QUEENSRŸCHE members Michael Wilton, Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield and Parker Lundgren announced on June 20 that they were parting ways with singer Geoff Tate and recruiting powerhouse vocalist Todd La Torre of CRIMSON GLORY as his replacement. The new QUEENSRŸCHE lineup has already performed live, having played two shows in their home city of Seattle under the name RISING WEST.
In a recent interview with RollingStone.com, Tate revealed that he filed a lawsuit against his former bandmates on June 12 in King County Superior Court in the state of Washington in order to "sort out who is what, and who owns what, and that stuff." Tate is also attempting to get a court injunction against Wilton, Jackson and Rockenfield that would prevent them from using the name QUEENSRŸCHE for their new group.
On Monday, July 9, Wilton, Jackson and Rockenfield filed a response to Tate's motion for preliminary injunction and included individual declarations from all of the defendants supporting their position that Tate's motion should be denied. As one would expect, these documents — copies of which have been obtained by BLABBERMOUTH.NET — contain startling details about the circumstances that led to the split between the singer and his one-time friends and longtime bandmates.
In his sworn declaration, Lundgren — who has been touring with QUEENSRŸCHE since 2009 and who was briefly married to Geoff Tate's stepdaughter Miranda (they have since divorced) — states, "On April 14, 2012, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, at approximately 11:00 p.m., I was chatting with Scott Rockenfield while awaiting for our show to start. Geoff Tate came up to Scott Rockenfield from the other side of the drum riser and shoved Scott Rockenfield's drumset over in Scott Rockenfield's direction. Geoff Tate then said, 'You f**king pussy' and spat at him. Our techs immediatelly ran to the drum raiser to fix the drums, drum mice and laptop that had been knocked over. Meanwhile, Geoff Tate walked over to Michael Wilton and hit him open-handed in the face, spit on him and said more obscenities. Michael Wilton tried to walk away as Geoff Tate followed him and continued to spit on him and call him names. Scott Rockenfield ran over to break them up when Geoff Tate then hit Scott Rockenfield twice in the head. Security ran in to separate Geoff Tate from the rest of the band. Geoff Tate walked by Eddie Jackson and said to him, 'You're next.' Orlando Scott 'Fozzy' O'Hare, our tour manager, was able to calm Geoff Tate down enough for us to play the show. We were advised to stay in one place during the show and to avoid going near Geoff Tate. We were also advised to not go near the edge of the stage for fear that Geoff Tate would push someone off stage. During the rest of the show, Geoff Tate repeatedly spit on Michael Wilton, Scott Rockenfield, and Eddie Jackson and continued to call them names. After the show, we were told to head straight to the hotel.
"After we got to the hotel, our tech, Anthony Bender, and I headed out to a bar for drinks, and we were later accompanied by Geoff Tate and Kelly Gray. During a conversation between Geoff Tate and I at the bar, Geoff Tate said, 'I wish that I would have hit Michael harder,' and 'I wish I could get my hands on Scott because I would kill him.'
"It is very apparent that Scott Rockenfield, Michael Wilton and Eddie Jackson's musical direction in QUEENSRŸCHE has stayed true throughout their 31 years of being a band. Their musical contributions, both in writing and playing live, best resembles the music that they have come to be known for. They listen to what their fans want and continue to be the driving force behind the band.
"While Geoff Tate is the primary lyricist in the band, he has never written the music for a song in QUEENSRŸCHE. All of the music has been written by Michael Wilton, Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield and Chris DeGarmo, and recently some outside writers that Geoff Tate worked with.
"It is evident that Geoff Tate's musical tastes have changed over the years which is understandable. He has even stated in recent interviews that he doesn't like metal.
"QUEENSRŸCHE is a brand and fans expect the brand QUEENSRŸCHE, which is a metal band, to maintain their sound, style, and trademark characteristics. Much of the music that Geoff Tate chose to write lyrics to on 'Dedicated To Chaos' sounds like music from his solo project album. There is nothing wrong with the musical direction that Geoff Tate has shifted towards except that it does not fit with QUEENSRŸCHE. It belongs in a different project such as the Geoff Tate solo project.
"Aside from Geoff Tate's recent assault in Brazil, he has also made threats to the band at the M3 and Rocklahoma festivals that if anyone in the band comes near him, he is going to hit them. He has also tarnished the band's name by telling the audience that they sucked during the Rocklahoma festival which was streamed live on television.
"When Scott Rockenfield, Michael Wilton, Eddie Jackson and I performed QUEENSRŸCHE material with Todd La Torre, it was the most positive and enthusiastic response that I have seen in my entire run with the band, both from the crowd and amidst the band. We played the older, heavier material that the fans always ask for and that we are never able to play. The shows sold out both nights and the merchandise sold out immediately. We had nothing but positive reviews and the fans loved it. We had fans fly to Seattle for the shows from all around the world, some even as far as Japan. What was even more uplifting than the crowd's reaction was the band's reaction. I have never seen bigger smiles on the guys' faces while we played the shows. The positivity continued long after the shows as we started hanging out, going to dinners, going to shows, and most importantly writing music together as a band, which I never experienced while Geoff Tate was in the band. Everyone, including the new singer Todd La Torre, is on the same page. We want to play the same kind of music, and stay true to the QUEENSRŸCHE legacy."