Ex-STRATOVARIUS Singer: TIMO TOLKKI Has 'Really Gone Over The Top'

Former STRATOVARIUS vocalist Timo Kotipelto has broken his silence regarding his departure from the band.

The following is Kotipelto's official statement regarding his split with the group and his future plans:

"Dear Friends,

"There's been so many rumours out lately that I wanted to sort things out with a short comment from my side. First of all, I have given more than 10 years of my life to STRATOVARIUS and loving 99% of what I have experienced through the years. I have been able to participate on amazing albums, I've had a chance to sing some unforgettable songs and most important: I've had the pleasure to tour around the world, sing for thousands of people and meet new friends everywhere. I sincerely thank all of you! You have fulfilled my dreams and even more.

"When I joined the band 1993 I was still studying vocals and I immediately felt that it was my destiny to sing in this band. There's been some smaller crisis (like in every rock band) but towards the end of the last year they have been piling up. I didn't like so much the musical direction of the latest albums. To me STRATOVARIUS are best on 'Episode' and 'Visions' albums. The final thing for me was when I read from the Finnish yellow press Tolkki's interview where he said that he doesn't know who will play on the next album. I phoned him and after having a short meeting we decided that we should go separate ways.

"I have been very busy with my own album from the end of the last year until now. I can honestly tell you that the last months have been the most difficult of my life. And not talking only about the band situation, my private life has been a mess too. I've been stressed enough and busy with other things and thought that I should not join Tolkki's little blaming game. But I think he has really gone over the top lately. He had said a lot of childish things and bullshit about me. I just want to tell him 'get better!' We used to be friends but nowadays we have drifted so much apart. I do respect him as a musician, composer and a producer. I wish him and the rest of the band all the best.

"What comes to Jörg, I wish him and his family all the best and happiness. He and I have had same kind of situations in the past as well and in the end they have all worked out. I hope we will be friends someday.

"A lot of people (journalists/fans/friends) have been asking me a lot of questions 'Why?'

"Hey come on! This just a rock band! Things do happen in a 'normal' life too. People are changing jobs, some get fired, some get hired. It's not the end. It could also be the beginning.

"I am obliged to do some STRATOVARIUS shows this year. I will give my 100% on these gigs to the fans. You are the ones who put me where I am right now, I will never forget that! Those festivals might be the last chance for me to sing for so many people (you never know what the future will bring), so I will enjoy them as much as possible. And I am waiting to see familiar faces and hear very loud singing from the audience! Let's make these shows the best we can!

"My new album 'Coldness' will be released in April. I do hope that I could do some festivals in July/August and some touring in autumn. I wish you will like the album and I am looking forward to seeing you on the gigs!

"Thank you for all these years! Rock the future!"

(Thanks: Timo Isoaho / Sonera Plaza Kaista)

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