QUEENSRŸCHE's Eddie Jackson Talks New Album, Tour, Relationship With Geoff Tate - "Just To Clarify One Thing, Geoff Wrote A Majority Of The Vocals, But No Music"
May 5, 2013, a year ago
Special Report By Mitch Lafon
There may be two QUEENSRŸCHEs, but there is only one Eddie Jackson. The bassist has been with the band from the onset in 1982 and is ready to move forward with new lead vocalist Todd La Torre. Jackson sat down with Mitch Lafon to discuss the band’s new found direction and immediate future - a special report for BraveWords.
The Queensrÿche story is a bit difficult right now, but you have a new album coming out in June with Todd. How is that progressing?
Eddie Jackson: “That is progressing nicely. We are actually in the final stages of it and it’s starting to sound really good. We are very excited about it.”
The last few albums: American Soldier, Dedicated To Chaos... Though there were some positive reviews. There were also many disgruntled fans. What’s going to be different with this new album?
Eddie Jackson: “Well, in a nutshell we want to revisit some of the sounds (stylistically speaking) of the first five albums (the EP all the way through Empire). That was our focus and so far it’s turned out to be a fun project. It’s sounding really good.”
What does Todd bring to the band?
Eddie Jackson: “He brings quite a few elements. He’s a musician first and foremost (he’s been a drummer for over twenty years). He brings a ‘current’ feel to this band, but also brings a ‘classic’ feel to this band which allows us to go back and perform some of these older songs that we haven’t performed in quite a long time.”
Vocalists are generally THE identifiable member of any band. You think of AEROSMITH - you think of Steven Tyler. You think KISS - you think Paul Stanley. Todd was, of course, with CRIMSON GLORY. Are you at all concerned that people are going to accuse Queensrÿche of sounding like Crimson Glory? Does that thought even cross your mind?
Eddie Jackson: “It doesn’t cross my mind. Every singer has his own style, but the beauty is to have him sing some of the older classic because of his vocal range. It doesn’t bother me... You’re going to get criticized and looked at under the microscope, but we’re just doing what we’re doing and we’re having fun with it.”
Let’s talk about the upcoming tour. Will you play any songs from Tribe, Dedicated To Chaos and ‘later year’ albums or will you...
Eddie Jackson: “No. We’re focused on songs from the EP, Warning, Rage For Order, Operation Mindcrime and Empire. That’s the main focal point of this tour. We are having a lot of fun out there playing a lot of the old classics.”
After the split occurred interviews surfaced that claimed that certain members did not play or participate in the making of the albums American Soldier, Dedicated To Chaos and more. Rumors were that ‘Scott didn’t play...’ ‘Eddie didn’t play...’ and that it was all ‘in studio musicians.’ How much of that is true and how much is bluster for the media?
Eddie Jackson: “To be honest with you, I’ve played on every record. If there have been changes (without my knowledge)... I recorded and tracked every song.”
So you’d consider those rumors to be nonsense...
Eddie Jackson: “It would have to be. Let’s say something like this did happen. Who would, in their right mind, allow something like that to happen? It’s nonsense.”
After being in the band for over thirty years now - how do you feel about how it ended with Geoff (Tate)? Are you sad? Do you wish it could have been different?
Eddie Jackson: “Well, every band wishes things could be different after a transition like this. It was something that was developing for quite some time and it was just difficult at times when you didn’t have a voice... You weren’t allowed to make decisions and it started to really affect the infrastructure... It’s turned into something that we feel is more of a democracy. We’re having fun out here and Todd has brought some new life into this band. It’s unfortunate that bands go through this, but we’re not the only ones that have experienced something like this.”
Before everything ‘went down’ - You’d gone out as RISING WEST. Why not keep that name as you move forward? Why not establish a new brand?
Eddie Jackson: “It a nutshell, it’s basically that we’re three majority members in the band. We feel that we should be allowed to carry on with the name and that is what we are pursuing now. The whole Rising West side of things was basically Michael and Todd who actually got together and were working on something together and it transitioned into what we are doing today.”
Earlier this year you signed up with an online company called OnTourLive.com to deliver live audio and video downloads of Queensrÿche shows. It appears that the company failed miserably to deliver on promises and product which left many fans disappointed. You’ve since ended your business relationship with that company. The band also stated that they would re-take possession of those recorded shows, re-edit them and eventually make them available for your dedicated fans. What is the current status of that? Also, will you tape other shows ‘down the road’ for your fans?
Eddie Jackson: “Well, that’s the plan. We had taped the Tempe (Arizona) and (Las) Vegas (Nevada) shows and for some reason the company that was filming and recording it ran into some serious technical issues. It just turned into... What it turned out to be. It’s unfortunate for the fans because they were eager and patiently waiting. We just felt that we had to take care of the fans.”
For you as a musician, has playing the ‘old songs’ revitalized you? Do they motivate you to write new music? Or is it more ‘been there done that’?
Eddie Jackson: “A lot of it was the freedom to go back and perform some of these ‘old songs’. Even though they are older songs from previous albums; it’s refreshing playing them today because we haven’t played them for so long. That has a refreshing element to it. Like I said, we’re having a lot of fun with this. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had to go back and re-learn these songs because we haven’t played them in such a long time, but it’s like riding a bike. All it takes is a good solid week of rehearsals and you’re back in form.”
How does that translate into making music for the new album?
Eddie Jackson: “Stylistically, it has elements of the EP all the way through Empire. If you’re a fan of Queensrÿche then you’re familiar with those five albums and have a general idea about what I’m talking about.”
You announced that you were releasing a new album in June and the competing version of Queensrÿche announced that their's was coming out in April. Thus, beating you to the punch. How does that make you feel?
Eddie Jackson: “We’re just doing our own thing. You can’t control that. You just have to move forward and focus on your own path. I have no idea what Geoff and his band are doing. We just wish him the best and that’s all you can ask for. Wish him the best... And we’re just moving forward doing what we want to do... Which is to perform and write music like we’ve been doing for over thirty years. We still have a passion for this.”
What are the extended plans for 2013? The album comes out in June and then...
Eddie Jackson: “Our booking agent is in the process of booking additional shows and as soon as the album is released there will be more shows added. Will support that album and continue touring through the end of the year.”
Headline tour or as part of a package?
Eddie Jackson: “A little bit of everything, but we’re definitely going out in support of our new album on our own. There might be some festival shows or shows that we might not headline.”
How do you see those shows playing out in terms of set list? Do you stick to the classic five albums or does it become more about the new album?
Eddie Jackson: “I think what we have now is a pretty heavy onslaught of Queensrÿche classics, but we’ll definitely incorporate some of the newer songs. We’ve even talked about performing some of the older classics that we aren’t performing now. So, it’s just a matter of getting together and creating a different type of a set list once we incorporate the new songs as well... Just to change it up a bit.”
Who’s responsible for the songwriting on the new album? Whether things worked out with Geoff or not; he was responsible for writing a large parts of the songs. So, who’s taking over? Is it Todd? Who’s writing the songs now?
Eddie Jackson: “Just to clarify one thing, Geoff wrote a majority of the vocals and anything related to vocals, but no music.”
Right... But lyrically it was his content.
Eddie Jackson: “Well, Chris DeGarmo and myself - we contributed in a small part, but with this new album we have everybody contributing everywhere. I’ve even contributed with some vocals, melodies and even some guitar ideas along with my bass parts. Scott did the same, he came in with his drum parts and some guitar parts. Everyone... It’s been a complete group effort. Parker has done a great job and Todd has contributed to some percussive type ideas to incorporate into the new songs. Michael, as you know, is the backbone (when it comes to guitars) of the band right now.”
You just mentioned Chris DeGarmo. Any chance he might guests on the album or join you for some shows?
Eddie Jackson: “You know - anything is possible. Right now, he’s doing his own thing. He’s been chasing blue skies (being a pilot), but we keep in contact with him and anything is possible. He’s very supportive with what we are doing. He’s always been a class act - a true gentlemen. It would be nice one of these days to ‘throw down’ on stage with him, but for right now we’re just doing our thing and he’s doing his thing. You never know, one day, we might have some fun again on stage (at least for a night).”
Just wanted to thank you for having taken the time to chat with me today. Anything else?
Eddie Jackson: “I just want to thank all the fans out there that have been in support of us. It’s been a quite weird and interesting year for us. We appreciate all the support from fans and you as well (all the journalists). It is what it is and we’re just very fortunate to have a fan base such as our fan base that is supporting what we’re doing right now.”
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