QUEENSRŸCHE singer Todd La Torre has confirmed to "The Signals Of Intuition" that he and his bandmates have commenced the songwriting process for the follow-up to 2019's "The Verdict" album. The group's next disc will apparently mark the QUEENSRŸCHE recording debut of Casey Grillo who replaced original drummer Scott Rockenfield in 2017.
Todd said (hear audio below): "Right now, Michael Wilton [guitar] is at my house [in St. Petersburg, Florida]; he's in the other room, actually, And Zeuss [producer Chris Harris] is here. And Casey lives about 35 minutes away, so he'll be here this afternoon. So we're doing just songwriting sessions and coming up with new ideas for the next QUEENSRŸCHE album.
"Michael had a little gap," La Torre explained. "He was able to break away and come down here to Florida. I said, 'Yeah, come on down.' And Zeuss was, like, 'Dude, I should come down too.' And I said, 'Yeah, just come hang here, and we can work on music. And Casey can come over and get on my drums, and we can just jam ideas.'
"Parker [Lundgren, guitar] is super busy right now in Seattle with his guitar shop, and Eddie [Jackson, bass], he's at home doing songwriting too. So instead of having a million people at my house, it was just, like, okay, Michael will come down, Zeuss will come down. If Casey wants to stop by a few days during that time period, or every day — whatever he wants to do. So he's been really awesome, contributing to all these ideas in real time."
According to Todd, the coronavirus crisis has provided him and his bandmates the perfect opportunity to work on new music while planning their return to the road once the pandemic has subsided.
"We're still shut down, so it's not like there's any touring happening right now," he explained. "So this is really kind of the ideal time to get the creativity going. For a long time, everyone was just kind of, like, 'What the hell's going on in the world?' You've gotta mask up everywhere, you can't do this, you can't do that, and just trying to understand life during that whole initial shutdown. And I think after 10 months of being bottled up, it was just, like, 'Okay, I need to see my buddies.' And when Michael decided to come down, I saw his face and I was, like, 'Oh, man. It's so good to see you. I haven't seen you in 10 months.'"
Earlier this month, Rockenfield shot down suggestions that he quit QUEENSRŸCHE or retired from playing music. The drummer, who hasn't performed with QUEENSRŸCHE in four years, took to his Facebook page to say that fans "have not been given the facts by any means" and implied that he would offer more details at a later date.
Scott's comments marked the first time he has publicly addressed his status with QUEENSRŸCHE, which has used former KAMELOT drummer Grillo for touring purposes since April 2017.
When Rockenfield's absence from QUEENSRŸCHE was first announced, it was reported that he was taking time off from the band's touring activities to spend time with his young son, who was born in early 2017.
The drum tracks on "The Verdict", were laid down by La Torre.
Last year, former QUEENSRŸCHE singer Geoff Tate expressed his doubt that Rockenfield will ever play drums again, telling Metal Rules that Scott "has a lot of medical problems and things like that now." In 2019, Tate told 88.1FM WESU's weekly syndicated radio show "Noize In The Attic" that he was "pretty sure" Scott "didn't leave" QUEENSRŸCHE of his own accord. "I can tell you that there's lawsuits involved; I know that," he said. "He's in kind of a really dark place, and I hope he gets some help, 'cause he's really unraveled, you know? In my opinion. It's too bad — he's an incredibly talented drummer, and unfortunately, he never was happy with that. It wasn't good enough for him."
La Torre will release his debut solo album, "Rejoice In The Suffering", on February 5 via Rat Pak Records.