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Queensrÿche performing live at Norway Rock Festival 2010
|Origin||Bellevue, Washington, United States|
|Genres||Heavy metal, progressive metal, hard rock|
|Labels||206 Records, EMI, Atlantic, Atco, Sanctuary, Rhino, Roadrunner, Century Media, Cleopatra|
Todd La Torre
Queensrÿche // is an American progressive heavy metal band formed in 1982 in Bellevue, Washington. The band has released twelve studio albums, one EP and several DVDs, and continues to tour and record. The original lineup consisted of vocalist Geoff Tate, guitarists Chris DeGarmo and Michael Wilton, bassist Eddie Jackson and drummer Scott Rockenfield.
Queensrÿche has been successful in the progressive scene, having sold over 20 million albums worldwide, including over 6 million albums in the United States. The band received worldwide acclaim after the release of their 1988 album Operation: Mindcrime, which is often considered one of the greatest concept albums of all time. Their follow-up release, Empire, released in 1990, was also very successful and included the hit single "Silent Lucidity". The band has received three Grammy Award nominations for songs off both albums; Rockenfield also received a Grammy nomination outside of Queensrÿche.
In 1997, guitarist and primary songwriter DeGarmo left the band for personal reasons. Over the years, his replacements have been Kelly Gray, Mike Stone, and Parker Lundgren, respectively. Following a highly publicized backstage altercation before a show in São Paulo, Brazil in April 2012, Tate was fired from the band and replaced with Crimson Glory singer Todd La Torre. In response to his dismissal, Tate and his wife Susan (who served as the band's manager from 2005–2012) filed a lawsuit in a Washington court, claiming that he was wrongfully terminated. The ruling in the preliminary injunction was that until the court date in November 2013, both parties are allowed to use the name Queensrÿche; Tate has subsequently created his own lineup featuring former guitarist Gray and members from bands including Blue Öyster Cult, Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake, Dio, AC/DC and Quiet Riot. This version of Queensrÿche with Geoff Tate has released the album Frequency Unknown on 23 April, while the version of Queensrÿche with Todd La Torre is scheduled to release their album Queensrÿche on 24 and 25 June (European and American release date, respectively). Both bands have toured in 2013.
From The Mob to Queensrÿche (early 1980s)
The foundations for Queensrÿche began in the late 1970s. Guitarists Michael Wilton started the band Joker with friends in 1978, and they were joined by guitarist Chris DeGarmo in 1979. In 1980, Wilton met drummer Scott Rockenfield at Easy Street Records in Seattle, and they formed the band Cross+Fire together. They covered songs from popular heavy metal bands such as Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, and practiced in the garage of Rockenfield's parents. Before long, DeGarmo and bassist Eddie Jackson joined Cross+Fire, and the band name was changed to The Mob, after the Black Sabbath song "The Mob Rules". Without a singer, they recruited Geoff Tate to sing for them at a local rock festival. At the time, Tate was already in a band called Babylon. After Babylon broke up, Tate performed a few shows with The Mob, but left because he was not interested in performing heavy metal covers.
In 1981, The Mob put together sufficient funds to record a demo tape. Once again, Tate was enlisted to help by singing the vocals, much to the disapproval of his then-current band, Myth. The group recorded the four songs "Queen of the Reich", "Nightrider", "Blinded", and "The Lady Wore Black", the latter of which Tate had written the lyrics for. For an entire year, they brought their demo to various labels and were rejected by all of them. The Mob were ultimately offered a management contract by Kim and Diana Harris, the owners of Easy Street Records. However, as Tate remained committed to staying in Myth, the band reluctantly searched for another singer.
Because the name "The Mob" was not available, their manager urged them to choose a different name. They reportedly ran out of ideas, and decided to name the band after the first song on their demo tape, "Queen of the Reich". The spelling "Queensreich" was modified to prevent association of the band with Nazism; "ryche" is a Middle English cognate to "Reich" which, like the German word, can mean "realm", "kingdom" or "empire". The name "Queensrÿche" is written with a metal umlaut over the letter 'y'. As the band later joked: "The umlaut over the 'y' has haunted us for years. We spent eleven years trying to explain how to pronounce it." The umlaut was omitted on the artwork of Queensrÿche's 2011 album, Dedicated to Chaos.
Kim Harris sent the demo tape and a band photo to a friend who now wrote for Kerrang! magazine, resulting in a glowing review. On the strength of the growing buzz surrounding them in both the United States and Europe following the review, the Harrises released Queensrÿche's demo tape as a self-titled EP on their independent 206 Records label in 1983. After the EP garnered international praise, receiving much airplay and selling an unusual amount of copies for a small independent release, Tate agreed to leave Myth and become Queensrÿche's permanent lead singer.
On June 29–30, 1983, Queensrÿche was the opening act for Zebra in Seattle. Kim Harris knew A&R manager Mavis Brodey of EMI-America from when she was the music director of KZOK-FM, and convinced her to come to one of these shows. Brodey offered Queensrÿche a contract with EMI, spanning 15 years and encompassing seven albums. EMI re-released the EP Queensrÿche to moderate success, peaking at No. 81 on the Billboard charts. The band toured with Quiet Riot through the south and with Twisted Sister to the East Coast and Canada, and played in Seattle opening for Dio.
The Tri-Ryche logo
Queensrÿche's logo, the so-called Tri-Ryche, also stems from this period. Artist Wes "Grizz" Griswold, who did the artwork for the Queensrÿche EP, used to sign his work with a doodle morphed from a crude drawing of a Peregrine Falcon. He also used it for the stage set and backdrop of Queensryche’s first tour, which he designed. After the band was signed, the record company adopted the doodle as the band's logo. However, the Tri-Ryche has never been trademarked by Queensrÿche due to a long-standing controversy over who actually created the Tri-Ryche. Todd Rockenfield, the brother of Queensrÿche's drummer, who designed the typeface of the word "Queensryche" on the front and back of the EP, claimed the design of the Tri-Ryche in its eventual form was his. The Tri-Ryche is prominently featured on most of Queensrÿche's album covers. Queensrÿche would later also use the word "Tri-Ryche" when founding the Tri-Ryche Corporation in 1989.
The Warning and Rage for Order (1984–87)
After the EP tour, Queensrÿche travelled to London to record their first full-length album. The band worked with producer James Guthrie, who had worked with Pink Floyd and Judas Priest. Released in September 1984, The Warning featured more progressive elements than the band's debut EP. It peaked at No. 61 on the Billboard album chart, a moderate commercial success. While none of the singles released from The Warning charted domestically, "Take Hold of the Flame" was a hit for the band outside the U.S., and particularly in Japan. The band's first full-scale U.S. tour (in support of this album) was as the opening act for Kiss on their Animalize tour.
Rage for Order, released in 1986, introduced a much more polished look and sound for Queensrÿche, while the band was forced by their label to adopt an image more closely associated with glam rock, glam metal or goth metal than with heavy metal (of which glam metal was a subgenre). However, the album itself was more progressive than the band's previous releases, with a layered and complex musical structure, and which featured keyboards as prominently as guitars. A video was filmed for the song "Gonna Get Close to You", written and originally recorded in 1984 by Dalbello. The song "Rage for Order" was written and demoed for the album, but it was not included on the final release. The main riff from this song was worked into an instrumental piece played during some shows on the tour in support of this album, and eventually morphed into the track "Anarchy-X" on the Operation: Mindcrime album.
Operation: Mindcrime, Empire and success (1988–96)
Sample of "I Don't Believe In Love" from the concept album Operation: Mindcrime. This song was nominated for a Grammy.
Sample of the power ballad "Silent Lucidity" from the album Empire. It is the most successful song in Queensrÿche's career, and received two Grammy nominations, five VMA nominations, and one VMA award.
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In 1988, Queensrÿche released Operation: Mindcrime, a narrative concept album that proved a massive critical and commercial success. The album's story revolved around a junkie who is brainwashed into performing assassinations for an underground movement; the junkie ("Nikki") is torn over his misplaced loyalty to the cause and his love of a reformed hooker-turned-nun ("Mary," vocals by Pamela Moore) who gets in the way. "Mindcrime" has often been mentioned by critics[which?] alongside other notable concept albums like Pink Floyd's The Wall, Dream Theater's Scenes From a Memory and The Who's Tommy. The band toured through much of 1988 and 1989 with several bands, including Def Leppard, Guns N' Roses and Metallica.
The release of Empire (1990) brought Queensrÿche to the height of their commercial popularity. It peaked at No. 7 and sold more than three million copies in the United States, more than their previous four releases combined (it was also certified silver in the UK). The power ballad "Silent Lucidity", which featured an orchestra, became the band's first Top 10 single. While the band retained its socially conscious lyrics (touching on topics such as gun control and the environment), the arrangements on Empire were more straightforward than the band's previous efforts.
The subsequent "Building Empires" tour was the first full-fledged tour to feature Queensrÿche as a headlining act (the band had previously headlined a tour in Japan in support of Operation: Mindcrime, and had headlined a handful of club and theater shows in the U.S. between 1984 and 1988). The group used its headlining status to perform Operation: Mindcrime in its entirety, as well as songs from Empire. The tour lasted 18 months, longer than any tour the band had undertaken before or has since. The tour also added a black page to the band's history, when during a show in a sports hall in Ichtegem, Belgium on November 20, 1990, a scuffle in the audience resulted in an American fan getting fatally stabbed in the chest. Tour manager Howard Ungerleider immediately stopped the show as the band was only playing the seventh song on the set list, "Roads to Madness". A live album, recorded May 10–12, 1991, was released later that year as Operation: Livecrime. The tour also included an MTV Unplugged appearance at Warner Hollywood Studios in Los Angeles on April 27, 1992.
After taking time off to deal with the tour's resulting burnout and other personal issues, the band released Promised Land in October 1994 (a companion CD-ROM, featuring a Promised Land-themed game and other interactive features, was released in March 1996). It was a dark and intensely personal album, reflecting the mental state of the band at the time. Although the album debuted at No. 3 and was eventually certified platinum, it was clearly not the commercial success Empire had been. As with many other heavy metal and hard rock acts, Queensrÿche's commercial fortunes waned as grunge (which coincidentally got its start in Seattle, of which Bellevue—where the band was formed—is a suburb) and alternative rock surged in popularity.
Major changes (1997–98)
Queensrÿche released their sixth full-length studio album, Hear in the Now Frontier, in March 1997, to mixed critical and fan reception. The album debuted at No. 19 but quickly vanished from the charts. The musical sound and style of the album was more basic and stripped down than anything the band had released to date, and some fans and critics pointed to the grunge musical style as being a major influence on the record. Despite the reaction, the singles "Sign of the Times" and "You" received substantial airplay.
Compounding the disappointing sales of the album were issues that plagued the band on the subsequent tour. Less than one month into the Hear in the Now Frontier tour, Geoff Tate became seriously ill and the band was forced to cancel concert dates for the first time. In an even bigger blow, the band's longtime label, EMI America Records, went bankrupt during the same period. Queensrÿche was forced to use its own money to finance the remaining two months of the tour. The band played a handful of December shows in South America because of contractual obligations, and it was during this time, late 1997, that founding member Chris DeGarmo announced he was leaving Queensrÿche. However, his departure was not announced to the public until January 28, 1998.
Although the official reasons for DeGarmo's departure have never been made public, members of the band have cited burnout and a desire to pursue interests outside of Queensrÿche as reasons for his departure, while Dan Birchall of the fan magazine "Screaming in Digital" paints a more complex picture of three factors culminating into DeGarmo deciding to quit the band. Firstly, the success of Empire and the resulting touring life in the 90s had imposed a major strain on the band members' marriages, while DeGarmo's marriage was the only one that survived, and this resulted in the motive to spend more time with his wife and children. Secondly, some band members battled with alcohol following the "Building Empires" tour, causing the band to lose focus, and in this light, DeGarmo is seen as the one who kept the Tri-Ryche Corporation (the business side of the band) running in his role as president, as the driving force behind motivating the band to get back together and record Promised Land, and the one to ultimately go into negotiations with Virgin Records alone after the bankruptcy of EMI-America, because of a lack of interest or participation by the other members. And thirdly, the families of all band members were very close, forming an "extended Queensrÿche family", but after the divorces these interpersonal dynamics changed when new girlfriends came into the extended family, who didn't always get along well existing band members, which in turn affected some of the close bonds among the band members. After he left Queensrÿche, DeGarmo recorded and performed with Jerry Cantrell and was in a short-lived band called Spys4Darwin, which released one EP in 2001. DeGarmo is now a business jet pilot. He remains highly regarded in the eyes of Queensrÿche's fan base.
Continued experimentation (1998–2002)
DeGarmo was replaced by guitarist and producer Kelly Gray. Gray's connections with Queensrÿche went back to the early '80s, when he was the guitarist for Myth, Geoff Tate's previous band. Gray had also previously worked as a producer for bands such as Dokken and Candlebox. Queensrÿche's album with Gray was 1999's Q2K. It was also the first album for their new label, Atlantic Records. Musically, Q2K bore little resemblance to the progressive metal of the band's past, and also displayed similar stripped-down sound as Hear in the Now Frontier. Q2K has been called a continuation of the experimentation of Hear in the Now Frontier by Geoff Tate. Declining popularity forced the band to tour in clubs and theaters, rather than larger arenas and outdoor amphitheaters.
After the release of a greatest hits collection in 2000, Queensrÿche embarked on another tour, this time in support of Iron Maiden. This enabled the band to play Madison Square Garden for the first time. Unhappy with the lack of support they felt they received from Atlantic, Queensrÿche moved to Sanctuary Records in 2001. In July of that year, the band performed a handful of dates at the Moore Theatre in Seattle, Washington. The shows were recorded and released in September 2001 as Live Evolution, the band's second live album. According to Rockenfield, Gray was fired from the band in May 2002 "because of [his] personal abuse habits and ongoing problems".
The Tribe years (2002–04)
The band entered the studio as a quartet in the spring of 2003 to record their eighth full-length album, while a compilation of greatest hits was released as part of the Classic Masters series on March 9, 2003. In April, they announced they had been joined by Chris DeGarmo, although his future status with the band was uncertain. In July, Queensrÿche released its first and only album of new material on the Sanctuary label, Tribe. DeGarmo, who played on and co-wrote four songs, neither officially rejoined the band nor took part in the supporting tour.
Gray's replacement turned out to be Mike Stone, who had previously worked on Tate's solo album. Stone accompanied the band on the Tribe tour as second guitarist to Wilton's lead, though he never was a full member of the band. In June 2003, Queensrÿche launched a co-headlining tour featuring another progressive metal band, Dream Theater. The two bands alternated the opening and closing spots, and ended the shows by playing a handful of songs together. Fates Warning was the special guest for the tour. A recording from this tour was released to CD and DVD as The Art of Live',' which included two covers performed with Dream Theater.
Following this tour, Lars Sorensen was dismissed, and Geoff Tate's wife Susan was promoted to band manager, after having worked as an assistant manager for the band since 2001.
Operation: Mindcrime II (2004–07)
In July 2004, Queensrÿche announced its plans to record a follow-up to 1988's Operation: Mindcrime. To generate fan interest in the upcoming album, the band hit the road in the fall of 2004 with the "An Evening With Queensrÿche" tour. The tour opened with a shortened greatest hits set, followed by a revised production of Operation: Mindcrime with live actors and video; Pamela Moore reprised her role as Sister Mary. The band played a pre-recorded version of "Hostage," a track from the upcoming album, through the PA as an encore after the end of their set. The second leg of the tour began in early 2005. Before embarking on a third leg in the fall of 2005, Queensrÿche toured with Judas Priest across North America, playing an hour-long set consisting mostly of the band's older works and one song from the soon-to-be released sequel, entitled "I'm American."
Operation: Mindcrime II was released internationally on March 31, 2006. The album was Queensrÿche's first for their new label, Rhino Entertainment, to which it signed in 2005. Ronnie James Dio provided the vocals for Dr. X, the villain. The album debuted at No. 14, the highest chart position for a Queensrÿche album since 1997. The group embarked on a headlining tour in support of the album, joined by Pamela Moore in her role as Sister Mary. The tour featured performances of both Mindcrime albums in their entirety. Dio appeared at the Gibson Amphitheatre show in Universal City, California to perform his vocals as Dr. X on "The Chase", and was shown on a video screen at the other shows. Dio's appearance was recorded, and included as an extra on the 2007 DVD release Mindcrime at the Moore.
Take Cover and American Soldier (2007–10)
On August 9, 2007, the band announced that it would release a new greatest hits album, entitled Sign of the Times. The album was released on August 28, 2007, and a special collector's edition featured a bonus disc including various demos and a new song, "Justified," featuring Chris DeGarmo on guitar.
On November 13, 2007, the band released an album of covers entitled Take Cover. The album contains covers of songs by Queen, U2, The Police, Black Sabbath, Peter Gabriel, and Pink Floyd, and was the band's second release for Rhino Records.
On February 3, 2009, Stone announced the end of his association with Queensrÿche to focus on his side-project Speed-X, although court declarations later revealed Geoff and Susan Tate fired him for "making too many grand demands", without discussing it with the other band members. Wilton recorded both lead and rhythm guitar on the band's eleventh studio album, American Soldier, released on March 31, 2009. The concept album regards war from the perspective of those on the front lines of American wars from World War II through to the present, especially the Iraq War. Parker Lundgren (formerly of The Nihilists and Sledgeback, who also played on Tate's solo tour and was in a relationship with Tate's stepdaughter Miranda) replaced Stone on the ensuing tour.
Late 2009 and early 2010, the band toured for The Queensrÿche Cabaret.
In November 2010, Queensrÿche played several shows for U.S. troops stationed in Iraq. While at a U.S. military position, explosive shells began falling on the base as the result of a bomb attack. Contrary to some news reports stating that some band members were injured, Tate has said in several interviews that he was misquoted and none of the band members suffered any injuries.
Dedicated to Chaos (2011–12)
The band's twelfth studio album, Dedicated to Chaos, was released on June 28, 2011 on Roadrunner/Loud & Proud Records, to which the band had signed on August 25, 2010. The album was a drastic departure from the band's previous efforts, featuring a greater emphasis on the bass and drums, and with minimal guitar work. According to Tate, Queensrÿche was already writing new material for a follow-up to Dedicated to Chaos as of June 2011, and were planning to return to the studio late 2012 to re-record Operation: Mindcrime, releasing it in early 2013 for its 25th anniversary.
Queensrÿche split, legal proceedings, and future of the band (2012–present)
In a band meeting on April 12, 2012, which Tate did not attend, the band members discussed outsourcing the fanclub and merchandising, resulting in the firing of Tate's stepdaughter Miranda from running the band's fan club. Wilton, Rockenfield and Jackson also fired the band manager Susan Tate, because of ongoing "arguments and division" over decisions and "feelings that Susan Tate was not working on the behalf of the band as a whole". According to Wilton, the band's corporate accounts were misused to pay expenses and use the band's tax ID for The VooDoos, an Irish band Susan Tate was managing, who did not have legal work visas, and were opening Queensrÿche shows during their 2011 U.S. tour. However, the Tates explained the money was fronted and repaid in full from the tour's earnings made by The VooDoos. In addition, Geoff and Susan Tate had brokered a deal with zoetifex Studios on March 1, 2012, for the rights to a CG animated film and video game adaptation of the storylines of Operation: Mindcrime and Operation: Mindcrime II. Separate from the music, Tate owns the rights to the storyline, which would garner Tate, but not the other band members, an advance and most of the royalties associated with the movie's merchandising. Wilton would later sum up these events as: "the last 3 years, basically it just came to a point that we didn’t have a voice in the band anymore. It was all run by the singer and his manager, the wife."
On April 14, 2012, before the soundcheck for a show at the HSBC Arena in São Paulo, Brazil, Tate inquired with Wilton, Rockenfield and Jackson why they had fired his wife and stepdaughter, and the other band members asked Tate questions about the deal with zoetifex Studios. The argument became heated, leading to Tate retaliating by throwing over the drum kit, throwing several punches and physically assaulting and spitting on Rockenfield and Wilton. The tour manager repeatedly tried to calm Tate down and ordered for security officers to be positioned on the stage during the performance to intervene whenever necessary.
The band was under contract for two more shows, the M3 Rock Festival on May 12, and the Rocklahoma Festival on May 26. Over the course of these shows, Wilton, Rockenfield and Jackson debated whether it was still possible to continue working with Tate. The other band members felt that Tate continued to misbehave. In court, they cited an incident in which Tate commented to an unresponsive crowd "You guys suck", although Tate later stated "I was not insulting the audience. I was trying to motivate or excite them" in official court documents. Wilton, Rockenfield and Jackson had found during these two shows that reconciliation was impossible, and had "come to the conclusion that they can no longer work or perform with Mr. Tate," as they felt he "proved many times he was not working as part of a group, but as an individual. He was actively damaging the brand." They called a band meeting on June 5 to negotiate a buyout settlement (some sources say June 6). Tate withdrew from this conference call, after which the other band members voted to "[c]onsider Geoff Tate expelled from the band" and "continue to use the Queensrÿche name with a new lead singer".
On June 12, Tate and his wife filed a lawsuit in a Seattle court against his former bandmates, claiming that he was illegally fired from the band. They also sought a preliminary injunction to prevent both the plaintiffs and the defendants from using the Queensrÿche name. On July 13, 2012 the Washington state superior court defeated this motion, as well as a motion for a preliminary summary judgment filed by the defendants. The court ruled that both parties may use the brand Queensrÿche until the next court date, explaining: "we know that we set these matters out for many months, because some cases require that", acknowledging that there is "drama involved in this situation", as well as "artistic and other issues". Both parties may gather evidence supporting their case until September 30, 2013, and in the mean time, the judge is allowing the market to decide, stating: "I don't know what the parties plan to do about Mr. Tate's ability to go out and perform. Are there going to be competing Queensrÿche? I don't see any reason that Mr. Tate can't have the benefit, if he gets other members, with whatever name he uses of using that brand. And I think that's inherently confusing. Although, again, I'm sure the market can get these things sorted out." When Tate was asked what he thought the judge meant by that, he answered: "Well I think that that comment from the judge was simply because the judge hadn't really looked at the whole situation in its totality, and wasn't ready to make any kind of decision on it. And just kind of went with: 'well I'm not really prepared, so how can I put this to rest right now?'"
As a result of the judge's preliminary verdict, there are currently two versions of Queensrÿche until the November 18, 2013 court date or a settlement will determine who may officially own the name and imagery. Tate explained what will happen then, as: "It all comes down to exchange of money; who is compensated for what, and then we walk away and we shake hands and we're over." The ambiguous situation has among others caused confusion with tickets sold through Ticketmaster for one version, while a picture of the other version was being shown. Further complicating matters, is that Capitol Records is releasing a compilation album called Icon, containing earlier Queensrÿche songs, on May 14, 2013, resulting in three albums with the name "Queensrÿche" being released in three consecutive months, each of them with a different band composition and by a different record label.
Queensrÿche with Todd La Torre
As Queensrÿche's singer and frontman Geoff Tate was working on his solo album and an ensuing tour, the other band members were looking for a way to earn their own income by playing in a different band composition. Wilton explains that: "Originally this was deemed as a side project, because we were told by our management that we were not going to do anything for the next year so hey, we have to survive." They decided to hold performances under the name Rising West (named after a lyric from the Queensrÿche album The Warning). Several months prior, at the NAMM Show in January 2012, Wilton had met Todd La Torre, who was the frontman of Crimson Glory at the time, following which La Torre provided vocals on previously unreleased media-based songs by Wilton, most notably a song named "Don't Look Back", which in 2013 would make its way onto Queensrÿche's self-titled album. Short of a frontman for Rising West, Wilton recommended La Torre to his bandmates. They asked La Torre if he knew any Queensrÿche songs, and it turned out he was a big fan of Queensrÿche's older albums. The band took a leap of faith by booking two shows even before they started rehearsing with La Torre ten days prior to the shows. Wilton says: "we blasted through 18 to 20 songs and everybody was amazed from the professionality, the musicianship and tone of Todd’s voice." As La Torre was not very familiar with the songs on Promised Land and they had only limited time to prepare for the shows, the band focused on the material from the Queensrÿche EP to Empire, which are generally considered the band's heaviest releases. Rising West with La Torre was publicly announced on May 29, 2012. before the split with Tate but after the confrontation, and they performed two sold out shows at Seattle's Hard Rock Cafe on June 8 and 9, 2012.
By then, the high-running argument and other problems had already created a rift between Tate and his bandmates in Queensrÿche, but La Torre was not privy to any information concerning tensions within the band at the time. Neither was La Torre was considering a career with Queensrÿche at that point, as he was primarily focused on Crimson Glory at the time: "it was just a way to get out there and play stuff that they haven't played in a long time and hopefully be able to earn supplemental income until Queensrÿche was going back out." After Queensrÿche did fire Tate, they were debating how they would carry on. According to La Torre, his eventual hiring was a "natural evolution", and he was therefore announced as the band's replacement singer at the same time it was announced they had parted ways with Tate, continuing under the name Queensrÿche.
The band also came under new management and signed with a new label. Wilton explains:
A person from a very prominent management team [Glen Parrish of PGM Management], who had come to see the second show [of Rising West], basically introduced himself to us and after the show he was very impressed. We had no idea this was going to happen, but all of a sudden the fans started calling us Queensrÿche. The new Queensrÿche. This is what we’ve been waiting for so long. Subsequently, the man who is now our manager called the company down at Los Angeles and said "I have something very hot here and we should grab these guys before someone else does".
We had at least 3 or 4 record labels that we were negotiating for our new album and our manager chose Century Media. So, we had the motivation and the next step was to work with Jim Barton, his nickname is Jimbo as we had a great career together with recording Operation Mindcrime, Empire and Promised Land. So, it seemed like a real logical fit to bring him in the fold. We invited him to see the live show in Los Angeles, at the House Of Blues in Hollywood, and he was blown away. He came up to Seattle and we got it going. We probably had maybe 15 ideas and a limited them a little bit down to 9 or 10 and I have to tell you it was very easy and effortless.
Sample of "Redemption", the first complete song teaser by the version of Queensrÿche with Todd La Torre on vocals.
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The band entered the studio in December to record their first album with La Torre. According to La Torre, listeners will hear "a difference in sound, style, and writing in the new Queensrÿche record as compared to the last several albums." Rockenfield has added, "we're trying to revisit the old Queensrÿche catalog — stuff off of the [Queensrÿche] EP and The Warning." In March 2013, the band announced they had signed with Century Media Records. The album, Queensrÿche, will be released on 24 June in Europe, and on 25 June in the US.
In between recording sessions and while Barton was mixing their album, the band played shows in the US and Canada as part of their "Return to History Tour", performing only early songs. The band was also scheduled to tour Europe in the second half of April, but on March 27, 2013, it was announced that nearly all dates had been postponed to late October and early November 2013, because of "changes in the band's promotional schedule brought upon by their new label, Century Media Records, in order to meet the demands of their upcoming June 10th worldwide release date." Following upset responses from European fans, Queensrÿche elaborated with: "[we] never want to miss any chance to see and play for our fans around the world, but there are some things we have to do for our label in order to get the new record out to you in the time we promised. When the shows were originally booked, these obligations were not known to us as we were still talking with various labels."
The lineup with La Torre has rarely commented on the situation of having two versions of Queensrÿche. La Torre has explained: "There's no point in throwing mud around, and it doesn't make us look good if we do that" insisting that "you have to maintain a level of professionalism". La Torre has also been critical of the album cover for Frequency Unknown, Tate's version of the band's album, saying "It's below the belt. To me, it's not what Queensrÿche was about. Queensrÿche wasn't about the cheap shots. Queensrÿche was always more respectful and intelligent of that." and continuing to add that this is detrimental to the credibility and respect to the name and brand of Queensrÿche. He also stated that he doesn't "even acknowledge it as a Queensrÿche album". Guitarist Michael Wilton has similarly expressed little interest in the two versions of Queensryche, saying "That other stuff is being taken care of on a legal aspect, and we’re all good with that. We’re really concentrating on rebuilding the business, rebuilding the brand and showing the fans who have been waiting so long to see a good hard rock show that we’ve got it." When asked about how they see their chances in court, Rockenfield answered: "We look forward to the case very optimistically. Our guitarist Michael Wilton, bassist Eddie Jackson and I have founded the band back then, long before Geoff [Tate] joined. I also think that the music that we are making again now, clearly represents more strongly what Queensrÿche at its core stood for and should stand for."
Queensrÿche with Geoff Tate
On September 1, Geoff Tate announced a new Queensrÿche lineup on his official Facebook page, featuring Rudy Sarzo, Bobby Blotzer, Glen Drover, and two of his former band mates from Myth, Kelly Gray and Randy Gane. Drover left the band on November 23, 2012, later explaining that: “[t]he musical direction of where Geoff wanted to go wasn’t what I wanted to go forward with. I’m more into the first five Queensrÿche albums, the original template of the band. For me, when I think of the band, I think of those records.” On January 25, his replacement was announced to be guitarist Robert Sarzo, while Blotzer was replaced on drums by Simon Wright.
Sample of "Cold", the first single by the version of Queensrÿche with Geoff Tate on vocals.
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The band released their album Frequency Unknown on 23 April through Deadline Music, a sub-label of Cleopatra Records. It was co-written, produced and mixed in 6 weeks by Jason Slater and mastered by Maor Appelbaum, but Billy Sherwood was later hired to remix the album, "[as it] seems there are sonic issues with the previous versions". However several days later, Sherwood pulled out of the project, citing scheduling issues. The work was subsequently spread out over at least four remixers, because of a deadline that had to be met. "Cold", the first single off Frequency Unknown was released on April 3, 2013. It was remixed and produced by Anthony Focx.
Queensrÿche with Geoff Tate is promoted by their booking agent under the name "Queensrÿche Starring Geoff Tate the Original Voice". They are performing an "Operation: Mindcrime Anniversary Tour" since April 6, 2013, in celebration of the album's 25th anniversary, predominantly in the American Southwest. During this tour, on May 17, 2013, Tate created controversy during a show in St. Charles, Illinois. Ten minutes into the show, he grabbed an audience member's smartphone, turned around, and threw it over his shoulder into the crowd.
- The Warning (1984)
- Rage for Order (1986)
- Operation: Mindcrime (1988)
- Empire (1990)
- Promised Land (1994)
- Hear in the Now Frontier (1997)
- Q2K (1999)
- Tribe (2003)
- Operation: Mindcrime II (2006)
- Take Cover (2007)
- American Soldier (2009)
- Dedicated to Chaos (2011)
Awards and nominations
|1990||"I Don't Believe in Love"||Best Metal Performance||Nominated|
|1992||"Silent Lucidity"||Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal||Nominated|
|1992||Chris DeGarmo – "Silent Lucidity"||Best Rock Song||Nominated|
MTV Video Music Awards
|1991||"Silent Lucidity"||Video of the Year||Nominated|
|1991||"Silent Lucidity"||Best Group Video||Nominated|
|1991||"Silent Lucidity"||Best Metal/Hard Rock Video||Nominated|
|1991||"Silent Lucidity"||Best Direction in a Video||Nominated|
|1991||"Silent Lucidity"||Viewers' Choice Award||Won|
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Queensrÿche with Todd La Torre
Queensrÿche with Geoff Tate
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