Alexi "Wildchild" Laiho (born Markku Uula Aleksi Laiho; April 8, 1979) is a Finnish singer, composer and guitarist. He is best known for being the lead guitarist as well as lead vocalist for heavy metal band Children of Bodom, and he is also the guitarist for Sinergy and Kylähullut. He has also previously played with Thy Serpent and Impaled Nazarene on occasion, as well as Warmen.
Guitar World magazine has ranked him among the top 50 fastest guitar players in the world.
Later career Edit
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.
In September 2002, Alexi's custom Jackson guitars (one of them bearing the famous "Wildchild" sticker) were stolen by an unidentified thief while he was asleep after a night partying with the other members of the band after a 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 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 two EP's, and two full-length albums.
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 (license plate COB-79) and a Buick. In February 2002 Alexi married Kimberly Goss, the 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, but still remain close friends and band mates in Sinergy. More than once, Alexi has referred to his band-mates as "probably the only real friends I ever had" or saying "Those motherfuckers aren't my friends... I'm just brothers with them." He has the letters "COBHC" (Children of Bodom Hate Crew) tattooed on his left hand and "HATE" tattooed on his right hand as an homage to Ozzy Osbourne, who has a similar tattoo with the letters O-Z-Z-Y. 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. In January 2005 Rolling Stones interviewed Kirk Hammett of Metallica and the interviewer asked him "Who do you think is the best guitarist ever?" to which Hammett responded "That would be me! Nah, just kidding. I would say it's the one and only Joe Satriani or that kid Alexi! What a power he has!" The "Wildchild" nickname comes from the song Wild Child by the band W.A.S.P.. His first guitar was a Tokai Stratocaster.
In April 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." However, John Petrucci replied "I'm better than Alexi? Of course not. If I am, that would mean that I'm the best guitarist in the world! That guy can play fast solos while he's drunk!".
Alexi has had some personal problems. Between the first two Children of Bodom albums, Something Wild and Hatebreeder, he attempted suicide by taking 15 tranquillizers mixed with a few shots of whiskey. He was discovered and taken to a hospital in Espoo to recuperate.
Children of Bodom Played the 2008 Metal Hammer Golden Gods awards, Alexi also picked up the Dimebag Award for "Best Shredder". He performed the track of his new album, Blooddrunk.
Alexi appears on Canadian thrash metal outfit, Annihilator's 2007 album, Metal, as a guest, performing a guitar solo on the song, "Downright Dominate".
In spring of 2009 Children of Bodom was forced to drop out of their North American "No Fear Energy Tour" when Alexi broke his shoulder after falling out of his bunk when the tour bus took a sharp turn on April 26, 2009, after the show in Palladium Ballroom, Dallas TX. Laiho originally planned to continue touring despite his injury, but was forced to cancel last 6 dates when any efforts to alleviate the pain failed. According to Laiho, "I wanted to try to keep going but after seeing a second doctor in Philadelphia, I was basically told that I could fuck myself up for life if I don’t stop playing. Against all recommendation, I have played and sang for the last 10 days in violent pain which has only made my condition worsen. So, I decided to listen to everyone around me, who were telling me the best thing to do would be to go home and get some proper rest and give my shoulder some time to heal". All summer festival dates will go down as planned and remain unaffected by Alexi's injury.
Guitar endorsements Edit
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 and also put in a cut-away to get to the higher frets, like a modified BC Rich Ironbird. Another difference is the use of solid black or yellow pinstripes on the paint finish instead of his traditional pinstriped design which ESP have replicated for his guitars where he buy at the national bookstore. The guitar comes in three finishes: black w/yellow stripe, white w/black stripe, black w/pink stripe and his own custom black w/white stripe, which was never brought into mass production. 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, although Alexi on his own guitar has custom scythe inlays on some of his white guitars. 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 Seymour Duncan AHB-1 in the bridge position, (or an EMG HZ H4 humbucker). 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. There is also a Limited Edition Alexi signature guitar (the ESP LTD Alexi-600SE) which is black and pink. He also has a Custom Shop and Standard version of the Black and Pink guitar in his traditional pinstriped design that is not available in the US.YAOW
Alexi Laiho has used the Lee Jackson GP-1000 Preamp and Marshall JCM 800 cabinets (with Celestion speakers) and various power amps for most of his career but has recently started using the Kerry King Signature Marshall head. He first used an Ibanez RG 220B to record the first Children of Bodom record and eventually switched to Jackson Guitars and used them for several years until both (the one with the WildChild sticker and the one with white pinstripes) of his guitars were stolen. He asked Jackson to make him another one, but the time-table they gave him for its production was too long (around a years time). ESP came to him and said that it would take around 3 months for his new signature model to be up and running so of course, Alexi took this offer. Thus he switched to ESP guitars.
He also uses DR Strings Tite Fit 11-50 gauge for D Standard tuning. For Drop C, he uses DR Alexi Laiho Signature 10-56 Strings.