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In The Eye Of The Storm: An Exclusive Interview With Todd La Torre Of QUEENSRYCHE

By Larry Petro, News Monkey
Saturday, April 27, 2013 @ 4:31 PM

"..I'm gonna ride this thing until the wheels fall off, then hopefully put another set on and keep going..."

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Few music stories of the past 12 months have captivated and divided an audience quite like the drama that has unfolded with Geoff Tate being fired from QUEENSRYCHE and all the legal wrangling that has gone on since that time. When Todd La Torre of CRIMSON GLORY was announced as his replacement I knew right then that this was the guy I wanted to interview because of the unique position that he found himself in, replacing a vocal legend. I didn't pursue the interview until recently and it actually took about a month or month and a half for us to finally find a time that was mutually beneficial to both of us, but the end result is what I feel is my best interview to date! But one thing about the interview will forever leave a lasting impression. While to a lot of people the person giving the interview is inconsequential, it's more of WHO you're doing the interview for (KNAC, Blabbermouth, etc). Todd not only made it a point to remember my name (remarkable in itself considering that he literally had just gotten out of bed prior to our interview), but as you'll see, he gave the interview a very personal feel to it by using it multiple times. There is no doubt in my mind that he would have rather joined the band under a different set of circumstances, but he's very grateful for the opportunity he has been given, an opportunity that he fully intends to make the most of. No matter what side of the QUEENSRYCHE fence you happen to be on, I think you'll find this to be an interesting read. So sit back, grab a cup of coffee or a beer, and enjoy!

KNAC.COM: So how does it feel to be smack dab in the middle of one of the messiest divorces in the history of hard rock and metal?

LA TORRE: (laughs) Well, you know, for me I felt bad for the guys having to go through all this kind of stuff and you know, for the outsiders looking in they're like going real slow by the car accident, it's like they don't like what they see but they have to look and to be honest, the mindset and the attitude of the guys in the band is really positive. They're not dwelling on anything and we have so many exciting things happening now that I think that they understand that the change needed to happen for whatever reasons, and various reasons, and there's an excitement around QUEENSRYCHE now that hasn't existed in quite a long time. There's a rejuvenation, they're more excited, the fans get to hear all of the old songs with the set we've comprised and they're very receptive to that and I'm really not too worried about it to be honest with ya. We have a new record that sounds great that's getting ready to come out and you know, some people say to me "How do you do it? Kudos to you for sticking through it". I mean, what am I gonna do, you know? It's a great band and they're great people and I'm just glad that if I was any sort of a refreshing thing in their life you know, things just happened and I believe that the positive far outweighs the negative because this is just temporary what they're going through from a legal standpoint and it'll be over and we'll be moving forward so that's a good thing.

KNAC.COM: As a fan, I try to keep an open mind about the whole drama that has unfolded between Geoff and his former bandmates but one thing that to me speak volumes is the band's demeanor onstage when performing live now. They're smiling, they're interacting with each other and they generally appear to be having fun again.

LA TORRE: Yeah, you know, and that's something that a lot of the people bring to our attention. You know, QUEENSRYCHE dropped off the radar for me, I don't know, 8, 9, 10 years ago and I had my own life and was involved in other things and I would go back and get some of the You Tube footage and say wow, you know, they're not really moving around, I don't see any smiles. It seemed kinda like they were just going through the motions. Some of the theatrics onstage just look contrived to me and perhaps that's the theatrics of Geoff's performance, you know, he's a very theatrical guy, he's great at that, the guy's phenomenal at that. It's just a different kind of animal now that the band has, it's very 'what you see is what you get' and you know, I move around and do things my way, and Eddie's (Jackson, bassist) having fun and you know, I get these guys to laugh and there are a lot of little things that you don't see. When I'm turned around facing Scott (Rockenfield, drummer) I'll make funny faces at him or there might be a part of a song that we have a joke about and you know, the guys are always smiling. Michael (Wilton, guitarist), you know he's such a sweet guy but he's kinda the quiet guy in the band for the most part but when he speaks everyone's ears perk up. Even him, he peeks through his hair that's hanging in front of his face and I see that little grin on his face or something in his eye or he'll wink at me and you know, these guys are having fun again and they're not stuck to their little quadrants of their section of the stage. I think they feel reenergized again and stuff like that just comes out and it's fun and it's natural and people see through it and I think that it makes them happy that their band is happy, you know?

KNAC.COM: Oh, most definitely! Now, there's probably not a single metalhead alive that doesn't know who Todd La Torre is by now and with that instant notoriety comes the bullseye of scrutiny, which is squarely on you now.

LA TORRE: It is.

KNAC.COM: How do you handle that?

LA TORRE: You gotta have big fuckin' balls man! (hearty laughter) How do I handle it? You know what? I know that I'm not gonna please everybody and that's just life. I'm very, very appreciative and thankful for those that have accepted me or embraced the change or have taken time to, you know, just have an open mind. You know, people that don't like me, it's not that they don't like Todd, it's they don't like the position that I am in now and I get it. There are some purists out there that no matter how good I am or could ever be, I'm not Geoff Tate and they're just not gonna like me and they're not gonna accept it and that's okay. Everyone has their own opinion and point of view and so I'm okay with that, I'm not trying to win the world. But, I really don't feel, you know, you're right about the bullseye thing but I don't really feel pressure anymore. When I first got in the band obviously I'm like the people have their arms folded and they just want me to mess up, like they want you to not hit a certain note or they want you to phrase something wrong, or different I should say. You're the one that they just wanna knock down. Every time we play a show there are the skeptics and they come in and I can see 'em cuz I pay attention to the crowd. A couple songs in the stern look starts to fade and I connect with them and I look in their eyes and I want them to sing with me and I wanna have fun. Then they hear what I'm doing and by mid-set or not even, they're sold on it and they're like 'wow, this sounds great' and then by the end of the thing a lot of times we meet people and will be talking and they say, 'you know, I wanted to hate you man'. People have told me that, 'I wanted to hate you, but you have helped to resurrect my favorite band and thank you Todd'. People bring me the EP and The Warning and Rage For Order, I've signed so many albums, like real vinyl album covers and I'm like, are you sure you want me to do this? I don't know if I'm worthy because I'm certainly not on the album, and they say, "you know what, you deserve to be on it because you're every bit as good or better, and I can't wait for the new record and I'm proud to be a QUEENSRYCHE fan again." To me, that's so cool, that's cooler than any high note I can do or any crowd I can play to. Those are the things that really say wow, this is really a great thing. I'm glad that these people are receptive to it. There's always gonna be haters Larry, and you can't please 'em all. What are you gonna do? As long as I know that I'm being true to myself then at the end of the day, if I ever lost my voice or became debilitated or something happened to me or the band, I want people to remember me as a really nice guy, as a down to earth, honest, I'm-no-different-than-you-cuz-I'm-not, kind of person. And that can go a long way. If you're having an off-night but you talk to somebody earlier and you were cool to em and you went out of your way to give them that little extra something, they'll overlook those things. But if you're not a nice guy, you're arrogant, I don't care how good you sing, you're still arrogant and people don't like that. That's why I always try to be true to myself, no matter how much fame or notoriety I could ever get. But I'm always thankful at the end of the day.

KNAC.COM: And you hit on this thing about the fans coming up and saying thanks for renewing my faith in this band and things like that. From a personal standpoint, I was actually at the Rocklahoma festival last year when QUEENSRYCHE played and Geoff made his infamous statement, telling the crowd that they sucked. During the performance after that, there were some people in the crowd in front of me that had the Triryche logo on sticks that they were holding up and waving back and forth and I though to myself, you know, there was a time when that actually meant something, but not anymore. But again, you seem to have rejuvenated that interest in QUEENSRYCHE again and I think that's awesome.

LA TORRE: It's an honor and I'm very thankful that I'm a part of that and that YOU are feeling that way. That's a rare thing. I mean, how many bands get one chance? And then the bands kinda peter off and when you work for 30 years with the same person that's gotta be hard, that's gotta be tough because you learn all the isms and all the little subtleties and idiosyncrasies of your bandmate. You know how they're gonna play something, you know how they're gonna phrase a vocal part or guitar part or where the drum fill's gonna go, you just know each other. That's a great thing when you know each other so well but also, I think creatively now, I'm a new color on their palette. I'm a new thing for them and I think it's fun for them because I'm offering a set of new perspectives or musical ideas that, you know, they haven't worked with me before, so it's something different and fun and fresh. Everyone's really excited about it.

KNAC.COM: How did you first become acquainted with the guys in QUEENSRYCHE?

LA TORRE: Actually knowing them on a personal level wasn't until the NAMM show in California in 2012. In January of 2012 I was at a Seymour Duncan artist party and I walked up to the buffet table and there was Michael, and I had seen TESTAMENT play at the Grove the night before, and I had made an error and thought he was Eric Peterson from TESTAMENT, just from a quick thing cuz you know he's kind of a shorter guy and you know the hair, and I said, hey great show last night. He kinda looked at me like 'huh?', and then I realized who he was and I said, oh, my bad, I just saw TESTAMENT and I mistook you for somebody else, blah, blah, blah. I said I'm sorry, I know who you are and we've met before because like 20 years ago you signed my Warning album whenever I was 18 years old but, nevertheless, my name's Todd, I sing for CRIMSON GLORY, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, what's going with you guys? What's going on with QUEENSRYCHE these days? And he said, well, you know, this, that and the other, we're still touring and I've got some side music for a TV sports reel, you know, side stuff. I said, yeah, that's pretty cool, I know a few people who do that and it can be pretty lucrative and it sounds fun. He said, give me your email and your phone number and maybe we can talk about it, so that was really how it started. It was just supposed to be about other stuff because I was completely focused and dedicated with CRIMSON GLORY and we were writing an album, it took forever and never got finished. It was just a very slow process. Then when all those things like you mentioned transpired, I don't know if it was the straw that broke the camel's back or if that was just another log on the fire you know, telling the crowd that they sucked or whatever, I mean people certainly weren't big on that. They just wanted to work. Geoff was focused on his solo record and wanted to tour on that and so they didn't have a full schedule of dates for QUEENSRYCHE and these guys have mortgages and families and they need to earn an income too. That was when the RISING WEST thing was born and it was just a way to get out there and play stuff that they haven't played in a long time and hopefully be able to earn supplemental income until QUEENSRYCHE was going back out. That was really the intent and the truth of the matter. It wasn't until things got worse as you know and everybody else knows, that's when things just got bad and they made decisions that they had to make. I don't have anything to do with that and wasn't privy to that information back then and I didn't wanna know. I'm a new guy coming in doing something, whatever happened with you guys precedes me. I try to stay out of it but look, when you're in the band you learn things and you just move on. You accept it and it is what it is and I believe my bandmates and actions speak louder than words. We've always taken the high road Larry, I mean there's no point in throwing mud around and it doesn't make us look good if we do that and trust me, they could throw enough mud to build a Coliseum if they wanted, but they don't and they don't have to. We're just doing what we do and we're moving forward and it's positive and we don't ever have to put our foot in our mouths. We're very proud of what we've done and that's why they have lawyers, that's why there's a court hearing. That's not for us to be out there saying things in the public eye. That's unprofessional. We're human beings, too, I mean, don't get me wrong, but you have to maintain a level of professionalism, a level of professional courtesy, and it's not an easy thing all of the time. There are times that I'm surprised I can talk because I bite my tongue so much. At the end of the day, it's the right thing. When you get a little heated and you calm down, you go, I'm glad I didn't say that, I'm glad I didn't just spew off at that because people will hold onto it. With the internet, if you say one thing, it's looped forever and it's a scary thing. You say something wrong or it could be taken wrong and those fans, they will run with it. Next thing you know, it's on all the media outlets and you're a piece of shit because you let your attitude get the better of you. It happens, we're human beings. But that's how I met the guys and it seemed just like a natural evolution to me. To be honest with you, the timing, it just happened.

KNAC.COM: On the topic of RISING WEST, the two shows that you guys did sold out pretty quickly and, by all accounts, was a huge success with the fans. So the question is, why didn't the band just continue on as RISING WEST instead of going back to QUEENSRYCHE after Geoff was canned? Surely they must have known that he wasn't going to go down without a fight?

LA TORRE: Well, in my opinion, we just were gonna do the RISING WEST thing. But then you take into consideration all of the things that came to be with the dynamics of those guys and now, Geoff's out of the band, ok? Well, this is still their band, this is their life's work. Do they let QUEENSRYCHE die because they fired Geoff? That's not a smart thing to do. They're still a band, they're still the song writers. Certainly not an easy thing, that had to have been a scary thing and a long thought out decision collectively, speaking speculatively, but I can only imagine that was a hard thing to decide. Geoff is the face of the band and the voice of the band, and that's where a lot of the attention goes, and he was an iconic voice. 'What do we do?', you know? Well, life goes on, AC/DC did it, IRON MAIDEN did it, BLACK SABBATH did it, lots of bands have done it, and successfully. Let's be honest, the antics that are available online and on You Tube and whatnot certainly didn't help matters for him. It didn't help. So here comes me, and I'm enthusiastic and I'm a metalhead and I'm wanting to do all these old songs, that's the stuff I like and love and know, and I was like, ok, great, they deserve to move on, they deserve to carry on, they're a majority. But that's something the courts will decide, but nevertheless, they were only gonna do RISING WEST until QUEENSRYCHE was gonna go and tour again. Well, ever since that broke down, what do they do? Well shit, you know, here's our band and, that's when I'm talking about this natural evolution, it just happened. Anybody that's paid attention to the band has seen things and they know that there was an incident in Brazil, they know that there was the Rocklahonma incident, they know that the music, obviously album sales aren't a fair thing to say, but the records being put out the last 1 or 2 or 3 or however many, weren't being embraced great, they weren't being embraced like the older materials, and so it was going down. Dude, they used to sell out arenas! I know it's a new day and age. Like the cabaret thing, you know a lot of people didn't like that. It's creative and as outside the box as it was and, I respect that, but things were on a downslide in my opinion as an outsider looking in. As Scott and the guys have said in previous interviews, it was a multitude of all of these variables that, little by little, just chiseled away. Its like a relationship, if you're in any kind of abusive relationship. For example, people say, well why don't you just leave him? For somebody who's abused or battered or beaten or an alcoholic you're living with, it's a gradual thing until you open your eyes and go, how did I get into this, I don't understand how this has gone on so long. I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired, you know? I don't wanna speak for them, but again, they've said in interviews that it was a multitude of factors, it wasn't because he didn't want to sing those songs or whatever because even he's stated that he wasn't into those kinds of things, he's in the now. Ok, great, but sorry, the fans wanna hear "Queen Of The Ryche", they wanna hear those classics. So it is what it is and they just wanted to move on and they deserve to tour under QUEENSRYCHE and that's why we are where we are right now, with the 2 versions, if you really wanna.....look, I only acknowledge one QUEENSRYCHE, and that's the one that I'm in. To me, that's the only way that it is. But legally, that'll be figured out in the near future and regardless, we're still gonna write songs, we're still gonna go out and play, we're still gonna do things, nothing's gonna keep us down, man. Nothing. There's an energy and an excitement and all of these great things that are happening as a result. Is that coincidental that we signed with a killer label, Century Media? Is it coincidental that we have one of the strongest artist management companies in the business? There are all of these doors that are now opening because there's a new energy in the band that didn't exist in quite a while. There's a lot to be said for that.

KNAC.COM: I have read every legal document that has been filed in the case so far, and when the declarations first came out and I read those, my first thought was, holy shit! There's obviously been a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes for so long that the band had managed to keep quiet and keep from the public eye. Some of it is just unbelievable.

LA TORRE: Yeah, it really is. There are a lot of people that still don't even know that Geoff's not in the band. Maybe they'll come to our show disappointed at first when they see me come out and 'whoa, wait, it's not Geoff, what's going on here?' There are people that didn't keep tabs on the band, they have no clue, they just say, oh, QUEENSRYCHE's coming, I like them or I love them, they buy a ticket, they come out. Then they start to figure out what happened. Unless you dig, like you said, you've read the declarations, you've read the documents, you don't know. You know what's really fucked up, I'm sorry, is how people can divide. About 90% of the people are supporting what we're doing, but there are those people who are like, that's not QUEENSRYCHE. Dude, these are the guys you LOVED when Geoff was in the band, how can you just turn your back? It's so weird how, it's like, have you read anything? Have you seen the video of Scott being spit on? Have you seen how repulsive some of these things are? Whatever, they just wanna love what they love. It's almost a cult like mentality, it's weird man, it's scary. These people are into the band more than the band is into the band. And we're grateful that they're so passionate, but like you said, when you read the documents, it's there in black and white. To be honest we don't even talk about it. When we're all together we don't even talk about it because we're so busy listening to the final mix of the album, checking out artwork for the record and doing our thank yous and interviews. Again, taking the high road, Larry. We need to move forward. It's not that we're not acknowledging it, you know, it's obvious. I walk a fine line. Sometimes they gotta pull me by my collar and go, hey, hey, hey, you don't wanna say that or try to do that or whatever. But I'm a rebellious guy. I'm super easy to get along with but when I'm being pushed back and pushed on, I really push back, and you know, it's not the Todd show, it's QUEENSRYCHE, and I have to always remember that what I'm saying and doing is also reflective on these guys. This is my first album as a vocalist that I'm on and they've given me a ton of respect and leeway, but occasionally I might slip up and say something and I'll get a phone call, 'hey man, you know, we'll talk about it', and they're so respectful to me. I lean on these guys sometimes because of their experience. I'm not walking in like I'm the big hot shot, like I know it all. I don't know it all, and I'm growing and learning through this process. With CRIMSON, I've been centerfolds in magazines in Europe and did the big stages, so I have the experience but this is a different animal and it's an unprecedented kind of thing with the certain dynamics that have happened, the split with those guys. I try to always keep these guys in mind. I don't want stuff coming back to them that looks bad. I don't want to shed a negative light. I like to be honest and truthful, with a glove on, like my girlfriend always says. You can say things, but you can be respectful too, not just saying it like it is and being arrogant. I like to be honest and truthful but I also have to keep in mind that it's not all about me, I have to respect the privacy and sometimes just not go there, just because.

KNAC.COM: When you were first announced as the singer for QUEENSRYCHE you came out and said that you weren't going to give up your gig in CRIMSON GLORY, and that was your full intention, but then as things went along in the recording process, you came out and said that you were stepping down as the singer for the band, but that it had nothing to do with being in QUEENSRYCHE. A lot of people immediately called bullshit, and you have to admit, it was pretty coincidental, though you gave your reasons for doing so.

LA TORRE: Well, here's the funny thing, Larry. If I really wanted to be 'that guy', I could show you emails from a year prior to ever even knowing Michael Wilton, saying I'm ready to quit the band. I have emails to my bandmates saying 'what is going on? I'm not hearing from anyone.' We were gonna start writing this record and things just started to fizzle out. And then it was like , okay, we're gonna regroup after this tour, and then we come back nothing happens and it just got sickening. I did more in 6 months with QUEENSRYCHE than I did in 3 years with CRIMSON GLORY! CRIMSON GLORY are great, they're music's killer. The fans are some of the most devout, loyal fans, it's a cult-followed band. And 25 years later and they still come out and they're amazing, but it was like I was a race horse locked in a stable. I'm like, guys, I wanna run. QUEENSRYCHE is allowing me that and this feels good to me. The guys in QUEENSRYCHE never told me, hey, you're gonna have to decide here. They never put that on me. They said, "If you think you can manage to do both, okay." I told them CRIMSON doesn't tour much and I wanted to finish the record that we started to make, and I wanna do that. And to be honest with you, it had nothing to do with QUEENSRYCHE. It was me still getting asked to do interviews and, "Hey, what's going on with CRIMSON?", and I just got sick of it. Nobody else is talking. The business structure of CRIMSON GLORY was a disaster. There was no official merch available, just so many things that to me were, I didn't want to fight for it anymore. I felt like I had done a majority of so many things to get it going. It just drained me. In QUEENSRYCHE, everyone does something, and it's very important. This is what we do every day. And CRIMSON wasn't like that. They were passionate about their music, but it wasn't an every day thing, not making a career out of it. And that was my dream and my passion. Now I can finally say that I'm doing it. I mean, hell, you called me! It wasn't too long ago that I just crawled out of bed! When I'm at home I have my down time. I wake up, I grab a cup of coffee, check emails, work on music, call the guys, and we work on music. For those guys (CRIMSON GLORY) it doesn't work that way. So those people can say, "sure you just quit, the writing was on the wall when you joined QUEENSRYCHE", but I'm 100% honest with you that that is not true! That is not how it happened. Like I said, I have emails from 2 years ago, a year and a half ago, before I ever met those guys (QR), saying I'm ready to quit, I'm over it, what's going on, I'm sick of this. I wasn't going to let that define me. There was life before I joined the band and there will be life after I left, but if everyone's not working towards the same thing, then something has to change, and that's why I quit. When I sent the letter to the guys I told them "thank you very much, I'm grateful, but I don't hear from you guys. Going months and months and not getting together to write one song is unacceptable to me. It's embarrassing and I just cant do this anymore. I love you and I wanna be friends, but I just can't do this." I've gotten text messages from one or more band members from CRIMSON GLORY saying to me, "CRIMSON GLORY, what a cluster fuck. Quitting CRIMSON is the best thing you could've ever done." I have that, in a text, on my phone right now, from a CRIMSON GLORY band member.

KNAC.COM: Well, anyone who's a fan of CRIMSON GLORY would not be surprised because the band has had a penchant throughout it's career of taking it's sweet ass time releasing albums.

LA TORRE: Yeah, yeah, way too long.

KNAC.COM: And to touch on something you had said before, in today's music environment the windows of opportunity are smaller and smaller and you really have to jump at the chance while you have it, which is what you saw. That had to be frustrating to watch that opportunity slip away.

LA TORRE: It really did because people would ask me, and I would tell the guys, you know, this window of opportunity is literally getting smaller and smaller, if it hasn't passed already, it's just about done. One of the members said to me, the fans can wait, they'll wait. I was just so appalled at that mentality. It was just wrong. "The fans will wait", that was just a very egotistical, shitty thing to say and whether they will or won't, that's not sitting well with me. I always wanted to do what was best for the band and now in QUEENSRYCHE, I know what that name meant to all of the people and the band. There was a pride, you know, QUEENSRYCHE, fuckin A! QUEENSRYCHE, IRON MAIDEN, DIO, PRIEST, there are those bands that are way up on the top, and QUEENSRYCHE was always one of them. That's what we're trying to do now. We get offers to play with other bands and it's great, but, I wanna think bigger! Bigger! Bigger! Bigger! I wanna play to more people, I wanna be in more magazines and print. Not so I can see my face on it, but so people know what's happening, so they go "Dude, look at QUEENSRYCHE, look what's happening, this is great." You know, I was a big FATES WARNING and HELLOWEEN fan, I was a power metal guy and some prog metal. And that's what I wanna be. I wanna be regarded as one of the best metal vocalists in the world. That was never my dream because I've been a drummer my whole life. Now that I'm doing this, you know, the CRIMSON GLORY stuff is brutally tough. It's higher than the QUEENSRYCHE stuff and it's a different texture. That started to give me some notoreity in Europe and South America and other areas. But like you said, if they didn't know who I was then, they do now. Certainly I wanna be able to say that I can hang with the top that are out there, the greatest. I know I don't have the history, all these albums under my belt, I'm not legendary. But one day, you know, if people are gonna rattle off 5 or 10 names, I wanna be in there.

KNAC.COM: You guys are finishing up the new QUEENSRYCHE album now. Are the songs all brand new or are they previous tracks that didn't get consideration for other QUEENSRYCHE releases?

LA TORRE: Well, they're all new songs, finished songs. I believe that a couple of the songs may have had a riff of something that Michael wrote or Eddie wrote that perhaps was submitted back then and just wasn't one of the ones cherry picked, I don't know. I've heard them say in interviews what I just said, so that's why I'm saying that. Whatever there may have been, certainly I don't think there was any song where they said, ok, here, and it was a complete thing and we've gone in and reworked things in structure and arrangement and whatnot. I'm singing my lyrics, so there wasn't anything there that was like a done song before that they brought. Perhaps ideas, and that's okay. It's a great record man. We're in the final stages. We did 3 more songs last night that are final mixes and they sound really great.

KNAC.COM: Does the band have a tentative title yet?

LA TORRE: Yes, but I can't tell you what it is.

KNAC.COM: You'd have to kill me, right?

LA TORRE: Yeah, I wouldn't want to but yeah, I would have to.

KNAC.COM: Speaking of album titles, I'm gonna just jump outside the box one time and....

LA TORRE: Go ahead, I know what you're gonna say, but go ahead...

KNAC.COM: (continuing)... and ask this one. (Todd laughing in the background) What did you guys think of the cover for the album of Geoff's version of QUEENSRYCHE? Was it an intentional jab at this former bandmates or was it purely coincidental?

LA TORRE: Sure, sure it was. It's an obvious, it's an obvious, you know...a monkey can decipher what that is. It's below the belt. To me, it's not what QUEENSRYCHE was about. QUEENSRYCHE wasn't about the cheap shots. QUEENSRYCHE was always more respectful and intelligent of that. (somewhat speechless)

KNAC.COM: the first time I saw the album cover I was like, oh that's real subtle.

LA TORRE: To be honest, when I first heard it, when I first heard 'Frequency Unknown' (as the title), I thought, that's kinda cool. And then I saw the fist with the "FU" and I was like, really?

KNAC.COM: And the Triryche logo in the middle.

LA TORRE: Yeah, and so when one talks about devaluing the name or the brand of QUEENSRYCHE, it's so obvious that when you're putting a fist with an "FU" in a clever way to say that's 'Frequency Unknown', but we know what it's really likely to be standing for, with the Triryche, that's not good for the brand, that's not good for QUEENSRYCHE to have the Triryche in front of an "FU". That's not good. That doesn't add credibility or respect to the name and brand of QUEENSRYCHE. It's immature, it's angry, it's um, stupid. It is, it's stupid, I said it, I don't give a shit. Stupid. I don't even acknowledge it as a QUEENSRYCHE album Larry! It's not QUEENSRYCHE. The guys that play on the record are not the guys that you see onstage and aren't the guys that wrote the songs. It's a revolving door dude, it's not QUEENSRYCHE. What I'm in is QUEENSRYCHE. I'm with the 3 core founding members and writers of the band QUEENSRYCHE that wrote the songs that you and I liked and loved, okay? And we're the guys that write the songs, we're the guys that perform the songs, and we're the guys that are on the record. That's a band! That's (the other QR) not a band. You can put the Triryche on it all you want, but it's not QUEENSRYCHE and I don't care what you call it, the majority of the fans aren't acknowledging it as QUEENSRYCHE either. It might look good on paper, but to me, it's disrespectful to do that. It's not good for the brand and what we're doing is trying to build respect and honor to the brand name, and that's not how you do it. FYI, Business 101, not a good move, but you know, whatever. Opinions are like assholes, everyone's got one.

KNAC.COM: And the title of the album was cool enough and he could have done something with that as far as the cover goes, but to come out with the cover he did, it was like a slap in the face.

LA TORRE: We have a wonderful team with us. I don't know who's steering that ship but certainly that would never fly over here. QUEENSRYCHE was never that, it's so not authentic. Nobody's buying it. You can throw metal studs and chains and throw the devil horns all you want, but that's not authentic. You know, we could make this crazy album cover, but there's a certain level of.....gosh, I'm having trouble thinking of the word...look, that's just not what QUEENSRYCHE always was or should be. We would never do that. We don't want that kind of negativity. I mean, every time you look at the album cover and you see the "FU"? It's gonna bring ya back to that place? Who wants that? How about good things moving forward man? We don't want to live there, we wanna keep moving forward and be happy and healthy and have positive thinking. We have feelings, too, but thoughts become things, okay? If you think negative things you're gonna attract that negativity in your life, it's magnetic dude. We believe in that. I believe in the law of attraction, in the idea that your thoughts become things and if you wanna talk shit and bring that kind of energy to your life, okay, but we're all about good things and positivity and not putting "FU" on our album cover. We don't have to, we're not angry about that. We have some much cool shit going on with us, we don't really care what's happening on the other side. The only time we acknowledge it is when we're asked in an interview and most of the time it's "eh". I'm the one who deviates a little bit but I always come back around and I can honestly say that we really don't think about it, we don't dwell on it. We have so many amazing things going on. We're getting ready to go on That Metal Show on VH1, we just played some great shows in Europe, the record's coming out, we're super happy. We don't have time to think about cheesy artwork.

KNAC.COM: The bands been booking shows left and right and doesn't appear to be slowing down. Are there any special touring plans in the works?

LA TORRE: You know, I don't know. Obviously we've got some European dates that are in October, some really cool stuff coming up in the states, like Sturgis, Rockfest, there are some great things but that's something I really don't know because everything's just been surrounding the new album. I'm not sure how we will tailor a tour, whether it's going to be our own headlining ground tour in support of the new record or if we will possibly pair up with another really great band or bands and do a string of shows or go on the road for a long time with a certain act. I really don't know that, I wish I did. I think it's all just like a volcano, which is the album getting ready to release and once that happens certainly our management and pr and our team will do what is best for supporting the record and getting back out there and playing live shows and showing people hey, we're QUEENSRYCHE and here's our new album, we've got some really great new merch and this is our harvest here. We're planting the seeds again and rebuilding things for a hopeful next year, which will be a bigger tour, bigger billings and better slots and all kinds of cool stuff. My only involvement right now with anything has been the us guys emailing back and forth with Jimbo (Barton) and the band about these last little details of the new record. That's pretty much it.

And dude, if you give me an inch, I will take a mile! I have the gift of gab!

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