Watch Jason Richardson shred in honor of Alexi Laiho after buying his signature ESP V

Jason Richardson and Alexi Laiho
(Image credit: Jason Richardson/Instagram / RONI REKOMAA/LEHTIKUVA/AFP via Getty Images)

On January 4, 2021, it was announced that Children of Bodom frontman and trailblazing electric guitar legend Alexi Laiho had passed away, sparking an outpouring of tributes from the music world.

At the time, Jason Richardson – just one of countless guitarists whom Laiho inspired with his world-renowned playing – offered his own voice in honor of Laiho, writing that without his influence, “I wouldn’t have become the player I am now.”

Now, Richardson has honored his hero again, this time by posting a video of him wielding Laiho’s very own ESP V signature guitar to shred the solo of Children of Bodom’s If You Want Peace… Prepare For War.

In the quick-fire clip, the Ernie Ball Music Man signature artist swaps out his own Cutlass for the white V, making the most of its sole humbucker and Floyd Rose tremolo as he flawlessly nails Laiho’s technically jaw-dropping composition. 

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As a sign of respect to his hero – either that or some of Laiho’s lines were simply too virtuosic to replicate – Richardson briefly gives his soloing chops a break as Laiho and his mesmeric contribution on the studio recording rings out.

“Alexi Laiho was one of my biggest influences growing up,” Richardson wrote in the caption. “Always wanted one of his guitars since I was a teenager! When he passed away a couple of years ago I finally ordered one and I’m gonna frame/hang his Young Guitar Magazine tribute issue I was interviewed for about his influence on me up next to it.

“I remember asking him outside their bus on the tour for Are You Dead Yet? if I could try one of his guitars out while I was still in high school.”

In the comments section of the video, Richardson interacted with a few followers, revealing If You Want Peace… Prepare For War “might be my fave off that album” – that album being 2005’s Are You Dead Yet?

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Unfortunately, though Richardson did confirm he was unable to try out Laiho’s guitar, there aren’t any excerpts from the Young Guitar Magazine story he references online. Still, Richardson has made his affection for Laiho clear on many occasions, telling Guitar Player (opens in new tab) that Laiho and John Petrucci are his biggest heroes.

“They both have had some impact and influence on my playing and writing,” he said.

Likewise, on social media at the time of Laiho’s passing, Richardson wrote, “RIP Alexi Laiho. Thanks for your influence and motivation for me to learn how to play guitar. 

“I can honestly say if you didn’t share your music with the world I wouldn’t have become the player I am now. I’m very thankful I got to see [Children of Bodom] play at midnight in Finland while the sun was still up.”

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Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.