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  SCALD: In Memoriam



This year was very intensive for Finnish power metal grand STRATOVARIUS: releasing of two albums, parting ways with Nuclear Blast and signing a deal with Sanctuary Records, drummer Jörg Michaels marriage, which became my interlocator. Already after the interview had been done, sad news came frome camp of musicians: vocalist Timo Kotipelto and Jörg Michael leaved the band. So, maybe I was the last, who did the interview with Jörg, while he was still in the group.

Scorpio: Hello Jorg! So many events happened last time to STRATOVARIUS. New album, sighing a record deal, your wedding, Jens birthday. And first of all I'd like to congratulate you with your marriage! I wish you great family life, strong health to you and your wife and many-many children!

Jörg Michael: Thank you very much for all that, thank you!

Jörg MichaelScorpio: Now let's talk about the Elements albums. Why did you decide to release two albums in one year? Had a lot of material?

Jörg Michael: Yes, that was basically the reason, we wanted to release it as a double album but we wouldnґt have any control about the prices in the shops, our record company convinced it with that and so we decided to do it in releasing 2 albums! One album before the elements tour and one album after it to have a nice frame the tour was packed in!

Scorpio: Can we call Elements conceptional work? If yes, tell please the conception.

Jörg Michael: No, it's is not a conceptional work, every songs stands alone, Elements is just one song and it is our Bohemian Rhapsody I would say. It is a very strong song so Timo Tolkki decided to call the albums like that!

Scorpio: Elements Pt.1 was released on 27th of January and the second part on the 27th of October. Is there any magic or something like that in this number - 27?

Elements Part 2Jörg Michael: No, not at all, has nothing to do with that!

Scorpio: I haven't heard Elements Part 2 yet, except clips from I Walk To My Own Song and I'm Still Alive, so can you tell me what are the differences between Part 1 and Part 2? Or Part 2 is logical continue of Elements Part 2?

Jörg Michael: Both albums are out of the the same recording sessions and producing time, so both albums represent Stratovarius in the year 2003. In my opinion we devided the songs that we put the more progressive, epic, symphonic stuff on the E pt 1 where on E pt 2 we rather choosed the more simple, rockin', metallic based kind of songs.

Scorpio: And who made an interesting artwork for Elements albums?

Jörg Michael: It was Derek Riggs again, he is genius, we like it very much!

Scorpio: Are you going to film a video for one of Elements part 2 songs?

Jörg Michael: We did a clip to "I walk to my own song"!

Scorpio: Now about your parting with Nuclear Blast. Why did it happen? I know there weren't any conflicts and you're parted ways with label on friendly terms.

Jörg Michael: What means friendly terms??? Of course we had over the years persons in the record label we worked together with very well, respected them personally and we still will see each other here and there to drink a beer . True is also that a record company is never your friend, they just want to make money, a musician sometimes has other motivations too. NB just didnґt want to put out the money for us we deserve and now they also cut down the promotion for us. So calling it friendly would not the word I would describe it!

Scorpio: And what can you tell about your new label - Sanctuary Records and your contract?

Jörg Michael: I don't know so much about the label, they lately had some high levelled signings like Megadeath, etc, but since then you havenґt heard much about that band. I put all my hope in Mrs. Antje Lange who signed us and we worked together with here before we went to Nuclear Blast. The label is not soimportant for me really!

After signing a deal

Scorpio: The contract was signed with the blood of an elk. Whos idea it was?

Jörg Michael: It was a sign that we wanted to do to show how important this is for us! The idea came from the finnish department in the band!

Scorpio: Don't you fear you'll have problems with the Green Peace organization?

Jörg Michael: Please, gimme a break, I mean we didnґt kill this animal, we just organized some blood from a butcher, If it would become that we needed to kill an elk for that of course we wouldnґt have killed it for that reason, that would be really stupid. We still got problems with Green Peace and others. We really would like to support them much more when they would try to concentrate on something what would be really important to concentrate on!

Scorpio: You signed a deal on 31st of October. So, for you there were 3 holidays that day: Signing a deal, your wedding and Helloween! Have you done a big party?

Jörg Michael: Honestly, I canґt remember but all my friends told me so:-)

Scorpio:Did you have a heavy headache next morning?

Jörg Michael: I am mentaly never so stressed out that I have hangovers, my dad told me: If you drink you can work, I think I try hard!

Scorpio: What presents did you get for your wedding?

Jörg Michael: No comment!

Scorpio: And what present did you give Jens for his birthday?

Jörg Michael: Nothing, when we are on the road we normally through a cake in theface of the lucky guy who has birthday, in that case we were already nottogether anymore!

Scorpio: I've read on STRATO website, that Timo Tolkki began already to write new material, but secretively even to you and other bandmates. What's happend?

Jörg Michael: It must be true if if is mentioned on the Strato website. The process of composing is always there in Timo Tolkkiґs head, I just know we will start working next year sometimes!

Scorpio: Why won't you go n tour for Elements Part 2?

Jörg Michael: We donґt want to overrepresent the band and stay rare so it is something special when we play live and not that: "Oh, it's again!"

Scorpio: How did you like your Elements Part1 tour?

Jörg Michael: It was fantastic, the biggest tour I ever have done, great, absolutely incredible.

Scorpio: You performed in Russia. Do you like your Russian fans?

Jörg Michael: Everything was crazy, the fans, the town, the drinks, it was great, we definitely coming back!

Scorpio: Here, in Ukraine some rumours are afloat, that STRATOVARIUS will come to us next year. Is it really so?

Jörg Michael: I am afraid to say, I donґt know about any offer from the Ukraine but we definitely would proof it if there would be any interest!

Scorpio: Are you going to release a DVD?

Jörg Michael: Yes, April 19, 2004

Timo KotipeltoScorpio: How do you think is DVD a really cool thing?

Jörg Michael: I think so, I like it, especially because you can watch films in their original language!

Scorpio: What bands DVDs have you seen and what one is the best?

Jörg Michael: OZZY OZBOURNE - Don't blame me, OZZY OZBOURNE - Live at Budokan are my favourites, METALLICA's Black Album documentations is also great!

Scorpio: You were born in Dortmund and now live there. What do you like in this city?

Jörg Michael: The football team: Borussia Dortmund and the stadion they play in!

Scorpio: And what countries you'd like to visit?

Jörg Michael: I like Scotland, Norway and Finland very much, but I prefer most of all South america - all countries over there!

Scorpio: Do you have other projects?

Jörg Michael: I didn't have so much time lately but I work with a singer on 4 or 5 songs to help him with my drum playing!

Scorpio: What language do you speak with your bandmates? English?

Jörg Michael: We call it Finnlish!

Scorpio: How do you call each other in the band? And two Timo: Maybe Timo Tolkki - big Timo and Timo Kotipelto - small Timo?

Jörg Michael: TT or "Timppa" is Timo Tolkki, normally we call each other like: Jцrgi, Jenssi, TT or TK and Jartsi!

Scorpio: Do you like to give interviews?

Jörg Michael: When I am drunk I like it but the other bandmates told me not to do it anymore!

Scorpio: What was the most interesting question, you've been asked by interviewer?

Jörg Michael: I canґt remember!

Scorpio: And the most stupid one?

Jörg Michael: Tell me something about your new record!

Scorpio: Is there a question you want to I ask you?

Jörg Michael: No!

Scorpio: Tell please a joke?

Jörg MichaelJörg Michael: DERBY FEVERFootball: Derby in town: Borussia Dortmund plays as guest at the Schalke 04 arena. A supporter of the Borussia team is trying to get in but unfortunately they only have tickets left in the supporter area of the Schalke fans. "What the hell" he things and buys the ticket anyway. The game starts really shitty for our little friend as Schalke scored 2 goals in the first 10 minutes. So a couple of people around him start laughing at him and order him to get some beers for them. He has to leave one shoe to make sure he returns. When he comes back with the beers he realized that they have shit into his shoe. We never expect anything different from that kind of people, don`t we?.
Nothing much he can do, it's pretty cold, so he puts it back on anyway. Second half, the game is one big catastrophy. Schalke is leading 4:0 and he is really bitter and disapointed that he came here. On top of that they ask him a 2nd time to go and get the beers in. Now he has to leave the other shoe. Same shit happens again, they shit into it. The game finally ends and he goes home when a woman from a radio station asked him to answer some questions. "Nevermind" he said, "whatґs up?" The womanasked. "Why is it, that in derbies between Dortmund and Schalke there is so much rivalry, brutality and riots going on, why is it, that people always beat up each other?" Our friend answered:" I really donґt now much about that, but I know one thing for sure: As long they shit in our shoes and we piss in their beers nothing will change!"

Scorpio: Ha-ha! And what about some jokes during the tour? Maybe throw somebody's shoes out of the bus?

Jörg Michael: No comment!

Scorpio: You know, there is a TV show "Weak Link" in Russia, we also watch it in Ukraine. At the beginning 10 or something like that people answer the questions of modarator and earn the money. In the end of each round they vote, who should leave the show, mean who's "The Weak Link". After that many people thought up a joke analog game of "Weak Link". The rules are so: Few people sit down at the table and begin to drink vodka. First toast, than other one. During the game gamers turn off one by one, and the last, less drunk is the winner. So, all are drunk as pigs! Have you ever played such game?

Jörg Michael: I think playing in Stratovarius means you play it every day!

Scorpio: Do you like to drink alcohol and how often does it happen?

Jörg Michael: I don't like it and I don't know why I really do it, on the road we drink every day, at home is not so much!

Scorpio: Do you have pets?

Jörg Michael: NO!

Scorpio: Do you like animal mostly to eat or to play with them?

Jörg Michael: Hm, I like both really!

Scorpio: What was the most exotic food you ever ate?

Jörg Michael: It must be something in Japan , that's for sure, but I don't remember what it was!

Scorpio: What is you hobby?

Jörg Michael: Playing football or watch football on TV while drinking beer!

Scorpio: How often do you play football?

Jörg Michael: Twice a week!

Scorpio: Do you often visit Borussia matches?

Jörg Michael: I have a season ticket. Being the drummer in Stratovarius it a 100% fulltime job though, I don't have much time to go!

Scorpio: Which team, do you think, will get the first place in Bundesliga in this season (03/04)?

Jörg Michael: Difficult, probably the rich pigs again, Bayern Munich!

Scorpio: Do you often browse in Internet?

Jörg Michael: Not so often, it's boaring!

Scorpio: What pages do you visit mostly?

Jörg Michael: Stratovarius sometimes and Borussia Dortmund for the interviews!


Scorpio: Have you heard the new IRON MAIDEN album Dance Of Death?

Jörg Michael: NO, I stopped long ago being an irong maiden fan, I appreciate the first 3 albums the most!

Scorpio: What music have you listened to last few days? What was your last bought CD?

Jörg Michael: I listen to Beto Vasques Infinity, Rammstein, Queen, Van Halen 2 at the moment! Last CD I bought???Mhm, I think it was some film music, Blade Runner or Terminator.....

Scorpio: Now I'll name some German and Finnish bands and you will say few wordsabout them, OK?


Jörg Michael: Best band in the world.


Jörg Michael: Best german hard rock band.


Jörg Michael: Nice idea with the opera voice, like them a lot.


Jörg Michael: German buddies, I am happy for my friend Stefan Schwarzmann to playwith them now.


Jörg Michael: Great finnish friends.

Scorpio: EDGUY

Jörg Michael: Germans too, say hello to Tobias!

Scorpio: Thanks for interview and the last words for your fans in Russia andUkraine:

Jörg Michael: Thanx a lot supporting Stratovarius and showing interest in what we do, I hope we could play more live shows in your countries, stay tuned and keeo on rockin' Jörg Michael


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