The legal wrangling between QUEENSRŸCHE members Michael Wilton, Eddie Jackson and Scott Rockenfield and their former frontman Geoff Tate is continuing to play out in King County Superior Court in the state of Washington, with the musicians accusing the singer of refusing to relinquish control of their web site and other Internet and social media accounts.
Wilton, Jackson and Rockenfield defeated Tate's motion for a preliminary injunction on July 13 that would have kept them from touring and operating under the band name,
Tate and his wife, Susan, QUEENSRŸCHE's former manager, filed a lawsuit against Geoff's ex-bandmates on June 22 in King County Superior Court over whether he should be awarded the QUEENSRŸCHE name after being dismissed from the group in June. Their complaint states Rockenfield, Wilton and Jackson wrongfully fired the singer and are tarnishing the group's brand by attempting to move forward without him.
In a July 25 filing in response to Tate's motion to disqualify his ex-bandmates' attorney from representing them due to a conflict of interest in violation of Washington's Rules of Professional Conduct (RPCs), Wilton, Jackson and Rockenfield wrote, "Since the defeat of the preliminary injunction, Plaintiff Geoff Tate has continued to interfere with Defendants' forward progress to tour under the QUEENSRŸCHE name. This includes refusal to relinquish control of Queensryche.com and other Internet and social media accounts, challenging the Defendants from taking control from the registering entity of Queensryche.com, and announcing to the national press through a surrogate of Mr. Tate's 'encouragement by the judge' to tour as his own QUEENSRŸCHE. Mr. Tate has also announced on his website his apparent intention to release an album this fall under the moniker 'Voice of QUEENSRŸCHE' and utilizing a stylized version of the QUEENSRŸCHE entity-owned Tri-Ryche symbol. There is no authority in the articles or bylaws of Tri-Ryche Corporation [which controls all QUEENSRŸCHE name and trademark rights] allowing a minority shareholder to use these corporate assets without authorization from the directors. All parties expressly agree as stated in prior pleadings and submissions that the name QUEENSRŸCHE and associated marks belong to the Tri-Ryche Corporation."
Paul Gargano, A&R/product manager for InsideOut Music, which recently signed a deal with Tate to release the singer's upcoming solo album, wrote in an email to Billboard.com, "I would like to clarify something extremely important that is being overlooked by everyone, including Billboard: The injunction [would] not [have] just prevent the three defendants from touring as QUEENSRŸCHE until the claim is settled — it [would have] prevented both parties from touring as QUEENSRŸCHE until the claim is settled. This is critical, because the intention of the injunction was not to prevent Scott, Michael and Eddie from making a living. The intention of both was to protect the future value of the QUEENSRŸCHE brand by eliminating the possibility of there being multiple versions of QUEENSRŸCHE. Not only did the judge deny the injunction on [July 13], she also urged and encouraged that there should be two QUEENSRŸCHE bands moving forward — which is precisely what the injunction was intended to avoid."
Asked if he had any comment about the nature of Tate's claim, or the nature of the defendants' response to it, Gargano wrote to Billboard.com, "Bands of QUEENSRŸCHE's stature are businesses, not weekend hobbies. What is overlooked in the emotion surrounding this case is that the lawsuit has been filed because of a dispute over the band's bylaws. The case will ultimately be decided by a judge, based on nothing more than how the law and legal precedent can be applied to the band's corporate structure. Sadly, no matter the outcome, the only real winners are going to be the lawyers that get to charge by the hour."
If the case goes to trial, the date is set for November 18, 2013.
In the meantime, Wilton, Jackson and Rockenfield, along with QUEENSRŸCHE guitarist Parker Lundgren and new lead singer Todd La Torre (also of CRIMSON GLORY) have launched a new web site at QueensrycheOfficial.com.
The new QUEENSRŸCHE lineup will make its official live debut as the headliner of the last day of this year's Halfway Jam, which is taking place July 26-28 in Royalton, Minnesota. Also scheduled to appear at the three-day event are ENUFF Z'NUFF, LYNCH MOB, STRYPER, BANG TANGO, TRIXTER, JACKYL, BLACKFOOT, MOLLY HATCHET and .38 SPECIAL.
Lundgren was briefly married to Geoff's stepdaughter Miranda; they have since divorced.
Video footage below: New QUEENSRŸCHE lineup performing live as RISING WEST
Pictured below: New QUEENSRŸCHE lineup
Pictured below: Geoff Tate (photo by Stephanie Cabral)