I suppose the reason I didn’t post on rock’s strangest and messiest breakup of 2012 is probably the same reason I never talked about my parents’ separation when I was a teenager: I was in too much shock and denial to comment. (Full disclosure: I am a huge Queensrÿche fan, and their first five albums got me through not only my parents’ separation, but some traumatic times during my adolescence.) For those who are not aware, the band Queensrÿche fired their lead singer, Geoff Tate, days after they fired their manager, who happens to be Geoff’s wife. The stories behind-the-scenes during the finals days were a bloody mess; the legal wranglings after the firing were even more chaotic. And thanks to a Washington state judge’s decision not to make an immediate decision, there are now 2 bands that are allowed to call themselves Queensryche: one that features the original lead singer, Geoff Tate; and one that features the original guitarist, bassist, and drummer, Michael Wilton, Eddie Jackson, and Scott Rockenfield, respectively. The latter has hired Todd La Torre to be their new lead singer.
Both bands have aggressively moved forward with new albums in 2013. Tate’s band released their album first, but the La Torre band were first in releasing a single. With both bands planning to tour in 2013, it might be confusing as to which band one is going to see. However, it seems that Tate’s lineup is promoting itself as “Queensrÿche Starring Geoff Tate the Original Voice.” In 2012, after Tate’s firing, the La Torre lineup went by the name “Rising West.” The La Torre lineup’s set list has included songs from the band’s first five albums, and they have promised to return to their musical roots of the 1980’s.
Personally, I think the La Torre band should stick with the name “Rising West.” It is not unprecedented. For example, the (late, great) Ronnie James Dio version of Black Sabbath went with the name “Heaven and Hell.” If Geoff Tate is the egotist that many allege him to be, then he should call his group the Geoff Tate Band. I agree with the opinion of many QR fans that the name should be retired in deference to the retirement of the band’s original lead guitarist, co-founder, and primary songwriter, Chris DeGarmo.
It will be time, and the fans, not a judge, that will ultimately determine the winners and losers of this musical feud. So with that in mind, I chose both singles as my Song(s) of the Moment. So I’ll leave it to you, the viewers. First is “Redemption” by the Todd La Torre faction.
Here is “Cold” by the Geoff Tate faction.