Alexi Laiho performing at Rockharz Open Air 2016
|Birth name||Markku Uula Aleksi Laiho|
|Also known as||Wildchild|
|Born|| (1979-04-08) 8 April 1979
|Genres||Melodic death metal, power metal, neo-classical metal, thrash metal, symphonic black metal|
|Instruments||Guitars, vocals, violin|
|Labels||Spinefarm, Nuclear Blast, Century Media|
|Associated acts||Children of Bodom, Sinergy, Kylähullut, Impaled Nazarene, Thy Serpent, The Local Band|
Alexi "Wildchild" Laiho (born Markku Uula Aleksi Laiho; 8 April 1979) is a Finnish guitarist, composer, and vocalist. He is best known as the lead guitarist, lead vocalist and founding member of the melodic death metal band Children of Bodom, and is also the guitarist for Sinergy, The Local Band and Kylähullut. He has previously played with Thy Serpent and Impaled Nazarene on occasion, as well as Warmen and Hypocrisy.
Laiho has received widespread acclaim for his guitar work. In 2004 he was ranked #96 out of 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Guitarists of All Time by Guitar World. Guitar World magazine has also ranked him as one of the 50 fastest guitarists in the world. In addition, Roadrunner Records ranked Laiho at #41 out of 50 of The Greatest Metal Frontmen of All Time. Furthermore, Total Guitar conducted a public voting poll to determine the greatest metal guitarist of all time; Laiho was voted #1 out of 20 metal guitarists, with over 20% of the vote.
In 2004, Laiho founded a side-project called Kylähullut, which was assembled together with Tonmi Lillman (ex-Sinergy) and Vesa Jokinen 69er (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.
In February 2002, Laiho married Kim Goss during a private ceremony in Finland. Prior to the marriage, they dated for four years. In 2004 they separated, but still remain close friends. For several years after he was then with Kristen Mulderig, manager of Slayer until mid 2015. Later that same year he began a relationship with Kelli Wright, an Australian Public Relations Manager who he became engaged to September 2016 and the two married December 2017 in a private ceremony in Australia. 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, except that it is on the left hand. Laiho 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. The "Wildchild" nickname is derived from the song "Wild Child" by the band W.A.S.P. He also has a clothing line called "wild child industries". His first guitar was a Tokai Stratocaster.
Children of Bodom played at the 2008 Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards. There, Laiho also received the Dimebag Award for "Best Shredder," and he performed a track off of Bodom's 2008's album, Blooddrunk.
Laiho 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 Laiho broke his wrist 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 the last six dates when any efforts to alleviate the pain failed.
On 3 July 2012 Children of Bodom announced on their Facebook page that they had to cancel two European shows because Laiho had been taken to the hospital. The band released this statement: “It is with great regret that we are forced to cancel tonight’s show in Oslo as well as tomorrow night’s show in Malmö. Alexi was rushed to the Oslo hospital earlier this evening with extreme stomach pain. The doctors in the emergency unit checked him and while we are still waiting for a diagnosis, they made clear that he will not be able to perform within the next 48 hours. We apologize to all our fans who have bought tickets to these shows – we will try to reschedule both Oslo and Malmö at the earliest possibility. Keep your fingers crossed with us that Alexi will get well again soon!”
On 5 July 2012 the band followed up with another update from their Facebook page: “This is not an easy letter for us to write. Alexi is suffering from a serious infection. He is still in hospital in Oslo under supervision of the doctors and we don’t know yet when they will release him. We have no choice other than canceling Ruisrock in Turku on Saturday as well. This is a very bitter pill for us to swallow. We had decided to do only two festivals in our homeland this summer to make it real special, and now this. We hope that we will be able to make up for this very soon. To all our fans who had been looking forward to rock with us at Ruisrock this weekend, take our apologies and enjoy the festival. In our spirits, we will be there, too.”
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 SV 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. Another difference is the use of solid black or yellow pinstripes on the paint finish instead of his traditional pinstriped design which lies on the bevels of the guitar.
The guitar comes in two finishes: black with yellow stripe and white with black stripe. The guitar has a neck-thru 25.5” design, using a 3-pc unfinished maple neck with a 24-fret ebony fingerboard and pearl sawtooth inlays, although Alexi does not actually use these in live shows.
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, Schaller straplocks and a single Seymour Duncan AHB-1 in the bridge position, (or an EMG HZ H4 humbucker). Alexi's personal guitars, as well as Custom shop, Standard, and the models made for the US market are equipped with an MM-04 preamp.
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-301 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 United States.
There are seven ESP models that he actually uses (custom shop models are mostly seen in Japan)
1. Scythe (available in Standard version, Custom Shop Version and US version) white with black pinstripes and Scythe inlays, Chrome hardware
2. Arrow Head (Alexi's first ESP signature) (Only available in Custom Shop version) Black with solid yellow pinstripes very much like the US Alexi and the Alexi 600 but with pearl Arrow Head inlays, Gold hardware
3. Sawtooth (Custom Shop Version) Black with luminous pinstripes and luminous sawtooth inlays (Standard Version) Black with white pinstripes and pearl sawtooth inlays both the CS and STD version are available in chrome or gold hardware
4. Katakana (originally there were 10 made for the Finnish market, now available in a STD version) Black with yellow pinstripes 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 frets with pearl sawtooth inlays katakana (Japanese letter) inlays in the 12 fret which spelled "Alexi", gold hardware with larger cutaway, frets 21–24 scalloped.
5. Pink Sawtooth (STD&CS) Black with Pink pinstripes pink sawtooth inlays frets 20–24 scalloped, black hardware with larger cutaway
6. Blacky (STD&CS&USA) Matte black with gloss black pinstripes black pearl sawtooth inlays, frets 20–24 scalloped, black nickel hardware with larger cutaway
7. Greeny – Matte black, light green pinstripes and green skeleton.
Note: The 2010 version of Scythe, Sawtooth, and Arrow Head has the larger cutaway like the Pink Sawtooths
Alexi Laiho has used the Lee Jackson GP-1000 preamp since touring and recording Something Wild, where he used a Peavey 5150, and up until his endorsement with ENGL, still always employed it with various other different amps and preamps, creating a stereo of amp sounds. For the first half of his career, he used Marshall 1960A cabinets (with 75-watt Celestion speakers) and various power amps, including Lee Jackson Sp-1000, Rocktron Velocity 300 among others. After Hate Crew Deathroll, he started experimenting with different amp heads including the Krank Revolution, Marshall JCM800 KK (which he used to record Blooddrunk, and which he still uses frequently), and the Engl Special Edition EL34 head (in Sinergy, mainly). In August 2011, Laiho signed with Engl and used the e530 preamp with various power amp and cabinet combinations on Children of Bodom's albums Relentless Reckless Forever and Halo of Blood. On both I Worship Chaos and Children of Bodom's upcoming album Hexed Alexi used a Marshall JVM 410H head with Marshall 1960A cabinets equipped with Celestion speakers. He also uses this rig live. Alexi stated that the Marshall rig gets him closest to the tone he achieved with the Lee Jackson preamps without the reliability issues that led to him retiring them touring. He also uses a Dunlop Kirk Hammett wah pedal, a Boss CH-1 Super Chorus pedal, and a Boss DD-7 digital delay pedal for effects both live and in the studio. Unlike many metal guitarists who cut mid range frequencies out of their tone (commonly known as "scooping"), Alexi emphasizes the mid range frequencies in his tone above all else.
Laiho first used an Ibanez RG 220B (maple fingerboard) along with a Jackson Custom Shop (bought from a member of the Finnish band STONE (Jiri), which Roope Latvala was part of) to record the first Children of Bodom record and eventually switched completely to Jackson Guitars which he used for several years until two of his 3 Jacksons (the one with the WildChild sticker and the one with white pinstripes) 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 year's time). ESP came to him and said that it would take around three months for his new signature model to be up and running, so Laiho took this offer. Thus he switched to ESP guitars. The change occurred shortly after the release of Hate Crew Deathroll. His ESP guitars are based on the Jackson Randy Rhoads, except the body is cut slightly differently on North American models. They all feature a single-bridge pickup and double-locking tremolo. He is known for using a passive EMG ALX pickup with an on-board active preamp circuit to filter and boost the output signal, as opposed to using active pickups. Laiho uses Audiotech Guitar Products Source Selector 1X6 rack-mount audio switchers.
He also uses DR Strings Hi-Beam 11–50 gauge for D standard tuning. For Drop C, he uses DR Jeff Healey Signature 10–56 strings. He has also been given a signature set of DR strings. He uses Jim Dunlop Jazz III picks.
- D Standard (D G C F A D) : Hatebreeder, Follow The Reaper, Blooddrunk (Smile Pretty For the Devil; Done With Everything, Die for Nothing; Roadkill Morning), Relentless Reckless Forever (Not My Funeral, Cry of the Nihilist), Halo of Blood (Transference, Your Days Are Numbered, All Twisted, One Bottle and a Knee Deep)
- Dropped C (C G C F A D) : Hate Crew Deathroll (Sixpounder, Angels Don't Kill), Are You Dead Yet? (except 1 song), Blooddrunk (except 3 songs), Relentless Reckless Forever (except 2 songs), Halo of Blood (except 4 songs)
- C# Standard (C# F# B E G# C#) : Something Wild, I Worship Chaos (Hold your Tongue, Suicide Bomber)
- Dropped B (B F# B E G# C#) : I Worship Chaos (except 2 songs)
- 2015: Various Artists - Immortal Randy Rhoads - "Mr. Crowley"
- Vedenpää, Ville; Rissanen, Juha; Väänänen, Marja; Hurtta, Anna (August 8, 2015). "Henkilökuva: Miten Alexi Laihosta tuli maailman paras hevikitaristi?". yle.fi. Yleisradio oy. Retrieved August 8, 2015.
- "Guitar World's 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Guitarists of All Time. Much as Guitar World is the worlds' bestselling guitar magazine. A lot of controversy has been raised over this vote, because of guitarists who play much mellower genres such as Jimmy Page and John Mayer being included in it". Blabbermouth.net. Roadrunner Records. January 23, 2004. Archived from the original on September 2, 2011. Retrieved September 11, 2011.
- 50 Fastest Guitarists of All Time. Guitarworld.com. November 20, 2008
- Records, Roadrunner. (July 12, 2011) THE 50 GREATEST METAL FRONT-MEN OF ALL TIME!. Roadrunner Records. Retrieved on 2012-04-11.
- "The 20 Greatest Metal Guitarists Ever". MusicRadar. Retrieved 2016-11-02.
- "Rig Rundown-Children of Bodom". Youtube. Premier Guitar. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
- "Audiotech Guitar Products Source Selector 1X6 Rack Mount Audio Switchers" (JPG). Audiotechusa.net. Retrieved 2015-10-27. [permanent dead link]