Handbags at the Ready

Even if you have been stuck down a well for the last couple of months (congratulations on getting out by the way, maybe we can catch up sometime?), you would have probably heard some news about the progressive metal band Queensryche, who have been subject to one of most public and down right bizarre spitting ups ever.

The whole process started off with the band, without singer Geoff Tate, firing his stepdaughter (who run the fan club) and wife (who was the band’s manager). Meanwhile Tate had signed a deal for a film and computer game based on the story of the ‘Operation: Mindcrime’ albums, which would see Tate get a significant greater amount of royalties than the rest of members. After the two incidents came to light, it caused confrontation and dispute within the band, eventually leading Tate being fired from the band. However, Tate filed a lawsuit for being illegally fired from the band and the court have initially said both parties can continue to use the name Queensryche until the next court date in November.

This situation has lead to there currently being two different versions on Queensryche, Geoff Tate’s version and the rest of the band with a new singer Todd La Torre. Tate’s version released their first album ‘Frequency Unknown’ this week and the other Queensryche is set to release their eponymous album in June. This might seem vaguely reasonable, but even after the court’s decision, both sides have been, to put it nicely, ‘commenting’ on each other and trying to make each ‘side’ seem like the bad guys. One minute I’m convinced Tate will be granted the sole use of the name and the next it seems obvious La Torre’s version will get the rights.

‘Frequency Unknown’ was immediately criticised for it’s poor mixing, which can only be interpreted as Tate  immaturely rushing to release an album before the other Queensryche did. However in an attempt to save his fan base, he quickly released a re-mix for free (if you had proof of purchase of the original) and also set up a competition in which fans are being asked to make a video rant about poor the album mixing is. I can’t decide if this is genius marketing by promoting the album through the strength of people’s hate or sheer lunacy (this does come from the man who reportedly threw a drum kit when he heard his wife had been fired though, so perhaps this is normal to him). It’s a fine boundary. Whether intentionally or not, I deeply suspect intentionally, ‘Frequency Unknown’ is represented in initials on the front cover, sending a loud and clear message of F U (F*** You) towards the other band. Charming.

Personally, I’m not a massive fan of Queensryche, but if I was a fan, I’m not sure I would currently want to be associated with either band, after all, who wants to wear a t-shirt of a band who are acting like school children when they are not selected for the football team? It’s also note-worthy that both sides caused this feud by going behind each others backs in the first place, so neither side have the right to a ‘moral high ground’ and should both have remained quiet until the court case. The most sensible thing to do would for both sides to just rename themselves and allow themselves to be simply marketed as “Band X featuring members from Queensryche…”, but that would be too easy.

Think of how our iPod/CD collection might look if band splits were always like this:

  • Guns ‘n’ Roses with Scott Weiland
  • Dave Mustaine’s Metallica
  • Blink 182 without Tom Delonge
  • Queen + Paul Rodgers… oh, wait..

I hope this is sorted out once and for all in November, because at the moment they stand to alienate a large proportion of their fan base and the name Queensryche has become, quite frankly, a bit of a joke. If not, perhaps selling rights to create full on soap opera called Queensryche with its own strange orange-coloured villain who looks like he hangs out a gay bars (search Geoff Tate in images), could be a better enterprise.

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