Considering the things you guys said in your declarations of the problems that were in the band during the past 15 years, why did the three of you put up with this for so long?
Wilton: At different points and different times, there were people who weren't satisfied with the way things were running but it wasn't kind of a majority, ever, at one single time. We have to provide for our families, and there's lots of situations where someone really didn't like the way something was going or a decision was being made and maybe didn't have the full majority...
You gotta realize, this is a fast-paced business and decisions are made ultra fast and sometimes you may regret some of those decisions, but you know what? You're a team and you can't let anybody down. You gotta go with it no matter how much you really understood a situation.
Rockenfield: It's probably not too far off of like a divorce, the old irreconcilable differences concept when people get divorces. And some of those divorces, even close friends and family don't know about the inside stuff that's just kind of dragged on for a while, and the couple have put up with it... You kind of get to the point where we were looking at, bottom line, better business, watching our money and our accounting and things that were going on, asking ourselves collectively if we were happy with the music and our direction or what we wanted to do, and as you seen've in all the declarations, it's been going for a while. But it's just at some point, we all started to get on a certain page together and it just needed to happen now.
Susan contends in her documents that when she officially became the manager in 2005, she did so reluctantly, and Scott, she claims you assured her you would get her in to be the manager. You three say that if you didn't accept her as manager, Geoff was going to quit.
Rockenfield: Well, I'm just going to clarify I never assured anybody they would come in, and it was presented to us by Geoff to have her come in... In doing so, the reluctancy was on our side to have that happen. And, yeah, we did it, being the business we were at the time. And as time has grown on, we've just decided to move on. It's one of those things where after a certain amount of time, you need to revisit the worth of the business, what is it doing, is it doing it correctly and that's really where we got to, even in the last six months, where we were doing that. The problem is, once we started doing that, the discussions didn't go the best.
You guys were reluctant but you accepted her being your manager. Why?
Rockenfield: You know, it's been a while, to be honest. As Michael says, it all depends on the era and what we're all going through. At that time, it was just movement. I don't know if I have an answer for you on that.
How about Michael or Eddie? What do you remember about Geoff approaching you with the idea of her taking over?
Wilton: Well, all things considered, it wasn't like, "Hey, let's do it." We were kind of at a crossroads, I guess. There was some hesitation among some of us, but again, we all wanted to be team players, we wanted everyone to be happy, so it kind of happened. But it was a situation that I remember that not everybody was too keen on.
Rockenfield: Just because you agree on something as a collective unit doesn't mean at some point it shouldn't be readdressed. That's just kind of, to me, solid business practice, that people in business should always be addressing, what's benefiting the company the best. In all honesty, it doesn't come down to anything personal.
The Tates submitted declarations from people who spent time around the band and they claim they never saw any tension. While my contact has been more limited, I know in the times I've interviewed you, or seen you or seen Geoff, I've never seen any either. Is that a case of, this was not an overnight thing, or because the band has always tried to keep stuff private?
Rockenfield: I think that's probably the best way to put it, is private. It's kind of like again if I bring up the analogy of a divorce and some couple's been together for 20 years, and they're gonna get a divorce and most people, even their closest friends and family, didn't even see it coming, it's because they kept it private. There's a certain façade that you do have to go through to get to that point. We live a high-profile lifestyle. Even when we're around each other, usually, a lot of times, it's around other people that could know what's going on. A lot of times, a lot of stuff is kept private.
Your paperwork said you have a lot of material that you want to use, but when it would get submitted Geoff would decide if he would sing on it. I would imagine that would become frustrating if you keep submitting material and he says, "I'm gonna do this, and that's it." Did anybody not sit him down and say, "This is not working"?
Wilton: There were moments with every recording, since I'd say [2003 album] "Tribe" that things, for whatever reason, songs weren't looked at, songs were lost, it wasn't the direction or the theme of the recording. We've got songs in Pro Tools that are time-stamped, 2003, 2002, 2000, what I consider really potentially good songs. It's not cut and dried that [Geoff said] "I'm just not gonna sing your song" out of spite. It was, a lot of it, for whatever reason, it didn't make it to the cutting block. It wasn't a band decision.
Jackson: We're constantly contributing to the pool of ideas. There were some songs that a couple of us thought, "Hey, that would be a cool song to work on," but unfortunately it was never used.
With the "Operation: Mindcrime II" and "American Soldier" albums, Geoff says you guys, basically, weren't interested in working on them. You say you essentially got locked out of those sessions by the Tates and producer Jason Slater.
Rockenfield: Those records, we were all involved in. At the end of the day, things started to get basically done "Either my way or the highway." You've seen [in our declarations] with other people that came in, guys producing the record weren't the best-qualified for it and had their own issues they were dealing with in life and that's the type of people we were trying to deal with, staying on schedules, being available to do things, writing material. It started becoming a separated entity where things were happening over there and things were happening over here, and they weren't going on the same page anymore. And that was a good example of that record and then into the ones that followed that.
Wilton: On "Mindcrime II," it was just really no organization at all. There was no communication, the recording schedule and putting the songs together, they were done at odd times and at somebody's house. And it was being controlled by a certain faction, and it was, "Show up or not. We can do this without you." That's kind of how it makes you feel. As far as "American Soldier" [goes, it was], "Hey we've got these songs. I really like 'em. We got a good idea here." But you know what? They're not our songs. They're someone else's.
I spent painstaking hours trying to figure out MP3s and probably spent four to six months in Ed Bass' garage recording with Kelly Gray all the guitar parts, or 98% of the guitar parts on that album, and it wasn't easy. I was doing the job of two guitar players.
Jackson: I also remember times Michael and I would drive over to Scotty's house and work on ideas as well. It's not like we were just sitting on our asses doing nothing.
Rockenfield: To say that we have never worked or done any of the work is ludicrous. It's ridiculous. Queensryche is a brand and a team. It never has been about one guy. It's always been about the team. And the team has always worked to get to a certain goal. That started to get diluted through the years by certain comfort zones that have come up. We're all part of it, absolutely. We've all been a part of it for a long time, but it started to go where things were getting done and creatively it was going in a direction that the rest of us, our involvement was not being accepted and the desires for what we wanted to do were not being accepted, and it's been spiraling for a while.
A point you raised in your declarations is that Geoff signed a deal to make your 1988 album Operation: Mindcrime into a movie without the rest of the band knowing about it, and Neil Sussman, the lawyer who represents Queensryche's business entities, authorized the deal because he believed that Geoff was the sole copyright owner to the story. Can you say anything regarding the role he had in letting that deal be made?
Rockenfield: I'm not sure that we're probably ready to comment totally on his role of what happened with that. I can say that the whole Mindcrime movie deal was definitely some of the gravy on top of everything we've been going through and trying to figure out recently. To find out that that was all done, at the end of the day, without any of our knowledge, again, in our eyes, it was not a very good Queensryche business move by somebody. I suppose the rest at that point is going to be left up to the courts.
Wilton: This is an intellectual property issue and this is something that could really grow and expand, if you know what I mean, so I don't think we can really divulge too much.