The contentious, long-running legal battle that resulted in two rival versions of Northwest rock band QUEENSRŸCHE has finally been settled.
The following joint statement has been issued by both sides:
"We wanted to let Queensrÿche fans around the world know that an amicable settlement has been reached between Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield, Michael Wilton and Geoff Tate with regard to the future of the Queensrÿche name. According to the agreement, original Queensrÿche members Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield and Michael Wilton along with recent members, Todd LaTorre and Parker Lundgren, will now be the sole entity recording and touring as Queensrÿche, performing selections from their entire musical catalog that spans over 30 years of material. Original Queensrÿche lead singer Geoff Tate will continue to record, perform and pursue a variety of other creative endeavors and, as part of the agreement, will have the exclusive rights to perform Operation: Mindcrime I and II in their entirety as a unique performance. Both sides wish each other well and are excited about what the future holds. We want to thank the fans for standing beside us through this ordeal and look forward to sharing our music with you for years to come."
The Grammy-nominated, progressive heavy-metal band - which has sold more than 30 million albums worldwide since the early 1980s - split into two separate, acrimonious camps nearly two years ago. A lawsuit resulted in a King County Superior Court ruling that each side could use the same name until the case went to trial or was settled.
According to Wilton, the agreement calls for Queensrÿche corporate assets to be evenly divided among himself, Jackson, Rockenfield and Tate. Both sides say they are relieved to settle the dispute and look forward to moving on.
“It’s the rebirth of Queensrÿche and the way it used to be,” Wilton told Seattle Times
' Gene Stout by phone last night. “We’re rebuilding the Queensrÿche name.”
Wilton said the group felt re-energized during a set Saturday night at the M3 Rock Festival in Baltimore, performing along with TESLA, NIGHT RANGER and other bands.
“There was probably a little more adrenalin on stage,” he said. “I think the fans were expecting a mediocre show and when they heard (singer Todd LaTorre), after three or four songs, they completely accepted him and just went ballistic.”
Tate is especially pleased that the case was settled outside of a courtroom.
“One thing that’s really important for people to understand is that this never went to court,” he said by phone after returning from a show in Louisiana.
“They (Wilton, Jackson and Rockenfield) bought the name from me. But I retain Operation Mindcrime. It’s sort of similar to the PINK FLOYD situation where Roger Waters retained The Wall. ‘Mindcrime’ was my thing and my story, so it’s appropriate that I keep that. So they will continue on as Queensrÿche, and I will continue on as me.”
With the lawsuit resolved, Tate is now free to reinvent himself.
The singer has created a new, Seattle-only show, dubbed Rock And Vaudeville, that reinterprets the history of rock ‘n’ roll since the ‘50s, featuring songs by ELVIS PRESLEY, THE BEATLES, THE ROLLING STONES, JIMI HENDRIX, QUEEN, AC/DC and other artists. A series of five shows are scheduled May 1st - 3rd at the Triple Door.
“It started out as a project to take my mind away from the court case, because there was so much negativity,” Tate said. “I’m a very creative person, and I like to live in that world of making things up and creating musical pieces and stories. That’s where I operate the best. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.”
Meanwhile, Wilton and his Queensrÿche band mates are working on songs for a follow-up to last year’s successful album, Queensrÿche, released by Century Media Records. But the group isn’t planning to do a local show until possibly the fall.
“We’ll definitely do a big re-launch of the band in Seattle,” Wilton said.