QUEENSRŸCHE guitarist Michael Wilton and vocalist Geoff Tate, who are embroiled in a lawsuit which puts them on opposing sides in a battle over the rights to the group’s name, recently gave separate interviews to Guitar World magazine about the ongoing court case and their plans for the future.
Tate and his wife, Susan, QUEENSRŸCHE‘s former manager, filed a lawsuit in June 2012 asking the judge to award them the rights to the band’s name in exchange for Tate paying Eddie Jackson (bass), Michael Wilton and Scott Rockenfield (drums) the fair market value for their interests in the QUEENSRŸCHE companies. Wilton, Rockenfield and Jackson filed a countersuit against the Tates in which they accused Geoff of creative obstruction and violent behavior, and Susan Tate of questionable business practices.
On Tate‘s belief that the lawsuit comes down to one thing — money:
Tate: “This is all about getting rid of somebody so that there would be more money to split between a fewer amount of people. QUEENSRŸCHE is and was an incredibly successful business entity worldwide. And to completely dismantle it is an act of foolishness.”
On how the court case will play out in January:
Tate: “It’s a corporate dispute. And the judge will decide on the value of the brand and the corporation. There’s a formula to figure that out. It’s not about a moral thing or anything like that. It’s just a simple case of dollar exchange.”
On other members of QUEENSRŸCHE‘s claim that Tate refused to play much of the band’s classic material in concert and was responsible for the ill-fated 2010 Queensrÿche Cabaret tour and using outside co-writers, producers and musicians to make the “Operation: Mindcrime II”, “American Soldier” and “Dedicated To Chaos” albums:
Wilton: “As an artist, as a guitar player, it’s not too much fun when your parts are being replaced or you don’t even know if they’re going to make the CD of the band you’ve been with for 30 years. It’s a little disheartening, to say the least.”
On Tate‘s claim that bandmates made little to no effort to participate creatively in QUEENSRŸCHE‘s projects:
Tate: “There was me writing and coming up with directions and ideas and concepts, and then the other guys were contributing performances in the studio. So we had to find other people to work with us in order to make a record and make things happen.”
On how the band’s morale has changed since Wilton, Jackson, Rockenfield and guitarist Parker Lundgren joined forces with former CRIMSON GLORY singer Todd La Torre:
Wilton: “We’re firing on all cylinders now. Because our surroundings and the way things are being run are conducive [to writing songs]. When it’s just a one-person dictatorship and it’s, ‘Well, if I don’t like this song, it’s not gonna be on the record, and I’m not going to sing anyone else’s lyrics,’ it’s just not healthy.
“[While writing music for the new album] we wanted to bring back some of that magic we had in the first decade and a half of this band. The album was a complete collaboration of all the members, and I think we were on 10 as far as the energy and creativity went. It’s just like any gang or company: if everybody’s happy, you’re going to get a better product in the end.”
On the incident in Sao Paulo, Brazil when Tate allegedly assaulted his bandmates and the subsequent appearances at the M3 Rock and at the Rocklahoma festival, where the singer told the audience, “You guys suck”:
Wilton: “There was a lot of tension in the band at that time, and the turning point obviously was when we did those shows and things just kind of blew up. The Brazil assault, the Rocklahoma situation — it just got worse and worse and worse.
“We just said, ‘Wow, we can’t go on like this. Is this how we’re gonna live? Do we have to hire extra security? Do we have to stay in our little area on the stage?’ It just wasn’t working. You don’t even know. The stress it puts on you, the stress it puts on your family, the stress it puts on your fans… It was unbearable.”
On the future of QUEENSRŸCHE:
Wilton: “We try not to be lawyers or anything, but we feel strongly about what we have on our side. But the law, especially in the state of Washington — my gosh, who knows? It’s all determined by the person wearing the black robe. And that’s scary. But the outcome will be what it will be. And then everybody will just have to deal with it.”
Tate: “I don’t know what the future holds, and I don’t know if I want to know. At the end of the day this isn’t going to stop me from making music. It isn’t going to stop me from touring and playing shows. But I don’t think you can sit and stew on it all. It’ll drive you crazy. You just have to put your boots on and start stomping around. Get back into it. Don’t sweat the small stuff, because it’s all small stuff, really.”
Read the entire article at Guitar World.