Is there anything more entertaining than the undying ego of bands in the twilight of their careers? This week, all eyes have been on Queensryche. Not content to simply tour Operation Mindcrime around every couple of years, Geoff Tate considers himself an “artist.” Spending the last few years promoting Cabaret nights and Iraq war concept albums, it has been hard to understand who Queensryche thinks they’re making music for anymore. As we are now learning the rest of the band feels the same way as their fans.
The first sign that all is not well occurred a half hour into Queensryche’s middling Rocklahoma set when a high-note dodging Tate told the crowd with utmost sincerity that they “suck.” He theorized on stage that the collective indifference of the approximately 10,000 people in attendance was a result of the performance being on a Sunday. Before Memorial Day. At 9PM. When they weren’t even the headliner.
In the wake of this public meltdown, rumors began circulating that Tate overheard band members backstage in Brazil discussing the possibility of sacking him, which led to an assault on guitarist Michael Wilton and a knife being pulled on drummer Scott Rockenfeld. So it was no surprise when a press release circulated about a new project from “members of Queensryche.” Who are these members? Only EVERY SINGLE MEMBER OF THE BAND EXCEPT GEOFF TATE. Including lead guitarist Parker Lundgren who is also Tate’s Son-in-law! Their new project Rising West, who will play their first shows this weekend in Seattle, is being publicized as the band playing vintage Queensryche material with current Crimson Glory singer Todd La Torre. YouTube video of him singing “Queen of the Ryche” showcase a dead ringer for glory days Geoff Tate.
As if all this wasn’t enough, Wilton announced via his personal Twitter and Facebook accounts yesterday he was being blocked from using the official Queensryche site and Facebook page to promote the Rising West shows. This wouldn’t be newsworthy if Geoff Tate hadn’t earlier this year used those same vehicles to promote his own solo album and tour, and dismissed the Brazil rumors as a fiction he was enjoying because it was generating press for the band.
One of the most interest developments is that it appears Queensryche has not broken up. They have shows scheduled in June and July, including two NYC area shows opening for the Scorpions. Will they play? Will they look each other in the eye? Will there be new public meltdowns? Could Rising West take over the dates? Geoff Tate’s solo band? It feels like this drama is just getting started…