"Totally Driven Radio", the weekly radio podcast heard live every Thursday night from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. EST time on the Totally Driven Entertainment Radio Network, recently conducted an interview with QUEENSRŸCHE singer Todd La Torre. You can now listen to the chat below. (Note: La Torre calls in at the 89-minute mark and hangs out for over 30 minutes.)
Asked if he and his bandmates were relieved that a settlement has been reached with QUEENSRŸCHE's former singer, Geoff Tate, regarding the future use of the group's name, Todd said: "Everyone is very happy and relieved. And we are moving on, yeah. So it's a good time.
"I wasn't personally involved in it; I wasn't a named party [in the original lawsuit filed by Tate]. So I was kind of on the outskirts a little bit. But certainly I was filled in on some things. And when it finally came to be, it was just a process that took, seemed like, forever [and], yeah, it was a big weight lifted off."
He continued: "It's been really tough when there's two bands with the same name, because it causes fan confusion. There's people that wanna come see us, and they see our photo for a date listed online somewhere, but it's not us. So I always say, go to QueensrycheOfficial.com, that's where you're gonna find our confirmed dates. And vice versa — if there's people that wanna go see Geoff and his band, but they see our photo, well, his ticket sales might suffer if they don't wanna see us but they wanna see him. So for both sides it's been a pain in the ass. But now those days are just about done. I mean, after the end of August, there's only gonna be one QUEENSRŸCHE, and that's us. And so, that's gonna be really great.
"And then you have maybe some possible apprehension from certain promoters during this time of, 'Hey, I wanna book you guys, but what if you guys aren't gonna be QUEENSRŸCHE and we've promoted you guys?' So during the agreement, both sides said that we would honor the bookings of each band until the settlement was reached. So that's why he still has bookings up through August. But I think with the press and everything, people that are kind of paying attention understand where to go to see what band.
"But yeah, the stress factor is gone and we're just focus on writing new songs and touring and all of that kind of stuff. Obviously, both sides are happy that each side got what they wanted; otherwise they wouldn't have reached an 'agreement.' So there is an agreement, it's done, and now we can move on and do what QUEENSRŸCHE does, which is write songs as a band and record and tour. That's what we wanna do.
"It's an exciting time.
"I think that we've got a lot of great momentum on our side. We have a nice team of people around us that are really working hard to… and the fans. How could we forget the support of the fans? I mean, I'm the new guy. I've been in the band almost two years now, but still, the majority of the fans have really kind of embraced me and accepted me, and I'm very, very honored and thankful for that, because fans can make or break it. And they keep coming out to our shows and supporting our record and buying our t-shirts, because they're proud to be a QUEENSRŸCHE fan."
Regarding why he thinks the fans have been supportive of his addition to the band as the replacement for one of the most distinctive heavy metal voices of the past couple of decades, La Torre said: "As nicely as I can put it, I think that the fact that the band is [now] playing songs like 'Child Of Fire', 'En Force', 'The Whisper', 'Queen Of The Reich', 'NM 156' — the full version with the full dual-harmony guitar solo — 'Prophecy', and all of these classic metal songs that this band did, that they hadn't done for so long, and the fans have always wanted to hear it. So to hear the songs in the right tuning… I mean, we don't drop-tune. When I first got in the band, [the other guys in QUEENSRŸCHE] said, 'Hey, if you want us to tune down a half a step, if it's easier for you, don't be afraid to ask us.' And I said, 'No. I wanna do this the best way that I can to represent the songs the way that they really go, and if it's a struggle for me, I just have more work to do for me. But let me keep trying to do this.' So I think the fact that those old songs weren't being played [in the last few years with Geoff in the band]… I mean, some of them were played, but a lot of times they were tuned down or songs were not played in their entirety, like 'Roads To Madness'; we play that song in its entirety. We play 'NM 156' in its entirety. And those fans, they really love hearing that. So the fact that that wasn't happening, and then when I came into the band, it started happening, it really kind of made it easier, I think, for fans to kind of rally around and go, 'Awesome!' And I don't know that it's because I joined the band, but I think that it's because I joined the band. And I'm the guy that initially said, 'Hey, let's do this. Let's do this.' So I think the fact that the musical direction is back to the heavier, classic setlist is a big deal. And that wasn't happening for a long time. And the last couple of records [with Geoff on vocals] did not sound like QUEENSRYCHE; they just didn't. I mean, I'm not bashing anyone; I'm just stating a simple fact as an outsider looking in, going, 'Wow! Those aren't songs that sound like the band QUEENSRYCHE wrote. That doesn't sound like Michael Wilton's style or his playing. Or where's the cool, soaring vocals that Geoff Tate is known for? It just went in a different direction."