Drummer Jrg Michael has announced his plans to leave the Finnish melodic metal band STRATOVARUS for personal reasons. Jrg, who has been in the group for sixteen years, will play all the remaining tour dates until the end of January, and will celebrate with a special Finnish "Farewell Jrg" tour from November 18 to November 26.

Jrg joined STRATOVARIUS in 1995 and made his recording debut with the band on the "Episode" album (1996). He has appeared on nine full-length releases from STRATOVARIUS and has played nearly 1,000 shows with the band.

Commented STRATOVARIUS singer Timo Kotipelto: "The rest of us just has to accept Jrg's decision with a lot of sadness and wish him all the best for the future. But we can also assure that the band will still go on."

STRATOVARIUS and Jrg will not completely go their separate ways, however, since Jrg will still be working for the band through his booking agency, Twisted Talent Concerts.

"Our long journey of over fifteen years together has not ended yet, as Jrg remains among our background forces and we couldn't be more happy about that," added Kotipelto. Not only has he been a great drummer but also a close friend and a true professional. "We're honored to have Jrg by our side for this farewell tour. We can't wait to rock with our 'German Steamroller' one last time! These shows will be unforgettable for all of us."

Jrg Michael Finnish farewell tour:

Nov. 18 - Mikkeli, Mikaeli
Nov. 19 - Tampere, Pakkahuone
Nov. 23 - Jyvskyl, Lutakko
Nov. 25 - Oulu, Club Teatria
Nov. 26 - Helsinki, Tavastia

Michael was diagnosed with cancer last year and had his entire thyroid removed.


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