STRATOVARIUS' JENS JOHANSSON And TIMO TOLKKI: Burying The Hatchet?

According to an online post by STRATOVARIUS keyboardist Jens Johansson, he and ex-STRATOVARIUS guitarist/mainman Timo Tolkki met for dinner this past Thursday night (March 5) in an apparent attempt to bury the hatchet following a bitter Internet war of words over the use of the STRATOVARIUS name.

Timo Tolkki's new band, REVOLUTION RENAISSANCE, will release a new album, "Age Of Aquarius", on March 23 via Scarlet Records. It is described in a press release as "by far the darkest, heaviest and most symphonic album that Tolkki has ever been involved in."

Meanwhile, the remaining STRATOVARIUS members — Timo Kotipelto (vocals), Jens Johansson (keyboards) and Lauri Porra (bass) — have announced plans to carry on with new guitarist Matias Kupiainen. STRATOVARIUS' new studio album, "Polaris", will be released on May 21. The CD will be made available via the band's new label partner Edel under the new imprint earMUSIC outside of Asia and the band's longtime record company in Asia, JVC.

Writing on STRATOVARIUS' official forum, Johansson said, "I know you guys probably won't believe this, but I actually have the whole REVOLUTION RENAISSANCE "Age Of Aquarius" album now and am listening to it, Timo Tolkki gave it to me [Thursday] night... over dinner. The channels of communication are open and I think these stupid forum and Internet and statement and legal fights the two bands have been having could very well be a thing of the past.

"No doubt some people will be disappointed by that; after all, drama is more exciting than people who just quietly get along, but this stuff is sucking way too much energy from both bands.

"Having a band as a rallying point is important to some people. If there is a conflict, it probably gets even more titillating. I don't quite understand it myself.

"I still maintain that for most normal listeners there is no downside with what happened the last year. There are now two bands and there will be twice as much music. Both bands will be different than 'old STRATOVARIUS' and that's a beautiful thing.

"I'm sorry about the hateful things I have said here and in other places about Timo Tolkki. My excuse: I am only human too, after all.

"I'm not making some big deal about this. If you happen to find this post in this jungle, then you found it. After all, me and Timo Tolkki just had some curry and talked for a few hours, but I am really happy about it anyway. He shouldn't waste his time shadow boxing in Internet forums. And neither should I, come to think of it.

"Never give up hope that there can be forgiveness and peace."

Timo Tolkki recently announced that he will record another album with former STRATOVARIUS members Tuomo Lassila (drums) and Anti Ikonen (keyboards). Tentatively titled "Return To Dremspace", the CD is slated for a September 2009 release. The fans will decide the name of the project in some sort of contest. Tolkki said in an online post, "If the fans decide that it should be called STRATOVARIUS, then it will. Then I will face the consequences, but that will be one interesting trial, I tell you that."

Regarding the musical direction of the CD, Tolkki said, "It has been 15 years from [STRATOVARIUS' 'Dreamspace'] album, so it will be interesting, for sure... It's not a 'remake,' but a brand new album. A closure for [what] I consider to be the end of STRATOVARIUS. It completes the cycle and returns to the beginning."

Tolkki drew up and signed an official waiver on May 20, 2008 giving up all rights to the STRATOVARIUS name.

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