Saturday, December 13, 2003

Timo Kotipelto and Jörg Michael are out of Stratovarius.

After several emergency meetings, this move finds acceptance within the band. “Due to irrevocable and massive difficulties between the band leader Timo Tolkki and me, it has been agreed that this is the best thing to do to preserve at least some of the integrity the band used to have", says singer Kotipelto. "I will now fully concentrate on my solo album and I am convinced that this is the best way for me."

Jörg Michael says that his priorities lie elsewhere at the moment, but that the suddenly escalating trouble in the band is one of the main reasons he doesn't want to play in Stratovarius anymore.

Jens Johansson states that he thinks this situation is very unfortunate, but that he is ok with it nevertheless, given the tension and turmoil of the last couple of months.

Jari Kainulainen was not available for comment

"I think this is the beginning of new era for Stratovarius and that the future looks bright and promising. I have composed some of my best songs during the last month", Timo Tolkki says from his writing mansion next to the gulf of Finland. He promises that Stratovarius fans will be both surprised and amazed by the next album. "If anything good comes out of this, then I guess it will be the emotions I have managed to channel into new songs about this situation, which has been very heavy for all of us." he continued. "I have been having quite bad mental problems lately, but I feel better now due to anti-depressive medication my therapist has prescribed me."

Also, according to the booking agent Continental Concerts, the current line-up is "100% certain" to fulfill all its obligations regarding festival dates next year even though there is a lot of simmering hate still, waiting to boil over.

According to Tolkki, he is currently talking to a German singer and a Finnish drummer about replacing Kotipelto and Michael, but he stresses that absolutely nothing is confirmed at this point. He adds that he is actively looking for replacements.

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