The New Ryche Is Back

By on March 13, 2013

Queensryche with Todd La Torre (center) (PHOTO – QR General Publicity 1 / Mike Savoia)

Queensryche the multi-platinum selling band are in the early stages of “Return to History” Tour which is taking place this March and April. They’ve gone through, without completion, a contentious change with their original lead singer in Geoff Tate, which has lead to a highly publicized court battle over the naming rights of the band.  They recently have been signed to a new label deal with Century Media and is set for release on June 11th.

We recently spoke with Todd La Torre, the Saint Petersburg native and new lead singer for the band about the upcoming album, tour and previous work with Crimson Glory and his friendship with Matt La Porte.

Travis: Congratulations on inking the new record deal.  You and your guys must be excited to be releasing it in June. Have you guys decided on a name for the new album yet?

TODD:  Kind of.  But if I did, I couldn’t tell you right now anyway. Yeah, I think we’ve got it narrowed down.  You know, we will reveal that very soon.  We’re finalizing the artwork, the track listing and the order and all those goodies, the thank yous and liner notes and all of the things that go into it.

The record’s done. It’s just in the final mixing and then mastering stages. So we’re excited about the June release.

TRAVIS: What should we be expecting in regard to the sound of the new album?  Is it back to the basics or back to the old-school Queensryche with a mix of some new material?

TODD:  The new record I would say has — sounds better — better — you know, there’s something that you’d say, hey, that sounds like it could have been off a Rage For Order or this sounds kind of like Mindcrime-ish, or this could be an Empire thing but with a new — new flavor on it.  There’s some new sounds.  The guitars — the guitars sound, you know, crunchier.  And, you know, Ed’s got his classic bass tone.

This is a very organic collaborative body of work that we all wrote. We didn’t say, we need somebody to just give us a handful of songs. We did write all our own stuff.  I mean, hell, I wrote a guitar solo as just an idea I had, and Michael actually used it and — for an outro melody of one of our songs.

Michael Wilton had a whole song and had the melody for it but he didn’t have the lyrics. He came to me and said “Hey, Todd, check this melody out.” And it’s now one of the best choruses on the whole record.

All of this is a very wonderful, natural, quality piece of music and all of us feel that way.  Are we gonna say it’s a balls-to-the-wall heavy album?  No. It’s a hard rock record with some metal elements to it.  But I would never want to say that it’s a heavy metal record because I don’t want to box in Queensryche.  I don’t want to box our sound in.  If we want to use strings and be orchestrated, we can do that.  If I want to scream, till I’m blue in the face, you know, we can do that.  If Michael wants to play something really shreddin or soft and pretty, we want to have all of those avenues to go down without boxing us into a genre or niche.

Overall, I think it’s a strong record.  It’s very true and authentic to us.  And we hope that that translates musically to the fans.  And everyone here thinks differently.  But, overall, I think that people are really gonna like it, and I think it’s a — it’s a huge deviation from the last couple records. It was only the band writing. There’s no outside influence.

TRAVIS:  Tell us a little more about the collaborative effort in regard to the music and especially the lyrics.

TODD: I’ve written some drum parts on a song that Parker wrote.  I’ve written, out of the quantity of songs we have I think I wrote lyrics for six or seven of them maybe.  Five, six, seven.  I don’t know.  They would say, here, check this idea out.  And then I’d run with it.  And then we all work together on it.

But most of the time they’re like, dude, that’s awesome.  And then there might be a, hey, let’s try this on the melody here.

But lyrically, they don’t tell me what to do or how to be.  That’s why this is such a wonderful thing for everybody.  There’s no — you know, it’s not a dictatorship, dude.  It’s a democracy.  And we all talk about it.  And we do what we feel is best for the band musically as a group.  And so they allow me that freedom.

I feel very fortunate and thankful and — you know, it’s awesome.  Its sweet you know, all the ingredients are right.  And it’s — it’s tasty.

TRAVIS:  Well, will you guys be releasing a single, and do you know what that first single might be?

TODD:  That’s something that we haven’t focused on. Really right now we’ve just been so busy doing the recording.  We just did our first show last night of this leg of the tour.  That’s stuff that we haven’t really even gotten into.  I mean, we have our label and management and the respective people that talk about those things.  We have discussed it, I think we may release something soon.  You know, possibly before the entire record is out, there may be a full song out there, before even our release date.  That’s very likely.  I’m not saying it’s gonna happen, but it’s probable.

There was a lot of great feedback from that — from that teaser of the song “Redemption” and Eddie Trunk world-premiered it on his show.  And the first words out of his mouth when it was done was, “Man, it sounds like Queensryche.”  So that was a wonderful stamp of approval from a guy who knows so much about the music and the players and the sounds and whatnot. That was a wonderful thing that he got from it.

TRAVIS:  You gotta love the props that Eddie gives.  He is the ultimate “defender of the faith” of the genre and he’s been just like you and I have been, since we’re young kids, raising our fists and putting up the horns.

TODD:  Sure.

TRAVIS:  How fired up are you for the March 15th show at The Ritz?  I’m sure you’re gonna see a lot of the boys from the old crews.

TODD: We’re super excited to play Tampa.

You know, a home show.  It’s gonna be a great time.

It should be a sold-out show and a lot of great energy and –

TRAVIS: Any Butterflies?

TODD:  Yeah. I can get in front of 20 – 30,000 people or whatever and I don’t ever feel nervous; I feel great.  But there’s a little bit of a butterfly thing happening.  It’s like all these people that I know staring at me.  It’s kinda weird.

My mom’s gonna be there.  My mother has never seen me play as a singer.  She’s never seen me perform live. So that’s a very special thing for me. I mean, our parents are getting older and, you know, one day won’t be able to do.  Eddie’s now making faces at me.  I think we’re being pulled off for lunch.

Yes, I’m super excited about it.  We’re gonna have a great time.  I don’t know what capacity is there, but I’ve talked to the promoter and it’s doing really well.  It’s gonna be a lot of fun.  I’ll be glad to get back in the Florida weather, because right now I’m looking out the bus window and there’s ice and snow everywhere.  And I got the sniffles from it.  So wanna bundle up and stay warm and can’t wait to get down to Florida and just have a great time with everybody there.  It’s gonna be awesome.

TRAVIS:  Well, I know you’re going on the Monsters of Rock Cruise right after that, so you’ve got to be pretty excited to spend some time with some quality bands which I’m sure you listened to when you were young.  And I know Tesla’s playing —

TODD:  Yeah.

TRAVIS:  — and Cinderella, et cetera, et cetera.

TODD:  Yeah.  Always loved Tesla — as a drummer, I always love the drumming from that band and the music and, you know, just to be around that.  It’s always a fun environment, you know, in some ways it’s very nostalgic.

But then a lot of those guys are still writing and still doing new things.  So, you know, it’s always gonna be a lot of fun.

And then Stryper is gonna be there.  And I’m good friends with Michael Sweet and those guys.  And so it’s good to hang out with people that you respect and whatnot, but that you’re friends with.  And it’s gonna be an awesome thing.

TRAVIS:  Well, you’ve come a long way from Seminole High in St. Pete and for most of your music career in the Tampa area, you played drums and then you transitioned to vocals.  Are we ever gonna see a little change-up where you’re back behind the kit and Scott’s up front singing, a la Anthrax?

TODD:  That could be.  Scott and I talk about doing something and they’ve never done that before.  They’ve never been able to do that before.  So I think visually it would be something great for me.  It would be awesome because I love drumming, and miss drumming, in a live situation.  And I know the material.  So, we’ve talked about, maybe doing a really cool dual drumming thing.  We’ve got a lot of exciting things up our sleeves that we’re working on and that we’ll be unveiling. So it wouldn’t be impossible to see me out there on a drum set sometime.

TRAVIS:  Well the music community in the area and in the country, lost a great guy and a great guitar player in Matt LaPorte of Jon Oliva’s Pain.

Can you tell us a little bit about Matt and your relationship?

TODD:  He was great.  He was one of my best friends.  He was super funny.  You know, phenomenal guitar player.  He got to do — live his dream.  You know, Savatage, Criss Oliva, Jon Oliva, those were his favorites.

I just knew him as a local musician.  He was a local boy, friend of ours, who made it. It was great.  It was exciting, you know, that he got into Jon Oliva’s Pain.

And instead of calling it Savatage it was as close as Savatage could be.  I mean, he was playing with the writer and sound of that band.  So it was Savatage in his heart.

And he was really funny.  He was a sweet guy. We had a lot of heart-to-heart conversations.  And he actually called me.  I talked to him the day before he passed away.  He was upset about some things and called me, and we talked.  And I said, “Well, call me tonight.  Let’s talk tonight for sure.  Please call me.  And I want to talk to you more.”

And, “Okay, man, I love you, dude.”

And I said, “I love you, too.”

And then I — he never called me that night.

And then I found out the next day that he — he passed away, you know, at home.

So there’s so many times I wish I could call him and share, some news or hey man, what do you think of this?  Or, Man, check this out; this is so — he would have been so proud.  He would have been so happy.  And he was he was very special to so many people.  He was very instrumental in other people’s musical success and breaking out.

So a lot of people remember him as a very sweet, funny guy with a — he was a truly gifted musician.  He had an amazing ear.  And there’s a scholarship fund that’s set up in his name, the Matt LaPorte Music Scholarship Fund. Seminole Music is going to be donating a guitar, and we’re gonna have the whole band sign it at that show.  And then Seminole Music’s gonna put it up for auction, and all of the money is going to — to go to that scholarship fund, which is — is a great thing.  I mean, they’ve already given out scholarships to people but this is just for music school.  Nothing more.  So it’s a great thing.

He is  a very missed person, you know, and it’s a shame that he — you know, he’s gone so early.

TRAVIS:  Well, the local community here misses him dearly, I have to tell you.

TODD:  Yeah.

TRAVIS:  I’ve seen JOP play numerous times, and I always loved watching Matt play guitar.

Matt was huge in helping your career when he introduced you to the guys in Crimson Glory after the untimely passing of the renowed vocalist MIdnight.

TODD:  Sure.

Did taking the vocalist position in Crimson make the transition of replacing Geoff Tate easier in all aspects?

TODD:  Yeah, I think so.  At first it was like, You suck.  You’ll never be Midnight, you know.  You’re this.  You’re that.

And, that hurts. When people talk mean things like that, it’s not an easy thing to digest.

But after a while, you just say, You know what?  I get it.  It’s very special to them.  It’s very — that singer is very true and dear to their heart as a fan.  But, you know I just want to do the best I can do.  And it’s easy for people to sit there on the keyboard and — on the other side and say, you know, You suck.  But most of those people couldn’t sing one verse and really sell it, much less an hour and a half of a concert.

Everyone’s got an opinion.  But I would say that the Crimson Glory thing definitely without a doubt made this so much easier for me.

People always say, How is it to fill Geoff’s shoes?

It’s like, I don’t think I have shoes to fill.   Geoff has his shoes, and I have mine I just fill my shoes.

TODD:  I mean, can Geoff fill Geoff’s shoes?  That’s his deal.  You know, he can only do what he does.  I can only do what I do.

So it comes with the territory.  But I can’t really let that get the better of me. It’s not productive.

TRAVIS:  Transcendence from Crimson is a must-have for metal fans, and your work with Crimson is absolute dead on balls, absolute dead on balls.

TODD:  Man, thank you.  That is a great — that is a masterpiece of a record.  It is an awesome record.  I mean, Midnight had a much higher range and a thinner voice.  I have a really — pretty deep voice.  I can sing really low.  And trying to go up that high is not easy.

But thank you so much for the compliment.  Midnight had such a really quirky, interesting, unique sound.  I mean, there’s only one Midnight.  And I just did the best I could with that.

But I really appreciate your words.

TRAVIS: I know that you said that there was some negativity in regard to the whole taking over with Crimson.  Have you gotten any of that Queensryche fans?

TODD:  Sure.  Yeah, people say, Oh, he’s trying — look.  It’s real simple.  I’m damned if I do, and I’m damned if I don’t.  If I sound too close to it, Oh, he’s a copycat.  If I sound different, That’s nothing like Queensryche sounds.  So it’s like, Okay, well, what do you want?  You know?

So I just do what I do, where is that common thread.  But I also have my own thing, which is different than, you know, things that Geoff did.

I mean, there’s a grit and a texture and a scratch in my voice that I have that he doesn’t have or that he never had on record.

I like to do some of the growling stuff, I mean, even live — like I’ve incorporated — like, Roads To Madness, there’s one little thing at the end in the middle section, after “beyond the open plains” where I use my own technique and style to give it my own flair.

And I’ll kind of look at Parker, and we kind of grin and chuckle about it.

But, you know, on the new record there’s some scratch and some other cool things that, you know, I don’t think sound anything like Geoff.  But then there are elements that sound a lot like him. Everyone’s gonna kind of take it their own way, I guess.

TRAVIS: Here’s a softball for you, whats your favorite Queensryche song to sing prior to joining the band and after joining the band?

TODD:  Ooh.  That’s a good one.  Nobody asks me that one that way.

Prior to joining, ooh, maybe like No Sanctuary.  And now — now in Roads To Madness, now that I’ve joined, or I would say The Whisper and Warning.

TRAVIS:  I know you gotta run but I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask you this.  I’m sure you guys have heard about the acquittal of Randy Blythe from Lamb of God. He was acquitted of the manslaughter charge that he was facing?  How big was that for the music and metal community?

TODD:  Dude, when all went down — I mean, you know, congrats to them on the acquittal, but, jeez, when that whole thing went down, I was like, whoa, what happened?  Who — what happened?

And then I was looking at some video on YouTube that people was saying was the video.  And look, there have been times where I’ve — even with Crimson when I was in Germany and some dude got on stage, you know, during Red Sharks and they’re going crazy up front and some guys there stage diving.  Theres security to control it.  But if it gets out of control, dude, I’ll throw you right off the stage.  I don’t give a shit.  Like this is where I work.

And I don’t mind — I like the energy.  But when it starts to, when elbows are getting close to my face or it gets out of control, you know — I’m not saying that the guy from Lamb of God even pushed anybody, because I wasn’t there and I didn’t see anything.  And I don’t know the details.  But what I am saying is even if I push somebody to get him off of me or get him away from where I am, I think I have every right to do that, personally.

Now, if the guy fell and hit his head dies as a result, that’s — that’s totally sad.  It’s extremely unfortunate.  But we’re put into very compromising situations where you say, okay, personally how do I react?  Okay.  Professionally, how do I react?  It’s kind of a weird area, you know, because it’s — it’s so quick.  It’s emotion.  It’s a certain energy that’s happening.  Certainly there’s nothing malicious there.

I don’t know what happened, but at least the guy’s not in prison and all that kind of stuff anymore.  I mean, that’s — I’m sure a lot of people are extremely happy about that.

TRAVIS:  Oh, absolutely.  Well, you know, especially after the Dime Bag situation happened.  You have to be responsible on stage, and you always have to be worried about what’s going on around you.

TODD:  Yeah.  That — when I first got in Crimson, the whole DimeBag  tragedy entered my mind.  I went, Hey, there’s some wacko crazy MFers out there.  Like, what if some guy — I’m in some country — You’re not Midnight, and people do crazy shit.  It’s a weird world.  And you know what?  These fans, a lot of times, they take the band more seriously than the bands do.  It’s like, dude, people eat, breathe, sleep, walk, talk this band.  The band doesn’t even do it like that. They’re hardcore people and they take it really personal and they’re offended.

So, yeah, it’s — security, you know, we have really great security.  And you and them can only do so much.

But at the end of the day, you know are you afraid?  Do you live in fear and so you don’t do anything?  Or you just say, You know what?  I’m just going to go out; we can take all the precautions we can and just give it our best show.  And that’s — that’s what we do.

TRAVIS:  Well, Todd, you know, you stated once that you didn’t think  anything good  was coming out of St. Pete.  And thankfully for the music community and the ‘Ryche family, you weren’t right.



New Album Slated For Release June 11, 2013

Band Comprised Of Todd La Torre, Michael Wilton, Parker Lundgren, Eddie Jackson and Scott Rockenfield Heading Out On RETURN TO HISTORY World Tour

(from March 4, 2013 – New York, NY) – Legendary Seattle rockers Queensrÿche are poised to regain their place as hard rock/heavy metal royalty in 2013.  The band has just signed a new label deal with Century Media for the release of their latest studio album.  The album is slated for release on June 11 and marks the debut album from the lineup comprised of Todd La Torre (Vocals), Michael Wilton (Guitars), Parker Lundgren (Guitars), Eddie Jackson (Bass) and Scott Rockenfield (Drums).  The band premiered a snippet from a new song called “Redemption” from the upcoming release on Eddie Trunk’s radio show on February 22.   Queensrÿche join Century Media’s diverse roster comprised some of music’s most recognizable talent including In Flames, In This Moment, Lacuna Coil and Arch Enemy to name a few.

“Queensrÿche is excited to begin writing this next chapter of our career with Century Media.  Their passion and love for music has been apparent since early discussions and we are pleased to call them partners on this journey,” states bassist Eddie Jackson.  “We are also thankful for all of the fans who have supported us from day one and helped us get to where we are today.  Todd, Scott, Parker, Michael and I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for each and every one of you.”

Queensrÿche will also be heading out on their RETURN TO HISTORY World Tour this March and April.  The tour kicks off on March 5th in Dubuque, IA and makes stops in 9 different countries wrapping up on April 26th in the Netherlands.  The band will also be taking to the high seas on this year’s Monsters Of Rock Cruise and Sweden Rock Cruise. The 23 date trek will make stops in New York, Tennessee and Florida as well as in Canada, United Kingdom and Germany amongst others.  Tickets for all shows are currently on sale.

Queensrÿche first burst onto the music scene in 1982 with the release of their self-titled 4 song EP Queensrÿche. They very quickly gained international recognition and performed to sold out audiences around the world. With the follow up first full-length album “The Warning” in 1984, and the ground breaking 1986 release of “Rage For Order”, Queensrÿche continued to prove their worldwide dominance as one of the most respected and creative bands of the 80’s. In 1988 the band turned out yet another monumental album “Operation: Mindcrime”, which would go on to become one of the TOP 10 best selling concepts records of all time, and set the stage for continued sold out performances around the world. With the release of the critically acclaimed and commercially successful “Empire” in 1991, the band earned multiple Grammy Award nominations and won the MTV “viewers choice” award for the #1 chart topping hit “Silent Lucidity”. During the next ten years, the band continued to release albums and tour the world to sold-out audiences. Queensrÿche has sold over 30 million albums worldwide and have continued to break new ground and push their creative process.





Mar 5

Dubuque, IA

Diamond Jo Casino

Mar 7

Toronto, ON

Phoenix Concert Theatre

Mar 8

Englewood, NJ

Bergen Performing Arts Center

Mar 9

Jim Thorpe, PA

Penn’s Peak

Mar 10

Patchogue, NY

The Emporium

Mar 12

Nashville, TN

Wildhorse Saloon

Mar 14

Biloxi, MS

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

Mar 15

Tampa, FL

Ritz Ybor

Mar 16

Fort Lauderdale, FL

Monsters Of Rock Cruise

Mar 22

Orlando, FL

House Of Blues

Mar 23

Raleigh, NC


Mar 30

Uncasville, CT

Mohegan Sun Casino

Apr 6

Regina, SK

Casino Regina Show Lounge

Apr 11

Stockholm, SWE

Sweden Rock Cruise

Apr 13

Oulu, FIN

Club Teatria

Apr 14

Mons, BEL

Power Prog & Metal Festival @ Lotto Mons Expo

Apr 15

London, UK

O2 Academy

Apr 17

Nottingham, UK

Rock City

Apr 18

Manchester, UK

The Ritz

Apr 19

Dublin, IRE

The Academy Dublin

Apr 20

Duisburg, GER


Apr 21

Ludwigsburg, GER


Apr 23

Aaburg, SWI


Apr 24

Munchen, GER


Apr 26

Eindhoven, NET




Other Confirmed 2013 Tour Dates




Jul 18

Oshkosh, WI

Rock USA Festival

Jul 19

Springville, IN

ABATE of Indiana “Boogie”

Jul 20

Erie, PA

Roar on the Shore Biker Rally

Aug 2

Sturgis, SD

The Sturgis Buffalo Chip

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