Queensryche’s publicist has issued a statement after reports surfaced (though not confirmed) that singer Geoff Tate physically attacked and threatened two of his bandmates during a recent soundcheck, allegedly even brandishing a knife.
Reports are stating that Tate overheard his bandmates plotting to fire him prior to an April 14th show in Sao Paulo, Brazil. According to the still unconfirmed report, Tate “pushed (guitarist) Michael Wilton violently and he fell to the floor, then he went towards (drummer) Scott Rockenfield and pointed a knife at him, threatening him.” Security personnel then reportedly separated the musicians, and after much debate they went on to perform as scheduled that night.
This report, on the heels of the news that the other four current members of Queensryche will be touring as a new band entitled Rising West, with Crimson Glory’s Todd La Torre on vocals, has fueled speculation that a band break-up could be coming. Queensryche publicist Jeff Albright told Billboard however, that the group are simply pursuing different creative projects for a while:
“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.”
Michael Wilton, Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield and Parker Lundgren are teaming up with La Torre to form Rising West, planning to play tracks from the first five Queensryche albums jn concert, and start work on their own record soon.
Asked about his take on the situation, La Torre tells BraveWords: “I don’t know the dynamics within the band,” adding, “We’re going to be covering the first EP all the way up to Empire with a high energy show for the fans. No one else has performed these songs with the the band so it’s a huge honor for me. Geoff Tate is doing his solo stuff and that’s great. Everyone has to branch out. Geoff Tate is one of the best and created a style of singing. A lot of guys can sing the notes but it’s about the tone, the texture. I will deliver to the best of my ability.”
Rising West will debut with appearances on June 8th and 9th at the Hard Rock Cafe in Seattle. La Torre, who says there are no plans to retire Crimson Glory, has released a recording of his rendition of Queenrsyche classic Queen of the Ryche. Listen to it below and some other vocal samples of other Queensryche tracks. He really does sound fantastic.
The tension between the band was apparent during the band’s recent set at Rocklahoma, in Pryor, Oklahoma during Memorial Day weekend. Tate surprised fans by telling them, “You guys suck,” he continued, “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.”
Tate will kick off the next leg of his solo tour on May 30th at South Side Music Hall in Dallas, while the band’s 30th anniversary tour is scheduled to continue June 11th in Valley City, Utah, at USANA Amphitheater. Tate’s solo dates intertwine with Queensryche’s touring commitments.