QUEENSRŸCHE guitarist Michael Wilton recently spoke with Valentino Petrarca of WSOU 89.5 FM, the South Orange, New Jersey college radio station of Seton Hall University. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the group's new album, "The Verdict":
Michael: "The writing process was a complete band effort with brilliant chemistry. Each song was written piece-by-piece, and it was such an amazing endeavor. We brought from 20 demo songs down to the 10 [on the album] and took about three months to get it done, but we are so happy with it."
On the process of choosing which songs made the final cut:
Michael: "With a producer, you've got to organize it. We're so unorganized with demo songs and ideas, lyrics, everything, so you've got to get it down and start building up. It's like throwing it at the wall — if it sticks, we keep it. If it falls down, it's gone."
On whether it's tough to keep things fresh after 37 years as a band:
Michael: "It actually gets easier, because you're so accustomed to it. We are all individuals with plenty of creative content, and even after doing an album like 'The Verdict', there's still tons of ideas brewing in our minds. We're constantly writing on the road."
On whether he gets "nervous" prior to an album's release:
Michael: "Probably, in the back of your mind, there's always a little bit of apprehension. But you know what? You believe in what you write. You've been doing it for so long that you just kind of go with it. You don't want to force-feed anybody or try and copy a certain style — you just go with what's true in your creative heart."
On the "dark" lyrics on "The Verdict":
Michael: "Because QUEENSRŸCHE tours so much, we just absorb what we see in the world. There's a lot of darkness, a lot of imbalance, a lot of things that really affect us. Sometimes, you just write about personal experiences, and that reflects in QUEENSRŸCHE's lyrics whether it's political, whether it's relationship, whether it's trauma, drug addiction, whatever. We just write about what we experience and see. That's how it's always been – we kind of absorb the world."
On performing live:
Michael: "There's a connection you make with the audience. You feel that connection. It's that energy that goes back and forth between the entertainer and the audience. It's unbelievable. It's such a great high. I love it."
On his favorite touring memory:
Michael: "There's just so many... I think the biggest memory was back in the '90s, when we won the MTV Viewer's Choice Award. It was just great to accept that — James Brown handing the MTV Award to us live on television. We've done other things like performing at the Grammys. We've had numerous Grammy nominations. It's just been a great career, and those are all real special memories."
On the band's longevity:
Michael: "We're a fortunate band. We've been around for a few decades, and we have the legacy of the hits that we've had back in the '90s. That resonates in a lot of the fans, but also, we put out current albums, so we like to say that we're current in a sense and still have an edge to our music. It's just a matter of keeping current and keeping in the press and in the mainstream."
On the band's future:
Michael: "First and foremost, my job's my hobby, so I love what I do. I think everybody is like that in the band. There's a passion for what we do, and as long as the fans support it, we'll keep doing it."
"The Verdict" was released on March 1 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.