Drummer Jrg Michael has announced his plans to leave the Finnish melodic metal band STRATOVARUS for personal reasons. Jrg, who has been in the group for sixteen years, will play all the remaining tour dates until the end of January, and will celebrate with a special Finnish "Farewell Jrg" tour from November 18 to November 26.
Jrg joined STRATOVARIUS in 1995 and made his recording debut with the band on the "Episode" album (1996). He has appeared on nine full-length releases from STRATOVARIUS and has played nearly 1,000 shows with the band.
Commented STRATOVARIUS singer Timo Kotipelto: "The rest of us just has to accept Jrg's decision with a lot of sadness and wish him all the best for the future. But we can also assure that the band will still go on."
STRATOVARIUS and Jrg will not completely go their separate ways, however, since Jrg will still be working for the band through his booking agency, Twisted Talent Concerts.
Jrg Michael Finnish farewell tour:
Nov. 18 - Mikkeli, Mikaeli
Nov. 19 - Tampere, Pakkahuone
Nov. 23 - Jyvskyl, Lutakko
Nov. 25 - Oulu, Club Teatria
Nov. 26 - Helsinki, Tavastia
Michael was diagnosed with cancer last year and had his entire thyroid removed.