“Since when was metal about dolphins?”
“The band has been together for almost 20 years and they’ve only written two songs about me.”
“They are the destruction of all that is power metal.”
“What the HELL were we thinking?!”
“Strato-very-gay you say? Never heard of them...”
“In Soviet Russia, Stratovaius listens to you!...”
“Up The Irons!...”
“In my defense, I was very, very drunk at the time...”
Most people believe that the band STRATOVARIUS was begun by guitarist Timo Tolkki. However, in the beginning, Tolkki had played a minor role in the band’s musical direction, serving as an honorary member of the band formerly known as FenderCaster. In his early teens, Timo Tolkki drank himself into an alcohol-fueled coma that lasted nearly a decade. He suddenly awoke with the idea to break out of the status and take over the project himself.
The band name was changed to STRATOVARIUS in order to illustrate Tolkki’s ripping off the concept of metal with classical styles with choirs and orchestral instruments. A pending lawsuit by the survivors of the family known for making the world-renowned Stradivarius violins quickly followed.
- 1 The Early Years (1966 – 1994)
- 2 Timo Kotipelto
- 3 What Were Supposedly the “Hard Times” (1995 – present?)
- 4 The DVD – INFINITE VISIONS
- 5 Strato is Dead, Long Live Strato (2003 – 2004)
- 6 Pamphlet
- 7 STRATOVARIUS Today
- 8 Popular Songs
- 9 'Strato Promotion
- 10 Live Performances
- 11 Other Projects
- 12 Influences
- 13 Discography
- 14 Legions of the Twilight
The Early Years (1966 – 1994)
All former members – not the recognized quasi-Finnish line-up from 1995 we know today – mysteriously left the band after a brief tour for the album FenderCaster II in 1989. It is said that many of the members grew uncomfortable with Tolkki’s demands to watch him sleep with his guitar and write his mumblings down to be later used as lyrics.
Like many metal bands in Finland, STRATOVARIUS had a very meager start in the metal scene. From 1989 to 1992, the group had tumultuous member changes due to “musical interest” which loosely translates into the fact they were offered positions where they would be paid and actually tour.
Bassist Jari Kainulainen bled easily into the line-up as an extremely quiet and talented musician. Though, details are uncertain of his place of birth or if he even has the capability to speak. Along with cycling, Kainulainen’s hobbies include photographing reindeer and collecting lawn ornaments.
The majority of Tolkki’s lyrics at that time, he claims, came to him while drunkenly walking past insane asylums in southern Finland and writing them on the walls in the form of graffiti. In conforming to the genre, he composed songs dealing with the typical metal subject matter such as environmental issues, the shafting music business, and ski jumpers.
Timo Tolkki’s voice worked well with his pseudo-grunge rock/metal sub genre, but decided that his voice had been permanently damaged from performing in smoky Finnish clubs and many years of heavy drinking. The band sought a vocalist who could play no instruments or have any other talents to contribute to the band other than giving interviews and getting attention from women.
Enter Timo Kotipelto, a young native to the four-person village Lappäjärvi in northern Finland. Kotipelto spent six years inside a barn filled with rabid goats that acted as an obscure conservatory, where he perfected his high vocals. This was achieved by having his testicles bitten off by one of the said rabid goats. After the impromptu neutering, Kotipelto worked for local radio. This ensured his mysterious voice would be heard without showing his face in public, for fear of what it would do to his listeners.
In order to make money on the side and at least step outside of his flat, Kotipelto also posed provocatively in some German pornographic magazines. This also explains the straight, pseudo-Chippendale platinum-blonde hair that is Timo’s trademark today.
At the time Stratovarius posted an ad for a singer, Kotipelto was performing with a local band by the name of Filthy Asses. But, he felt drawn to leave the band in order to perform in something a little more obscure.
Answering Tolkki’s ad, Kotipelto howled four notes that acted as an “audition” to which Tolkki reportedly said to then drummer Laslo, “I’ve heard all I needed to hear”, which falsely led Kotipelto to believe he was hired. This, unfortunately, led to be an awkward moment of Finnish courtesy where Tolkki entreated Kotipelto to sing for the band. Unfortunately for Kotipelto, the lyrics were already written for the record “Fourth Dementia”, but Tolkki did allow the booklet to give the new Timo credit for the poorly written and less popular songs such as “Pissing Against the Wind”, “Distant Skies”, and “We Hold the Penis”.
Deciding the sound wasn’t trite enough for the power metal scene, STRATOVARIUS began looking for a keyboardist to allow the three-minute guitar solos to be sliced in half, only to have the remaining half to serve as keyboard rebuttal. Several flyers were sent to bars all over Finland, demanding to have Janne Wirman (Children Of Bodom), who was preoccupied with solo projects at the time. This, of course, was a farce of Janne’s in order to escape recruiting for performing with the crazed Finns. STRATOVARIUS settled for Jens Johansson, a mediocre and inexperienced keyboardist who specialized in computers and drug trafficking.
Before recording the album, Tolkki also wished to have a new drummer. In order to achieve the characteristic double bass sound, Tolkki wished to hire Rick Allen, the one-armed drummer from Def Leppard, but again had to lower his high goals for Jörg Michael, who, in his spare time, plays and records with at least 25 other bands. Scheduling for world tours has never proved easier with this line-up.
What Were Supposedly the “Hard Times” (1995 – present?)
Stratovarius earned great success with their albums “Manic Episode” and “Wisions”, which took them to such countries as South America and for the first time for any Finnish metal band – Japan. A reported “Beatlemania” occurred when the band reached the Latin countries. Fans flocked from every direction, clawing at the members, most of which wanted to touch the god Jens Johansson and possibly acquire some narcotics and alcohol.
The band was so revered by the South Americans that they were permitted to piss freely in the streets and drink an endless supply of free beers. They also willingly trashed hotel rooms, made fun of the natives, and took hours of shoddy amateur footage. Soon after their departure, the inhabitants of Sao Paolo noticed the conspicuous presence of new rivers, which coincidentally have no definite origin.
The tour resulted in a live album “Wisions of Europe” which most fans criticized was basically a re-release of the songs with a slight decrease in quality. There are countless available on amazon.com, but with misleading positive reviews. Also, fans are misled by the title, which suggests that Sao Paolo is in Europe. It is a little known fact that Finns have poor geography skills.
After their seventh record, STRATOVARIUS was recognized by their native Finland when their album “Destiny” went gold. For the Americans, that equals 1,000 sales in Finland. However, in order to achieve gold sales in Sweden, it is a modest 100,000 copies. The “domestic Swede” Jens Johansson could not be reached for comment on the standards of excellence from his country. It is also not explained why the vandalizing computer nerd resides in New York City.
Feeling ambitious and a bit intoxicated, STRATOVARIUS titled its eighth album “Infinity” in order to reflect their long-term goals of making power metal music. Other objectives of the band were to ruin power metal’s image of singing about dragons, women, and steel. The resulting tour was the largest ever, and the Finns (and resident German and Swede, of course) found it of no consequence that they had little or no sales in the United States, which they consider of little or no importance in contribution to the metal scene whatsoever.
The DVD – INFINITE VISIONS
Taping the footage and distributing it in a DVD was a profitable idea suggested by their record label Newbeer Last. Fans are notorious for buying anything with the band name on it, including condoms and band-aids. (Items still available online at the Strato Shop.)
In it’s entirety, the 2-hours long DVD “INFINITE VISIONS” archives selected band members’ and others shoddy footage from circa 1989 to 2001. Kotipelto claims it is to demonstrate that the musicians in STRATOVARIUS are ‘regular guys that lack in videographing skills”. Kainulainen’s silence through the documentary says enough. This cult-like collector item among the Legions chronicles such momentous events in the band’s career such as the first gig with Kotipelto, drinking, celebrating the signing of the Newbeer Blast contract with a round of drinks, exploding a toilet in Budapest, drinking, performing under a collapsing roof in San Sebastian, Spain, meeting other metal musicians, drinking with said musicians, witnessing the pyro explosion in Wacken Open Air that damaged Kotipelto’s left arm and hand, and other sanctified acts of Johansson’s vandalism.
Strato is Dead, Long Live Strato (2003 – 2004)
A “break” followed which forced a countless number of journalists to ask the obnoxiously overused question “Are you breaking up?” to which most of the guys wished to reply “Oh my God, YES!”
“Intermission” came as a consolation prize to STRATOVARIUS fans, which included a fistful of B-sides and four new songs - two of which were covers. This collection was meant to tide them over until the next album would be released eighteen months later.
While prolific drummer Jörg Michael used his spare time to spend with his family, bassist Jari Kainulainen to get married, Johansson to put out a jazz/fusion/non-metal solo album every month for two years that no Strato fan would purchase, and Kotipelto to work on his first solo album, Tolkki did what every musician needs to do at least twice in his life – therapy.
The result of said therapy led to the disowned records “Elements Part I” and “Elements Part II” that included even higher falsetto singing. Tolkki told Soundi magazine that in order to coerce Kotipelto to sing, he used a whip. There is also talk of anal penetration, but nothing is confirmed from either Timo. In fact, the question led to an awkward silence, a shared glance between the two Timos and an abrupt ending of the interview. It is a widespread rumor, seeing as there is little or no sexual tension between them seen before in “INFINITE VISIONS”.
During the said break, Timo Tolkki also wrote a pamphlet which he promoted through the Finnish tabloids entitled “How to Piss Off Your Fans” that gained great attention. Highlights from this pamphlet include:
- Take pictures of yourself covered in blood in reverence to Jesus Christ
- Proclaim your music will include the message of the Kabala
- Fire prominent members and constantly replace them with unknown musicians
- Get stabbed
- Spread rumors about former members, resulting in fans sending you death threats and boxes of excrement to your home
- Hire a female singer
- Mismanage money from a $3.5 million Sanctuary contract
- Use the Finnish tabloids as your vehicle for press releases
Tolkki’s plan worked perfectly. Many STRATOVARIUS fans were outraged at the changes and thus bought into Tolkki’s brilliant plan to bring attention to the band. The only thing left to do was crawl back to the former members, begging for an apology and “come clean” in the press with announcing the diagnosis of manic depression (as if no one could tell from his earlier lyrics).
Naturally, the formerly fired drummer and singer returned to the band due to limited successes outside of STRATOVARIUS.
Directly following the proclamation that the dynamics of the band were completely repaired, bassist Jari Kainulainen left the band in search of a more stressful and personally scathing career. His replacement – Lauri Sperm – is quite an ambitious choice, due to his lack of musical education or experience whatsoever.
The self-titled album released in 2005 fooled fans into thinking a new band had stolen the name (and that the lawsuit launched decades prior had not prevailed), once again winning over the legions and converting many true fans as well. Highlights from the album include the very revealing “Manic Depression Dance”, inspirational, upbeat number “Just Keep Drinking”, “Leave Shit Behind”, and “United (If This Sells Records)”.
Today, these modern gods of power metal are living the true life of metal. The era of sex, drugs, and rock and roll have obviously grown gauche, as members of STRATOVARIUS set the new trend of doing such metal things as raising families and drinking less.
The popularity of STRATOVARIUS is indisputable. For those who aren’t quite sure if they’ve heard of these guys or not, here’s a grocery list of songs that have landed big hits for the band:
- “Fucking High and Low”
- “Black Diamond”
- “Manic Depression Dance”
- “Hold On To Your Balls”
- “Speed of Light”
- “Father Time”
- “Night Time Piss”
- “Will the Cock Rise?”
- “Kiss of Asslips”
- “Forever Free”
- “Fire in the Hole Suite”
- “Lord of the Waste yard”
STRATOVARIUS went in a different direction concerning publicity, but promotion as well. While most metal bands at the time were displaying the members’ bare, oily chests while being surrounded by women, symbolic objects, and holy light, STRATOVARIUS decided to be more unique and recognizable.
Some popular images that circulate today are the members sitting in chairs.
Within a year, another promotional displayed each member in chairs facing different directions. And yet another is of STRATOVARIUS sitting on the set of their latest video. Also, they portrayed themselves negating the stereotype that Finland has only winter as its season in their “Elements” pictures shown here. In the future, we can expect even more originality and spontaneity from STRATOVARIUS.
The majority of STRATOVARIUS fans are significantly older than the following of other successful Finnish bands such as Children of Bodom, Nightwish, and HIM. It is not uncommon to see members of the audience actually older than members of the band itself. Drinking to excess is rare and frowned upon at said shows.
Timo Kotipelto - reportedly of Viking descent – harnesses his godlike singing talent by consuming at least 7 bottles of Koskenkorva (Finnish Vodka) before each show. Due to his short stature, this dosage gives him the ability to exert his energy to crowds of formidable size. Also in Viking ritual, he never changes his clothes more than three times each tour. It should be mentioned that during a performance, Kotipelto can experience a “rising force” which reveals his epic endowment.
In the past, Timo Tolkki would drink more on stage, which resulted in questionable behavior in taste (shown here). Due to the past events, this amount ha subsequently decreased, which leads to a bit more toned down stage presence but cleaner solos, though his mouth remains open most of the time.
Keyboardist Jens Johansson, however, has not decreased his alcohol intake and can be seen performing the “Kiss of Asslips” solo with one hand while holding a beer in the other. And as expected, for most of the performance, he appears to be drunk and/or high. His equipment has been modified in the last few years to reveal “black on black” keys, which are actually electrodes that are connected to the pyrotechnics for festival gigs.
As noted previously, Lauri has no musical talent whatsoever and acts as a counterbalance to Kotipelto in getting girls’ attention while performing with his shirt off. It masks the fact that he cannot play bass, though he does have a nice body.
No distinguishing photographs have been successfully taken of drummer Jörg Michael during a live show, as he is surrounded by a blinding blaze of fire whenever he plays (not necessarily due to pyros).
The elk – the band’s mascot – also parades around during festival shows, spreading the magic of power metal in liquid form contained in bottles. []
Timo Tolkki has two solo albums “Bastardized Variations of Classical Themes” (1994) and “Hymn to Life” (2002). Tolkki is also currently working on an opera (“Manwhore of Light”) and writing a biography on the stage of his life where he experienced his drunken stupor coma where he claims he came up with the idea for “Lord of the Rings” first.
Timo Kotipelto also has two solo albums “Waiting for Krapula” (2002) and “Coldness” (2004). His third album is in the works. Timo has been heard on a variety of other metal musicians’ albums such as Warmen, Sonata Arctica, Ayreon, Lenningrad Cowboys, Backstreet Boys, and a Disney film translated into Finnish (“Karhuveljent Koda”). There is talk of auditioning for musicals.
Jari Kainulainen (ex-STRATOVARIUS) now has written off the past ten years of his career to begin a “classic metal” band Mess based in Finland in hopes to erase fans’ minds of him ever performing with them.
Jens Johansson Keyboard wizard(see: nerd) who played with Yngwie Malmsteen and Dio, Jens has spent the last 20 years of his life making sure that nobody can spam scales faster than he can, and it shows as he is known for being somewhat of a nerd in the power metal scene. He is recognized as a postwhore on his own stratovarius internet forum, having about as many posts as the other regulars, talk about not having a life.
Lauri Porra – as mentioned above - has no talent or discography to speak of.
Jörg Michael is a prolific musician and has shown up in more than 25,000 metal records. Here are just a few – SEXON, HOUSE OF SAUNA, RUNNING NAKED, AVION, GRAVE ROBBER, METALWORD, 100,000 NAMES, and many, many, many more.
Along with the Kabala, Tolkki professes that he is truly metal with influences such as Bach and Vivaldi. He is also a huge Madonna fan. I mean, huge.
Also, although not in the true manner of Uncyclopedia, a truthful statement on the Stratovarius forum is that Timo Tolkki claims to be a huge fan of Attention Whore Spears (The older one)
- Fright Night (1989)
- FenderCaster II (1992)
- Dreamspace (1994)
- Fourth Dimentia (1995)
- Manic Episode (1996)
- Wisions (1997)
- Kiss of Asslips Single (Japan)
- Wisions of Europe (1998)
- Destiny (1998)
- SOS Single (Japan)
- SOS Single (Sweden)
- SOS Single (Finland)
- SOS Single (US)
- Infinity (2000)
- Fucking High and Low Single (Japan)
- Fucking High and Low Single (France)
- Fucking High and Low Single (Finland)
- Fucking High and Low Single (Germany)
- Fucking High and Low Single (US)
- Fucking High and Low Single (Korea)
- Fucking High and Low Single (Greece)
- Fucking High and Low Single (Kuwait)
- Fucking High and Low Single (Australia)
- Intermission (2001)
- Elements part I (2003)
- Elements part II (2003)
- Stratovarius (2005)
- Led Zeppelin IV (2157)
Legions of the Twilight
A so-called fan club that allows members access to certain merchandise and other goodies that has a reputation for being irresponsible with the members’ money. But is really a gay porn ring popular amongst Stratovarius fans.