William Clark of Music Enthusiast Magazine recently conducted an interview with QUEENSRŸCHE guitarist Michael Wilton. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Music Enthusiast Magazine: Was there a certain event that made you and the rest of the band finally decide to kick [singer] Geoff Tate out of QUEENSRŸCHE?
Michael: Yeah, I mean basically if you look at any business, it's built upon the strength of its infrastructure. Viewing this as a business end and a creativity entity, we just weren't clicking on all cylinders. You have basically situations that grow over time where decisions are being made, and people don't quite agree with the philosophy. In a nutshell, we were creatively going different ways. And as a business, questioning some of the business decisions. I think those were kind of going in an opposite way of what others perceive. Just trying to keep a thread into your past and keep that fanbase. Trying to keep your albums on their coffee tables and not take such outlandish risks. Any business would question that.
Music Enthusiast Magazine: What is it like working with Todd La Torre as compared to working with Geoff?
Michael: Well, obviously you have a renewed energy. The chemistry within the band is renewed, and it's got a different dynamic now. Basically we want to rock, we like the hard rock element, we like a bit of the progressive element, we want to collaborate with our fanbase and really make this a situation where we listen to the audience and hear what they want, and we build upon that. QUEENSRŸCHE has always been a touring act, that's what we did in the early days. We were a guitar duo band and toured the world, and worked our asses off to get the respect of the audience. And I think that we've come full circle and we're at that point again. For the following years, we're going to work our asses off and get the respect of the audiences again, and just really show this new energy and this new chemistry with Todd La Torre as our new frontman. And you know what?! It's just a lot of fun again. In the past, it was just becoming, "This is a job. This is just a business, this is a job," and there was no fun in it. It's come back to how we started out in the beginning, a bunch of guys having fun, working hard and doing what they love.
Music Enthusiast Magazine: I think that's great. What are your thoughts about that other band named QUEENSRŸCHE going around, with Geoff on vocals?
Michael: You know, I try not to step on that subject too much. Obviously I'm aware of it, but I really do not pay too much attention to it. So I can't really say, other than I'm really stoked on what we're doing. I think what we're doing is rebuilding the brand, rebuilding the business and just surrounding ourselves with fluent people who are willing to push us in a positive direction. In our previous situation, everything was being done by a family, basically, and it was kind of a one-trick-pony situation. Now, it's like you've got to use your contacts and your friends in the business to push your business, and to help you generate positive growth. That's kind of what I'm consumed with at the moment, and that other stuff is being taken care of on a legal aspect, and we're all good with that. We're really concentrating on rebuilding the business, rebuilding the brand and showing the fans who have been waiting so long to see a good hard rock show that we've got it.
Music Enthusiast Magazine: Speaking of things you're currently doing, QUEENSRŸCHE is back in the studio. What is your objective for this first studio album with Todd manning lead vocals?
Michael: Our objective with this album is to rekindle a band writing together as a band, and utilizing the strengths of the creative forces of everybody in the band, to contribute, and just to make a CD, an album, that's just an honest representation of the band. We're not going to try and sell you some outlandish or exaggerated claims; this is just an honest collection of songs that we think really represent the creative dynamic of the band. Todd is very capable and very talented in that aspect. Like I said before, he's a drummer, he knows melody incredibly, he's a guitar player as well, and that as a band of real musicians it's really exciting to create. So, people are expecting us to write this and write that, but you know what?! We're just going to give you ten honest songs — maybe fifteen, who knows? We're at ten right now, and that's bringing back the energy in the five. That's the first and utmost what I want to see in this recording. I want to see each guy in this band smiling and going, "Yeah. That was killer." I want everybody really just being proud of what they did, and I don't want any dictatorship or anything happening. I want the band to really grow and push the envelope, and really discover real things about their creativity and their talents.
Read the entire interview at Music Enthusiast Magazine.