|FROM ROADIE CREW, PUBLISHED IN SEPTEMBER 2006, Issue #91
Roadie Crew: Last year, after all the troubles you had in the past,
Stratovarius reunited and the album "Stratovarius" was released. Thatís a different
album, very raw and straight. How do you consider the response of the fans?
JŲrg Michael: For us this was a very important album because since a long time
we had to deal with some problems inside the band during the process of making the
So during the process we learned a lot and finally we can be very proud that we
finally finished and released the album! The responses of the fans were very nice and
enthusiastic as many of the fans understood that we wanted to make a different
statement and develop onto a new level.
They also understood that we canít re-write Visions or Infinite once more as these
albums are done already!
Of course a few fans were kind of shocked listening to the new album first as it was
a bit unexpected regarding some style changes but on the other hand we didnít betray
our soul, it is still 100% pure Stratovarius!
If you take your time listening to the album you might still be able to miss the
killer double bass drum melodic speed songs of Strato but you also got a new quality
what we havenít delivered before!
I have the feeling that the fans appreciated this and got to learn a new face of
RC: Lauri Porra joined the band about one year ago. What can you say about his
development as a Strato-member and the fans reaction for him live?
JM: Everybody likes Lauri because of his energetic stage performance and sees
-that even he is not long in the band- he identifies absolutely with the philosophy
and soul of Stratovarius! Sure, Jari was a great bass player and it is always sad if
a you have to replace one member but Lauri proved already that he is an absolute win
for the band! It was like getting pumped a fresh portion of heavy metal blood inside
the band really!
RC: "Stratovarius" album presented many great songs, like 'Fight!!!', 'United'
and 'Maniac Dance'. Still talking about the live gigs, what did you feel about the
chemistry of the band getting back and the response of the fans?
JM: It is and was nice to see that the fans havenít forgotten about us and to
see that they are happy to see us being back again! I would have been also very
disappointing for me to see the band wouldnít be able to talk the problems over and
set a view on things! It was also great to play e.g. manic dance in Sao Paulo and all
the fans were familiar with the songs and sang along even the record wasnít out at
RC: Last January you played for the very first time with Stratovarius in
Taiwan and Hong Kong. What can you say about that experience and the fans over
JM: It is always pretty cool to play new cities and we had a great time over
there, Taiwan was unexpectable great, Hong Kong is a very crazy town :) It is
unbelievable that this Strato music finds friends all around the world, really great
feeling this is! Food is very strange over there, like grilled jelly fish but if you
get used to it can have its moments :)
RC: What about the relationship among the members of the band? On the last
tour Tolkki really proved that he is now an "easier" guy to deal with than was in the
JM: Did he prove that??? Maybe I wasnít there :) Ok, that was a joke :). I
think, in general, the band proved that this really is a band and we are together
trying to help Timo to go over a very sad time and help out wherever we could! It is
great to see that after all what happened everybody understood that it was nobodyís
fault and we only actually can move mountains if we stay strong together.
RC: Last year you played here in Brazil and the band recorded the S„o Paulo
gig for a future release in DVD. What can you say about the result of the recordings?
When do you intend to release this DVD?
JM: Great question, why didnít Brazil win the world championship this year in
We pulled out a great show, we had fantastic fans and I think the result is
absolutely amazing! Itís fantastic!
Other persons in the band think that the material is still not good enough for
Stratovarius and we didnít want to just repair it in the studio and rape the great
live feeling on the tapes!
Isnít it also a great rip off to say ďLive in Sao PauloĒ but basically it is done in
a studio in Helsinki?:-)
We recorded some great shows already, Milano 2003, Wacken festival and Raumanmeren
Festival 2003 in Finland, we have the Sao Paulo show of this year, we recorded some
other sequences, some bits and bobs here and there and we have fantastic
When we feel we really have a product in our hands with has good value and it is in
on the quality level we are used from Stratovarius we finally will release it!
But, everybody has to be satisfied with it, everybody! If it would be just me you
could have the material in your hands already:-)
RC: The band is planning to record a new studio album later this year. What
can you say about the recording plans and the songwriting so far?
JM: There are no plans really or you know more than I know and I play in the
band:-) Mr. Timo Tolkki is much better already but you canít force anybody and order
to just write a great record!
We need time and patience, Timo is still sick even he feels better!
In my opinion creativity canít be lost, he still has an enormous musical talent!
But you know, compose Strato music was all the time a very sensitive process and we
will give the band all the time in the world they need to write and record another
As long we all have to show patience we just should be happy that the band is still
playing live and we are still around!
Actually we are doing a certain amount of Festivals right now here in Europe and the
band really rocks hard since we havenít done for a long time, I will very pleased
It reminds me of the old Visions spirit really, watch out!!!!
RC: "Stratovarius" was released by Mayan Records/Sanctuary. What can you say
about the partnership with Sanctuary? Do you intend to keep it for the next studio
JM: The relationship is not on the level as it should be for a band like
Stratovarius!! Many things changed with Sanctuary since we signed the deal and
sometimes I have the feeling they donít really believe in this band!
I hope that we will be able to improve our relationship as soon as we have new
material and start talking about new activities!
Sometimes it really irritates me that we, as some musicians who want to have a great
time and entertain people just have to deal with a lot of other people just looking
up for the business side, just look to the money and just make a slave to the
business out of you!
I tell you one thing: As long as I will do that I will never accept this and every
record company in the world can just fuck off if they are not able to have a certain
human respect towards us as persons or us as musicians! Iím feeling really sick of
this after all these years!!!
RC: Now the band is playing in many summer festivals in Europe and in late
September will go back to North America for a short tour in Canada and USA. What
about your expectation for these new gigs there and what can you say about the
Mexican/North American leg of the tour you played last year?
JM: This time we'll just play a selective choice of cities again. Last time we
had an album out and we played a lot of cities to promote the album and present us
the first time in the states!
It was really cool, touring North America the first time, I saw the Niagara Falls, we
meet a lot of new people and the band had a fantastic time.
The land is so big and being in the bus together let us feel like a band again. I
think we needed this after what we had been through before! This time it is just a
few gigs to present us again as we had some sold out shows and not all fans were able
to see us there at that time!
RC: In October you will pay a new visit for the Brazilian fans, as one of the
main bands of Live 'N' Louder Festival. Along the years the band played many
successful gigs here in Brazil, mainly in Sao Paulo. What about your expectations for
playing here again, this time in an open-air festival?
JM: The reason to appear on the Live and Louder festival was that we are able
to play in front of a much bigger crowd and maybe present us to a couple of fans who
never has shown some interest in the music of Strato before!
Brazil and South America have always been very good to us and it should be also a
small gift to the people who have supported us for such a long time that we are
coming back so soon again! Only the festival character gives us this chance as I
would think it would be normally too early to come back after the last tour without
even having a new album out!
Beside that I think it is also nice to relax a bit during the shows and kill some
time at the beach with cold beer and watching bikini girls with machine guns, Is
there anything wrong with this?
RC: Now talking a bit about you, what can you say about the period you spent
alongside with Saxon? Do you like Nigel Glockler style?
JM: Nigel is one of my all time favourites, I think together with Ian Paic,
maybe Tommy Aldrige and John Bonham one of the drummers who influenced me most!
It was a killer time for me playing with Saxon, I saw them when I was just starting
to play drums here at Westfallenhalle Dortmund with Judas Priest and it was almost a
dream come true to play with Biff and the guys!
They still are hard rocking, extremely a great band and they make some younger bands
really look like a bunch of bearing rolls, and their riffing is still one of the best
guitar ďshreggingĒ in the whole world.
I played with Saxon and nobody can take this away from me, it was just not long
enough:-). Actually I miss it a bit!
RC:Now you are coming to play in S„o Paulo and Saxon is one of the bands in
the cast in Live Ďní Louder in Brazil. Can we dream about any surprise like you
playing a song with them?
JM: Very often they do this and put some old members in the band to play or
also Mikkey Dee played some songs when we played with Motorhead, etc. Honestly I
donít like it so much and I probably pass on the chance because I donít want to miss
any song of Saxon when Nigel is playing:-)
RC: In Stratovarius, Tolkki, Kotipelto, Johansson and even Lauri Porra
released solo albums. Do you have plans to release a solo album as JŲrg Michael in
the future? If you do it, which kind of sound the fans will listen there?
JM: There is still an unreleased LAOS album available again what was recorded
about 11 Ė 12 years ago, due to some business fuck ups it never got released, would
be nice to do it now!
A proper solo record is not planned just because I just canít do it:-)
I rather wait for people who can do this and I am able to put my drums to it, that is
what I can do and never had the aim to change this! I play the drums, drink beer and
I have a full time job every day doing this!
RC: How was to see Germany falling down against Italy? Were you in the
JM: Hey, what kind of guy are you?
We didnít fall against them, we died with our boots on and it would have not been a
big surprise if we would have won the game!
I think we pulled out 7 great games, full of passion and attacking, we scored most of
the goals in the whole championship, should what german attitude is all about and we
definitely would have deserved winning the championship as well!
In this particular game, Italy took the deserved win, they were just a little bit
better right at the end, fair enough, congrats to Italy wining the game!
We lost with a smile on our face as the players gave they best shot! If Italy would
have played like they did before or in the final they probably would have lost
Look at Brazil, they were behind 0:1 against France and they needed to attack and
what did they do??? No attacking, no passion, no will to win, which was falling:-)!!!
I was not in the stadium, I saw it outside in the garden with my friends, barbecue
and beer in hand and we were so shocked when the goal happened in the 119 minute that
we didnít talk for 3 days,Ö. just drink!
But anyway, now we know we did great and may the Pope be German but God remains
RC: To finish the interview, please JŲrg, leave a message for your Brazilians
fans, which are really looking forward to see you live on Live 'N' Louder
JM: Hey, hey, this is a message for all little and big Stratovarius fucking
motherfuckers out there in Brazil! Let's teach your national football team a lesson
and show them what passion really is all about and turn the Stratovarius Show into a
crazy, motherfucking, outraging killer event and let our soul never rest in
Reproduced with permission.