James R. Beach – Building An Empire: The Story of Queensrÿche

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At long last a precise and accurate biography of Queensrÿche. If you think about it, it’s one of those extremely rare cases where a great band with a 40-year career doesn’t have a fine ensemble of books to display. As a matter of fact, “Building An Empire” is really the first serious attempt on capturing the Queensrÿche story written exclusively by dedicated fans with a detailed knowledge of the band’s career.

James R. Beach with supplemental input by Brian Naron and Brian Heaton thoroughly presents all the important chapters of Queensrÿche’s path right down from the very start (eg. How The Mob and Myth “transformed” into Queensrÿche) up to the evolution to the top (circa 1988-1990) and the subsequent commercial (and artistic) demise at the late 90s. What’s really admirable on “Building An Empire” is the fact that you’re reading so many details yet it doesn’t tire you at all as all of them are really important and essential to the story. In other words, Beach did a great job on selecting what to include and what not so as to keep intact the interest of the potential reader. And not only this, as Beach retains throughout the book an objective view even on the most sensitive subjects like, for instance, the dreadful situation between Tate and the other members in 2012.

Personally, I learned lots of things about Queensrÿche (eg. Details of what happened during the recording sessions of “Operation: Mindrime II”, Geoff Tate’s erratic behavior, Susan Tate’s mishandling business affair when she was manager of the band etc.). I’d expected to see more info about DeGarmo’s departure but the overall narration was suffice enough. In the last 10 years, Queensrÿche has returned giving joy to the fans even though things are not what they used to be.

All in all, “Building An Empire” is a brilliant book about Queensrÿche and it’s highly recommended to all of you out there. Last but certainly not least is the fact that the writers have used a few excerpts of Rockpages’ interview with Matt Bazemore. Some additional cool stuff in there…