Just before Queensrӱche’s show in Athens Rockpages’ camera is backstage with Michael Wilton talking about the band’s recent album “The Verdict”, the return to a more familiar sound, Scott Rockenfield who is constantly absent and ‘Ryche’s most underrated album. At the end of the interview he is called to comment on three cassetes (!) that are shown to him. Interview: Sakis Nikas, Camera: Yiannis Dolas, Editing/Post Production: OneManArmy
Rockpages.gr: New album, new tour… “The Verdict” is out. How does it feel?
Michael Wilton: Oh, yeah, I mean the album “The Verdict” is so well received worldwide… It charted in new countries for us. It’s really given us a platform to tour against… We’re here in Greece in Athens, you know, it’s good to be coming to places that we used to tour all the time and now we’re making these tours bigger and being able to play places we really wanted to play. We just started the tour last night and… an amazing crowd! Oh my gosh! It was so… so amazing. The fans were so supportive, they just loved the whole performance. We’ve never been there. It blew us away. It was great. So we’re really hoping that you know, we make a big impact and Athens tonight.
Rockpages.gr: Third album with Todd La Torre and you are back to a more familiar sound. Did you feel vindicated as an artist?
Michael Wilton: For me it’s more about just coming round in circle to who I am, to who the band is and what is natural for us. We’re a touring band and we listen to the crowds. We know what they like and they know what we like and we like things exciting right? So, we play the songs that create dynamics, but as well as much excitement as possible in our shows.
Rockpages.gr: Unlike your previous releases, we hear more of your guitar on this one. Do you agree with that?
Michael Wilton: Yeah, well you know it’s more about being a band. The music reflects that, the playing reflects that. It’s about making things breathe, being dynamic but still have that punch in the face with the guitars. In the beginning Queensrӱche was known as a guitar band, so it’s ironic that we had to come full circle to get back to that.
Rockpages.gr: What’s the deal with Scott Rockenfield? Is Kacey a full member of the band?
Michael Wilton: Kacey is a touring member. As you know in the Media Scott started a family and he’d moved down that path in life. We’re giving him his privacy and we are letting him deal with what he’s doing. But, he told us he can’t tour right now, so we have Kacey. Kacey has been with us for three years now. The fans love Kacey. They have taken him in and he is a great player, he respect the way Scott played very well, you’ll see that tonight. That’s kind of where we are at right now. We’re going to keep moving forward. Queensrӱche is a machine that’s constantly moving and you’ve got to keep it going. We’re having a great time with Kacey on drums.
Rockpages.gr: Is Queensrӱche a democracy? Or the final decision lies on you and Eddie, the two original members?
Michael Wilton: I think when it comes to the creative aspect of the band it’s a band decision. Everybody is involved, everybody has the opportunity to put their input, to put their creativity and their opinion into the song writing and into aspects of marketing; the album cover design, t-shirts, whatever… that’s definitely a band democracy. The business side, that nobody wants to know about it’s a different scenario.
Rockpages.gr: Which you’d say is your most underrated album?
Michael Wilton: Wow! Ahm… I would have to say “Promised Land”. When in came out it has those great expectations because it was coming off “Empire” and we kind of did a 180 on it. As far as we didn’t try to appease the popular stereotype out there. So, there is a lot of great songs on that album and great musical passages and I think a lot of them got pushed and shadowed due to the onslaught of the “Empire” album.
Rockpages.gr: Yeah, but it’s considered to be one of Queensrӱche’s classic albums nowadays.
Michael Wilton: Oh, yeah! We like to think that all out legacy albums hold the test of time.
The Cassette Challenge…
- Queensrӱche – Queensrӱche
Michael Witlon: Ok, that’s our first album… I think I was 20 years old when this happened and obviously this is the beginning of the band… what catapulted us into a touring band and getting into a big scary industry, signing record deals, publishing and merchandise deals… this is what got us into that… and being 20 years old it was pretty exciting times.
- Queensrӱche – Operation: Livecrime
Michael Wilton: This is some very special live performances that were captured and this time of our history is really important as far as the way the whole music industry was booming and for us to collide with it in a sense and to come out with some bad ass music.
- Queensrӱche – Hear In The Now Frontier
Michael Wilton: This was during a time when record companies were folding and a whole wave of new music was coming in. for us was just an album that really didn’t get the recognition that it deserved because it wasn’t “heavy” enough. Full of great song writing, full of great songs, but it’s another album that gets shadowed due to… you know not being super heavy enough…