Alexi "WildChild" Laiho (born Markku Uula Aleksi Laiho; April 8, 1979) is a Finnish singer, composer, and guitarist.
Alexi began his musical training at the age of five by learning the violin. However, influenced by the music his older sister Anna listened to (heavy metal bands such as W.A.S.P. , Poison and Stone), he ended up dropping the classical instrument at the age of 11, in favour of guitars. A taped live performance of Steve Vai's song "For the Love of God" (from the Passion and Warfare album) was especially influential in Alexi's decision to become a guitarist. He soon began taking lessons at the Finnish Pop & Jazz Conservatory in order to study the instrument, at which he also studied the piano. The development of his playing style was heavily influenced by Stone's Roope Latvala (who many years later became his band-mate in Sinergy and then in Children of Bodom). His vocal influences came mostly from Phil Anselmo (from Pantera) and Mille Petrozza (from Kreator). He is involved with arts and crafts and building things out of sand. He is also classically trained which helps strengthen the backbone of his skilled musical writing.
He is best known for being the lead guitarist as well as lead vocalist for heavy metal band Children of Bodom, and he is also the guitarist for Sinergy and Kylähullut. He has previously played with Thy Serpent and Impaled Nazarene on occasion, as well as Warmen and Hypocrisy. Guitar World magazine has ranked him as one of the 50 fastest guitarists in the world.
After taking part of an experimetal music band named T.O.L.K. with friends from the conservatory, Alexi founded in 1993 the black/neo-classical metal band IneartheD (which later became Children of Bodom) together with drummer Jaska Raatikainen and then-bassist Samuli Miettinen - for information on IneartheD's career, refer to the Children of Bodom article.
At the age of sixteen, Alexi quit school in order to be able to dedicate himself fully to Children of Bodom. In 1997 he joined Thy Serpent, but did not remain for enough time in the band to record an album.
With the release of Children of Bodom's debut Something Wild, the band played a concert with Impaled Nazarene in Russia, and Alexi was invited to join the latter band as a lead guitarist. Alexi joined Impaled Nazarene and remained with them until 2001, but never held much interest in the band, always relegating it to second plan. One year after the release of Something Wild, at the age of nineteen, Alexi suffered a nervous breakdown. In his despair, he resorted to suicide and took thirty tranquilizers and a few shots of whiskey, slipping into unconsciousness. A friend found him soon after and took him to the hospital.
Once he had recovered, Alexi decided to skip regular treatment and instead embraced his love of music. He increased his already dedicated practice schedule and made the guitar playing on subsequent albums more skillful than their debut.
In 1999, Alexi was invited to join Sinergy by Kimberly Goss, as the lead guitarist and support keyboard player. In 2001, Roope Latvala joined Sinergy, and a "master against disciple" situation was created, resulting in several guitar battles on the solos of Sinergy's songs.
Alexi was a guest musician on a song by To/Die/For ("In the Heat of the Night") and on a few songs by Norther, he also co-produced the debut album of the band Griffin, all between 2001 and 2002.
In September of 2002, Alexi's custom Jackson guitars (one of them bearing the famous "Wildchild" sticker, which was the guitar with which he appeared in all of the early Children of Bodom pictures) were stolen by an unidentified thief while he was asleep after a night partying with the other members of the band after a successful concert. Alexi needed new instruments, but Jackson had just been sold to the Fender Musical Instrument Company and wouldn't be able to build a custom guitar for Alexi for at least one year. ESP Guitars, however, told Alexi they could build a replacement in three months, and he signed with the company.
In 2004, Alexi founded a punk rock side-project called Kylähullut, which was assembled together with Tommi Lillman (ex-Sinergy) and Vesa Jokinen (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 a 4-track EP and a full-length 12-song album.
Alexi's life is dedicated almost entirely to music, and whenever he is not on tour with one of his bands, he is playing video games, drinking or practicing. His main hobby is cars; he was taught how to drive by his father at the age of 10. Alexi owns a Pontiac Firebird, a 1974 Dodge Monaco and a Buick. In February of 2002 Alexi married Kimberly Goss, front-woman of the band Sinergy, during a private ceremony in Finland. Prior to the marriage, they dated for four years. In 2004 they separated, because - as Alexi put it - "things were not working out."
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 RV 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, like a modified BC Rich Ironbird. 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 w/yellow stripe, white w/black stripe. The guitar has a neck-thru 25.5” design, using a 3-pc maple neck with a 24-fret ebony fingerboard and pearl saw-tooth inlays, although Alexi does not actually use these on live 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, and a single Seymour Duncan AHB-1 in the bridge position, (or an EMG HZ H4 humbucker).
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 USA.
-Ibanez RG 220B
-Custom Shop Jackson
-Custom Shop Jackson "Stone"
-Custom Shop Jackson "WildChild"
-Custom Shop Jackson "Green Pinstripe"
-Custom Shop ESP
-Custom Shop ESP "Pink Saw Tooth"
-Custom Shop ESP "Scythe"
-Custom Shop ESP "Saw Tooth"
-Custom Shop ESP “Arrow Head”
-Peavey MKI 5150 head
-Lee Jackson Perfect Connection GP-1000 Pre-amp
-Lee Jackson SP-1000 Power amp
-Rocktron Velocity 300 Power amp
-ENGL Savage head
-Rocktron Intellifex Effects Unit
-Engl E840/50 Power amp
-Marshall JCM 800 KK head
-Marshall JCM 800 4x12 cabinets
-VHT 2:90:2 Poweramp
Related GMC Lessons
Children of Bodom
1997: Something Wild
2000: Follow the Reaper
2003: Hate Crew Deathroll
2005: Are You Dead Yet?
2009: Skeletons In The Closet
2011: Relentless Reckless Forever
1999: Beware the Heavens
2000: To Hell and Back
2002: Suicide By My Side
20??: Sins Of The Past
2004: Keisarinleikkaus (EP)
2005: Turpa Täynnä
2007: Lisää Persettä Rättipäille (EP)
2007: Peräaukko Sivistyksessä
2005: Accept the Fact
2009: Japanese Hospitality