Since his untimely passing in late 2020, Children of Bodom guitarist/vocalist Alexi Laiho has continued to be mourned by the greater community of heavy music fans. Revered for his talents and contributions via the Finnish-collective, Laiho struggled with medical issues and more notably, a losing battle with addiction.
Alexi’s ex-wife Kimberly Goss would confirm months after his passing that Alexi passed from “alcohol-induced degeneration of the liver”. Her statement also shares that at the time of his passing, he had opioids, as well as pain and insomnia medication in his system.
That tragic reality was underscored in the first and only interview that has been given from the remaining members of Children of Bodom in a recent exchange via Helsingin Sanomat. As for the catalyst of the conversation, Janne Wirman, Henkka Seppälä and Jaska Raatikainen said that a year and half after Laiho's passing, they felt the fans needed to know the truth about what led to the disbandment of Children of Bodom.
In a statement shared regarding the feature, the trio of C.O.B. members explained, "When we decided to go our separate ways and stop performing together as COB, many were left confused. We sat down with Vesa Sirén from Helsingin Sanomat to clarify our past relationship with Alexi and the events that led to the breakup. It has been a heavy burden to bear, and we are finally able to tell our side of the story."
As for the timeline of events that led to the band's demise, the members recall both the genius and the illness that consumed Laiho. They each revisited instances in which his alcohol consumption disrupted the momentum of the band and how things would waver between Laiho's sincere attempts to get clean and sober.
The remaining members also detailed the turbulent summer of 2019 when Children of Bodom ultkmately decided to go their separate ways. Despite legal action and formal proceedings regarding the LLC that controlled the interests of Children of Bodom collectively, the members took into account their history of 10 albums and more than two decades together to reach an amicable split. In fact, the members would still work together following the band's break-up.
What Janne Wirman, Henkka Seppälä and Jaska Raatikainen were very adamant about addressing was the misconception that the reason for the band's end was their unwillingness to tour internationally anymore. The band explained, “Alexi was the only one to do interviews about the band breaking up, and his versions diverged from the truth.”
While Laiho explained to Helsingin Sanomat in November of 2019 that Children of Bodom was done due to the memebrs' wanting to spend more time with their families, the reality was that the relationship between Laiho and the members had experienced friction with regards to money, with Laiho opting to have members buy his shares of the LLC that controlled the company and work with him as essentially a hired gun. That dynamic ultimately created an irreparable rift within the band and in 2019 - the Children were done.
The earnest attempt to set the record straight is coupled with the band's sincere appreciation for Laiho despite his demons. The band recall his genius, his humor, and his passion that propelled Children of Bodom to become a fixture in heavy music.
“At heart, he was a warm and caring person, always ready to help others. But he had his demons, and he wanted to fight those alone”, Alexi's sister Anna Laiho said. “He wanted to make his own choices. For better or worse.”
The remaining members of Children of Bodom are currently compiling an exhibition of photos spanning the history of Children of Bodom. The collection will be showcased at Espoo Cultural Centre in October of this year. The project is being compiled jointly with Alexi’s estate.
Read the full feature via Helsingin Sanomat HERE