QUEENSRŸCHE singer Todd La Torre has pleaded with the band’s fans to “exercise a little more altruism and compassion” when it comes to criticizing the current version of the group and QUEENSRŸCHE’s former frontman Geoff Tate, explaining that “we’re all just people at the end of the day.”
La Torre, who joined QUEENSRŸCHE in June 2012 as the replacement for Tate, has recorded two albums with the band: 2013’s “Queensrÿche” and 2015’s “Condition Hüman”. His addition to the group has sharply divided QUEENSRŸCHE fans, with some longtime followers of the Seattle band feeling that QUEENSRŸCHE cannot exist without its iconic original lead singer.
During an October 5 appearance on the SiriusXM satellite radio show “Eddie Trunk Live”, La Torre was asked about the division in the QUEENSRŸCHE camp and the way he has been received by the QUEENSRŸCHE faithful.
“Here’s the way that I look at it,” he said. “I look at it in the sense from… I am a child of divorced parents, and I look at it as the band wasn’t functioning in its best capacity and potential in those later years. The music reflects that.”
He continued: “Look, when you’re working with somebody for thirty years, I’m sure that, on both sides… Every member of that band, before I came in, you already know what the other person’s probably gonna write, how they phrase… I’m not saying that it’s not inspiring. Maybe it’s just not as inspiring to you. But to have an outside, fresh person with a new set of ideas feels invigorating. That’s why you have bands, and that one member of the band goes and does a side thing, because it just feels good to just have a new set of ideas. Somebody plays a chord a different way, or they have just a new perspective on something. So it’s gotta be challenging for any band to be around for that long and feel like you’re doing anything that feels remotely new or fresh. So, just right out of the gate, let’s just say that. Now, if you say, okay, things weren’t obviously happy with those guys near when I came into the band. Okay. So would you rather have the kids in a house with two parents that don’t show the love and affection, there’s isn’t that dynamic that’s warm and fuzzy and bonding and healthy? Or would you rather have mom and dad separate and move on. Mom’s with somebody new, dad’s with somebody new. It’s tough on the kids for a while, but when they’re with dad, it’s happy. It’s a good time. When they’re with mom, and maybe the new partner, if they evolve into that, fine.”
La Torre went on to say: “For me, if Geoff’s happy doing what he’s doing with whomever he’s doing it with, and that makes him a healthy, happier person, and putting out the music that he wants to, then I think that that’s awesome. And rightfully so, for Michael [Wilton] and Scott [Rockenfield] and Eddie [Jackson] and Parker [Lundgren] to be with me, being completely, they feel, free now with me. And so, that’s invigorating for them, and they deserve that happiness.”
The vocalist continued: “That division had to happen. And I think that without the lows, you never know when you’re up. And if that was the valley, and everyone feels that they’re on the peak now, then that just makes it better for everyone. And if the fans can get past the purist mentality… Nobody’s saying you can’t play those records when Geoff was in the band. Pick a record — I don’t care. Whatever they like. They can always go back to it and play it forever, and that’s the beauty of music — that is lasts forever. But to have to pick a side, you know… Some of these fans, they almost take it more seriously than anybody in the band. They’re so passionate about it, and it’s such a personal thing. And we love ‘em for it, but it can be an asset and a detriment.
“We feel that we have… If we’re gonna talk QUEENSRŸCHE, we feel that we have the majority of the QUEENSRŸCHE fan base. Why is that? Well, how many records do you know — and it’s a real question and it’s slightly rhetorical — how many of those eight years or records, do you feel, sound like QUEENSRŸCHE? And you don’t have to answer. But now, the records that the band is doing… QUEENSRŸCHE is the cumulative of the collective group. It’s a sound that can only happen with all these people. It’s not one person. Michael Wilton writes and uses chords and phrasings that are signature to the QUEENSRŸCHE sound. Scott Rockenfield… There is no other drummer on this planet — I don’t care if you’re in a QUEENSRŸCHE tribute band — that’s gonna phrase and attack the drums and play like Scott Rockenfield. There’s only one of him. And Eddie Jackson on bass. So, those guys are responsible for the sound. Of course, Geoff’s voice was iconic; it’s legendary. No one can deny that. I would never deny that, and I would be ignorant and a fool to do that. So, certainly, he was as integral a part for the sounds that everyone heard and knew and loved. But when outside songwriters start coming in, it just doesn’t have the prog element, it doesn’t have the drive. The vocals aren’t what we remember and know and love.”
La Torre added: “For the record, let me say this in Geoff Tate’s defense: that guy’s taken a lot of crap for, ‘He doesn’t hit the high notes anymore.’ Whether he can and doesn’t want to, or cannot and won’t say it… who cares? In my opinion, that guy’s done more than most vocalists will ever do, and he has nothing to prove as a vocalist. If he doesn’t like that style anymore, because, let’s face it, he’s not 21. Maybe he doesn’t wanna sing ‘Queen Of The Reich’ like that anymore. Personally, he has that right. But when you’re talking QUEENSRŸCHE fans and what QUEENSRŸCHE wants to do, it’s important that the band be able to play those songs. And, for me personally, look, if it’s not something I wanted to do, or felt inspired anymore, I would just have to say, ‘Look…’
“I mean, if Bruce Dickinson hated singing ‘The Number Of The Beast’, because he didn’t like the song or the style, if it got to that point where he just didn’t love it anymore, as a fan, I would hope that he would say, ‘You know, it’s been amazing. I’m forever grateful to the fan base for loving this music, and I’m happy to have been a part of it. But this style just doesn’t resonate with me anymore like it used to, and I don’t feel that it’s fair to the fan base or the music to continue on as if it meant something to me anymore.’ And pass the torch to someone that has that fire and enthusiasm to sing those songs the way that they deserve.”
La Torre concluded: “Everyone evolves, and tastes change, and no one should be faulted for that. So, in Geoff’s defense — again, I don’t know him personally — but I feel bad that our side and his side and anybody’s side has had the harsh criticism… I mean, there’s a difference between constructive criticism and unwavering, relentless bashing. I’m a human being, he’s a human being… We’re all just people at the end of the day, and we do have feelings. And I wish people would just exercise a little more altruism and compassion. Because people just say things with no filter and no regard, without thinking of the recipient on the other side. And at the end of the day, we just wanna write great music for people, and so does he. And, look, if the QUEENSRŸCHE fan base feels they have double the pleasure of music to listen to, then stop bitching and enjoy everybody’s music.”
“Condition Hüman” debuted at No. 27 on The Billboard 200 chart, having shifted 14,000 equivalent album units in the week ending October 8.
The Billboard 200 ranks the most popular albums of the week based on multi-metric consumption, which includes traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA).
“Condition Hüman” was released on October 2 via Century Media. The CD was recorded in part at at Uberbeatz Studio in Washington with producer Chris “Zeuss” Harris, who has previously worked with ROB ZOMBIE, HATEBREED, SOULFLY and SHADOWS FALL.