STRATOVARIUS Leader: 'Three Bandmembers Have To Leave'

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

"I am in the process of talking seriously with each bandmember about the future of STRATOVARIUS.

"There are lots of rumours circling around and this statement is issued to clear some of those.

"The band is in a severe crisis at the moment.

"Looking back now, it is very clear to me why the situation has catapulted into crisis.

"I have my own way to lead STRATOVARIUS and since being in this band since '84 (almost 20 years) I have had a very clear vision about the musical direction of STRATO. To put it short and simple, this is my band.

"I decide what STRATOVARIUS sounds like. Stylists might decide how STRATOVARIUS looks like. I don't give a fuck about that though, I love music and we are not some fucking BACKSTREET BOYS. We eat metal and shit chains.

"Before some of you start shouting 'dictator', I would like to tell you that we have always shared the income from the band equally. Everyone gets the same from all income. I can tell you many bands when it's not like this.

"Up until very last weeks I though things were fine, there have been arguments, but nothing fancy. At this point I feel that my vision of where to take STRATOVARIUS next is threatened. Along with many other things, which I cannot tell you due to legal reasons. Let me just say this: when the things get so heated that some people in the band enter into fistfight, then something is wrong, wouldn't you agree?

"I am talking with [singer Timo] Kotipelto and [bassist Jari] Kainulainen here in Finland at the moment and next week I fly to New York to talk to [keyboardist Jens] Johansson. Then I fly to Germany to talk to [drummer Jörg] Michael. And then I have to think.

"So you guys have to wait for some more time for some more news.

"At this point it seems 95% sure that 3 bandmembers have to leave. I really hope I can work things out with them, but if not, then they will have to go.

"And to those who say I should leave STRATOVARIUS I say, hmmm well, perhaps it's better that I don't say anything, so I just say, 'Fuck Off!' I am not leaving anywhere, we just signed this new deal and I am going to continue writing new songs and there will be more albums, no matter what the line up will be.

"Stay tuned for more..."

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