TODD LA TORRE On Tossing Fans' Phones During Shows: 'I Wouldn't Say That's Rock And Roll'

William Clark of Music Enthusiast Magazine recently conducted an interviewe with QUEENSRŸCHE singer Todd La Torre. A few excerpts from the chat follow below.

Music Enthusiast Magazine: There is a significant, classic QUEENSRŸCHE vibe throughout the entire new [self-titled] album. What was the chemistry like during those sessions?

Todd: The chemistry was wonderful. It was very easy to get along with everyone, and everyone had their own ideas and creative elements that went into making each song. It was really stress-free, and everyone was able to have ideas that went outside of their instrument. You know, I was able to contribute on a little bit on some drumming ideas for something, Parker [Lundgren, guitar] wrote lyrics to a song, Eddie [Jackson, bass] wrote lyrics to a song, I wrote a guitar part, Michael [Wilton, guitar] wrote melodies, we had ideas for all kinds of things. So, the chemistry was great, and it almost felt like I had been working with these guys for much longer than I have. So, we're really anxious to work on the next bunch of songs for the next album, which we are starting to do now.

Music Enthusiast Magazine: I think the fans have greatly appreciated how big of a role you've played in making QUEENSRŸCHE a class act again, taking cell phones from audience members and videotaping the rest of the band performing on multiple occasions.

Todd: Awesome. Yeah, that's great to hear. Those are actually things I did in CRIMSON GLORY. One of the first times I did that I was with CRIMSON GLORY, and I just thought, this person is only capable of taking pictures from this one spot, they can't move around the stage because they're upfront and can't move to the sides without losing their place of where they're standing. So, give me the camera, and I'll walk around the stage and I'll get pictures that I know you'd probably like to have. And I just did it that one time, and they were so appreciative of it. I thought, "How cool would that be, if someone did that for me?" I have fun doing that. It's kind of become something that I always do at a show now, and it's gotten positive attention. I never did it for any of that attention, I just did it! To do something cool for people, and it's getting noticed! [laughs]

Music Enthusiast Magazine: Whereas Geoff Tate, during a recent performance from his QUEENSRŸCHE, he took a cell phone from the hands of an audience member and pitched it out to the crowd. I sat down with Geoff and brought this occasion up, and he said that this was just "rock and roll." How do you respond to that?

Todd: [laughs] Aw, what do you even say to something like that? Rock and roll is stage diving. I guess if you wanted to throw something off the stage, you could throw yourself off and crowd surf! That might be rock and roll. I mean, I wasn't at the concert, so I don't know. I guess it would be kind of hard to justify that, but I wasn't there. Maybe the guy was provoking him. I have no idea why he did that. It's not something that I would ever do, but I'm not in his shoes. I wouldn't say that's rock and roll. I think there's other cool things you could do. I know one time in Greece, I crowd surfed, you know? And that was awesome! But people can be weird. I've had fans come onstage and want to stage dive! [laughs] People get so caught up in the moment and the energy that they'll do things spontaneous, and I guess maybe that incident is the reciprocal of that. Getting caught up in a moment, and reacting or doing something. I don't know. I'm not gonna put him down, I'm not going to say anything bad about Geoff Tate as a person because I don't know him personally. I just know what I do with fans' cameras, and I have been doing it for years. So, I don't really have anything negative to comment regarding that situation with him. It's just not something that I do.

Music Enthusiast Magazine: Moving back to the topic of your new album, are you happy with the reception you've been receiving from critics and the fans so far?

Todd: Yeah, really. Select people have been given a copy of it to listen to, and a lot of times… well, I don't want to say a lot of times, but sometimes a record will only have one or two good songs on it. I mean, we've all purchased an album because of a song we heard and we really liked, but the rest of it we didn't. The interesting thing with this album is so many different people have their own favorite, which is really cool. For example, you really liked the song "A World Without", another interview that I did the person's favorite song was "Open Road". Another person said their favorite song was "Spore". So, I think it's a really honest, fair assessment to say that there's something for everybody on this record. There's a lot of great moments, they're good songs, the only criticism is that it isn't a very long album. But that's OK; some of the greatest albums written are very short, even shorter than this album. We tend to focus on good content. We didn't want to have ten more minutes or fifteen more minutes of music just to say that we could. We had other songs that didn't go on this record but will go on the next one, because they weren't quite finished. They needed more time, we were touring and at some point you have to say, "This is good, we're done, let's get this record out and we'll work on the next one." And so we're glad that the material we wrote made it on this one, because it's better and we weren't forced to have more songs on that record. Let's just put out these songs, keep working and put out more material. You know, we're just going to continue writing songs and putting records out. And so I think overwhelmingly, there's a really positive response. It's a great time for the band, it's a great beginning and starting point for me, and compared to many of the past albums the band has done, the critics are saying that this is likely the best album QUEENSRŸCHE has put out since "Promised Land". Or even "Empire". So, that's a huge compliment, we're very flattered, and we hope that when it's in everybody's hands that it will be received well. Sometimes it takes a few spins; you've got to keep playing it, and you'll pick up elements of songs you didn't catch the first time around. I think from beginning to end, it's a good ride.

Read the entire interview from Music Enthusiast Magazine.

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