Michael Wilton says that there are no plans for QUEENSRŸCHE to release another sequel to the band's 1988 masterpiece "Operation: Mindcrime".
The original "Operation: Mindcrime" album weaved themes of religion, drug abuse and underground, radical politics and was certified platinum by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) in August 1991. By contrast, 2006's "Operation: Mindcrime II" was regarded as an unnecessary sequel that many felt cheapened the original album, despite being a decent record in its own right.
Asked by the "BREWtally Speaking" podcast if there is any chance of QUEENSRŸCHE revisiting the "Operation: Mindcrime" storyline and releasing "Operation: Mindcrime III", Michael said: "No. There's many reasons why not to do it. And obviously… You know how sequels are. Sequels of movies — the originals are always better.
"We're really proud of [the first] 'Operation: Mindcrime' [album] — we're really proud of that," he continued. "It's in a lot of books and it's a lot of people's favorite conceptual album.
"Obviously, there's ideas to do a thematic thread to an album. But the whole conceptual thing, I think you're kind of whistling through the graveyard when you're trying to do that again."
In a 2016 interview with East Valley Tribune, original QUEENSRŸCHE singer Geoff Tate said that he looked back fondly on "Operation: Mindcrime II". "I haven't listened to that album since I recorded it," he admitted. "However, it was a new story. Overall, it went down well live with the audience. I have no complaints or regrets about it."
During QUEENSRŸCHE's 2012 legal battle with Tate over the rights to the band's name, Wilton submitted a sworn declaration in which he said the idea to make "Operation: Mindcrime II" was first brought to the table by Geoff's wife and QUEENSRŸCHE's then-manager Susan Tate. "The band was hesitant and did not want to lessen the original," the guitarist claimed. "But Susan Tate and Geoff Tate hired a budget producer and took control without really any other input. Scott Rockenfield [drums], Eddie Jackson [bass] and I were squeezed out of having any input in the musical direction or business decisions, thus the project suffered. During the initial writing phase, I would show up to bring my input to the creative process only to find that the producer, the new guitar player (who were both staying with the Tates at the time), along with Geoff Tate had been up late the night before or up early that morning and had written the songs without me. I was then told my ideas were not needed as the songs were now done. I could, however, 'bring my own style' in during the recording after learning to play what they wrote for me. In frustration, I gave up on the writing process knowing that I would at least get to make changes in the studio to bring back the QUEENSRŸCHE sound into these songs that we were known for. The final straw was when they refused to let me to be a part of the final recordings and mixes. I was shut out and they had the nerve to replace some of my parts on my songs. They denied me flying to San Francisco to be a part of my band, telling me that everything was ready to go and I was not needed. Had the communication been better, and had I been aware that parts needed to be recorded or rewritten, I would have been there. It was not until years later that I even became aware of the issues during the final recording and mixing of 'Operation: Mindcrime II'. It was all under the control of Geoff and Susan Tate. Call it delusions of grandeur, but they were convinced that this was going to sell three times more than the original, and to date (six years later) this album has sold fewer than 150,000 copies. The original album sold over 500,000 copies within a year."
In April 2014, Tate and QUEENSRŸCHE announced that a settlement had been reached after a nearly two-year legal battle where the singer sued over the rights to the QUEENSRŸCHE name after being fired in 2012. Wilton, Rockenfield and Jackson 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 "Operation: Mindcrime" and "Operation: Mindcrime II" in their entirety live.
Tate's replacement, Todd La Torre, has released three albums thus far with QUEENSRŸCHE: 2013's "Queensrÿche", 2015's "Condition Hüman" and 2019's "The Verdict".