John Parks of Legendary Rock Interviews recently conducted an interview with QUEENSRŸCHE drummer Scott Rockenfield. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Legendary Rock Interviews: When I interviewed Geoff [Tate, original QUEENSRŸCHE singer] recently, he responded that he didn't really understand you guys saying there were creative differences and thought that it all came down to money. As you see it, was part of the issue always that you had been wanting to focus more on the classic material in the live shows?
Scott: Absolutely. Look, there were a lot of reasons why things started to go bad in the last year and we had to make the transition to [current QUEENSRŸCHE singer] Todd [La Torre]. To answer both of those questions and to set the record straight, yes, there were some financial situations that needed to be addressed. That's kind of a part of doing business. We own three corporations collectively together and we had to address certain things going forward because that's what good business people do. They look at what's coming in versus what's going out and we wanted to address a lot of the "what's going out" part in order to assess the foundation so that we could move forward in the coming years. That was it, and, unfortunately, those things started to open up a can of worms, but that didn't mean that we couldn't continue to address those things in order to do good business. That was what Michael [Wilton, guitar], Eddie [Jackson, bass] and I wanted to do as the major shareholders of the corporations and then on top of that were the creative and musical issues which were a big issue as well. We wanted to address those issues and get back to looking at what was more important for QUEENSRŸCHE as a band. What's the focus of what we do and what our fans enjoy and all of that and most of that involved playing the older material that we haven't performed for such a long time and we wanted to do that. The same thing held true when it came to making records for the last few years; we just haven't been on the same page as far as what style of music we should be doing as a band. Michael, Eddie and I have always wanted to do what we feel we're best at and so far the response has been great. The fans are loving it. The new record is all tailored towards that sound. It's a big heavy rock record with great songs and great lyric content and I think that's the main focus of QUEENSRŸCHE.
Legendary Rock Interviews: I do love talking with Geoff — he's a very cordial person to talk to on the phone — but I have noticed over the last couple times we've spoken that he has been a bit dismissive of the creative contributions of the others, particularly Michael. In particular, he mentioned that if you guys really had the desire to make heavy music it was news to him and your solo output didn't reflect that. Do you feel it was more a case of you guys thinking the QUEENSRŸCHE brand was getting watered down or wandering too much in the past few years?
Scott: Absolutely. That is exactly it. I mean, we really wanted to address that last year. We really didn't feel that the band was headed down the right direction musically. We think we have a pretty good grasp of not only what we feel we should be doing but also what our fans think we should be doing as QUEENSRŸCHE. That's important to us — to look at both sides of that, not just one viewpoint, but the fans' viewpoint, and we feel like it had been a struggle for all of us to get on the same wavelength as far as what we should be doing as a band. We would try to contribute and make a record the way that Eddie, Michael and I thought we should do it, and that stuff doesn't get accepted, so over the course of the last few records, it has been so much of a struggle that we had to address it last year.
Legendary Rock Interviews: Not to rehash too much, but Geoff had said that he only wanted a chance to sit down and discuss the situation to avoid what transpired. Once again, for the record, there were attempts by you guys to sit down and rationally address the problem with Geoff?
Scott: Absolutely. It all began with just having corporate meetings, which is what we do as a business, but once we started to want to address some of these things, he suddenly became unavailable for the meetings. So where does that leave you as a business? Sitting around waiting for people to become available? That doesn't work for us. So what we did was hold and schedule multiple meetings over the course of a few months and it became a situation where Michael, Eddie and I were showing up at these meetings and had to make a decision to move on. Listen, when we finally did achieve a meeting between the four of us in Brazil, it turned violent and what do you wanna do after something like that? Attempt to do it again? Not really. We kind of saw right there where it was headed and thought that it was best for us to just move on.
Legendary Rock Interviews: I am admittedly a huge fan of [original QUEENSRŸCHE guitarist] Chris DeGarmo and Geoff's input over the years, but to be fair and to clarify, you, Eddie and Michael technically are the original founders of the band, Chris and Geoff joined a bit later right?
Scott: That is correct, yes. We started the whole thing back….back before the beginning of time. [laughs] We started playing together back when we were in high school. We all lived in the same area and went to different high schools but all knew each other through the scene and through mutual friends. We were playing together prior to even starting QUEENSRŸCHE. Once QUEENSRŸCHE started, we were all involved in the creative process. Writing every record, for us, has been a collective group effort ever since day one and I think that's where the chemistry for this band comes from; it's all of us being together and working because that's where the most creativity comes from. QUEENSRŸCHE has never been about any one person in particular, ever, so for for anyone to think that they can just call themselves QUEENSRŸCHE, to us, is kind of ridiculous. It's always been about the chemistry of us as a band, working together which is one of the things we are so excited about with the new record. We've found that chemistry again, we're revisiting what that chemistry meant to us back in the early days and applying it to the new record and it is exciting for us. We haven't had that for many years now.
Read the entire interview from Legendary Rock Interviews.