Greek guitar virtuoso Gus G., well known in rock and metal circles for his work as Ozzy Osbourne's guitarist and as leader of his own band FIREWIND, has paid tribute to former CHILDREN OF BODOM frontman Alexi Laiho, who died last month at the age of only 41.
In an eight-minute video posted to his YouTube channel, Gus said in part (see below): "It was a shock for me to read the news [of Alexi's passing]. I knew Alexi. I wouldn't say that we were close friends or anything, but we were definitely acquaintances through the years. We did a photo shoot together. We hung out a bunch of times at the NAMM shows or the Frankfurt [Musik]messe.
"It's really sad that he passed," Gus continued. "He was a very important figure in the metal world — a very influential guitar player of his generation. So I think he will be missed by many people, by many fans. I mean, he has left us a great musical legacy, and that will, of course, live on.
"It was very sad for me to hear about Alexi's passing, not only because he will be missed by, of course, his loved ones and his family, and he was so young. The guy was so young — I mean, he was only one year older than me, so we were the same generation. So it's a little bit of a shock when you hear somebody your age leaving this world.
"I think he had a lot more to give still — musically, he had a lot more stuff he could have given us," Gus added. "And I just kind of felt like at some point, our paths crossed there for a moment. At that time, [when I first met him] 15 or 17 years ago, I felt we were kind of part of this European new movement of metal guitar players, so I kind of connected with him on that level.
"Anyways, he was a great guy. He always treated me nice. He was always very cool.
"So, rest in peace, Alexi. And my condolences to his family, to his friends, to his loved ones. I'm grateful for the times that we got to hang out, and thank you for the music that you've given to the world."
Laiho died in his home in Helsinki. He had suffered from long-term health issues leading up to his death.
Laiho and drummer Jaska Raatikainen founded CHILDREN OF BODOM in 1993, and the band was one of the most internationally acclaimed metal acts in Finland up until their very last farewell concert in December of 2019. Last year, Alexi put together BODOM AFTER MIDNIGHT, which recorded three songs and shot one music video, to be released posthumously.
Besides CHILDREN OF BODOM, Laiho had played in such acts as WARMEN, SINERGY, KYLÄHULLUT and THE LOCAL BAND. Awarded with a Metal Hammer Golden God and several other international prizes, the guitarist was also the main star, leading a group of one hundred guitar players at the Helsinki Festival in 2015 in "100 Guitars From Hel" — a massive concert piece he composed.
BODOM AFTER MIDNIGHT made its live debut last October at Rytmikorjaamo in Seinäjoki, Finland. The 17-song show consisted entirely of CHILDREN OF BODOM material.