Alexi Laiho: Covering Fire
Originally published in Guitar World, Holiday 2009
Children of Bodom unleash a white-hot collection of cover tunes on Skeletons in the Closet. Alexi Laiho talks about the inspirations behind the Finnish metallers’ ash-kicking musical selections.
Looking at the selection of covers that make up Children of Bodom’s latest release, Skeletons in the Closet, it’s obvious that the Finnish band holds heavy metal, Seventies rock and teen pop in equally high regard. On Skeletons, guitarist/vocalist Alexi Laiho and Co. rework 17 tracks from a surprisingly diverse group of artists, including Slayer, Billy Idol, Kenny Rogers and Britney Spears, giving each cut a boost of shred-heavy energy. Here, Laiho takes a moment away from Children of Bodom’s headlining U.S. tour to give Guitar World the skinny on each and every skeleton.
“LOOKIN’ OUT MY BACK DOOR” Creedence Clearwater Revival
“We're all huge fans of The Big Lebowski [the Coen Brothers’ 1998 cult classic film]. We love the black humor, and the soundtrack is awesome. This is one of the tunes in the movie, but I knew the song way before I heard it in The Big Lebowski. I liked Creedence when I was a kid because my dad listened to that stuff. I knew I wanted Bodom’s version to have banjo on it, but I thought, Who the hell owns a banjo? [laughs] Then I remembered that one of my friends plays, and when I asked him, he was into it. His banjo is a little out of tune on our recording. When I hear it, I imagine some toothless redneck is playing it, but I think that’s just the perfect thing for this song.”
“HELL IS FOR CHILDREN” Pat Benatar
“This is one of the two songs, along with Trust’s ‘AntiSocial,’ that we recorded specifically for this release. From the very first time I heard this song, I knew we had to cover it. For me, it was a perfect song to turn into a metal cover. It definitely has some dark feeling in it. I’m a big fan of Pat Benatar’s music, and obviously the title fits us pretty perfectly, too.”
“SOMEBODY PUT SOMETHING IN MY DRINK” Ramones
“People probably think its weird that we would cover a Ramones song, since we’re a metal act. I know that, back in the day, metal dudes and punks used to hate each other and fight, but when I was a kid it was more like metalheads and punks were on the same side against all the other fucking jerk-offs. So for us, the Ramones are like kindred spirits.”
“MASS HYPNOSIS” Sepultura
“The lead on the original track is pretty good, so that’s why I did it almost exactly like the Sepultura version. I don’t know why I picked this song; it’s just a good one. We could have done other songs, but ‘Mass Hypnosis’ was a little less of an obvious choice compared to ‘Desperate Cry’ or something.”