QUEENSRŸCHE's Scott Rockenfield Talks New Album - - "I Think The Proof Of The Record Now Proves That Our Chemistry Is A Great Thing"
July 29, 2013, a year ago
By Matthew O'Shaughnessy
BraveWords New York correspondent Matthew O'Shaughnessy recently talked with very excited and enthusiastic QUEENSRŸCHE drummer Scott Rockenfield about the band's long-anticipated new self-titled release which was officially unveiled to fans this past June 25th through Century Media. Rockenfield also spoke about the very early days in the 1980's and the core unit of the band, working again with iconic producer James "Jimbo" Barton (who handled the stellar production duties of the groups legendary Operation: Mindcrime, Empire and Promised Land opus'), the great chemistry of the Todd La Torre fronted Queensrÿche and much more. Onward and upward. The Rÿche returns!
BraveWords: As the legendary drummer and founding member of Queensrÿche, you've got to be excited about the current state of affairs surrounding you. The band returns in a huge way with new addition to the group, singer Todd La Torre and your long-awaited self-titled album. This very publication gave the album a nine out of a ten rating. You've got to be pleased with life on the Queensrÿche front.
Scott Rockenfield: "Thanks, Matt, for all that great commentary. I appreciate everything. It's been fantastic. We've had a great last twelve months or so...which basically started a year ago when we met Todd and made our transition for Queensrÿche and we carried on. We played shows around the world. The whole culmination of writing the record last Summer and working together and then recording it; the response has been insane! You don't know what to expect but it just took off and it's going so well; the response from everybody around the world has just been fantastic! Things are just going so well. We just feel like we are back doing what is important for us and the brand of Queensrÿche and for our fans that have been wanting us to make music and play shows that they can be excited about again. I think this is a really great time for us."
BraveWords: Queensrÿche was unleashed on June 25th via Century Media and the band celebrated the release of the album with a sold-out show at the Crocodile Club in Seattle on June 26th.
Scott Rockenfield. "It was a fantastic show. It was almost full circle for us; the first show Todd did with us was a year ago in June. The record being completed and us doing a sold-out show in Seattle in an intimate setting like the one we did a year a go - it was just on fire that show. We had people fly in from Japan and all over the world. They had a great time and we did too. We got to play a couple of the new songs from the album that we hadn't done yet. We had PAMELA MOORE from the Mindcrime record join us. She sure has a great relationship with us and our fans through the years. The enthusiasm and the excitement from our fans has just gone through the roof. I could talk all day about it."
BraveWords: What was the primary game plan and approach going into the new self-titled album?
Scott Rockenfield: "We just wanted to start writing music together and get ourselves back to doing what we've been wanting to do for a long time musically. Basically, we needed a singer who was enthusiastic and the right fit and Todd was the perfect match. We started writing last summer and only knew each other for a couple of months. I think the proof of the record now kind of proves that our chemistry together is a great thing; we had a great time writing songs and we've already started writing more songs."
BraveWords: You've said about the new Queensrÿche album, "We believe that we have recorded some of our finest music in years; the collaborative effort of everyone on this album is something we are extremely proud of."
Scott Rockenfield: "We all feel that way in the band. I think the cool thing is that the proof is out there now. People can pick up the record or hear it on the internet. It's doing its own talking for us right now. That was really our goal in the beginning. The music for us was always the most important thing and we wanted the music to always do the talking for us. And I think it has. We are so thankful that people really consider this to be a great move for Queensrÿche and that the fans are basically saying, 'We feel like you are back to doing what we want you to do as band and what we feel that you guys want to do. I think that's important."
BraveWords: Queensrÿche worked again with Operation: Mindcrime and Empire producer James "Jimbo" Barton. It seems like it was a natural fit working together on your new album. You've commented, 'Working with "Jimbo" and the addition of Todd La Torre has revitalized the band in ways we never knew until we heard the final results.'
Scott Rockenfield: "'Jimbo' is a great person; he is a fantastic and talented musical person when we are in the studio together. We made great records in Mindcrime, Empire and Promised Land with him. We really just wanted to revisit that whole energy again. He was the only choice that we really wanted to look at in making this new record. He was so excited and he loves the new music and he really just wanted to come in and just be a part of what we were familiar with doing in the past together. I think he really delivered a great record for us. And he pushed us to the limit of what we're able to do in terms of just really giving us a nudge to just have fun, be ourselves and make a record we believe in."
BraveWords: You founded Queensrÿche while you were just in high school, only seventeen years old. You recently celebrated a birthday. Happy Birthday.
Scott Rockenfield: "Yes, I turned fifty in June. I do appreciate that. Thank you. The culmination of the record coming out now and the anniversary of Todd joining the band and the whole new re-birth of Queensrÿche is just great. My teenage kids are actually calling me an epic Dad again (laughter). It feels so good when your kids adore what your doing and are just proud. They know that I am happy and the guys in the band are happy and they just really relish in that. As far as the new album goes, we had no idea how well it would sell. In the first four hours upon its release, we sold more copies than were anticipated in the entire first week. Everyday it's just more good news. We are getting flooded with positive stuff every day."
BraveWords: The very early days of your career are quite remarkable; you first started pounding the skins at eleven years old after seeing some drums in your elementary school. You later went to Redmond high school in Washington State in the US and took and interest in music and film. I understand some of your primary influences were KISS, BOSTON, JUDAS PRIEST, RUSH, VAN HALEN and PINK FLOYD.
Scott Rockenfield: "They're still some of my favorites. I just love it and all of that stuff was just perfect. And you're right, I started playing drums at the age of eleven. I've actually never taken any lessons in my life; I've just self-taught myself. And about four years after that when I was fifteen or sixteen I got to know the guys in high school around here and that turned out to be Michael Wilton, Eddie Jackson and at the time Chris DeGarmo. By the time I was seventeen, we were already looking at writing our own songs and making a record which was when we did the EP. And then we went on the road around the world playing shows and I've never looked back!. My Dad tells me to get a day job (laughter). I have very proud parents and he says that because it's probably the most incredible day job that I could have ever found. I just can't complain. I've been really fortunate as well besides the Queensrÿche legacy; I've been really fortunate with a lot of other great opportunities in the music industry with scoring music for films which I do regularly and have been doing for quite a while. Also, I produce video game music for some of the big video games and film trailers which I've done recently for some of the big a-list films that are in the theatres now."
BraveWords: Tell us about the theme of the new Queensrÿche album, a synopsis.
Scott Rockenfield: "The record for us is really just a journey from the beginning to the end; the way we sum up all of the songs and lyric content and the musical direction is really about moving forward. And looking at your experiences and taking them for what they are worth. But moving forward in life and seeing where that takes you. For us, that's kind of where we are with Queensrÿche. And this is the beginning of that. That's kind of how we structured the record. You know what's really great for us is that I don't think any of us, especially Eddie, Michael or I, and I think I can speak for everybody, is that this is one of those records that we continuously still love listening to and are excited about it every time we listen to it. Every time I listen to it I hear something new and it just always makes me feel a great certain way."
BraveWords: Queensrÿche fans are chomping at the bit to see you showcase the new album in a live setting. What are your plans to pound it out on the road?
Scott Rockenfield: "We've got all sorts of fun stuff; we actually have a lot of festival shows in July and August and then in September we are confirming a big US tour for us to go and really hammer it solid and take a stage show and support the record. And then the month of October we go to the UK and Europe for about four to five weeks and then we come home for the holidays. And then go back out around the world starting sometime in 2014."
BraveWords: What ultimately is the Queensrÿche legacy with the core unit of the band?
Scott Rockenfield: "Wow, that's a interesting question to be honest. I think one thing that is important about the Queensrÿche legacy is the chemistry of the bulk of the unit and that's one of our answers to a lot of questions that have arisen since we had to make our transition last year and move on as the core unit of Queensrÿche. The important part of that is the core and the chemistry together that started Queensrÿche and gave the legacy of the music through all the years. So, I think that's an important aspect. For Michael, Eddie and I to still be together making music after almost thirty-five years of knowing each other, God, I don't know how we've done that (laughter). But we certainly have and we are as close now as we were back then. I think that's a really important part of it. That gives us the drive, energy and the creative juices to really be collectively together and cohesive about everything. I think the culmination of this new record is an absolute indication of what we want to do and how we perceive Queensrÿche and how we think obviously now how the fans perceive Queensrÿche with the acceptance of the new record. Also, with the acceptance of Todd being in the band I think it also just reiterates the fact that the core of Queensrÿche is what the fans also appreciate."
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