Finnish metallers CHILDREN OF BODOM were forced to cancel several shows earlier this month — including those in Oslo, Norway and Malmö, Sweden — after the band's guitarist/vocalist Alexi Laiho was rushed to the hospital with extreme stomach pain.
After spending a week and a half receiving treatment in Oslo, Alexi was released from the hospital and the band performed at this year's Ilosaarirock festival, which took place July 13-15 in Joensuu, Finland.
CHILDREN OF BODOM drummer Jaska Raatikainen has posted a lengthy recap of the band's most recent tour, including Alexi's health scare. It follows in its entirety below.
"I am writing this last blog of the summer tour little late but wanted to tell about what happened in the last days on it. It feels different now when everything happened a few weeks ago. Luckily, we were so close to end and had a chance to play most of the shows. Unfortunately, the shows in Oslo and Malmö were canceled, as well as one of the two festivals we were supposed to play in Finland.
"Canceling a show is always such an unpleasant thing to do and it is frustrating when it happens. CHILDREN OF BODOM is not a band that easily cancels a show.
"The half way of the tour is usually the worst and toughest one. You know how long you have already been on tour and you know what there is yet to come. This tour was quite easy and short for us, and like I told before, I enjoy touring in Europe especially in the summer, although I got a little sick at some point, which was not that nice.
"When the tour is coming to its end, I start hoping that there would be little more nice countries and cities you could visit. You hope it wouldn't have ended so soon.
"We played this one festival, Basinfirefest in Czech Rebublik. It was weird mix of folk and metal festivals. Very hot and nice athmosphere, though. Good crowd. Finnish band called APOCALYPTICA also played there after us and it was nice to see friends playing.
"The next day I woke up to bright sunshine. It didn't only look hot outside, it really was very hot. We were in Dischingen at the festival called Rock Am Härtsfeldsee. Nice little village festival again. That day we did a signing session which was something special to our normal daily routines. Only funny thing was that almost every fan spoke German to us. When we spoke English to them, they were quiet or kept talking German. I learned the basics of German in school and we have had German crew guys so we all understand something.
"During the night, heavy thunder storm covered the whole festival area. We heard that some people were injured by some flying items. Fortunately, nothing serious happened. Also a good thing was that the show was in a tent and they collected all the people inside and closed it totally.
"We started at midnight. We were tired but happy that everybody was there and enjoying. That night there was supposed to be a shower at some gym hall, but the local promoter turned that to a shelter for campers. Kindly thought, of course, but also it meant that me and Henkka [Seppälä, bass] had to take showers with the garden hose behind a bus. Cold, but did the job nicely. And yes, we were naked hoping the guys from RAGE wouldn't come out from their bus, because it was behind their bus where we were hiding.
"With Full Force got hit the same storm and it was even worse there. People lost their tents, flying placates everywhere and what have you. We even heard that a few people got hit by lightning or something very serious. Hopefully these people are alright now. I slept long and didn't see the mess, basically, at all. These kind of things are usually fixed very fast. That's why there is festival staff working 24/7. Respect! The show there was very good and crowd showed their best to us again. After the show, ELÄKELÄISET (humppa cover band from Finland) asked us to feature on stage. Well, Roope [Latvala, guitar] did, and played banjo on their version of COB's 'Hate Me'. Janne [Wirman, keyboards] was dancing on their 'keyboard stand.'
"During the night I woke up to some loud sound that came under the bus and noticed that we were moving very slowly. I thought it wasn't anything serious. Next day we spent the whole day off at a garage. So no day off in Oslo.
"The show day in Oslo started normally. The stage was already set when I woke up. I sent some e-mails and went to eat. I was supposed to meet some friends after that but then I got a text message where they asked if everything were alright. There was an ambulance next to the bus. I answered yes, but soon after that I heard somebody talking about ambulance, Alexi, hospital and stomach pain. The first thought was of course that will he be back in time. I was afraid of something worse. He was in a hospital over a year ago almost for a week because of something similar. When we heard the results, we called the management to book us new flights home the next morning. We left Alexi behind but he was in good hands.
"The next week was frustrating because nobody wasn't sure when Alexi would get out from the hospital and if we could play Ruisrock, the one of the two festivals in Finland next weekend.
"The night before the show, I got the message that said the show was canceled. Honestly speaking, I was so angry and so frustrated and I believe I wasn't the only one. We didn't know what was the exact reason for the situation. We just heard there was a very bad infection on the stomach area. Alexi will tell the rest if he wants.
"After the Ruisrock weekend, we heard that Alexi will be home on Thursday, a couple days before we had to leave to Joensuu, to Ilosaarirock. So, seems that everybody got home safe and we were lucky enough to play at least one Finnish festival this summer.
"Alexi was a little quiet when I saw him the first time after what happened. Everybody was concerned how the show will go. When I went on stage, I immediately sensed that the show will be good and Alexi will do his job well. We all felt relieved and happy after the show.
"Despite the unfortunate events on this tour, I know I will miss the shows a lot. It is incredible how getting to the stage makes you forget pretty much everything else.
"It was nice to share these experiences with you all. Also thank you so much for your positive feedback. It helped me a lot. Now it is time to create some new material. I will try to keep you updated!"
CHILDREN OF BODOM recently inked a worldwide deal (excluding Japan) with Nuclear Blast Records. The band, which kicked off a year-long celebration of its 15th anniversary with a successful North American tour alongside labelmates ELUVEITIE, has a new studio album planned for release in 2013.
"Holiday At Lake Bodom (15 Years Of Wasted Youth)", a very special CD+DVD career retrospective in celebration of CHILDREN OF BODOM's 15th anniversary, spotlights specially selected tracks from every one of CHILDREN OF BODOM's critically acclaimed albums (1997's "Something Wild", 1999's "Hatebreeder", 2000's "Follow The Reaper", 2003's "Hate Crew Deathroll", 2005's "Are You Dead Yet?", 2008's "Blooddrunk" and 2011's "Relentless Reckless Forever"), plus two newly recorded (and undeniably fun) cover songs and detailed liner notes penned by the members of CHILDREN OF BODOM themselves. The DVD portion of the package includes "candid touring and backstage footage from around the world”, plus the "Shovel Knockout" video.