Ex-STRATOVARIUS Leader TIMO TOLKKI Responds To Former Bandmates

Ex-STRATOVARIUS leader and current REVOLUTION RENAISSANCE mastermind Timo Tolkki has issued the following statement in response to comments released earlier today by his former STRATOVARIUS bandmates regarding the circumstances surrounding the group's break-up:

"I am very surprised about this. But my original statement in www.tolkki.com is still all I have to say about this. There are several outright lies in the STRATO statement and it is also clearly written by Jens [Johansson, keyboards] alone. I will make some comments about these here:

"[Quoting statement from his former STRATOVARIUS bandmates] 'If you live your life through other people's eyes, declining sales or a perceived loss of power are matters of deep, stinging personal humiliation.' [end of quote]

"Well, I don't really live my life through anybody else's eyes. Neither I felt 'stinging personal humiliation.' I felt sad.

"[Quoting statement from his former STRATOVARIUS bandmates] 'Other sad facts remain. The legal fight left us without a way to make a new album, and financially strapped. Timo's main motivation for what he did was greed, not issues of friendship or art.' [end of quote]

"My main motivation was not greed, it was what you can read in my statement. It's true of course that my decision was a hard one and left others on their own. But sometimes in life you have to make decisions based on your own well being and what you want to do.

"All the guys have a stable income from other sources, Jrg [Michael, drums] is running a booking agency, [Timo] Kotipelto [vocals] has his own band and record label, Jens has a record label with his brother and Lauri [Porra, bass] has loads of work as a bassist. By the way, just yesterday Lauri sent me an SMS where he was inetersted in joining REVOLUTION RENAISSANCE and he was asking questions about who will be playing in it.

"[Quoting statement from his former STRATOVARIUS bandmates] 'In the summer of 2007, he presented the STRATOVARIUS/REVOLUTION RENAISSANCE demos we had all financed and recorded to Frontiers Records, and signed a recording agreement for a solo project. Unbelievably, he promised Frontiers that he alone could (and would) stop STRATOVARIUS from being active for the duration of the R.R. project, for marketing reasons. In exchange for this, Timo alone was paid 154,000 US dollars.' [end of quote]

"I didn't present any STRATOVARIUS demos to Frontiers at that point. By the way, I paid for those demos and I mixed them without any fee in Sonic Pump studio, which alone would cost 1000. The contract was signed after I broke STRATO.

"There were two contracts: One for 'Saana', my solo album, and one for RR. I, of course, felt no obligation to tell anything about my personal life/business to people whom I have left behind.

"Why should I do that?

"Frontiers demanded the STRATOVARIUS clause because they probably thought that I might put STRATO back again. It simply says that as long as RR contract is valid and active, there cannot be any STRATO records, which was totally okay for me since the band was already broken up. Why should that be a problem? The money I don't comment other than that's a blatant lie.

"So to make is clear: First I broke up STRATO and finished my opera and then I started thinking about forming a new band.

"[Quoting statement from his former STRATOVARIUS bandmates] 'He did this behind our backs, as we were deep in pursuit of Sanctuary legally with a large legal bill. He still hasn't had the guts to tell us what he did. We pieced it together from various press releases of his and scattered email correspondence.' [end of quote]

"Again, these were my personal business things after the STRATOVARIUS was already broken up. So nothing behind anybody's back.

"[Quoting statement from his former STRATOVARIUS bandmates] 'In October he sent us a mail saying he didn't want to continue, a quite impersonal way after having been in the same band for 12 years. He explained that he was tired of STRATOVARIUS, and would concentrate on things like his opera. We had known for some time he really hated playing live.' [end of quote]

"Another lie. The mail was extremely long and I asked them to come back to me after reading it.

"At that point I did and was concentrating in my opera. There was no plans of RR at this point. I was fully in the production of my 'Saana' opera. I told in the mail the same reasons I am telling in my www.tolkki.com statement.

"[Quoting statement from his former STRATOVARIUS bandmates] 'He did not mention anything about his Frontiers deal, which placed the rest of us at great financial risk. He very clearly asked that we wouldn't contact him and try to talk him out of it, which we all respected. He would later make much of the fact that nobody tried to talk him out of it.' [end of quote]

"I could not mention anything about the Frontiers deal because there was no Frontiers deal at this point. I for sure didn't want 'anybody to talk me out of it.' Why would I want to do that after I just broke up the band. And Jens has all the time been sending me emails and we have been talking on the phone with very friendly terms. Now I see that this all has been just a big lie.

"[Quoting statement from his former STRATOVARIUS bandmates] 'This year, Sanctuary agreed to settle, but Timo's announcement and Timo's announcement alone ruined that, leaving us with a debt of 54,000 US dollars. The total loss is around 346,000 US dollars. There was no reason for the timing of his announcement other than some foolish belief it would make the promotion of Timo's project record a bit easier.' [end of quote]

"Yes, this is very unfortunate, but Jens is making a mistake by assuming that RR is a project. It is a band, as everyone can see: I am looking for musicians.

"I waited as long as I possibly could in announcing the RR band, but the reason why the legal case did not succeed was that STRATO management and lawyer could not get us out of the deal although they had ONE AND A HALF years time to do that. That is a very bad peformance for a simple case if the record company takes the option or not. I was not informed about anything at this point about the legal case although I was asking constantly. And I knew that if I would release RR without telling about STRATOVARIUS breakup, everybody would just take it as a project, which it is not. So these are the reasons for announcing the split before the RR release.

"[Quoting statement from his former STRATOVARIUS bandmates] 'Then late January, surprisingly, he proposed us playing as hired guns on R.R. (turning it into a STRATOVARIUS record), and doing a tour with Jari on bass. Apparently he again had financial problems due to his failed opera project. He then quickly dismissed the idea himself.' [end of quote]

"This is a lie. I asked them if they would like to do a farewell tour of STRATOVARIUS, as I have explained in my statement. It was nothing to do with financials, but as a respect towards STRATOVARIUS fans. My opera wasn't even out yet, so how could it have failed at that point?

"It is now taking off nicely and I am happy. I dismissed the idea of farewell tour, that Jens was happy about, but Kotipelto and Jrg in a very hostile way rejected.

"[Quoting statement from his former STRATOVARIUS bandmates] 'In short it's not so much a story of simmering discontent leading to a wise and respectable decision. It's definitely not a story of naivet. It's the story of Faust, the story of madness, of a band's natural and slow decline, but in the end something mundane: the story of a supreme narcissist going broke and betraying friends of 12 years who helped save him a few years earlier.' [end of quote]

"Well, I've never been called a Faust before, so at least that's a new one. I don't consider that I have betrayed anyone, but that I have stayed true to myself and my beliefs. Also from the very beginning I shared all the income from every source equally between all the band members. That doesnt sound like greed to me. Bitter it does sound.

"It is not a story of Faust, it is a story of a rock band and this statement verifies all those things I am writing in my statement. There is hate. There is tension. All those things were and are still there.

"The statement ends 'the remaining members of STRATOVARIUS.' Although I own the name and all the rights to that, I have no problem if the guys want to continue the band without me.

"I am very happy with RR getting interesting fresh musicians and doing loads of creative stuff in my life. Too bad it had to end this way."


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