This past week I was given the chance to see the famous Finnish metal band, Children of Bodom, live in concert at the Water Street Music Hall. Not only that, but I had the honor of interviewing the band’s bassist, Henkka Seppala.
I was a little apprehensive when I approached their tour bus on a rainy Thursday night. I knocked on the door, and when I was let on, I immediately noticed three cases of Heineken and Corona on the floor.
I was led into the back where one member was browsing his iTunes and talking on AIM on his laptop, and the other was smoking and watching a movie that might have been “Dumb and Dumber.” Then the interview began.
I first asked Seppala who he considered his biggest influences. His response was basically the usual for the scene – Slayer and early Ozzy Osborne, when Randy Rhodes was still his touring guitarist. Seeing as Children of Bodom have been around for almost 10 years, I was curious as to why they keep playing. They told me that they just love to tour, get drunk and be ridiculous. They referred to one incident while recording an album when they took a sauna, then left the sauna in their towels and went to an auto parts shop where they proceeded to do a photo shoot in towels while holding car parts.
When I asked what was the first record he ever bought was, Seppala said his answer changes every time he is asked the question. Last Thursday it was an Alice Cooper album. I asked Seppala who he thought were up and coming bands. He said he does not really listen to any new bands, but suggested checking out Amon Amarth, who will tour with them soon but is also older than them.
When I asked Seppala to compare audiences in the United States to audiences in Europe he thought that was a silly comparison to make – audiences are different all over the United States just as they are different all over Europe. I finished by asking what his favorite food was. Supposedly when they told the Japanese that breakfast was their favorite food, the Japanese found it hilarious. They said the vodka pasta from a restaurant down the block on Water Street was pretty good.
Then I went into the concert. The opening band, Sanctuary, sounded like they played one long song, while it was actually a bunch of songs that all sounded the same. The next band, Gojira, was a progressive death metal band from France. They put on a good show, even with mic trouble in the beginning of their set, and they even had a sweet drum solo.
Finally it was time for Bodom! They came on stage to the funny farm song (“They’re Coming to Take Me Away,” released by Napoleon XIV in 1966). As always, Alexi ‘Wildchild’ Laiho shredded his guitar and had amazing duels with the incredible keyboard player Janne Wirman.
They played songs from their newest album, 2005’s “Are You Dead Yet?,” like “In Your Face” and the title track. They also played a number of songs from the previous album, Hate Crew Deathroll, like “Needled 24/7” and “Sixpounder.” For a special treat they played “Mask of Sanity” for the first time ever in the United States. At one point they broke into a vamp on “Billie Jean,” totally out of the blue.
Overall, this was an epic concert experience, as is to be expected with the mighty Children of Bodom. They lead the rock and roll lifestyle of tour tour tour, party party party, and they continue to turn out metal as only they can.
Abt is a member of the class of 2008.