STRATOVARIUS on-again, off-again drummer Jörg Michael has posted the following message on his official web site:
"Here is some news from me. [STRATOVARIUS keyboardist] Jens [Johansson] said he posted something in the STRATOVARIUS forum so I would like to give my view on the past few weeks also. I didn't want to post anything at first, because I didn't want to interfere with the complicated situation inside STRATOVARIUS and there are so many rumors and other shit flying around in the net.
"A while ago, Timo Tolkki asked me to help him with some new songs he had written. He had looked for and auditioned drummers, but had found nobody. For these new songs, he needed real drums from a real drummer there to know how it sounds. So it was something like demoing the songs, but maybe if it turned out good enough it could also be a real record.
"I have known Timo since long time and I still consider him a friend, so of course I agreed to help him. What I am observing with STRATOVARIUS is a band is in deep crisis, and because that music and the band has meant a lot to me, it has been such an important part of my life the past years, I did not consider it a big deal to help a friend with something like that.
"So at the end of March, Timo and his bass player came to Dortmund to bash the songs around in my rehearsal room. In the beginning of April I flew to Helsinki to record at Soundtrack studios in Pitäjänmäki. We had just worked 2 days, Monday, April 5 and Tuesday, April 6, putting the drums and microphones up, when Timo called on Wednesday, April 7 to say he feels really terrible. Before this there was no outward sign that anything was wrong, but of course the whole situation with him the last few months and the situation in the band was not too nice for him. Maybe everything what happened since November was a hint of a breakdown at the same time, I don't know!
"He said he would be back in the studio on the following Monday. As I didn't know what to do, I figured I would practice and bash around the songs in the studio because everything was set up and ready to go. We started recording a few tracks with only me playing to click. Then on Saturday I got an SMS that Timo was in the hospital with no idea of when he would check out of there. After knowing this guy for so long, I mean he is a world class, great guy, I was shocked. I thought the only thing I can do is to try to help. Because the studio was already booked I recorded the songs twice so TT has lots of material to choose from. Jens came over from New York within a few days and he was a really big help. He will also finish editing & cutting some of the drum takes next week. I had to leave Helsinki because I have a session with a band called SOULSLIDE which I like to help, but I will return soon.
"By the time I now write this TT is out of the hospital and we have had some contact, he still is under heavy medication but he is feeling a bit better. Surely we all are still focusing on the shows coming up and I hope it will give TT also a little help in this strange situation.
"I also heard that a few people asked about what happened to the bass player in the forum! Of course he was supposed to come to the studio as well. We always recorded together with drums and bass at the same time. I don't know why he thought he would not be able to help, maybe he just didn't think about it!
"The only thing we can do is hope for the best, that Timo rests and gets back his old strength and shape, and that the Timo like we all know him will return. At that point we will see how things will turn out for the future, for him, for his music, for everybody who loved his music. I really wish that everything turns out in a cool way and that the name STRATOVARIUS doesn't have the negative touch anymore it has now!
"From my personal point of view, it makes me very very sad to see a band like this which has brought such nice things to my life, in this state of being. It really feels unnecessary. I also wonder if everybody in the band really had the fun I had!?
"But it could be a good thing for Timo that something drastic happens. I have observed what has happened the last few months and I hope something good will come out of all this.
"So watch out for more news!
"Bye bye for now and catch up soon, you fuckers :)
"P.S. Of course now everybody will question if I will rejoin STRATOVARIUS. What I can say on this subject is this, if nothing changes, then I feel safer staying alone. I have a few requests to play on some albums but I will take my time to decide where I really want to go!
"If Jens made a solo project I would join that immediately but I have the feeling that if he does that, he asks his brother Anders first.
"I am looking forward to, and I am ready to do, the final shows with STRATOVARIUS and I expect the band to do them in full strength."