Over the last decade or so the idea of keyboards in metal has gone from blasphemous to a staple in many sub-genres. One of the reasons keyboards have finally received the respect they deserve is due to the stellar play of Jens Johansson.
From his time in the 80’s with Yngwie Malmsteen, to his turn on Dio’s Lock Up The Wolves tour and album in 1990, through 16 years and 9 studio albums with the melodic, progressive, power-metal band, Stratovarius, Jens has become a legend at his craft. His unique style and showman-like live performances have made him a respected and well-known name in metal circles.
With the band’s newest release, Elysium garnering strong critical praise from fans and press, the band is stronger than ever, and as it so often is, tearing up venues across Europe this spring.
Metalholic caught up with Jens in Hlohovic, Slovakia on their tour with Helloween. Jens filled us in on the improving health of vocalist Timo Kotipelto, and drummer Jörg Michael’s battle with cancer. He also spoke with us about the band’s new album, Elysium, being a keyboardist in metal, his time with Yngwie Malmsteen, and fond memories of Ronnie James Dio.