Former STRATOVARIUS Members: 'TIMO TOLKKI's Main Motivation Was Greed'

Former STRATOVARIUS members Timo Kotipelto (vocals), Jens Johansson (keyboards), Lauri Porra (bass) and Jrg Michael (drums) have issued the following joint statement:

"Timo Tolkki published a statement on April 2 this year. The other members of STRATOVARIUS would now like to set the record straight. You can't argue with someone's perception of things, you can just explain how you see things differently.

"The confrontations, fights, incompetence, tensions, negativity, bitterness, hostility, disinterest, bad musicianship, and unfriendliness that Timo described were never there. He constructed this alternate reality around these simple and for him painful facts:

1) The band's momentum has been slowing since 2004.

2) The media chaos of 2004 made him lose a lot of trust and respect both within and outside the band.

3) STRATOVARIUS' label Sanctuary had severe financial problems from 2005 on. It forced us to start a legal process at the beginning of 2007.

"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.

"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.

"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. 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.

"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. 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.

"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. What he did to the rest of us was stupid, selfish and more than disappointing to us since we all stood shoulder to shoulder with him financially in 2004.

"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.

"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.

"Hopefully this explains the situation a little bit. Sorry if it is long on business crap, and short on humor or music. This was a terrible, disaapointing blow to us.

"We would like to thank our fans who make it all worth it, and despite it all, we would like to thank Timo for the past, the nice music and the good moments.

"The rest of us want to make clear that we are doing great and that we will continue making music together, because we care about each other and we care about our fans. We have grand plans indeed, and we will have some very interesting news in the months ahead!"

STRATOVARIUS debuted a new song, entitled "Last Night on Earth", during their appearance at the Wacken Open Air festival on August 4, 2007. Professionally filmed video footage of the track which is now featured on Timo Tolkki's REVOLUTION RENAISSANCE album can be viewed below.

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