Children of Bodom Members Say Farewell Was Sooner Than Planned
Children of Bodom have fans in a nostalgic mood today as they return with the new live album, A Chapter Called .... Children of Bodom (Final Live Show in Helsinki Ice Hall 2019). But while the title indicates that it was the band's final performance, the group's members revealed in a chat that this wasn't the original plan.
Band members Henkka Seppala and Janne Wirman hosted a listening party for the record at their Bodom Bar & Sauna in Espoo, Finland, and during the event they reflected on that final show and where they were as a band at that time.
The group had begun to have issues with frontman Alexi Laiho, who died a year after their final show due to alcohol-induced degeneration of the liver and pancreas connective tissues, and ultimately the band had decided to make a break due to their ongoing issues, but there was a plan in order.
Speaking about the last show, Wirman confirmed, "It was short notice, and we [originally] had so much better plans for how to say goodbye to all the international fans, how to do a proper farewell around-the-world tour [during 2020-2022] and whatever. But now, something we did not know, was [that] the pandemic [would happen], obviously, and that would have canceled all of those plans anyway."
Seppala added, "So it was kind of, like, in a way we are lucky that we had this confrontation within the band that made us decide to drop [the group] earlier than we were supposed to and have this final show that was recorded. Because if you would have kept on the original plan with Alexi that let's do a farewell tour until 2022, I think it was, so then the pandemic would have ruined everything. And we probably would have never had this kind of last proper souvenir."
That said, the infighting with Laiho had reached a breaking point, with the band deciding to do the one off final show rather than attempting a full tour.
"I felt a sense of relief onstage 'cause I was very tired of Alexi's problems and constant problems with one guy," said Wirman. "And then this guy who was our best friend and who wrote all the music, all of a sudden from 2016 on, just became someone I didn't recognize anymore. He was a different person, and he was so overcome with his disease and problems and it got to the point in 2019 we decided that this can't go on anymore."
When asked if they considered taking a long break and then returning, Seppala said, "That would have been like a mature way of dealing with it," before Wirman interjected, "Our manager at the time, Steve, did ask me that, at the eve of the last show, Steve asked me that, 'Are you ever gonna play with Alexi again?' And I said, 'I would only [play with him] if he would seek help and become fully sober.' And I knew that wasn't an option, that he had decided at that point, unfortunately, that he's just gonna die by his addictions, which is horrible. And it's very sad, but I knew him well enough that there was no way that he's gonna get better. And then that's why somehow it was also a relief for me at the last show. I realized that I need to let go."
Seppala followed up, "The problems were pretty bad — I mean, within the band, all the relations. And I don't think anybody could see a future anymore. So [putting the band to rest] was the only option at the time," while later calling it "an impossible point" in their career.
The band's final performance came Dec. 15, 2019 at Jaahalli in Helsinki, Finland, with the group playing an 18-song set that included a four-song encore. The A Chapter Called Children of Bodom live album is available at this location.
Children of Bodom's Henkka Seppala and Janne Wirman Reflect on Their Final Show
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Gallery Credit: Joe DiVita