STRATOVARIUS leader Timo Tolkki spoke to Finnish journalist Timo Isoaho of Sonera Plaza Kaista Thursday (January 22) about the group's recent lineup changes and the band's upcoming CD. The following are some of the highlights of that interview:
On the departures of singer Timo Kotipelto and drummer Jörg Michael:
Timo Tolkki: "Everyone seems to think that I kicked Timo and Jörg out, but it wasn't like that. We had this band meeting and we talked for a long time about everything. After the discussions, everyone agreed that there had to be some line-up changes. Kotipelto has enough money to make his own music, so he should be satisfied. I mean, he has now his own band and he can do anything with that group. I have STRATOVARIUS, he has his own band."
"One of the worst things, in my opinion, is that Timo Kotipelto hasn't spoken about this situation publicly. I have said everything there is to say via our web site and in interviews and now everyone thinks that I'm the asshole! And Kotipelto has said nothing [so far]... I have released the facts of this situation on our web site."
"I'm honestly worried because of these death threats [from irate STRATOVARIUS fans] and so on. I mean, this is only a band and music on a CD!!! Music, voices that people are interested in buy... Nothing more! I really can't understand why people are so mad because we have new lineup. I mean, if somebody is so emotionally attached to this band... maybe they should think about their own lives, too. I mean, is everything OK in their own lives?"
About the new music:
Timo Tolkki: "I have composed around 20 songs. They are really heavy shit — they have nothing to do with 'pop' music. New songs are more melodic but at the same time, they are heavier. There are many mid-tempo songs. And no double-bass drums... So far there are no songs that we are going to have double-bass drums there. And I have now composed riffs... I mean, many STRATOVARIUS songs in the past were based on chords but now they are much more riff-oriented. The newest songs are called 'Fight', 'Popkiller', 'I See Black', and 'Painter Of The Sky'."
About the new singer:
Timo Tolkki: "In a way, I can understand the fans' reactions. I mean, when I started searching for the new vocalist, I didn't even think that new vocalist could be a woman. When Miss K sent me a letter and told that she wanted to join STRATOVARIUS, I was really confused. That was the first time that I even thought that [having a woman singer in the band] could be possible! Then we started demoing some stuff and I was blown away. I thought that this is the best possible solution. I mean, Timo Kotipelto is very good heavy metal singer — one of the best in this planet — so it's almost impossible to replace him. So I thought it's best to go for something different..."