Prior to QUEENSRŸCHE's January 30 performance in Anaheim, California, guitarist Michael Wilton spoke with Assilym. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the band's ongoing tour in support of its latest album, "The Verdict":
Michael: "This is obviously a two-year endeavor so far, and it's booked all the way through the end of the year, and it's already starting into 2021. We're out here promoting it, touring and having a good time."
On performing on music cruises, as the band did in October aboard the inaugural Megacruise:
Michael: "It's kind of become part of a pattern that we do. We get included in a lot of the cruises. We're doing another cruise later in the year – we're going on the Kiss Kruise. We're seaworthy, I guess, so we're in demand. [Laughs] The Megacruise was a lot of fun for us. We've done other cruises that are more mainstream rock, and this one was more heavy metal, hard rock. The bands that I like to listen to were on there, so it was a lot of fun for me."
On vocalist Todd La Torre:
Michael: "Eight years, three albums and numerous shows. I would say that for some of the hardcore fans, it's always a challenge to get them to come see the band sometimes, but when they do, they're sold. For us, it's just something that we've been doing for the last eight years and promoting the band all over the world. The fans have just embraced Todd — no easy feat, but he's done an amazing job."
On playing live:
Michael: "For us, it's more of creating a balance, because we've been doing this for 38-39 years and we have hardcore fans that want to hear obscure songs from the past and the new stuff, and then you have the casual fans who want to hear the hits. It's a blend, which is actually good for us, because we can promote the new QUEENSRŸCHE as well as play the legacy songs that everybody remembers... I think more of the demand for us is a balanced song selection... I think it's a good show, and we've got a good balance of old and new."
On songs he'd particularly like to perform in concert:
Michael: "I'm sure everybody in the band would like to play songs that maybe are funner for them to play live, but it's something that you've got to look at the big picture and see how the set list flows, and make sure you don't have too many new songs in a row, and make sure you have the hits in certain spots. Once you start throwing in everybody's favorites, it's kind of like pulling teeth. When we start a tour, we all throw all the songs we'd like to play, and we just see which ones work. We can tell by the reaction and the crowd response on songs, and that kind of dictates whether it's working or not. Plus, you've got social media, so you see what people are saying on YouTube about certain songs and everything, and you take it all in. But we kind of know."
On VIP meet-and-greets:
Michael: "It's fun for us, and it kind of regulates how many people we can see. We don't want Todd talking to everybody before a show — we want him to save his voice... There's fees that can be involved for the first-class situation, but mainly, we have it regulated. It was 10 people, and now I think we've bumped it up to 15. It's something we do before show. Back in the old days, we used to have tons of fans after the show. We've gotten older and we don't do that anymore. [Laughs]"
On the band's upcoming schedule:
Michael: "We're leaving pockets of time open for everybody to recharge and get some rest, because we've been going at this pretty hard for the last four years, and also to spur creativity, because we've got to start putting songs together for the next QUEENSRŸCHE recording. We're going to be busy."
"The Verdict" was released last March via Century Media Records. The disc was produced, mixed and mastered by Chris "Zeuss" Harris (ROB ZOMBIE, ICED EARTH, HATEBREED) at Uberbeatz in Lynwood, Washington; Planet-Z in Wilbraham, Massachusetts; and Watershed Studio in Seattle, Washington.