The details of the legal matter between Geoff Tate and the remaining members of Queensryche continue be released on a seemingly daily basis as today Billboard.com is reporting that Queensryche members Michael Wilton, Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield and Parker Lundgren have defeated singer Geoff Tate’s motion for a preliminary injunction on July 13th that would have kept them from touring and operating under the band name out by the day.
“We are excited that the Washington courts saw what we and the fans have always known, that Queensryche is more than any one member,” AGPS Management senior manager Glen Parrish said in a statement. “We are sorry we had to go to court to show this, but we are determined to bring back the quality product Queensryche was known for. We can’t wait to unveil to the fans what [the band creates] next musically.” AGPS Management is currently overseeing Queensryche affairs after the band was previously managed by Tate’s wife, Susan.
Former Queensryche manager Lars Sorensen has also weighed in on the current legal battle. In his sworn declaration, Sorensen writes, “I was the manager for the band Queensryche from approximately 2001 through 2005. I negotiated the band’s original contract with EMI. I’ve worked in the music business for over 30 years I have managed various artists, including MEN AT WORK (North America), SPLIT ENZ (North America) and CROWDED HOUSE. I was VP Worldwide Marketing for YANNI. I handled all concert production for Universal Concerts NW from 1999-2005. I am currently Director of Marketing for Snoqualmie Casino.
“There is increased market value to the new Queensryche lineup after the parting of singer Geoff Tate. This is a unique situation having the original lead singer depart but this is a situation of ‘addition by subtraction.’
“The Queensryche brand had been damaged severely. The band had been marketed poorly, over played various markets, produced bad records and offered live performance and tour theme/productions that were not in the image of the band. Buyers like me were turned off and chose to pass on potential shows. I had done several shows for large guarantees knowing the market value, but this all changed. There was little value in buying a band that was no longer true to itself.”
“Queensryche is a very good band with a strong recording sales and concert ticket sales history. Unfortunately, this has been in a steep decline for years now. To save the band brand, something had to be done. The band was no longer playing their ‘hits’ and no longer being true to their hard rock roots.
“To sustain a career after your peak, you need to give the fans what they want. Queensryche was no longer doing this.
“From all accounts, the majority of decisions were being made by Tate and his manager wife. The decisions were poor. For years the band members no longer were allowed to contribute to songwriting, tour theme decisions, most touring and marketing plans. This isolation in decision making proved fatal to the value of the band.
“In the live music market today, a band with a strong record and ticket sales history has a great value, if they are marketed correctly and give the core fans what they desire. There are few bands after 2000 that have sold more records than Queensryche. Their audience is older and if they produce quality records and live performances that are true to their image, the fans will come.
“Changing a lead singer is difficult and proving to the fans that this is a good thing will take a bit of time. Fortunately, the band found an amazing singer that can deliver the songs in the original dynamic manner. As the existing fan base experiences the real Queensryche again, they will return and the market for real rock music is strong and there are potentially many new fans.
“The band needs to approach this is in a calculated, well-planned manner. If the recordings are strong and written by the band, if the performances include the songs the fans want to hear and are performed well, Queensryche will survive and prosper.
“It was time for something drastic to happen. The brand was on life support but nearly dead. The future can be bright again.”
Past Queensryche producer Jason Slater questioned the involvement of the band members during the recording of past releases a couple of days ago. Slater claims that Scott Rockenfield, Michael Wilton, and Eddie Jackson had little to no involvement in the recording of the 2006 album, ‘Operation: Mindcrime II.’
Slater, who worked on the band’s last three albums, says, “When I met the band, everyone seemed enthusiastic about making the CD, but as we began working, none of the band members except for Geoff Tate were interested in contributing, showing up for recording sessions or participating in any fashion. On several occasions, studio time was arranged but none of the band members showed up. This left myself, Geoff Tate, and Mike Stone to write and record the record.”
Slater adds, “Every attempt was made to include the band. They received copies of the songs after they were written and time was set aside for them to come in and record. We scheduled two weeks at a local studio to record Michael Wilton. When he showed up, he hadn’t learned any of the songs, so all the time was spent trying to teach him the songs so he could record them.” Slater says that since the attempts failed to have Wilton play the music, the guitar parts on the record were played by Slater and Stone.
Similar stories hold true for Rockenfield and Jackson. Slater says Rockenfield did not participate in the making of the disc at all, with a session drummer recording all the parts. Meanwhile Jackson used his studio time to learn the music, with the producer eventually recording a majority of the bass on the record.
The producer says of the aftermath of the disc, “The members of the band badmouthed the record to the press and important people in the industry until they saw the record getting favorable reviews. At that point, they started taking credit for all the work that was done in their absence.”
Meanwhile, former Snake River Conspiracy guitarist Mitch Doran alleged at the MyLesPaul.com forum that he was the session guitarist mentioned in the depositions, and he adds, “I ended up re-playing 90% of the rhythm guitar on ‘Operation: Mindcrime II’ record and also wrote and played most of the guitar solos.” He also backs up the claim that Rockenfield wasn’t even on ‘Operation: Mindcrime II’ and that his friend Matt Lucich played all of the drums except for one bridge that he and Slater played on two kits for a song.
In Tate’s deposition filed July 12th, he addressed several of the allegations his former band members levelled against him.
He admits he struck Wilton and Rockenfield just before a concert in Brazil in April, but says: “I was upset at the time, having been told my wife and daughter had been fired and that I was ‘next’. I regret losing my temper and my actions are not acceptable. It is unlike me to act in this manner.
“I do not lose my temper, become loud or threatening, or hit people. People who know me describe me as even-keeled, mild-mannered and easy-going.”
While the rest of Queensryche say he continued threatening behaviour during the show, including spitting on bandmates while they played, Tate says: “I did not. Although I have no doubt it was upsetting to Rockenfield and Wilton, they were not injured. It was also clear that they were not and are not afraid of me – they did not press charges or request a restraining order.”
He points out they performed two more shows together and adds: “I do not believe that Rockenfield, Jackson and Wilton kicked me out of the band based on what happened in Brazil. I think instead they had planed on firing me since at least February 2012, and this incident just gave them an excuse to do it.”
Tate responds to Rockenfield’s allegation of violent behaviour in 2007 by saying the drummer failed to explain events leading up to the moment, as discovered by the singer’s wife and then Queensryche manager Susan Tate. “Susan noticed hanging from the merchandise booth drumsticks and heads signed by Rockenfield for sale. Queensryche didn’t sell sticks and heads. The man selling the merchandise told her that Rocknefield had told him to sell them, and to give him the money.
“Rockenfield had not discussed this with the band first, and we did not know about it. It was unfair because he was using valuable merchandise space and not sharing what he earned. We were all upset. I tried to talk about it with Rockenfield. He was in his dressing room, sitting at his laptop. He would not even acknowledge that I was talking with him. Unable to get his attention and become more and more upset, I shut the laptop screen down. I did not spit on him or push him, as Rockenfield now claims.”
He explains his take on the band’s allegation that he sold movie right to hit album Operation Mindcrime without discussing it, and without sharing the advance he’d been paid. “Operation Mindcrime was a concept album based on a story I wrote while I was living in Canada. I mentioned it to the other band members but they did not like it. They eventually agreed to the idea and the album went on to go platinum, selling more than a million copies.
“But I owned the copyright to the story, not the band. It was no different than how songwriting royalties are distributed. If you write the song you get the royalties. Similarly, since I wrote the story, I wonder the copyright for the story. Queensryche’s attorney agreed.”
And Tate denies he tried to cut his bandmates out of the deal, saying: “If the movie was made, Queensryche would get $250,000 to write the score.”
He further states that Rockenfield, Jackson and Wilton didn’t form pre-Queenrsyche outfit The Mob, because they had so singer and no name until he joined. He also contests their claims that he refused to work on songs they brought to the band, saying instead that they did not contribute any material.
Supporting Tate’s submission, Paul Gargano, a product manager for Century Media Record and InsideOut Music, and also editor of Metal Edge magazine, says: “I first got to know Queensryche in the early 1990s. Since then I have reported on their albums, tours and reputation in the music industry, conducted interviews, written liner notes, label copy and marketing assets on their DVDs, and also spoken as an expert about the band on VH1 and MTV.
“Fans and people in the music industry know the role Geoff Tate has played for Queensryche. It is fair to say that to many professionals, Geoff Tate is Queensryche.
“I have seen what happens to bands like Queensryche after those bands attempt to replace their lead singer. Warrant, Skid Row and LA Guns come to mind, but there are many others. The bands always suffer and do considerable damage to their careers and legacy.
“I believe Queensryche will lose fans and fewer promoters will take them seriously, causing damage to the band’s name and harming their future potential as a live and recording act.
“In my opinion the best course of action would be to stop any tours or recordings by anyone in the name of Queensryche until this litigation can be resolved.”
Lawyer Benjamin J Stone, representing Geoff and Susan Tate, says claims by Rockenfield, Wilton and Parker that they did not like the direction the band were going cannot be true since, by their own admission, they owned 75% of the band’s companies between them. He adds that Susan was accepted as manager only if she took half the wages paid to previous incumbents, at Rockenfield’s request. he adds: “The only event raised by them that actually occurred was the one in Brazil. This one isolated event does not justify kicking Geoff out of the band and demanding that he sell back his shares in the companies after 30 years of work.”
What a fucking mess, huh? I say time to get in the cage! Seriously, an an objective observer here and a fan of both Tate’s vocals and the Queensryche band members abilities, I have to say that it looks like Tate may have to just press on as a solo performer and leave the Queensryche name behind.