Queensryche Is 'Making a New Record Right Now,' Eyeing Early 2015 Releease

Eddie Jackson and Todd LaTorre of Queensryche, 2014.
Mark Weiss/Getty Images

Eddie Jackson and Todd LaTorre of Queensryche perform during the 2014 M3 Rock Festival at Merriweather Post Pavillion on April 26, 2014 in Columbia, Maryland. 

“It feels like we've been set free,” says drummer Scott Rockenfield of splitting with former singer Geoff Tate.

Its lengthy and bitter legal battle with former frontman Geoff Tate ended, Queensryche is putting the throttle down on moving past the problems and getting its future in full gear.

Drummer Scott Rockenfield tells Billboard that the hard-rocking Seattle quintet is "making a new record right now," a follow up to 2013's self-titled effort that heralded the arrival of new singer Todd La Torre. "We've been deep into the writing mode for the last couple months, putting together music and getting ready to at some point in the future drop into the studio and start putting together the thing for real," Rockenfield says. "We have a bunch of new material we've working on the last two years, since we rolled in with Todd, stuff we've been digging deep and working on longer than just the last few months." Rockenfield adds that there's "even stuff that's been in our brains for as long as we've been musicians."

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The game plan, he says, is for Queensryche to hit the studio "some time in the next few months and have a record out some time in early 2015." Exact dates haven't been determined, but Rockenfield says the group has been emboldened by its split with Tate and the new era it feels it's begun with La Torre. "There's this massive energy going on," the drummer says. "The cool thing is we found out we made the right decision. The band was not in a good place and we weren't happy as musicians. We needed to take control back, and we did. Last year's record was a massive defining point for us. It feels like we've been set free, like a bird let out of the cage and ready to fly and just go everywhere. We're able to now do so many things we'd been held back from doing, which feels great."

The settlement, which was reached in April, gives Rockenfield and co-founders Eddie Jackson and Michael Wilton rights to the Queensryche name and imagery, while Tate received exclusive rights to perform the group's rock operas Operation: Mindcrime and Operation: Mindcrime II in their entirety. Tate subsequently changed the name of his own band to Operation: Mindcrime and is working on a new conceptual trilogy that's expected to start emerging in 2015.

"We wish everybody well on both sides," Rockenfield says. "We're happy to be able to move on. I think we covered a lot of territory on the (Queensryche) record — it sounds like it could've been in our catalog 20 years ago, back in the days of Empire and Mindcrime and Promised Land, which was a pretty cool timeframe for a lot of our fans. Now we're focusing on good songs, enjoying our musicianship together and pushing ourselves to be as good as we feel it can be. It's nice not to have that kind of dark cloud over us anymore. We're going to just carry on into the next record and keep doing it and hopefully achieve our own goals and be the kind of band our fans know and love as Queensryche."