TODD LA TORRE Says Current QUEENSRŸCHE Lineup Is ‘Putting Out Better Music Than The Band Did When It Had More Original Members’
Todd La Torre, who joined QUEENSRŸCHE in 2012 as the replacement for original vocalist Geoff Tate, spoke to BigMusicGeek.com about the fact that some fans continue to be reluctant to embrace him as a full-fledged member of the band. «I still get [resistance from some of them],» he admitted. «People are, like, ‘This guy’s a hack’, ‘He sings like a dead cat’, ‘He screams’, ‘He doesn’t sing and he has no control’, ‘He has zero stage presence’, ‘Geoff is the only voice at QUEENSRŸCHE‘. But you know what? There are also a lot of people that were, like, ‘Damn, he hits those high notes,’ ‘Wow, they’re not downtuning,’ ‘Man, I haven’t heard ‘Child Of Fire’ in forever,’ and ‘They’re playing ‘The Warning’ and all of these other deep cuts like ‘Roads To Madness’ in their entirety instead of just doing a medley.’ A lot of people were positive about it, but as a fan, if you take the emotion out of the equation and just look at the records, you might say I was a huge QUEENSRŸCHE fan, but after ‘Empire’, I didn’t have any interest anymore. I wasn’t hearing the vocals I wanted and I wasn’t hearing the cool music that I loved them to have.»
He continued: «I think there were a lot of fans who jumped ship [toward the end of Geoff‘s tenure with QUEENSRŸCHE]. When I got into the fold, it was, like, ‘Hey guys, show me all the music you’ve got. I’m never going to tell you anything’s too heavy. We’re not going to go in an adult contemporary direction, so let’s get back to what QUEENSRŸCHE is known and loved for.’ I was, like, ‘Let me tell you what I love about this band and let me tell you why I quit listening to your band and this is what your audience loves.’ With me, they no longer had any restraints placed on them, so they were sending me song ideas for new material that were totally killer. I was, like, ‘Did you just make this up?’ and they’d be, like, ‘Oh, no. This was stored on a hard drive. I showed this to our old singer and he thought it was too heavy.’ And I’m, like, ‘Listen, man. Show me everything you have and I’m going to give it my all.»
He added: «I am not perfect, and as we all already know, Geoff sang brilliantly on the old records.»
When the interviewer noted that «it’s amazing how people react whenever an original member of their favorite group is forced to ‘move on,'» Todd said: «But I think that it’s worked to my advantage as well as the band’s advantage. Most people are, like, ‘Hey, here’s a younger guy that can hit all the notes and that’s getting all the inflections. He’s a true fan of metal and this band and respects the legacy.'»
He continued: «We’re working on album number four [with me on vocals], but there are still people that hate me just because I’m not [Geoff]. They don’t see the band as anything else other than the original lineup. I’ve always said, ‘Yes, this lineup has fewer original members, but it’s putting out better music than the band did when it had more original members.’ Let’s get serious here. You know what? We’re loving it and we’re having a great time. We’re writing the new album and the stuff we have brewing right now is really awesome, ya know? I know you can’t please everybody, but I do feel as if there’s always been these targets on my back with some of the people.»
Read the entire interview at BigMusicGeek.com.
QUEENSRŸCHE played its first concert in 15 months on May 21 at the Chiefs Event Center at Shoshone-Bannock Casino in Fort Hall, Idaho. Guitarist Parker Lundgren was absent from the gig and was temporarily replaced by Mike Stone, who joined QUEENSRŸCHE for the 2003 album «Tribe» and stayed with the group for six years. Mike was eventually replaced by Lundgren, a former member of Tate‘s solo group who was also briefly married to Geoff‘s stepdaughter Miranda.
Guitarist Michael Wilton and bassist Eddie Jackson are the sole remaining original members of QUEENSRŸCHE, which has released three albums thus far with La Torre — 2013’s «Queensrÿche», 2015’s «Condition Hüman» and 2019’s «The Verdict».
In April 2014, Tate and QUEENSRŸCHE announced that a settlement had been reached after a nearly two-year legal battle where the singer sued over the rights to the QUEENSRŸCHE name. Original QUEENSRŸCHE members Wilton, Jackson and Scott Rockenfield (drums) responded with a countersuit. The settlement included an agreement that Wilton, Rockenfield and Jackson would continue as QUEENSRŸCHE, while Tate would have the sole right to perform the albums «Operation: Mindcrime» and «Operation: Mindcrime II» in their entirety live.
Rockenfield hasn’t performed with QUEENSRŸCHE in more than four years. The band has used former KAMELOT drummer Casey Grillo for touring purposes since April 2017.
The drum tracks on «The Verdict» were laid down by La Torre.