Infobox musical artist
Name = Queensrÿche
Img_capt = Queensrÿche live at
Metal Heart Festival
Img_size = 250
Landscape = yes
Background = group_or_band
Bellevue, Washington, United States
Years_active = 1981-present
EMI, Atlantic, Sanctuary, Rhino
Associated_acts = Slave to the System
URL = [http://www.queensryche.com/ Queensryche.com]
Geoff Tate Michael Wilton
Queensrÿche (pronEng|ˈkwiːnzraɪk) is an American heavy metal /
progressive metalband formed in 1981 in Bellevue, Washington. The band has released ten studio albums and an EP and continues to tour and record.
Queensrÿche has sold over 20 million albums worldwide including over 11 million albums and videos in the
United States. [ [http://www.queensryche.com/releases/sign-of-the-times/about.html Queensrÿche.com July 9, 2007] ] [ [http://home.nestor.minsk.by/jazz/press/2007/05/1202.html Thin Lizzy & Queensrÿche UK Tour] ]
From The Mob to Queensrÿche (early 1980s)
The foundations for Queensrÿche began in the early 1980s. Guitarist
Michael Wiltonand drummer Scott Rockenfieldwere members of a band called Cross+Fire, who covered songs from popular heavy metal bands such as Iron Maidenand Judas Priest. Before long Cross+Fire added guitarist Chris DeGarmoand bassist Eddie Jackson to their lineup, and changed their name to The Mob. The Mob, who were without a singer, recruited Geoff Tateto sing for them at a local rock festival. At the time, Tate was already in a band called Babylon. After Babylon broke up Tate performed a few shows with The Mob, but left because he was not interested in performing heavy metal.Miller, Brett. [http://www.queensrychehistory.com/thebeginning.html "Before the Storm - The Early Days of Queensrÿche"] . "www.queensrychehistory.com". Retrieved April 24, 2006.]
In 1981, The Mob put together sufficient funds to record a demo tape. Once again, Tate was enlisted to help. The group recorded four songs - "Queen of the Reich," "Nightrider," "Blinded" and "The Lady Wore Black." The group brought their demo to various labels and were rejected by all of them. Tate also was still committed to staying in his then-current band, Myth.Miller, Brett. [http://www.queensrychehistory.com/thebeginning.html "Before the Storm - The Early Days of Queensrÿche"] . "www.queensrychehistory.com". Retrieved April 24, 2006.]
At the urging of their new manager, The Mob changed their name to Queensrÿche (reportedly inspired by the first song on their demo). They were the third band (preceded by
Blue Öyster Cultand Motörhead) to apply the heavy metal umlautto their name. As Tate later joked: "The umlaut over the 'y' has haunted us for years. We spent eleven years trying to explain how to pronounce it."Gidley, Lisa. [http://www.spiraling.com/words/umlaut.html "Spinal Tap's main man explains the importance of the umlaut"] . "www.spiraling.com". Retrieved April 26, 2006.]
The demo tape was widely circulated and received a glowing review in
Kerrang!Magazine. On the strength of the growing buzz surrounding them, Queensrÿche released the demo tape as a self-titled EP on their own 206 Records label in 1983. Based on the success of the EP, Tate agreed to leave Myth and become Queensrÿche's permanent lead singer.Miller, Brett. [http://www.queensrychehistory.com/thebeginning.html "Before the Storm - The Early Days of Queensrÿche"] . "www.queensrychehistory.com". Retrieved April 24, 2006.] That same year, the band signed to EMIwho re-released the EP, "Queensrÿche", to moderate success, peaking at #81 on the Billboard charts. They had never played together live before the band was signed. When this EP was eventually released on CD several years later, a 5th track, titled "Prophecy", was added to the tracklist; this was a song performed live by the band circa 1983 (and was included on the 1984 "Live in Tokyo" home video), and in 2003 was included on the remastered edition of The Warning as a bonus track. The track appearing on the CD release of the EP was recorded during the "Rage For Order" sessions (and is not the same version of the song which appears on the soundtrack for the movie, "The Decline of Western Civilization II: The Metal Years").
"The Warning" and "Rage for Order" (1984–1987)
After the EP tour, Queensrÿche travelled to
Londonto record their first full-length album. The band worked with producer James Guthrie, who had worked with Pink Floydand Judas Priest. Released in September 1984, "The Warning" featured more progressive elements than the band's debut. It peaked at #61 on the Billboard album chart, a moderate commercial success. While none of the singles released from "The Warning" charted domestically, "Take Hold of the Flame" was a hit for the band outside the US (particularly in Japan).Rivadavia, Ed. [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:kkngtq3ztu4p AMG review of "The Warning"] . "All Music Guide". Retrieved April 24, 2006.] The band's first full-scale U.S. tour (in support of this album) was as the opening act for Kiss on their Animalize tour.
Rage for Order", released in 1986, introduced a much more polished look and sound for Queensrÿche. The album featured keyboards as prominently as guitars, and the group adopted an image more closely associated with glam rockor glam metalthan with heavy metal (of which glam metal was a subgenre). A video was filmed for the song "Gonna Get Close to You", originally recorded in 1984 by Dalbello. A song titled "Rage For Order" was written and demoed for the album, but it was not included on the final release. The main riff from this song was worked into an instrumental piece played during some shows on the tour in support of this album and eventually morphed into the track "Anarchy-X" on the "Operation: Mindcrime" album.
"Operation: Mindcrime" and success (1988-1996)
In 1988, Queensrÿche released ', a narrative
concept albumthat proved a massive critical and commercial success. The album's story revolved around a junkie who is drugged into performing assassinations for an underground movement; the junkie ("Nikki") is torn over his misplaced loyalty to the cause and his love of a reformed hooker-turned-nun ("Mary", vocals by Pamela Moore) who gets in the way. "Mindcrime" has often been mentioned by critics alongside other notable concept albums like Pink Floyd's " The Wall", Dream Theater's ', and The Who's "Tommy". The band toured through much of 1988 and 1989 with several bands, including Def Leppard, Guns N' Rosesand Metallica.
The release of "Empire" (1990) brought Queensrÿche to the height of their commercial popularity. It peaked at #7 and sold more than three million copies in the US, more than their previous four releases combined (it was also certified silver in the UK). The
power ballad" Silent Lucidity," which featured an orchestra, became the band's first Top 10 single. While the band retained its socially conscious lyrics (touching on topics such as gun control and the environment), the arrangements on "Empire" were more straightforward than anything they had released to date.
The subsequent "Building Empires" tour was the first, full-fledged tour to feature Queensrÿche as a headlining act (the band had previously headlined a tour in Japan in support of "Operation: Mindcrime" and had headlined a handful of club and theater shows in the U.S. between 1984 and 1988). The group utilized their headlining status to perform "Operation: Mindcrime" in its entirety, as well as songs from "Empire". The tour lasted 18 months, longer than any tour the band has undertaken before or since. The tour also included an
MTV Unpluggedappearance at Warner Hollywood Stdios in Los Angeles on April 27, 1992.
After taking time off to deal with personal issues, the band released "Promised Land" in October 1994 (a companion
CD-ROM, featuring a "Promised Land"-themed game and other interactive features, was released in March 1996). It was a dark and intensely personal album, reflecting the mental state of the band at the time. Although the album debuted at #3 and was eventually certified platinum, it was clearly not the commercial success "Empire" had been. As with many other heavy metal and hard rock acts, Queensrÿche's commercial fortunes waned as grunge music(which ironically got its start in Seattle, Queensrÿche's home city, of which Bellevue - where the band was formed - is a suburb) and alternative rocksurged in popularity.
1997–1998: Major changes
Queensrÿche released their sixth full-length studio album, "
Hear in the Now Frontier", in March 1997, to mixed critical and fan reception. The album debuted at #19 but quickly vanished from the charts. The musical sound and style of the album was more basic and stripped down than anything the band had released to date, and some fans and critics pointed to the grunge musical style as being a major influence on the record. Despite the reaction, the singles "Sign of the Times" and "You" received substantial airplay.
Compounding the disappointing sales of the album were issues that plagued the band on the subsequent tour. Less than one month into the "Hear in the Now Frontier" tour, Geoff Tate became seriously ill and the band was forced to cancel concert dates for the first time. In an even bigger blow, the band's longtime label,
EMI America Records, went bankruptduring the same period. Queensrÿche was forced to use their own money to finance the remainder of the tour, which ended in August after only two months. The band played a handful of December shows in South Americadue to contractual obligations, and it was during this time that founding member Chris DeGarmo announced he was leaving Queensrÿche.
Although the official reasons for DeGarmo's departure have not been made public, members of the band have cited burnout and a desire to pursue interests outside of Queensrÿche as reasons for his departure.Waterbury, Mark E. (Aug. 2003). [http://www.serge.org/musicmorsels0803.htm "Crossroads: Scott Rockenfield - Queensryche's Drummer"] . "Music Morsels". Retrieved April 24, 2006.] Dargon, Kieran. [http://www.rathole.com/fireworks/04/queensryche.asp Geoff Tate interview] . "The RatHole - Fireworks Magazine". Retrieved April 24, 2006.] After he left Queensrÿche, DeGarmo recorded and performed with
Jerry Cantrelland was in a short-lived band called Spys4Darwin, which released one EP in 2001. DeGarmo is now a business jetpilot.
Continued Experimentation (1998–2001)
DeGarmo was replaced by guitarist and producer Kelly Gray. Gray's connections with Queensrÿche went back to the early '80s, when he was the guitarist for Myth, Geoff Tate's previous band. Gray had also previously worked as a producer for bands such as
Dokkenand Candlebox. Queensrÿche's first album with Gray was 1999's " Q2K". It was also the first album for their new label, Atlantic Records. Musically, "Q2K" bore little resemblance to the progressive metal of the band's past, and also displayed stripped-down sound similar to "Hear in the Now Frontier". "Q2K" has been called a continuation of the experimentation of "Hear in the Now Frontier" by Geoff Tate. Gray was not embraced by the fans, who felt that his more bluesy style did not suit Queensrÿche. Additionally, declining popularity forced the band to tour in clubs and theaters, rather than larger arenas and outdoor amphitheaters.
After the release of a greatest hits collection in 2000, Queensrÿche embarked on another tour, this time in support of
Iron Maiden. This enabled the band to play Madison Square Gardenfor the first time. Unhappy with the lack of support they felt they received from Atlantic, Queensrÿche moved to Sanctuary Recordsin 2001. In July of that year, the band performed a handful of dates at the Moore Theater in Seattle, Washington. The shows were recorded and released in September 2001 as " Live Evolution", the band's second live album. Kelly Gray departed Queensrÿche soon after.
The Tribe Years (2001-2004)
The band entered the studio as a quartet in the spring of 2003 to record their eighth full-length album. In April, they announced they had been joined by Chris DeGarmo, although his future status with the band was uncertain. In July, Queensrÿche released their first and only album of new material on the Sanctuary label, "Tribe". DeGarmo, who played on and co-wrote four songs, neither officially rejoined the band nor took part in the supporting tour.
Kelly Gray's official replacement turned out to be Mike Stone, who accompanied the band on the "Tribe" tour as second guitarist to Michael Wilton's lead. In June 2003, Queensrÿche launched a co-headlining tour featuring another popular progressive metal band,
Dream Theater. The two bands alternated the opening and closing spots, and ended the shows by playing a handful of songs together. Fates Warningwas the special guest for the tour. A live album and DVD were recorded during this tour - The Art of Live- including two covers performed with Dream Theater.
Mindcrime II (2004-present)
In July 2004, Queensrÿche announced their plans to record a follow-up to 1988's "". To generate fan interest in the upcoming album, the band hit the road in the fall of 2004 with the "An Evening With Queensrÿche" tour. The tour opened with a shortened greatest hits set followed by a revised production of "Operation: Mindcrime" with live actors and video;
Pamela Moorereprised her role as Sister Mary. The band played a pre-recorded version of "Hostage," a track from the upcoming album, through the PA as an encore after the end of their set. The second leg of the tour began in early 2005. Before embarking on a third leg of the tour in the fall of 2005, Queensrÿche toured with Judas Priestacross North America, playing an hour-long set consisting mostly of the band's older works and one song from the soon-to-be released sequel, entitled "I'm American."
"" was released internationally on
31 March, 2006, and is said to answer some of the questions posed by the first "Mindcrime" album. The album was Queensrÿche's first for their new label, Rhino Entertainment, to which they signed in 2005. Ronnie James Dioprovided the vocals for Dr. X, the villain. "Operation: Mindcrime II" debuted at #14, the highest chart position for a Queensrÿche album since 1997. The group embarked on a headlining tour in support of the album, joined by Pamela Moore in her role as Sister Mary. The tour featured performances of both "Mindcrime" albums in their entirety. Ronnie James Dio appeared at the Gibson Amphitheatre show in Universal City, CA to perform his vocals as Dr. X on "The Chase", and was shown on a video screen at the other shows.July 10, 2006. Philthy Phil. [http://knac.com/article.asp?ArticleID=47666 "Geoff Tate on Life, Charity and the Future of Queensrÿche"] . "knac.com". Retrieved September 1, 2006.] Ronnie's appearance was recorded, and included as an extra on the 2007 DVD release Mindcrime at the Moore.
9 August, 2007, the band announced that they would release a new greatest hits album, entitled "". The album was released on 28 August, 2007, and a special collector's edition featured a bonus disc including various demos and a new song, Justified, featuring Chris DeGarmo on guitar.
November 13, 2007, the band released an album of covers entitled "Take Cover". The album contains covers of songs by U2, The Police, Black Sabbathand Pink Floyd. It's their second release for Rhino Records.
The band scheduled a special concert for Newsday Insiders on February 4, 2008 at Newsday's auditorium in Melville, NY, but was forced to postpone the show due to heavy snowfall in Chicago.
March 5, 2008, the band posted a bulletin on their Myspacepage stating that a new album was in the recording stages.
Geoff Tate has one solo release to date, a self-titled album released in 2002 on Sanctuary Records. Tate toured to support the album in the summer of 2002. Michael Wilton, with his band Soulbender, released a self-titled album in 2004. Scott Rockenfield and former Queensrÿche guitarist Kelly Gray are members of Slave to the System, who released a self-titled debut album in February 2006 and toured in April 2006. Rockenfield has also collaborated on a number of projects with musician Paul Speer. Rockenfield/Speer was nominated for a
Grammy Award(Best Music Video, Long Form) for their 1999 release "TeleVoid".
Mike Stone sings and plays bass guitar for a band featuring
Black Label Societyguitarist Nick Cataneseand drummer Mike Froedgeof Doubledrive. Their debut album will be released sometime in 2008 under a not-yet-determined moniker.
Geoff Tate– lead vocals, keyboards (1981–present)
Michael Wilton– lead & rhythm guitars, backing vocals (1981–present)
*Mike Stone – lead & rhythm guitars, backing vocals (2003–present)
*Eddie Jackson – bass, backing vocals (1981–present)
Scott Rockenfield– drums, percussion, keyboards (1981–present)
Chris DeGarmo– lead & rhythm guitars, backing vocals (1981–1998, 2003, 2007)
*Kelly Gray – lead & rhythm guitars, backing vocals (1998–2001)
* "Queensrÿche" (1983)
* "The Warning" (1984)
Rage for Order" (1986)
* "" (1988)
* "Empire" (1990)
* "Promised Land" (1994)
Hear in the Now Frontier" (1997)
* "Tribe" (2003)
* "" (2006)
* "Take Cover" (2007)
Notes and references
* [http://www.queensryche.com/ Official Queensrÿche Website]
* [http://www.geofftate.com/ Official Geoff Tate Website]
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