Children of Bodom Frontman Defends the Integrity of Pat Benatar
By mid-2009, it became pretty clear that after their 18 month ‘Blooddrunk’ tour finished in Moscow, Children of Bodom would be pretty much out of the public eye until they released their next record. They knew they wanted to put out something to tide fans over, but they weren’t sure what. Over the past decade, they had already released two live albums and a DVD, and they didn’t want to repeat themselves. Then their fans made their demands.
“A lot of people started coming up to me and asked if we were ever going to do a covers album,” Laiho told Noisecreep. “We’ve recorded a lot of covers over the years for Japanese imports or European releases, and people were going, ‘Well, where can I get this?’ or, ‘Where can I find that?’ So, I thought, ‘That’s it!. We’ll do a covers album and compile everything onto one CD.’”
The disc, ‘Skeletons in the Closet,’ came out in September and features 17 covers of songs by a wide variety of artists, from Credence Clearwater Revival (‘Lookin’ Out My Back Door’) and Kenny Rogers‘ ‘Just Dropped in (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)’ to Slayer‘s ‘Silent Scream’ and Sepultura (‘Mass Hypnosis’).
“Most of them are covers I hadn’t heard in 10 years or something, so even listening back now, it’s definitely like a big flashback for me,” Laiho said. “But it’s fun listening to them and that’s really what the album is about.”
In addition to featuring songs by artists that influenced Laiho, like Iron Maiden, Scorpions and W.A.S.P., ‘Skeletons in the Closet’ includes a couple joke tracks, such as Poison‘s “Talk Dirty to Me” and Britney Spears‘ ‘Ooops! … I Did it Again’ that have some underground metal fans recoiling in horror.
“It is very amusing how seriously people take this s—,” Laiho said. “Since this record came out, I’ve heard people raging, going, ‘F— Children of Bodom. I’m never going to listen to them again. I just burned all my Children of Bodom T-shirts. They’re super f—ing gay now. F— them!’ It’s like, ‘C’mon dude, chill the f— out. It’s absolutely not making a mockery out of metal. But also, you shouldn’t take that s— too seriously.’ It is about fun, too. That Britney cover is f—ing rad. I don’t give a f— what anybody says. You get laughs out of it.”
Two of the songs on ‘Skeletons in the Closet’ were recorded after the release of ‘Blooddrunk.’ During a short break in the tour, Children of Bodom entered the studio and tracked Pat Benatar‘s ‘Hell Is for Children’ and Trust‘s ‘Antisocial,’ which was covered by Anthrax for their 1988 album ‘State of Euphoria.’
“Our cover is definitely from the Anthrax version,” Laiho said. “I was always a big fan. But that one just came out of nowhere. We were trying to pick the last song and meet our schedule, and we needed to record it pretty fast. So we were all sitting down going, ‘What the f— are we gonna record?’ Somebody just threw it out there, and it’s like, ‘Yeah, it’s metal, but it’s got this punkish feeling.’ So we figured, ‘F—, let’s do that one.’”
As for the Pat Benatar cover, Laiho defends his decision and adds that he grew up on her music and still listens to her records. “I’m definitely a Pat Benatar fan,” he said. “There are a lot of metal elements in her songs. The vocals are great, and the music’s really good. The first time I heard ‘Hell Is for Children’ I thought, ‘F—, I’ve got to cover this song some day.’ It’s the perfect pop song to make slow and dark and super heavy. Plus the title is pretty good.”