Rustyn Rose of Metalholic recently conducted an interview with guitarist Michael Wilton of progressive metal veterans QUEENSRŸCHE about the band's new studio album, "The Verdict". You can listen to the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On QUEENSRŸCHE still writing and recording new material well into their third decade as a band:
Michael: "That's what we're doing in the band. We're keeping current. Obviously, we put out these records. The fans know what's going on. It has remnants of the old-school but it has the new edge and you're right there. We're getting so much praise and thanks from the fans for keeping this machine going."
On the collaborative writing approach for "The Verdict":
Michael: "Yes, this was kind of an old-school way of putting together an album. It was so beneficial in that everybody in the band used the top bit of their creative atmosphere, balance, everything, to get the songs to where everybody was happy and I think this is a great way for a band to gain its camaraderie and also just solidify the songs so there's no question. This whole writing process, we really put into action just the spontaneity and the creative blossoming of everything. We're just so proud of this and how well it's being received. We're just thankful it's a band. It's a team. We made it all happen."
On QUEENSRŸCHE being in the same room and sharing song ideas:
Michael: "That's what's fun about being in a band. It's not a dictatorship. Everybody's throwing in their ideas and you never really know exactly the outcome of an idea. It's super-fun; it's addicting, actually. [Laughs] That's why I love doing it. I think QUEENSRŸCHE is in a great spot right now. Everybody in the band is on their 'A' performance level and we just feel we're in a good place right now."
On whether it was a goal for QUEENSRŸCHE to make "The Verdict" a heavy album:
Michael: "You know, it's kind of just a natural evolution of the band. Nothing is pre-planned. It's just the way the cards fell. We started this with 20 ideas and refined it down to ten. Obviously, we want it to be in QUEENSRŸCHE fashion with lots of depth, something you can listen to on headphones but also something you can crank in your car, your place of business, wherever. It's one of those albums that we hope people will listen to over and over again and find different gems and ways of listening to it."
On vocalist Todd La Torre handling the drum parts on "The Verdict" in place of longtime drummer Scott Rockenfield, who is currently on leave from the band:
Michael: "It was great because it was a band experience. When I'm saying the songs had to be built, I'm saying the drum parts had to be built. This just wasn't a jam-along, play-along the drums to the songs. This is all the drum parts were built. They were built in reference to the QUEENSRŸCHE percussion style. A lot of the earlier albums, Scott wrote his drum parts for those songs exactly. We wanted to keep in that tradition. It's not like Todd was trying to play to show his ability. He was playing and writing for the songs, for QUEENSRŸCHE and that's what is great. We had everybody pumping him up and giving him confidence and once he got started, he had momentum and just couldn't stop."
On his memories of the band's 1999 "Q2K" album, their first without primary songwriter/guitarist Chris DeGarmo, who left QUEENSRŸCHE a year prior:
Michael: "We were just fragmented and trying to experiment and put an album together with different ingredients, not knowing exactly how it was going to come out. It was, I think, a starting point for QUEENSRŸCHE to get back on a path with the departure of my buddy Chris DeGarmo. It just laid the groundwork and the foundation for future destinations ahead. As far as the arrangements and playing the parts live, it's obvious you got a lot of shifting of parts and who's going to play what. I think now we've got a situation with Parker Lundgren. He really respects the QUEENSRŸCHE guitar playing. As far as the legacy songs, my advice to him: Play them exactly as they are on the record. No one wants to hear your version of it. They want to hear the songs the way they were recorded. With that, you're going to gain the respect of the fans. He's done that. I'm really proud of him. He's becoming a really established guitar player and he's becoming a good, accomplished songwriter as well."
"The Verdict" was released March 1 via Century Media Records. The disc was produced, mixed, and mastered by Chris "Zeuss" Harris (ROB ZOMBIE, ICED EARTH, HATEBREED) at Uberbeatz in Lynwood, Washington; Planet-Z in Wilbraham, Massachusetts; and Watershed Studio in Seattle, Washington.
QUEENSRŸCHE's spring U.S. headline tour with special guests FATES WARNING kicked off on March 2 in Orlando and will make stops in major markets such as New York, Atlanta, Chicago, and Los Angeles, and will wrap on April 3 in Seattle. THE CRINGE will join both bands on select dates.