"some music was meant to stay underground..."

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Formed: 1984
From: Helsinki, Finland
Last Known Status: Active

Latest Stratovarius News

Below is our complete Stratovarius news coverage, including columns and articles pertaining to the band. Some articles listed may be indirectly related, such as side projects of the band members, etc.

Note: We began associating news directly with bands in late 2003. Therefore, earlier band news may not be listed on this page.

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Vote For Your Ideal Stratovarius Setlist

In the Forum section of their official website, Finnish power metal giants Stratovarius have offered their fans the chance to vote for their favorite Stratovarius songs as part of their "ideal setlist". The announcement also reads that the results are "sure to influence the choice of material for the upcoming Stratovarius world tour." Fans may submit up to 18 songs.

To vote for your Stratovarius dream setlist, go here (you must register as a user before you can vote).

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Stratovarius/SaxonDrummer Offers Statement

Stratovarius/Saxon drummer Jörg Michael has posted this message on his official website:


this is Jörg Michael speaking!

Wow, a lot of time passed by since I posted the last statement here and so there is a lot of things to tell.

Probably you guys have heard about the tragic accident of last weekend when Biff's house burnt down in the north of France. It's very hard to cope with a tragedy like this but on this way I like to send best supporting regards over to Biff and his family and hope they will recover soon! Good news are that nobody got hurt, that is the the most important thing I suppose! Let´s cross our fingers that Biff's life is going back to normal as fast as possible!

Hot news since a couple of weeks is the reunification of Stratovarius. Yes, this is very big news in my life and especially the fact that Timo Tolkki is doing much better, and is able to work again. We are working on the new material, of course I am very excited about what will come of it! At this point I'd like to explain that Stratovarius means something very special to me. I have been together with these guys now for about 10 years. We started really at the bottom and lived a dream together, seeing the band growing and also developing the relationships. I wouldn't lie if I say that we all became friends in this band. We have a saying in German that you need 11 friends to be successful with a football team, but I would say it is very hard even to meet 11 friends in a lifetime.

I also saw some confusion about this on the Saxon web site and I would like to tell the things from my point of view. I hope it will clear all the fog away and give everybody an understanding about my situation! Stratovarius was in a big crisis at the beginning of last year, and I got a call out of the Saxon camp asking me to do their new record. That was a great honour for me and I packed my drum kit in the van, drove to England and auditioned 2 days and the boys liked what I was doing! Also we were talking about touring at that time. I already said at that point that I don't know what will happen with Stratovarius, but I promised Biff that I will be there for the whole Lionheart tour and we got a deal! For me it was an absolute great pleasure and almost a dream to play an album and a tour with one of my all time faves. The Saxon tour was an absolute blast for me, after starting the first shows in a kind of safe mood the whole band got more and more beserk so I really enjoyed every single second being on stage. I mean, playing masterpieces like Solid Ball of Rock, Motorcycle Man, Crusader, Dogs of War, 20.000 feet, etc., only to name a few... and I am not even mentioning the Lionheart stuff yet... made my evil little heart jump up and down and blew me away. Everybody knows the heart breaking skull cracking riff blasting guitars, solid pumping pounding iron bass with Nibbs going insane on stage, but I have to say one more thing: Biff on stage as a front man and singer is bloody fucking brilliant and asks for all my respect, bloody English... -:). This is no put honey around Biff's mouth or put my head into Biff's ass, this is my honest opinion! Also I haven't forgotten the metal maniacs visiting the shows who gave me great support all over Europe and a fantastic feel playing in Saxon, thank you very much for that. A that point I shouldn't forget big thanx for every single road crew member as everybody gave me support and all the help I needed to feel a part of the family since the first day. Very special thanx go to Django and Duce, both are supermen and probably the best drum technicians in the world!!! Muriel and Emile my friends who run the web page put a couple of photos of the tour on the site, check them out and enjoy them! And as everybody know the Lionheart tour didn´t end yet so I am still part of that! I think there will be still a lot of rockin' to do.

I'll watch out to see you all around!

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Kotipelto to Perform with Stratovarius

According to ProgPower USA, Stratovarious will be headlining the September 16th date of the festival. Stratovarius will be accompanied be Kotipelto who is also touring with Kamelot in Europe in March through early April.

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Stratovarius Mainman Refuses To Drop 'Hitler' Song

According to an article in the Finnish daily newspaper Iltalehti, STRATOVARIUS' record label is refusing to allow the group to release a newly recorded track featuring a sampled speech by Adolf Hitler.

The song, entitled "Hitler", was recently recorded by the group for inclusion on their next album. However, some of the executives at the German branch of the band's record label, Sanctuary, are objecting to the song's lyrical content and are threatening to pull the song from the album's final track listing.

"I won't give up on the song," Tolkki told Iltalehti. "This is a matter of principle.

"The German Interior Ministry has formed a branch dedicated to preventing youth from being exposed to the Nazi ideology. Our manager sent this special branch the lyrics to the song and the intro to be used in the beginning of the track [containing Hitler's speech]. It is up to them to judge if it is acceptable for release or not. If the Ministry sees this song as inappropriate, I will, of course, refrain from releasing it, and I will record a new version of the track that is acceptable. If, on the other hand, the song is found to be 'legal,' the record company should not have the right to limit my freedom of expression."

Tolkki says that he is certain the Ministry won't have anything against the song.

"It's as strongly against Hitler as a song can be," he claimed.

To prove this, Tolkki read the song's lyrics to the Iltalehti reporter. In the song, Hitler is described as a monster who spread fear across the world.

"These issues have to be discussed," Tolkki explained.

Tolkki said that he has been interested in Hitler-related literature for a long time.

"I have been interested in Hitler since I was a teenager," he said. "As far as I can tell, every child is innocent when born into this world. I'm interested in finding out what happens to turn an innocent child into a Hitler-type figure."

Tolkki said that he doesn't know yet how long it will take for the German Interior Ministry to make a decision regarding the song. However, he believes that it won't delay the making of the group's new album.

"This shouldn't affect that [the recording process for the new album]," he stated confidently. "I believe that we will get the clearance to release the song as it is. [This subject matter is something] that you must be able to talk about."

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New Stratovarius Song Suspended In Germany

A new song from the forthcoming Stratovarius album has been suspended by the band’s own record label, Sanctuary Music German Division. The opening intro of that song was supposed to start with the speech of Hitler. According to Timo Tolkki who points out the song is completely anti-Hitler and therefore appeals to the freedom of the art. Tolkki adds that he has always been interested in Hitler and what made Hitler become such a monster, the song is as anti-facist as possible. The lyrics of the song has been sent to the censorship department of the Ministry of the Interior Of Germany, which will make a decision about the legality of the song.

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Stratovarius, Circus Maximus On ProgPower USA VI

ProgPower USA VI (www.progpowerusa.com) is scheduled to take place on September 16th and 17th at Earthlink Live in Atlanta, GA. The latest acts confirmed for the festival are STRATOVARIUS and CIRCUS MAXIMUS.

Confirmed acts now include: STRATOVARIUS, CIRCUS MAXIMUS, MANTICORA and THERION. More acts will be announced soon.

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Finnish Attack Tour To Feature Strarovarius

The reunited Finnish metallers STRATOVARIUS, complete with vocalist Tim Kotipelto, will launch their first North American tour in September. It is not planned to be the usual handful of dates, but a full-blown club tour, from Atlantic to Pacific.

FINNTROLL, the dark metal outfit who mix native humpa rhythms and Finnish-only lyrics into a death metal approach, will engage in their own tour, in September.

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Metal Musicians Comment On Violence In Metal

Imhotep Zine from Norway have issued an extensive report asking a long list of hard rock/metal musicians these two questions: "Can aggressive music led people to kill others?" and "Is there any connection between heavy music and violence / killings / crimes against humanity?". Here are some of the reponses:

Jens Johansson (Stratovarius):

I think the connection is not a useful one to make. This was just one of those freak things that no amount of planning, forethought or "self policing by the industry" could have prevented. I would blame it more on the state of health care (psychiatric health care in particular) in the USA and of course on the gun control laws! But I would not put much blame on those things. It's simply not useful. I also wonder a bit why the US Marine Corps take a schizophrenic guy and teach him how to use a gun. But maybe they need people like that, what the fuck do I know. Such a sad thing what happened. I only met Dimebag very briefly once when we played this Randy Rhoads benefit together in LA many years ago. He seemed a cool guy, surprisingly quiet for playing such aggressive music. :) Everyone I've spoken to who knew him say that he was one of the sweetest people they met. It's so typical somehow. Why don't they ever kill the assholes??? :)

Jonas Björler (The Haunted, ex-At the Gates):

No, I don't think brutal music causes violent behavior. The violence I've seen in pits during metal concerts have been all about 'friendly violent fun'", like EXODUS said. I really don't see a clear-cut connection. But there will always be exceptions to a certain rule, and in the case of Dimebag's killer - that was a really sick & troubled young man who dealt with his frustration & anguish the wrong way.

Gene Hoglan (Strapping Young Lad, Dark Angel, Death, Old Man's Child, Testament):

These people are VERY misinformed, and, by the looks of their articles, really have it in for heavy metal and anyone who listens to it or plays it. How could anyone seriously lay the blame back on Dime for some psychopath's delusional breakdown? No one came out to blame John Lennon for Mark David Chapman's murder of him, and he was under FBI scrutiny for years! Had he been in a metal band (or merely an avid fan), it would have been, "Oh, he got what was coming to him", and his death could have possibly been made fodder for some of the true haters out there.

Music only becomes an issue when it can be used to enflame a story. When Charles Whitman climbed to that bell tower in Texas and gunned-down dozens of people, no one questioned his musical tastes. Chances are, him being from Texas, the 1960's, ex-military, he was into country/western music. Did that drive him to kill a ton of people, with its discussions of how "I'm gonna take a gun and shoot my wife", or "I shot a man in Reno/ just to watch him die"? Sure it did. Is this this uninformed conjecture on my part? Of course it is. But it sure is easy to do...

Now, some factions of Black Metal seemed to embrace violence against others...that's a subject I don't know what to do about... RIP Dime. You are loved and missed...

Read the entire list of reponses from other musicians here.

Read the full article at Imhotep Zine.

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Stratovarius Vocalist Named #1 Go-Getter

Stratovarius Vocalist Timo Kotipelto has been deemed "the number one hardest go-getter in metal" by one of the biggest Germany's Metal Hammer magazine, far ahead of such greats as Bon Scott, Glenn Danzig and James Hetfield. Metal Hammer refers to the incident at Wacken where Timo kept on singing for an hour and finished the show after a stage bomb burned his hand into a crisp. "What's a 2nd degree burn if there is 40000 fans expecting a show?"

Despite the reunion of Stratovarius, Timo's band, Kotipelto, will be heading out on the road in the spring as planned.

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Headline News

Stratovarius Reunites

The following message has been posted on Stratovarius' official website:

After all the turmoil of 2004, we are happy to announce that Stratovarius has reunited with the classic line-up: Timo Tolkki, Timo Kotipelto, Jörg Michael, Jari Kainulainen and Jens Johansson.

Since his breakdown in April, we have patiently been waiting for Timo Tolkki's health to improve. It has been, and since about 6 weeks he has been strong enough to go back to work.

Also during the past months, after much talk, soul-searching and reflection most of the damage within the band has been repaired. The rest of us now understand Timo's condition, and have slowly come to terms with it. There has been forgiveness, and everyone has a good relationship again.

Many of the immense problems we were facing have now found concrete solutions.

Lastly, we can announce that work is already in progress on completely new material.

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Laiho And Kotipelto Guest On Upcoming Warman Album

In other Children of Bodom news, keyboardist Janne Warman has announced that CoB guitarist Alexi Laiho and Stratovarius singer Timo Kotipelto will be among the group of vocalists who perform on the upcoming Warmen album, scheduled for release in May.

In other Children of Bodom news, guitarists Roope Latvala and Alexi Laiho will appear at the Finnish Metal Expo in Kaapelitehdas, Helsinki on Saturday, January 29.

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Kamelot Recording With Stratovarius Keyboardist

According to Kamelot's official website:

Stratovarius keyboardist Jens Johansson will appear as a guest soloist on two songs for their new album, "The Black Halo." According to the band, "Jens' unique style fits perfectly into Kamelot's musical approach."

As previously reported, Epica singer Simone Simons will also be making a guest appearance on the album. "The Black Halo" will be released in early 2005 through SPV, with a European tour slated to begin in March. Details will be announced soon.

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Stratovarius Singer Does Metal Covers w/ Orchestra

According to a posting at the BLACK SABBATH fan site Black Sabbath Live Project, STRATOVARIUS singer Timo Kotipelto performed several classic heavy metal covers with Finland's HEAVY LILJA ORCHESTRA last Thursday (Aug. 26) at the Manala bar in Helsinki. "In the orchestra there were one cello, one violin, one alto violin and one flute," the posting reads. "They had three Finnish singers singing on most of the songs. The most known singer out side Finland is Timo Kotipelto of STRATOVARIUS. The other two are also very talented singers but only known in Finland — Maija Vilkkumaa (female) and Kirka."

The orchestra played the following 80-minute set: More...

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Stratovarius Bassist Ties The Knot

Stratovarius bassist Jari Kainulainen recently married his girlfriend Heidi. Photos from the wedding and reception, which took place in the Finnish countryside, can be seen here.

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Gates Of Metal Festival Photos Posted Online

Several photos taken at the Gates Of Metal festival from this past weekend on July 31 in Hultsfred, Sweden, which included performances by Stratovarius, Sonata Arctica, Morbid Angel, Finntroll and Meshuggah, have been posted online. Check out the photos from these bands' performances:

Sonata Arctica
Within Temptation
Morbid Angel

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Crimson Glory Members Guest At ProgPower USA V

Ben Jackson and Midnight of Crimson Glory fame have been confirmed as special guests at ProgPower USA V on Friday, September 17 and Saturday, September 18 Earthlink Live in Atlanta. The duo made their last appearance together in June at Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles’ "Six Pack" festival in June, where they performed a rare acoustic set together. Jackson and Midnight will join previously announced special guest Timo Kotipelto (Kotipelto, Stratovarius) and vocalist Rob Rock.
ProgPower USA V will be headlined by current and former members of Savatage, uniting for one night only, along with Edguy, Kamelot, Pain of Salvation, Wuthering Heights, Dreamscape, Adagio, Brainstorm, Tad Morose, and Into Eternity.
The show officially sold out in early May, making it the third consecutive year ProgPower has sold out more than four months in advance.

For more information on the event, go to www.progpowerusa.com.

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New Kotipelto Song For Download

A brand-new KOTIPELTO track, titled "Reasons", has been posted online in MP3 format at this location.

"Reasons" comes off the former STRATOVARIUS singer's sophomore solo album, "Coldness", due in Europe on April 26 through Century Media Records (a May 18 U.S. release is expected). The follow-up to 2002's "Waiting for the Dawn" was recorded by CHILDREN OF BODOM keyboardist Janne Wirman at his Beyond Abilities Studios as well as by Tero Kostermaa at High and Loud's ELK Studios and Finnvox Studios in Helsinki, where the mixing (Mikko Karmila) and the mastering (Mika Jussila) also took place. Matthias Norén, who has previously worked with bands like INTO ETERNITY, LOST HORIZON and EVERGREY, designed the album's artwork, which is said to perfectly fit the atmosphere of the CD. Additionally, the album will contain the video for the song "Reasons" and a "Making Of" for the video shoot and the album's studio recordings as extras. A CD-single containing the track "Reasons" will be released in Europe on March 22, accompanied by the songs "Seeds Of Sorrow" (album version) and the non-album bonus "Vizier" (extended version of a track originally featured on "Waiting For The Dawn").

The KOTIPELTO "Coldness" lineup consists of: More...

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Former Stratovarius Singer Blames Split On Alcohol

STRATOVARIUS' split with singer Timo Kotipelto was the result of years of alcohol abuse and non-communication, the vocalist has revealed in an interview with Holland's Lords of Metal. "It lies in the Finnish mentality not to openly talk about problems," Kotipelto said. "That is what ultimately ended STRATOVARIUS. For all those years we never spoke about our problems but kept them to ourselves, which allowed trouble to build up."

According to Kotipelto, problems first arose when STRATOVARIUS mainman Timo Tolkki started drinking heavily during the "Destiny" tour. In the years that followed, the resentment between bandmembers intensified, made worse by Tolkki's insistence on keeping Kotipelto out of the creative process. "Everybody could see the split coming from miles away," the singer admitted.

The tension within the band was largely to blame for the group's decision not to support the "Elements Pt. 2" album with a tour and to take a break instead. "Well, we sure managed to do that," Kotipelto added rather cynically.

The alcohol abuse of various bandmembers contributed to the explosive situation within STRATOVARIUS. Concerts where Timo Tolkki would be drunk onstage, such as the recent Piorno Rock appearance in Spain, complicated matters. The fistfight that eventually ended the co-operation between Tolki and Kotipelto was shrouded in an alcoholic haze. "I do not remember anything of that night," Kotipelto said. After the disastrous performance at Piorno Rock, guitarist Timo Tolkki is contemplating abandoning the remaining festival dates that were booked by the old lineup. "I personally would not mind if those concerts got cancelled," Kotipelto concluded.

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Stratovarius' Timo Tolkki Vows To Carry On

STRATOVARIUS guitarist Timo Tolkki has posted the following message on the band's official web site:

"After spending one week in countryside with my family, this is what I want to say:

"I have been shocked about the attack and the amount of ill will some people have directed to me. The festival in Spain was a very difficult thing to do after all those death threats. I got very drunk before the show and I also didn't feel that I received any support from the rest of the band. After the first song I left the stage because of the horrible sound and was waiting as they were fixing it. People were booing and started to throw things on stage. Then I returned and went to my mic and asked in English and Spanish 'What the fuck is going on?,' thus speaking aloud that sentence that I have had in mind since MissK joined the band and the amount of hatred this whole thing has generated. People started throwing things and 1 bottle hit me in the head. Once again it seems I am the bad guy and solely responsible for everything. Jens Johansson pissed on my leg in 'Forever'. I couldn't believe it to be true and he apologized later, which I accepted, once I understood why he did what he did.

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Headline News

Timo Tolkki Assaulted In Spain

STRATOVARIUS guitarist Timo Tolkki was assaulted in the center of Granada, Spain on Sunday (Feb. 29) as he was taking a walk, Finland's Sonera Plaza is reporting. According to STRATOVARIUS keyboardist Jens Johansson, who witnessed the attack, the alleged attacker was extremely agitated and had "a Hispanic looking appearance". During the assault, the attacker shouted "Tolkki." He was armed with what seemed to be a box cutter.

Tolkki was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was admitted to emergency care. He had two stab wounds on his left arm and a facial contusion. His wounds were cleaned and bandaged and he was released from hospital care.

Anybody with any information about the attacker is being asked to contact the police.

Tolkki commented that he is "shocked and horrified" by what happened. "Apparently this guy had been stalking me. The bastard attacked me from behind," Tolkki said. "I can take anything, but that was such a cowardly act, you know. He got me with the knife twice and punched me in the face. Then he ran away. The whole thing lasted just seconds. Now I am thinking that this might be the end of my career. I do not want to end up like John Lennon. I don't know if I want to continue STRATOVARIUS anymore".

When asked if he thinks that the attack has something to do with the resent changes in STRATOVARIUS lineup and the death threats he has received, Tolkki commented: "Of course I feel there is a connection to that. Why would anybody attack me like that otherwise? What possible other motive this guy could have had than that? I think he tried to kill me, but this time I was lucky".

STRATOVARIUS performed on Saturday night as a headliner of Piorno Rock Festival in Granada, Spain.

A photo of Timo Tolkki taken on Sunday after he was treated for his wounds can be viewed here

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