STRATOVARIUS Keyboardist Jens Johansson - “I Think We Have To Give This A Shot For A Couple Of Records”
May 21, 2009, 10 years ago
STRATOVARIUS keyboardist Jens Johansson spoke to Metal Asylum in New Jersey about the bands latest release Polaris, a future DVD, and the possibility of Timo Tolkki returning to the band.
Metal Asylum: Was it hard for the band to carry on after Timo Tolkki left?
Johansson: "Yeah, it was. About a year ago I was on the fence, our drummer was completely against the band carrying on as Stratovarius, Kotipelto was half and half, our bass player was sort of for it, our guitar player…well we didn’t have one at the time, haha."
Metal Asylum: When Tolkki left the band what were the circumstances? Did he leave and say the remaining members had his blessing to continue performing Stratovarius songs but not as Stratovarius?
Johansson: "I think he didn’t know what he wanted. I think he left with the thought the band was over. He didn’t think we would continue on without him. He posted some statements about why he ended Stratovarius, then we posted a few statements we would at least leave open the possibility of continuing as Stratovarius because Jorg was against it. At the time we didn’t have any songs, we had no guitar player. Then as a result, Tolkki got so pissed off because we left the possibility open to continue as Stratovarius that he made another statement saying like “fuck those guys, continuing without me as Stratovarius, they can do whatever they want without me”. I think he was very ambivalent and some days wanted to sue us to get the name back. It’s a long story really."
Metal Asylum: What is the relationship now between the remaining members of Stratovarius and Tolkki?
Johansson: "Actually its good. Unfortunately we had this internet war. I think sometime in September last year, we made an announcement we would continue under that name Stratovarius because we started recording these songs that sounded like Stratovarius. After we announced that he became upset again but then about five weeks ago Tolkki sent me a email that said “dude, I had this really weird dream that we were all friends, can we talk about this?”. So I said “sure why not”. So I guess he had a complete turn around on this issue which is good. He said it was because he had this dream or nightmare."
5. With that, is there a possibility of Tolkki returning to the band in the future?
Johansson: "I think first we have to give this a shot for a couple records. I think one of the reasons why he wanted to stop Stratovarius is because he got sick of playing this kind of music and he thought Stratovarius wasn’t doing anything interesting anymore. I also think he had some personal problems with our singer Timo Kotipelto and drummer Jorg Michael. But of course, he may come up with something that is like power metal as well. Did you hear his new band Revolution Renaissance? I think several songs on their first release “New Era” could have been Stratovarius songs, but I am not so sure about this new one “Age of Aquarius”. I know a lot of people were saying the Revolution Renaissance didn’t sound like Stratovarius, but that’s the whole point."
Metal Asylum: When will Stratovarius release a concert DVD?
Johansson: "That’s another thing. The old Stratovarius records from about 1995 to 2000, were on Noise Records and they got bought by Sanctuary, and they got bought by Universal. So Universal has rights and we would have to ask and pay them as well. But, we did get the rights to release two DVDs with the old line-up with Tolkki because we do have the footage shot. Its sad because the one shot in Milano, Italy, from 2003 was really good but the guy who was supposed to edit it had some kind of breakdown and didn’t finish the work. The mixes are also done and after this guy disappeared someone found the tapes in the garbage. Its crazy, the crazy world of Stratovarius, haha. The other show is from San Paulo in 2005 shot with six cameras. It is pretty nice. We just have to somehow find the way to get the money to finish them."
You can read the entire interview here.