Children of Bodom’s Remaining Members Reveal How Alexi Laiho’s Drinking Scuttled the Band
The death of Children of Bodom frontman Alexi Laiho was one which shocked the metal world. While it was known that Laiho was a hard drinker, and had a bad breakup with his other bandmates before starting his new project Bodom After Midnight, no one was prepared for a metal star who was so talented and renowned to pass away so suddenly. But now, in an interview with Finnish publication Helsingin Sanomat, the remaining members of Children of Bodom have spoken out for the first time about how Laiho’s drinking resulted in his departure from their ranks.
In the interview, keyboard player Janne Wirman, bassist Henkka ‘Blacksmith’ Seppäläm and drummer Jaska Raatikainen discuss at great length how Laiho’s drinking was a huge problem for the band. At the beginning of their careers, the band did incredibly well, making approximately €8,000 a month via their LLC, AA & Sewira Consulting Oy. But in 2008, during the band’s tour with Slipknot, it became increasingly clear that Laiho’s drinking was harming his health and the band. Laiho later admitted that his behavior was problematic, apologized to his bandmates, and promised to stop drinking on tour. According to Wirman, “He was really positive and happy when he was sober.”
Things took a tough turn in 2015, when the band’s guitarist Roope Latvala was let go. While Latvala claimed his firing was a complete surprise, the other band members all agree with Laiho’s assessment of the situaiton:
“Alexi became frustrated because Roope didn’t perform his job duties, meaning rehearsals, so we went by the letter of the law: verbal warnings, formal warnings and finally termination.”
However, in 2017, Laiho began worrying about his finances, and apparently began threatening to pull out of the LLC. He more than once suggested that the other members buy him out. In 2019, the band’s manager brought up Alexi’s substance abuse, and while he declined rehab, he went to a doctor, who diagnosed him with diabetes and put him on medication. By then, Laiho was dangerously underweight.
In 2019, Alexi submitted a trademark request for the ‘Children of Bodom’ name to the Finnish patent office. The LLC was understandably pissed off, and sent Laiho a notice of Loss of Confidence. He rescinded the request, but had created a rift between himself and his bandmates that continued to plague their partnership.
Things then took a turn for the worse soon after. Though he promised to do one more album with the band and a few farewell tours, Alexi began “hitting the bottle like back in 2008” on the band’s 2019 tour. By then, the band had had enough. According to Raatikainen:
“I told Alexi that you don’t usually drink starting at breakfast before a gig, and now you don’t even warm up with the guitar before going on stage like you always do…His hands were shaking for two days, but the gigs in Moscow and St Petersburg went pretty well.”
When their manager tried to intervene again, Alexi lost it, and sent out a series of furious drunken e-mails threatening to fire band members and insulting their manager. Eventually, the band had to buy Alexi out of his shares of the LLC.
Later, Laiho would claim that his former bandmates just wanted to spend time with their families. Then, of course, he passed away in December of 2020.
You can read the full interview via Helsingin Sanomat, but just know it’s super depressing. Everyone at MetalSucks wishes the remaining members of Children of Bodom all the best, and are terribly sorry for their loss and this ordeal.