Former QUEENSRŸCHE manager Lars Sorensen has weighed in on the current legal battle between singer Geoff Tate and the group's other members over the rights to the QUEENSRŸCHE name.
QUEENSRŸCHE members Michael Wilton, Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield and Parker Lundgren announced on June 20 that they were parting ways with Tate and recruiting powerhouse vocalist Todd La Torre of CRIMSON GLORY as his replacement. The new QUEENSRŸCHE lineup has already performed live, having played two shows in their home city of Seattle under the name RISING WEST.
Tate revealed in a recent interview with RollingStone.com that he and his wife, Susan, who has been managing the band for the past several years, filed a lawsuit against his former bandmates on June 22 in King County Superior Court in the state of Washington in order to "sort out who is what, and who owns what, and that stuff." Tate is also attempting to get a court injunction against Wilton, Jackson and Rockenfield that would prevent them from using the name QUEENSRŸCHE for their new group.
On July 9, Wilton, Jackson and Rockenfield filed a response to Tate's motion for preliminary injunction and included individual declarations from all of the defendants supporting their position that Tate's motion should be denied.
In his sworn declaration, Sorensen writes, "I was the manager for the band QUEENSRŸCHE from approximately 2001 through 2005. I negotiated the band's original contract with EMI. I've worked in the music business for over 30 years I have managed various artists, including MEN AT WORK (North America), SPLIT ENZ (North America) and CROWDED HOUSE. I was VP Worldwide Marketing for YANNI. I handled all concert production for Universal Concerts NW from 1999-2005. I am currently Director of Marketing for Snoqualmie Casino.
"There is increased market value to the new QUEENSRŸCHE lineup after the parting of singer Geoff Tate. This is a unique situation having the original lead singer depart but this is a situation of 'addition by subtraction.'
"The QUEENSRŸCHE brand had been damaged severely. The band had been marketed poorly, over played various markets, produced bad records and offered live performance and tour theme/productions that were not in the image of the band. Buyers like me were turned off and chose to pass on potential shows. I had done several shows for large guarantees knowing the market value, but this all changed. There was little value in buying a band that was no longer true to itself.
"QUEENSRŸCHE is a very good band with a strong recording sales and concert ticket sales history. Unfortunately, this has been in a steep decline for years now. To save the band brand, something had to be done. The band was no longer playing their 'hits' and no longer being true to their hard rock roots.
"To sustain a career after your peak, you need to give the fans what they want. QUEENSRŸCHE was no longer doing this.
"From all accounts, the majority of decisions were being made by Tate and his manager wife. The decisions were poor. For years the band members no longer were allowed to contribute to songwriting, tour theme decisions, most touring and marketing plans. This isolation in decision making proved fatal to the value of the band.
"In the live music market today, a band with a strong record and ticket sales history has a great value, if they are marketed correctly and give the core fans what they desire. There are few bands after 2000 that have sold more records than QUEENSRŸCHE. Their audience is older and if they produce quality records and live performances that are true to their image, the fans will come.
"Changing a lead singer is difficult and proving to the fans that this is a good thing will take a bit of time. Fortunately, the band found an amazing singer that can deliver the songs in the original dynamic manner. As the existing fan base experiences the real QUEENSRŸCHE again, they will return and the market for real rock music is strong and there are potentially many new fans.
"The band needs to approach this is in a calculated, well-planned manner. If the recordings are strong and written by the band, if the performances include the songs the fans want to hear and are performed well, QUEENSRŸCHE will survive and prosper.
"It was time for something drastic to happen. The brand was on life support but nearly dead. The future can be bright again."