HAMMERFALL Drummer: TIMO TOLKKI Needs Professional Help

HAMMERFALL drummer Anders Johansson has issued a statement explaining his brief involvement with Finnish neo-classical metallers STRATOVARIUS as the band's new drummer. The statement reads as follows:

"OK, this is what happened regarding the STRATOVARIUS turmoil: After all the member changes in my brother Jens' band STRATOVARIUS, he and Timo Tolkki asked me to help out to play on their forthcoming album. I asked the guys in HAMMERFALL how they felt about it and they replied: 'Sure, why not help your bro out?' I told STRATO: 'OK, cool let's do it. I'll record for you, but you have to clearly state on your web page that I'm just going to be a session player (like I have been in other band so many times before).'

"So, everything was cool until [STRATOVARIUS leader] Timo [Tolkki] wrote in their forum that they had asked me to join the band permanently and that I probably would. This was just something that went on inside Timo's brain — I knew nothing. Don't get me wrong, I really respect and like Timo and his music a lot, but the guy needs professional help and treatment if he thinks that is the way things happened. I asked Jens why they wrote this, but he said he had no idea what was going on. I called Timo and told him that I unfortunately couldn't do the session since all the HAMMERFALL fans would think I would leave HAMMERFALL. Then he asked if I maybe could play in both bands. And later in the phone call he goes: 'Now you have to choose, hurry!' During this phone conversation he was calm and somewhat sober most the time, but I did feel like I was talking to two different persons. One nice Timo and a twisted mad weirdo. He finished the conversation by saying: 'We could break toilettes!'

"I hope the STRATOs sort out their problems since I like the band and guys a lot. So to you fans of HAMMERFALL, don't worry, you'll see more of me on the next record and tour and also a big thanks for all the really nice response and warm words regarding my future in HAMMERFALL, which has never been in question."

In related news, HAMMERFALL guitarist Oscar Dronjak has posted the following message regarding the progress of the songwriting sessions for the band's new studio CD, tentatively due in early 2005:

"We will continue working on a new album, which will be somewhat delayed due to the unfortunate accident I had in August. Things are moving along quite nicely at the moment, but we have just begun writing material for the album, The plan is to record it sometime this year. I will let you know the developments as they happen. Stay tuned!"

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