Speculation is running rampant that STRATOVARIUS leader Timo Tolkki is focusing his attention on Simona Bressi (a.k.a. Jill Ward) from the Los Angeles-based BLACK SABBATH cover band MISTRESS OF REALITY (web site) as a possible replacement for of Jörg Michael in the new STRATOVARIUS lineup. Rumors of Bressi's addition to the group were triggered by Tolkki's announcement during his interview with Metal Meltdown Online Monday (Feb. 16) that a woman drummer from an L.A.-based SABBATH cover band was a strong candidate to fill the slot left vacant by Michael's departure in December. Timo had previously been in talks with HAMMERFALL's Anders Johansson about becoming the group's new drummer, but Johansson's unwillingness to leave HAMMERFALL eventually forced Tolkki to continue his search for a more suitable replacement for Michael.
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