Exclusive: Queensryche Parts Ways With Geoff Tate
Band Replaces Singer With Crimson Glory's Todd La Torre
"Over the past few months, there have been growing creative differences within Queensryche. We want our fans to know that we hoped to find a common resolution, but in the end parting ways with Geoff was the best way for everyone to move forward in a positive direction," drummer Scott Rockenfield said in a statement. "We wish him the best of luck with all of his future endeavors. We can't wait to bring Queensryche to our fans with Todd behind the microphone."
Todd La Torre, center, in a newly released photo of Queensryche. (Photo: Mike Savoia)
The statement also said that scheduled Queensryche performances "are on hold at [the] present time and revised routing is being worked on. Fans can check the band's website for all of the latest tour information as it [becomes] available."
Billboard requested a comment from Tate through Jeff Albright of the Albright Entertainment Group, but it wasn't received by press time.
Queensryche also includes guitarists Michael Wilton and Parker Lundgren and bassist Eddie Jackson. Rockenfield, Wilton and Jackson are among the group's original members. Tate joined the band after it formed in 1981. Guitarist and founding member Chris DeGarmo left Queensryche in 1997 and briefly rejoined in 2003 for Queensryche's "Tribe" album. Kelly Gray originally filled DeGarmo's slot, followed by Mike Stone, until Lundgren joined in 2009.
La Torre said in a statement a few weeks ago, and reiterated during an interview on Ron Keel's "Streets of Rock & Roll" radio show that was posted online on June 14, that he still remains a member of Crimson Glory.
Fans and media have speculated about the state of Queensryche, which marked its 30th anniversary last year, for weeks due to rumors of internal conflict. They were sparked by an unconfirmed posting on MetalSludge.tv that Tate allegedly became violent toward other bandmates prior to an April show in Brazil after allegedly being fired. Then, during the Rocklahoma fest during Memorial Day weekend, Tate told the crowd "you guys suck" as he tried to get the audience to respond more enthusiastically.
On May 29 the other members of Queensryche announced it was forming a project called Rising West with La Torre. Rising West posted June 5 on its Facebook page that it was "being denied access to our own Facebook page and website (meaning Queensryche)," which promoted other side projects, such as Tate's wine business and Rockenfield's recording endeavors. In response, Tate's step-daughter, Miranda, posted June 7 on Facebook that "it's about time to get some truth on the table" and denied that other members couldn't access the site, among other alleged problems. Rising West played Queensryche's older material at two sold-out shows June 8-9 at Seattle's Hard Rock Cafe.
In subsequent interviews, Rising West and Tate deflected questions about the situation. When Rising West appeared June 7 on KISM Seattle radio show "The Men's Room," Rockenfield said it was "a day-to-day" process as Queensryche determined its next move, but the band would definitely continue. Blabbermouth.net reported that during a June 15 interview on KISW, Tate said, "Just hang in there. Everything's moving along and everything's looking good" regarding the group.
Queensryche was scheduled to perform June 11 to open for the Scorpions in West Valley City, Utah, but only Tate appeared, backed by his solo band. NRToday.com reported June 18 that Queensryche had canceled its Aug. 10 appearance at the Douglas County Fair in Oregon, with Eddie Money replacing the act. It stated that fairgrounds director Harold Phillips attributed the cancellation to a falling out between Tate and the band. Tate has continued playing dates on his solo tour, which coincided with Queensryche's dates for its current tour.
Queensryche is a Grammy Award-nominated band that broke into the mainstream with the 1988 concept album "Operation: Mindcrime." The group has sold more than 30 million albums worldwide, according to the statement. It's biggest U.S. radio hit was 1991's "Silent Lucidity," which reached No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100.