Greece's Rock Overdose recently conducted an interview with Finnish quitarist Timo Tolkki (STRATOVARIUS, REVOLUTION RENAISSANCE, SYMFONIA). A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Rock Overdose: You announced a retirement after the fact that SYMFONIA would not go on as a band, and a lot of fans were surprised by this. What was the story behind that?
Timo: I simply said that in the present market situation, it is not possible to earn an income by being a professional musician. My career spans over 20 years in STRATOVARIUS plus the other works. So it was a simple rational decision. We are going to see more bands from the middle league falling in the next 3-5 years simply because record companies are dying themselves and they take the last bits there are to take and it's gonna make the situation even worse. It was the same situation with REVOLUTION RENAISSANCE. Music business is firstly becoming boring and predictable and secondly it is dying.
Rock Overdose: So, I suppose that you will focus to your solo career from now on?
Timo: I dont know, man. The same situation applies to a possible solo career. In this moment, I am not doing anything and maybe I never will record anything anymore for commercial purpose. We ll have to see what happens in the next years.
Rock Overdose: Your last album of your solo career was 2008's rock opera "Saana - Warrior of Light Pt. 1". We must wait for "Part 2" now or…?
Timo: "Saana" was a fun album to make to experiment for the first time with three singers singing a story. It was very very cheaply done but it does have my key message in it, my life philosophy in there. I really dont think there will be part 2, but if I am going to record something still, I am sure it could be something like musical or maybe more rock- or metal-orientated story with a lot of dynamics.
Rock Overdose: There are some rumors that some old members of STRATOVARIUS will form a group named STRATO. Did they approach you to play with them? Are you thinking to do it?
Timo: Yes, it's true. We have met many times in the last two years. Me, Tuomo Lassila (the founding member of STRATOVARIUS) and Antti Ikonen went to see Roger Waters' "The Wall" in Helsinki together. We have talked about making an album called "Return To Dreamspace". I wrote to STRATOVARIUS and asked if we could use the name for this one album because there is the founding member of the band involved and who invented the name. We got a vicious letter from the lawyer that we will be sued immediately if we would use the name. It just shows the attitude and it is sad to see that a band that once had life and soul in it is now a simple franchise. A money-making machine except that the industry situation gets to them as well. Jörg Michael [drums] decided to leave the band because he did not like the music the band was heading to. Now he plays in some Greek band, I think. STRATOVARIUS will not exist anymore in five years.
Read the entire interview from Rock Overdose.