A down-to-earth gentleman of musical brilliance contrasting the devilish beast wielding a pointy guitar on stage.
“Alexi Laiho has passed out”
A simple statement, sounds like some absurd joke or something.
This can’t be told in casual terms, for it’s a terribly bad news that should not have needed any other medium to travel than air.
You know Alexi WildChild Laiho if you have even glimpsed into the metal world lately. This Finnish Guitarist had more magic tricks up into his sleeves to captivate listeners for decades to come, but his untimely departure has blown a massive loss for his fans as well as future musicians, for Laiho single-handedly inspired generations of guitar players. A boundless success kind of backfired for him, as he got himself wasted by decades of road abuse, overwork, and the subsequent alcoholism.
The guitarist unlike many musicians had a fair childhood. Alexi had supportive parents and sibling. His family members were loving and they were into music too. What worked against him was the stress of overwork that came with the wild success starting from his early years. After decades of tours, a continuous strain overcame the Rockstar in both mind and physique. His music tell the stories of individual sufferings and existential crisis, but when did Alexi experience those, if he had always been making these music? Turns out it’s the music itself the culprit. Laiho’s videos bear the visual record of his health. You can easily identify the decline from the ‘Vivaldi’ covers towards the recent interviews. Though he did not have any tragedy in his life to begin with like Chester Bennington, he kind of made up his own tragedy.
Rampant success only leads to the craving for more success, and the initial motive of the hard work gets entirely forgotten, leading to the self-fulfilling need of the success itself. Laiho with his initial accomplishments only craved for more (or was it just him?). It’s difficult to comprehend the purpose of overwork for an already successful figure, and Laiho did labor like a brute, that was evident in his frequent album releases and ceaseless live shows in exchange for declining health conditions. There are many elderly musicians like Sting and Bono, who still attend shows, yet they don’t need to sacrifice health or mental peace in order to do that. Alexi took up drinking to escape from the drudgery of the non-stop show travels, which ultimately ate him up instead.
Observing the Singer turning into a walking skeleton should have alarmed bell of the close associates soon, as they should have compelled Laiho to take breaks and vacations or even to retire, but instead it appears they were all too busy with business keeping the Frontman Alexi Laiho at front. Everyone knows it was Laiho himself, who was solely making all the music for the enterprise. The vocals, the guitar work, even the lyrics too. Clearly it was not in Laiho’s best interest to do ceaseless album works, travelling to endless venues relentless reckless forever, for he had been hijacked to keep him running on the hamster wheel until he collapses with exhaustion, whether it was in trade of his physical health or mental peace.
Left with a black hole in the space of metal genre, this generation of listeners will thus have to do without any living rock legend of their own time among them. Of course there are the senior musicians, but they are senior, and they belong to the senior listeners too, while others have retired. Alexi Laiho truly owned these contemporary decades, as he had all the necessary hallmarks a metal rockstar needs to hold in one place becoming the spokesman for these troubled times.
Great people become great paying the cost of naivety in many other aspects. Laiho if he had the slightest clue that he did not need to go hell or high water for anyone, he would have liberated himself into his retirement, had a life, and with time he would have influenced more young people to pick up guitars, what was supposed to be Laiho’s real purpose. However, a mindless pursuit of accomplishments thus made the guitarist succumb to the public whims, eventually making him pay with life. Perhaps that is why the brightest are short lived, as being good with one’s craft and living a sound life have always been two completely separate matters.
If you are new to Alexi’s works, you may start with-
Everytime I Die
Cry of the Nihilist…