Queensrÿche: "We're always being sued about something, that’s part of the business"

Queensryche group shot
(Image credit: Silly Robot Studios)

As the prog-metal band release Digital Noise Alliance, their fourth album since the very ugly break-up with original lead singer Geoff Tate, guitarist Michael Wilton, a fellow co-founder of the Seattle-based group, insists that getting back together with Tate is the last thing on Queensrÿche’s mind.

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Digital Noise Alliance is Queensrÿche’s fourth album with singer Todd La Torre. A decade after the exit of Geoff Tate, how well do you think the slump of those last few Tate-fronted records has been reversed? 

The whole rebuilding process is progressing well. For the most part it’s about giving the fans what they want: the [signature] Queensrÿche sound. That’s something we’ve done over countless tours and several albums. It’s a work in progress, but right now everything feels very strong. 

The album treads a fine line between the familiar-sounding In Extremis and Behind The Walls and some more melodic and even proggier moments. It’s a broad-based record. 

That’s true. Because it was written during the pandemic we took an improvised approach to the writing. That made it more organic. In the past, everybody emailed the songs back and forth. Of course, keeping the reference points familiar is there in the back of your mind, but at the end of the day opinions are subjective, you can’t lose too much sleep over what people will think. A couple of original guys are here, and that sound will always be in our DNA.

Casey Grillo has been the band’s touring drummer for five years. Now he’s a full band member, what does he bring to Queensrÿche? 

Besides being a great drummer with his own personality and style, Casey became a part of the writing and arrangement. He’s a real team player.

What’s the latest in the legal dispute with co-founding drummer Scott Rockenfeld, who sued Queensrÿche and was counter-sued over a number of allegations? 

It’s ongoing and the lawyers are dealing with it. It’ll work itself out. Queensrÿche are always being sued about something, that’s part of the business. But life goes on. 

How much do you tire of the soap-operalike headlines that seem to cloud the band’s career? 

It’s just the way of the world, stirred up by yellow journalism. That’s prevalent in all types of media – politics, sport, everything. It’s always: “Let’s see how we can cut this guy down.” You have to keep a good sense of humour and move past the bumps in the road. 

Would you be surprised to hear that in an interview for his most recent European tour Geoff Tate told Classic Rock: “I’ve been open to talking about a reunion with the guys for a couple of years, but honestly, it doesn’t seem likely. I do wish them luck because they’re going through a tumultuous time, as probably all of us are, getting things started again. I wish them well in that.” 

That’s respectable and the feeling is mutual, but we’re on a roll with this version of Queensrÿche. It would be silly to stop our momentum. I wish the best for him, and that’s all I can really say.

Digital Noise Alliance is out now via Century Media.

Dave Ling was a co-founder of Classic Rock magazine. His words have appeared in a variety of music publications, including RAW, Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Prog, Rock Candy, Fireworks and Sounds. Dave’s life was shaped in 1974 through the purchase of a copy of Sweet’s album ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’, along with early gig experiences from Status Quo, Rush, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Yes and Queen. As a lifelong season ticket holder of Crystal Palace FC, he is completely incapable of uttering the word ‘Br***ton’.