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A night in Bodom: Alexi Laiho interview and Chicago concert review

Alexi Laiho rocks Chicago
Alexi Laiho rocks ChicagoPhoto from Writer's Collection

Children of Bodom are still as bloodthirsty as they were 20 years ago; they proved that Tuesday night (March 25) when they stopped by the House of Blues for their Halo of Blood tour and nearly destroyed the venue. Metal fans young and old braved the cold weather to rock out with other metalheads. But before the show, frontman and guitarist Alexi Laiho talked about the tour and what's next for Bodom.

Are there any pre-show rituals you do to get pumped up before a show?
Alexi Laiho:
I just warm with up with some guitar and listen to music...to stuff that gets me, like you said, pumped up.

Are there any specific band or songs you listen to before shows?
AL:
It could be anything. Right now we're listening to Guns N Roses...'80s stuff is usually the best.

The band has been together for over 20 years. Did you guys ever think you would last this long and have such a dedicated following?
AL:
Oh not at all. Well, I knew that I wanted to this for as long as I'm alive. Me and the drummer started the band when we were like 13 and 14 years old. So, obviously it took a while for us to get a record contract and stuff, but it's gotten so much bigger than I ever thought it would be. It's pretty awesome.

“Halo of Blood” is your latest album and fans are hungry for new music. When can we expect that from the band?
AL:
We're still in the middle of touring, so we got a couple of more tours lined up. I think we got s*** lined up until this fall. After that I'm gonna start writing new stuff and see what happens, so basically next year we're gonna hit the studio in April maybe.

With so many albums and songs under your belt, where do you get inspiration for new songs?
AL:
You know it's funny, the thing is I don't really know. When I start writing music I just kind of try to block everything out of my mind and try not to really think about anything. Usually, I can just get an idea, a melody, or a riff or anything out of the blue, just out of nowhere when doing [anything] – like driving a car or something. Or sometimes when I'm sitting down with a guitar kind of noodling around and it kind of starts from there. It differs, but obviously I listen to music all the time things that you hear. I just kind of absorb stuff without really thinking about it. I don't really know where it comes from, but I'm glad it still does.

Where are you guys headed once the North American tour is finished?
AL:
Yeah, we got tons of European festivals before that. After this we're going to Finland for three weeks and then we do – it's kind of like around the world tour. We start off in Russia, we're supposed to do Ukraine too, and Turkey, Israel, Australia, a bunch of countries and Asia and stuff. And then we go to South America. So, it's basically it's two months of going all over the place. After that the European festivals and after that we have one more tour and we should be done.

Do you guys ever take a break? It sounds really hectic.
AL:
It is really hectic (laughs), but that's the way we like it. That's really what the band is all about anyways, playing live and touring. We've been doing this since forever, since the first album, like 1998. Since then we've been on the road. Everybody still enjoys it; we love being on the road and just love playing live.

So, no partying for you guys?
AL:
Well, we do. Personally, I used to party like crazy every night, but the thing is I'm not 25 anymore. I;m taking it pretty easy when I'm on the road. Trying to make sure that I'm not all f***ed up and hung over when I hit the stage. I used to be able to do it, but I'm getting old so I gotta take it easy. I'll do my partying when I go back home.

Later that night, the venue buzzed with excitement as fans waited for Bodom to come on stage. When they finally did, the cheers were loud enough to bring down the walls. The band opened with their slaying hit “Sixpounder,” which got everyone in the crowd shouting “666!” The excitement in the room kept building as the band knocked out classics “Living Dead Beat,” “Halo of Blood,” “Bodom Beach Terror,” and “Hate Crew Deathroll.” They made sure to please everyone by doing old fan favorites along with tracks from their latest album. Occasionally, they would stop to thank Chicago for coming out or reminiscence about when they started playing in city back in 2003. They even treated fans to quick covers of the “Beverly Hills Cop” theme song, which got everyone clapping along.

Laiho pulled off intricate solos with ease, making it look simple. And keyboardist Janne Warman's playing is so unreal he looked like he was making the keys play by sheer willpower. Some of the songs that got the biggest cheers were “Are You Dead Yet?” which opened a massive circle pit in the crowd. When they signed off before their encore, a chant of “Bodom! Bodom! Bodom!” erupted. The final song of the night was the explosive “In Your Face.” Fans went nuts as moshing, jumping, and crowd surfing broke out. Onstage the guys seemed to revel in the adrenaline as Laiho leaped across the stage and even spinning his guitar around his body. Bodom left the crowd in bruises and aches, but most fans will agree it was well worth it. Children of Bodom is a metal act you don't want to miss.

Children of Bodom are currently finishing up their North American tour. Their last two shows are in New York March 28-29. Their latest album "Halo of Blood" is out now. Keep up with Bodom visit their website and follow them on Facebook.