QUEENSRŸCHE guitarist Michael Wilton has told The Glendale Star that the band is stronger than ever after parting ways with original singer Geoff Tate in 2012 and replacing him with Todd La Torre."We went through a lot of drama over the past few years and we have been focused on rebuilding this band," Wilton said. "We are the original members and it was important for us to gain control of the name of the band. It was a chance meeting with [La Torre] that brought this together and it is working out great." He added: "For the past ten years, this band has been more of a dictatorship. Now, with the influence of [La Torre], we have great chemistry and we are now a complete democracy, not a dictatorship." According to Wilton, the first order of business was to reconnect with the fans who have supported QUEENSRŸCHE from the beginning but who became disillusioned with the band's sub-par forays into plodding, quasi-grunge influenced progressive rock. "There was so much damage to the name, we have been taking the time to rebuild the name and our relationship in the music industry," Wilton said. "It was a downward spiral that did a lot of damage, but we feel with our last two albums we are headed in the right direction with this band." In April 2014, Tate and QUEENSRŸCHE announced that a settlement had been reached after a nearly two-year legal battle where Tate sued over the rights to the QUEENSRŸCHE name after being fired in 2012. Wilton and fellow original QUEENSRŸCHE members Scott Rockenfield (drums) and Eddie Jackson (bass) responded with a countersuit. The settlement included an agreement that Wilton, Rockenfield and Jackson would continue as QUEENSRŸCHE, while Tate would have the sole right to perform the albums "Operation: Mindcrime" and "Operation: Mindcrime II" in their entirety live. In a 2012 interview with "The Classic Metal Show", Tate stated about his former band: "I truly believe that my vision of QUEENSRŸCHE is what has propelled the band for many, many years. When Chris [DeGarmo, guitar] was in the band, we shared a common vision together, and we were a very strong writing team, and a very strong musical team, directing the band and pushing in a certain direction — that kind of thing. Now, when he left, there wasn't anybody but me to do that, and so I've led the band and pushed and pulled and cajoled and bribed and tried to get everyone on the same page for all these years to keep the integrity of the band intact and to keep moving ahead with our vision for what the band was, which was 'no limits.' Let's not put a box around ourselves, let's not give in to some category that somebody assigns us, let's not be who other people think we should be, let's be who we are. And that's the motto I've always followed with the band. And I was instrumental in building this band all these years — this band is mine. I built this thing — all those songs, a majority of them are my thoughts, my ideas, my creativity, my passion. It's me, it's my music, it's my words, it's my dreams, my passions. And especially 'Operation: Mindcrime', that is my baby and my work, and I'm gonna go out and present that the best way that I can." QUEENSRŸCHE's latest album, "Condition Hüman", debuted at No. 27 on The Billboard 200 chart, having shifted 14,000 equivalent album units in the week ending October 8. The CD was released on October 2 via Century Media.
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