Just call it "Operation: Speculation." A couple recent instances of so-called drama have set Queensryche fans and metal news sites to wondering if something is amiss with the band.
On May 13, MetalSludge.tv reported there was an alleged altercation among some of the band's members prior to taking the stage at an April 14 show in Brazil. The posting cited an unnamed source that claimed the band -- guitarists Michael Wilton and Parker Lundgren, bassist Eddie Jackson and drummer Scott Rockenfeld -- had told singer Geoff Tate he was being dismissed, and that Tate supposedly assaulted two members in retaliation.
Then, at the Rocklahoma festival in Pryor, Okla., during Memorial Day weekend, Tate addressed the crowd during QR's set, telling them, "You guys suck." With a few chuckles that showed some attempt at humor, he said, "C'mon! I know it's Sunday. You've gotta go to work tomorrow. You're gonna let that stop you? My God. You only live once, man… Anyway, nice to be here on a Sunday." A video of Tate's comments has gone viral after being posted on YouTube.
Then, on May 29, an announcement was posted on several metal sites that Wilton, Rockenfield, Lundgren and Jackson were forming the band Rising West with Crimson Glory singer Todd La Torre, and would play material from Queenryche's first five albums at Seattle's Hard Rock Cafe on June 8-9. Rising West also intends to enter the recording studio this summer.
Although metal fan boards were buzzing with speculation about what's happening with the band, la Torre noted in statement posted on Blabbermouth.net that he wasn't leaving Crimson Glory.
"I am embarking on another musical endeavor with the members of Queensryche. I am proud and honored to be a part of this!" his statement said. "Crimson Glory is still writing new material for our record, DO NOT WORRY :) This is going to be an amazing new chapter. \m/ Thank you for all of your support!"
When asked for comment, Queensryche publicist Jeff Albright stated in an email to Billboard, "There's really no 'situation' other than the fact that Geoff Tate is concentrating on his acoustic solo performances this summer while the other members of the band have formed a new outfit called Rising West with Todd La Torre of Crimson Glory. Everyone wants to stay busy, try new things and do what they do best . . . and, of course, that's rock in front of the masses. Queensryche are slated to perform select dates throughout the year."
Indeed, Queensryche.com just announced on May 29 that Tate was kicking off the next leg of his solo tour on May 30 at South Side Music Hall in Dallas, while the band's 30th anniversary tour is scheduled to continue June 11 in Valley City, Utah, at USANA Amphitheater. Tate's solo dates intertwine with Queensryche's touring commitments.