March 22, 2006
Recher Theatre; Towson, Maryland
Irony is always interesting...the last show I was set to cover at the Recher Theatre, in Towson, Maryland, was plagued by a pending snow storm, which actually delivered a more than healthy dose of snow & ice & overall bad weather. The day prior to the Children of Bodom show the National Weather service issued a chance of a snow storm with possible ice & bad driving conditions. I find this ironic, because I was talking to Children of Bodom's publicist & we both made a joke about the bad weather the last time I had a show set up through them & I started thinking, geez, is this same scenario gonna play itself out again? Well, I set my mind to it and it didn't matter...if the show was gonna happen, I was gonna be there regardless so I could conduct my interview with the band & see the show!
Flash forward to the day of the show...it was pretty cold & I saw a passing snow flake, BUT, it was overall, clear as could be with just a very cold chill in the air. I arrived at the venue at 4 PM to conduct an in-person interview with the band & I have to admit that everyone I met in the band, minus Alexi, who was still on the bus & had not gone inside the building yet, were all very nice, down to earth guys. The backstage area at the Recher is like an oversized living room with a few separate rooms for multiple band billing & there's arcade games-a-plenty throughout the room. I won't bore you anymore with the backstage area, but it was interesting to watch the crowd file in...security did a killer job of making sure no one snuck bad items in the venue & the pat-down was pretty strict, so the line took a while to get into the club.
Children of Bodom were ready to take the stage at around 10:15 PM, & their loyal crowd started chanting "Bodom, Bodom, Bodom" like an angry mob awaiting a lynching, & after a short intro tape, Alexi & co. took the stage. I was talking to another photographer while we were awaiting for Bodom to take the stage, & I looked at Alexi's mic stand & I immediately noticed how low to the ground it was & I thought, is Alexi that short, or are they gonna raise his mic stand up? Well, the band took the stage & his mic stand stayed the same place....Alexi is a powerhouse guitar player that rivals Zakk Wylde & Steve Via, playing wise, BUT, he is about the same height as Ronnie James Dio or Glenn Danzig...Alexi is really short!
I sat down with Henkka who plays bass for COB and here’s what he had to say:
Rock N Roll Experience: As far as the writing on the new Children of Bodom CD..how much were you involved?
Henkka: Pretty much everybody is quite involved...song structures & arranging the songs, so pretty much, but the riff of course are from Alexi & everything else is together.
Rock N Roll Experience: Why did you put a Ramone's cover on your current CD?
Henkka: Because it was a good song. We did that cover like 2 years ago.
Rock N Roll Experience: Are you playing it live at your concerts?
Henkka: We have played it a couple of times, but not on this current tour
Rock N Roll Experience: How are you picking the set list each night?
Henkka: We try to....it's very hard, always, but we try to pick songs from each album & a little diversity in the set list.
Rock N Roll Experience: Are you looking forward to touring with Slayer & Lamb of God?
Henkka: Yeah, definitely!
Rock N Roll Experience: Do you open with the same song every night?
Henkka: We play the same set list almost every night, but we don't always necessarily do the same first song.
Rock N Roll Experience: Is there a reason why you do the same set list every night?
Henkka: It's so difficult to decide the set list & once we agree on it we don't want to change it.
Rock N Roll Experience: What is your favorite song to play live?
Henkka: "Are You Dead Yet?"
Rock N Roll Experience: Speaking of which, what is that on the front cover of "Are You Dead Yet?"
Henkka: It's the reaper, kind of like he's caught on a security tape, security camera
Rock N Roll Experience: What does the title "Are You Dead Yet?" mean?
Henkka: It's...Alexi was asking himself...he was like drinking for 2 weeks in a row & fooling around & then he hurt himself totally drunk & then after all of this, he was asking himself kinda like, "Are you dead yet?" or you should be gone already because you are so fucking stupid & fooled around
Rock N Roll Experience: How is the band getting along on the road?
Henkka: pretty good
Rock N Roll Experience: When you're touring & away from your family for so long, do you enjoy touring?
Henkka: That's the sad part, because you miss alot..you're girl & your family & friends, but on the other hand you just have to keep in mind that it's a really nice job anyways, so it's just the one bad side of it
Rock N Roll Experience: How many basses do you have on the road with you?
Henkka: 2..I have 2 ESP's..one Viper & one Araya model.
Rock N Roll Experience: Does the band ever get annoyed that Alexi gets all of the attention?
Henkka: No...that's definitely a good thing...I don't know if he;s annoyed about it, but I guess he's enjoying it kind of & of course, sometimes it is too much, but we are happy that we don't have to be the focal point.
Rock N Roll Experience: Who came up with the name for the band, Children of Bodom?
Henkka: We did it pretty much together...the Bodom idea actually came from the record label & then we just decided to use Bodom, like we tried all of the word to go along with Bodom, & we chose Children.
Rock N Roll Experience: Where does Children of Bodom call home?
Rock N Roll Experience: Does the band frequent strip clubs alot while on the road?
Henkka: Well, there is always somebody going to strip clubs, but I don't do that ha ha, I think it gets boring, but of course, if they are very good looking dancers, then it's alright, but usually they are not so hot, so I'd rather go to a normal bar & check out normal girls.
Rock N Roll Experience: What is the groupie situation like for Children of Bodom?
Henkka: It depends on if....if you want to have groupies or girls backstage, it is very easy here, especially in the states, but we don't have that many..we are pretty lazy after the shows & we just lie down on the sofas & drink beer & then everyone leaves.