Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Tale of Two Queensryches; A Fan's Point of View

TWO Queensryches???? What the hell???

It is true, and here is my take on it.

First, a history of my Queensryche fanhood...It is necessary to get this out in the open because I feel I speak for MANY Queensryche fans. Then, a history of the band, and what went wrong.

I was exposed to them after 'Rage for Order' came out, and was blown away by it. I was even more blown away when 'Operation: Mindcrime' came out. I missed them in concert for those 2 tours. However, when Empire came out, I was ecstatic. But, in my opinion, Empire was good, but did not stand up to 'The Warning,' 'Rage,' and 'Mindcrime.' It was good, and I loved listening to it, but it was not their best album by far. I first saw Queensryche in concert on the 'Empire' tour, when they performed 'Mindcrime' in its entirety. I saw them at the Orlando Arena. It was amazing. When 'Operation: Livecrime' was released, I HAD to have that box set. The county fair was in town, and I worked all night as a local walk in to tear down a Flyin' Bobs ride to get the extra money to go the next day to get the box set. I wore out both the cassette and video tape over the years. Then, 'Promised Land' came out. It took some getting used to, but I eventually welcomed it. It was the next step in an evolution of the band. I saw Queensryche in concert on that tour as well, in Tampa. They were great, once again.

But then, 'Hear in the Now Frontier' came out. I did not like that album at all. I found myself thinking 'Will someone please let me know how we spun out of control....' about the whole direction of the album. It was good music, but it was NOT Queensryche. To add insult to injury, Chris DeGarmo, the driving force at the time behind the music left. The next album, Q2K was released. No DeGarmo. This was the first Queensryche album that I did not buy. However, I did go to see them in concert on that tour. I saw them at the House of Blues in Orlando. The music was NOT the same without DeGarmo there. To add insult to injury, Geoff Tate after the two opening songs said something along the lines of "I hope you guys like OLD Queensryche because we are going to be doing alot of that tonight!" I was pumped, and quickly let down. The oldest songs they played were off of 'Mindcrime.' After the show, as the crowd left, I overheard many people talking about how disgusted they were after Tate said that they were going to play "Old Queensryche." but no 'Take Hold of the Flame," etc. I was venting the same sentiment.

Then, 'Tribe' came out, featuring the return of Chris DeGarmo. I was PUMPED! But, a friend bought the album and played me a few songs. It was as lackluster as 'Hear in the Now.' And, DeGarmo left the band once again because of differences with Geoff Tate. I didn't buy this album either. Had Tate seized control of the band?


The next album to be released was 'Operation: Mindcrime 2.' I bought it, and was VERY disappointed. I listened to it twice, and the songs actually seemed forced and rushed. Every song on the original 'Operation: Mindcrime' could have been a hit. They were amazing, but this seemed like a blatant attempt to cash in. The first track of the album is a continuation of the prison scene in 'OM.' A prison guard says "Ok convict, you're a free man!" and Nikki walks. Hello? He killed a priest! How does he just walk? The best song of the album is the duet with the late, great Ronnie James Dio, called 'The Chase.' Tate plays Nikki, Dio plays Dr. X. The problem? Tate and Dio both sing in the same key, making it difficult to distinguish who is who. I could not believe that they released this album as a sequel to the masterpiece that is 'Operation: Mindcrime.'

The next 3 albums released, I didn't even bother with. I heard one song off of 'American Soldier' and 'Dedicated to Chaos,' and they sounded like more weird stuff, on the musical scale of 'Mindcrime 2.' Funny thing is that I didn't even know they had released an album called 'Take Cover' until writing this blog and looking up the discography for continuity's sake. "Take Cover!" That could have been a warning to Queensryche fans about what else was coming.

I really hate to bash one of my favorite bands like this, but I am being real.

Now, fast forward...Everyone knows the story...The band no longer liked Tate's family running everything, so they fired them, and Geoff Tate right before a show. Tate, in retaliation spits in drummer, Scott Rockenfield's face, on stage. Could they have shown a little more respect when firing him, as in maybe waiting until after the show? Sure. But, spitting in someone's face is unforgivable.

So, Geoff Tate and the original members of Queensryche went to court for the band name. Its still in litigation as to who gets the rights to the name. Tate quickly put together a new lineup with Rudy Sarzo on bass, his brother, Robert on guitar, along with long time buddy, Kelly Gray who replaced Chris DeGarmo in Queensryche, and Bobby Blotzer (RATT) on drums. The original lineup, Michael Wilton, Eddie Jackson, and Scott Rockenfield brought on guitar wizard, Parker Lundgren, and singer, Todd LaTorre, formerly a singer for Crimson Glory, a legendary metal band from Florida.

I honestly think Geoff Tate will have to relinquish the Queensryche name. He after all is NOT an original member of Queensryche. He JOINED the already existing band! I heard an interview with Don Dokken about this, and Dokken said that Tate should have just called his band 'Geoff Tate.' He also said that he has a hard time picturing Queensryche with Bobby Blotzer as a member. I agree with both points.

Tate's band is releasing an album later this month called 'Frequency Unknown' with this album cover:

Notice the FU on the fist. I wonder what they were thinking when they designed that album cover!!! Sour grapes, anyone?

Now, back to the original lineup with a new guitarist and singer...They have been touring and recording. Their album will be released in June. For those of you who haven't heard it, they have released a song from THEIR new album. The song is called 'Redemption' and it is AMAZING! It sounds like the next evolutionary step from 'Promised Land.'

Now, I have yet to see this band, but I am excited, and will when they tour for the new album. If you go to YouTube, you will find many live recordings of this lineup. Todd LaTorre NAILS it. They OPEN with Queen of the Ryche. When was the last time Queensryche did that? Hell, when was the last time Tate did that song, and it sounded good?  One common theme I see in all the live clips of their shows is happiness. These guys are the real deal, and according to the original band members, they are having fun for the first time in years. 

I am a singer, and Geoff Tate will always be an influence to me, but he lost his way at some point. I've never understood why certain band members think they will be more successful without the band members who got them there in the first place. 

I stand in support of the original lineup of Queensryche. They have a new singer and guitarist, but they are picking up at the fork in the road where the band lost their way, and are now going down the right path, and are kicking the crap out of the unbelievers while making the real Queensryche fans proud.

I only dream in infrared, but from a haze came a rage of thunder, and QUEENSRYCHE IS BACK!!!!


  1. "Parker Lundgren" is the (not so) new guitarist's name, rather than Todd. I saw them last month at HoB Orlando, and it was a great show.

  2. Corrected. Thanks for pointing that out. I proofread this before publishing it, and didn't even catch that.