just went there and said hi, Zakk was sitting there with a beer in his hand, then he looked up at me. Then suddenly he stood up -like 3 meters higher- (laughs) and gave me a hug so hard that I was sure my ribs were broken again, and a kiss on the cheek, and said ”Hey, it's you man, keep Randy Rhoads alive!” And like, he knew exactly who I was and he gave this huge speech on how he liked my playing and all that. He talked for like 20 minutes in a row, he's quite a talker, but the things he says are worth listening. It was a pretty crazy experience, I remember I was just shaking for a while after that because it was so awesome. I would have never have thought he would know who I am.(laughs)
Sometimes nice things like that happen, you get to meet someone you admire and they turn out to be fucking awesome.
And those are the kind of people whose pictures you could have had on your walls as a kid.
Yes. I mean this was a guy whose music videos I would watch all the time and listen to his playing and whatever. So that really was one of my heroes there. Not only as a guitarist but also as a character.
Another thing that I noticed when reading your interviews was that especially in the beginning of your career, an important thing for you seemed that you needed to be confident enough to do all kinds of things. Be confidently in everyone's face all the time.
True. You constantly have to be whoring for attention. That's just how it goes. Becase if you're too modest like ”Nah I can't go there” it won't work. You have to push yourself everywhere, show your product, show your playing every fucking where. Sometimes it takes things you normally wouldn't want to do but if it makes good things happen then who cares?
So only arrogance isn't rewarded. Sometimes it seems like some people won't do some things because they feel they're too good for that.
But you must never be too modest or too shy with anything. No matter how good you are, you will be trampled down if you don't show what you have. No one will notice you if you just sit there doing nothing.
Alexi told me earlier that he has sometimes played and slept simultaneously on stage. I can't help thinking that there's some other level of consciousness where the art comes from.
When you are on stage, what is going on? Do you think there's something to do with spirituality? Or something... What's going on?
I'm in a completely different place then. The moment when I go on stage, I'm not on this planet. It's a strange moment and after it feels like it hasn't really happened. Suddenly you're backstage again, sweaty and tired, full of bruises. I can't explain it any better. It's a moment when you're not in this world. Or at least that it feels like to me.
I was talking to a stand up comedian earlier and he said that anything else besides performing on stage is secondary. It's all greyer and more boring. Do you agree?
Yeah, I think pretty much everything I do, musically, is just so I can be on stage. I have to write songs, there's nothing I can do about it. That's also another cliche BUT it is true, this is therapy for me. But I make songs and records to be able to perform. So yeah, I agree.
Do you ever wish your relationship with music and playing guitar was different? Maybe that It was a little less demanding? Do you ever feel like you wouldn't want to play even though you feel like you have to?
No. Definitely not. I've never for even a second felt like that. Really. Sometimes I've had moments when I've been more interested in something musically completely different than what I do for living, for example lately I've been playing a lot of acoustic guitar and played things like Fleetwood Mac instead of practicing really fast picking. I don't know where those things come from but I do know that If you ever feel like doing something different, you gotta do it, it's going to be somehow helpful to you later. I remember the first times that it happened, that I didn't want to play metal for a while at home, I got a little concerned even, ”What the fuck is going on?” (laughs). But then I understood that it's only going to be a good thing. Playing different styles makes me a better metal guitarist and a better songwriter, If I only listened to metal, I don't think Bodom would be what it is today.
So I've heard you listen to Popeda too?
Popeda? Well... Yes, I think Pate Mustajärvi is a tough fuckin guy, you can't not like him. But a lot more closer to my heart I could say is Klamydia because I listened to it a lot as a teenager. A great band. (laughs)
Then let's get to the basic questions; why do people start playing rock n roll? The answer: free booze and women. And this can be expressed anyway you want.
So after you got out of Espoo, you did quite a lot of drinking and other crazy things. And If I've understood right there was a phase where you would hang out at bars with ladies older than you... And exchange... Services... For beer. (both laugh) So... what was that about?
(laughs) Well... I had to get beer somehow and I had no money so what else could I have done? (both laugh) But yes that is very true. But at the time my drinking wasn't as bad as it was ten years after that... But I did want to get really drunk every night. But there was no money.
”I was young. I had no money”(both laugh)
Yeah. So this thing kind of accidentally happened, one time this lady came to talk to me about my arms because they were full of self harm scars, so I talked to her and she bought me a beer. Suddenly I realized I had had six beers already and I was like ”Oh shit this could actually work” and I'm gonna spare you the details but it kind of became a thing... (sighs) This does sound kinda shady but I don't think I was exploited in any way there, no one was forced into anything so... Why not.
Claiming the name ”Wildchild” every night was becoming harder. Alexi got worse. At first his body started giving out, then his mind.
But at some point it got so bad for you that you actually were encouraged by a friend to seek treatment in a psychiatric ward.
If you think about it now, would you consider it some kind of a turning point in your life?
The first time I went there wasn't but I think the second one was. After the first time everything just went back to what it was, actually it got even worse. But the second time, it had to do with this... I guess it was the first proper anxiety attack I ever had experienced. I had never before that and I have never after that had such a horrible feeling that I need to get out of my body. It can't be properly explained with words but I didn't want anything as bad as I wanted just to get out. And after that, when I had been in the closed ward, that's when I decided I don't ever ever want to experience that feeling again. Now this crazy stuff must stop.
And it didn't happen overnight. It took a couple years to get rid of certain habits and thoughts. It was a pretty rough time for me because I had these thoughts like, for example if I was on a balcony the only thing I could think about was ”What if I just jumped? I totally could right now!!” And my head was full of stuff like that and it went on for a couple of years. That was only one example.
But it did start getting better over time, with the help of the band and everything. I got my head in the kind of condition where I could at least somehow be comfortable with living for the first time in a long while.
I think it's a great thing in your story that you have kind of given yourself the permission to reach for better things, for a more normal life, or healthier. Often people think of mental illnesses as some kind of an uncureable thing like ”Oh well now you're like this.” You have clearly started making better choices.
Yeah. I had to. And I think it's about the willpower too. And some people don't have it as strong as others. Same with alcoholism. Can you stop completely or start drinking like a normal person? It's about willpower. Some people just can't.
So to me it also became, again, a challenge. That I wanted to prove to myself I could do this and I also love proving others wrong (laughs). One of my favorite hobbies. So I decided this drinking thing has to stop. The way it was happening in so big amounts. But I didn't want to stop drinking entirely, I can drink like normal people do. And that's how it is, it was just a challenge again. And if I had failed it I couldn't have lived with myself.
It is often said that when you have a problem with addiction, the key to getting better is wanting to get better. But an interesting point in this story was that it was actually a friend of yours that said you need to get help. And you listened to him. You struggled, but you did.
Yeah. I listened. The first time I was hospitalized because of my drinking, when I got out I carried on the same way. I wasn't really on the same page with that guy about this issue. So it took me a horrible experience to start wanting to get better. You have to realize your situation yourself, no one else can force you to stop or change your ways. You just have to want it.
Alcoholism wouldn't really be a problem at all if other people could change you.
Well now you seem like you are in a pretty good condition and happy with your life, so how do you deal with it nowadays when you feel bad or anxious or something?
I'm aware that I have a darker side in my head and I'm okay with it, and I've learned to channel it in a better way than I used to. So instead of like, punching that glass into shards I use those feelings into something creative; writing songs, lyrics, always. Whenever I feel bad I just write about it. I write stuff every day, even if it's just some thoughts, I write them all down. And those writings have turned out to become songs. I can't help that I have a lot of aggression in me and I have a tendency to get... Not depressed really but anxious about certain things, but I have learned to deal with it through music.
Alexi has been diagnosed with anxiety disorder, with which he says he can deal with fairly well. In some ways this problem has kind of become a friend. This is how Alexi describes it in the book Error- Mielen häiriöitä; I didn't want to numb myself with medication. I was scared that it would take away the crazy, the ”edge” in me. I don't think I could do this kind of stuff without it. If you asked me would I rather be crazy or normal, I would choose crazy. ”
So we can think this is part of your art? If you suddenly became this... Smoothie... Fitness Alexi, you wouldn't make this kind of music. (both laugh)
I like smoothies! It just depends what's in it! But yeah I know what you mean, I am who I am and there's no need to start fighting it. But I'm not a saint or anything, quite the opposite but it's important that I've learned a from experiences and you must always remember that mistakes are allowed as long as you learn from them. If you don't then the problem is all yours.
Then you're just dumb.
Yeah. (both laugh)
So when you were younger you studied musical theory too. So did you naturally have an understanding about how it works and did you find it interesting?
Yes... To both questions. It was interesting. So I went to Ogeli [Oulunkylän pop&jazz opisto] for five years and there were some things that obviously were a little boring to a kid that age... Does a 14 year old want to play 40's jazz standards.... At least I didn't... I had to though. But studying musical theory was interesting. Not that many people do it nowadays and it really isn't a necessity, you know everyone says the Beatles didn't know shit about it... But it does help you a lot it's a good thing to know. I think the most important think about it is that it helps you with communication. If everyone in the band knows something about musical theory then it makes everything easier and faster, for example when writing songs. And it kind of opens up the musical world for you, opens new roads, you can go ”Oh so this is possible too, nice”. It's not all technical, it's not just maths.
I think it sounds really cool that you can play this kind of music and as a band communicate through musical theory. It's really cool.
I haven't really thought of it that way. Not a lot of people believe it but that's just how it works. (laughs)
For a normal person, writing a song feels like a complete mystery. As an avid music listener I have always wondered, how can you set the notes in a completely different order every time, when there is a pretty limited amount of them really. How can there always be new music in this world, what happens when a song is born?
It's just as much a mystery to me as it is to you. Really. I have no idea. (laughs) No one really knows, and I think that makes it all even more awesome. No one can give you an answer.
Do the melodies just appear into your head as small parts like ”Now this is a chorus, here you go” or is it a complete piece or what is going on?
They usually happen in small parts. They can appear in my head when I'm waiting in the red lights as I'm driving, they can appear when I'm doing laundry, whatever. And sometimes I just stare at the guitar and play whatever I come up with for hours and hours and then I notice I have been repeating the same melody a lot and it just starts form there. These are just some examples... They just come from somewhere... Pffth. Please do tell me if you ever find out where.
I'll send you a message then.
Do you think you have a purpose in your music and performance. Is there a message you want to show? Is there a mission?
I don't think I have a message of any kind. But I want to give people the feeling of freedom and I want them to have fun at least during the 1,5 hours that we're performing. People are differen, everyone has their own problems and some claim they don't have any, but I want to make sure that during our show no one has to worry about anything and nothing is bothering anyone. That is what I want. And that is really important to me.
Is the audience then feeling what you're feeling as you play?
Yeah it's a strange thing that happens. And you have to work for it on stage, you can't just be there and play. Sometimes you have to show them a little how to deal with the song. Just do whatever you want, no matter how dumb it looks, wave your hands like this (bracelets clinking), look like a monkey if you feel like it. But yeah you get into the same mindset usually with all the people.
What do you dream of?
(deep sigh) ….Well maybe right now about getting some sleep. (laughs)
That was the last question. You'll get some sleep soon (laughs)
Umm no, I actually have a lot of promotional stuff I have to do today I'm not getting any sleep anywhere soon. What am I dreaming of? …I'm not the kind of person who wants to look very far into the future. So now I'm dreaming of Bodom making a tenth studio album. And... That... I could... Get some sleep soon. (laughs) ….Isn't that pretty good?