“Queensryche” is about and ready to amaze the world with a smashing and explosive come back. We’re talking of course about the “Queensryche” with Todd La Torre, who recently signed with Century Media. The guys are seeing a bright new future for the band, regardless the “competitors’ from “Queensryche” no. 2, featuring former singer Geoff Tate. Rockoverdose talked to Todd la Torre who shared with us his feelings about the future of his band.
RockOverdose.gr: Hi Todd, and welcome to Rock Overdose. How are you?
Todd La Torre: I’m doing very well, thank you very much, how are you?
RockOverdose.gr: Very fine. First of all I’d like to give you my congratulations for the new “Queensryche” album. I think that we were waiting for ages for this good album. I think it’s the best “Queensryche” album so far.
Todd La Torre: Yes, it’s a really exciting time for the band and it’s just a very honest collaboration of the five guys writing. I think that we were able to capture something really special on this album and it’s a really great starting point for the band, with me as the new vocalist. We have a lot of wonderful things happening, and we’re also writing songs for the new album. So, something that didn’t make it on this album, that wasn’t completely finished and ready to go on this album, it’ll be going on the next one and we have a lot of great stuff we want to share.
RockOverdose.gr: You have a lot of ideas for the next step I suppose. So, you are the new “Queensryche” singer. How do you feel about this? Did you believe it, the first time?
Todd La Torre: Well, it’s a dream come true, and I was able to fulfill my dream and my passion with "Crimson Glory". I can say that "Crimson Glory" was a dream come true and “Queensryche” was my dream come true. So, it’s been a wonderful experience, the guys in the band are such great people and always have a positive energy and no ego, just a lot of fun, good-hearted people.
RockOverdose.gr: Your contribution was crucial in maintaining “Queensryche” dream. Also, you have to fill the position of one of the most influential metal figures, Geoff Tate. What new features do you think you are bringing to “Queensryche”?
Todd La Torre: From a song-writing perspective, I’ve been a drummer since I was 13 years old. I can play the “Queensryche” songs on drums. I’m a guitar player since I was 10 years old and I can play guitar and I use the guitar as a song-writing tool. So, from a musical song writing perspective, they tell me that this is the new element they never had before. I don’t know what music the former singer actually wrote, as far as music. But I know that with me in the band, I’ve written drum parts on the album, I’ve written some guitar themes, and I can write and play all of the instruments myself. I’ve written and recorded my own stuff, with me playing all the instruments, because it’s a lot of fun for me to do, I just enjoy it. Vocally speaking, Geoff was one of the great singers of all times, no doubt. I think that I have a little bit of a different texture on my voice, so perhaps that’s a little different from what Geoff always did, he had a really beautiful clean voice. My voice tends to be a little rustier, I like to do some of the heavier things, some of the growls, I’m a big fan of Chuck Billy from “Testament”, and I’m also a big fan of Phil Anselmo and Rob Halford, so some of those elements I do incorporate into our live performances. I just write what comes natural to me and hopefully it’s received well.
RockOverdose.gr: We’ll have to wait and see, but I’m sure that you’ll make it. And I think it will be a good idea to record a video with you playing the same song but with another instrument, maybe by singing, playing guitar, or drums…maybe a video in the studio.
Todd La Torre: Scott and I have talked about maybe at some point in time introducing a new drum set, and letting me play drums, like incorporating and being able to show my drumming and doing something creative with Scott in a live performance. That’s something that we kind of talked about here and there. There are a lot of interesting possibilities.
RockOverdose.gr: For almost three years, you also worked with “Crimson Glory” as a singer. What happened that you never released an album with the band? Is it because of this lack of activity that you left the band, or due to the fact that you came to “Queensryche”?
Todd La Torre: No, it was really because of the band inactivity, we were working on the album and things were going really well, and there was a period of time when things kind of slowed down almost down to nothing. Then we did our last shows in Europe and after our last concert in Sweden, the plan was to get together back home and continue working on the songs, and getting it finished. And I just really never got phone calls for songwriting sessions and then nobody was hearing from Jon Drenning anymore. Weeks turned into months and before you knew it all of us were standing around and saying “what do we do?”. And I was in “Queensryche” at the time and I had every intention to fulfill that record with “Crimson Glory”. I would have remained in both bands, as long as I was physically even capable of doing it, because “Crimson Glory” didn’t really tour very much, and it didn’t seem like it was something I couldn’t do. It seemed like it was something I very much could do and I wanted to do it. But after I quit hearing from Jon for four, five of six months, the band really didn’t know what to do. We could continue to write without Jon, and just keep moving forward, and eventually he’ll come around, or it was just waste of time, because Jon was such an important songwriter for that band sound. And we didn’t really know what to do, and I just got sick and tired of it, and I just said, you know what, this doesn’t seem like a band that really is serious enough for me, for what I wanted to do with my carrier. And I just got really angry and I started to get really resentful and I knew that there was a very small window of time before closing in for the band opportunity to do something again. And professionally I thought that if we kept waiting, people would not take the band seriously, that fans would not believe in the band anymore, and it just looked like a bad thing for me, the way it was going. And I just made the decision that I didn’t want to stick around and wait and wait and wait for a band to get their shit together. I loved the guys very much but it just was not a very healthy working environment and the work stopped. And meanwhile I had “Queensryche on the other hand, every called me every day, everybody e-mailed each other everyday, they were constantly song writing and sending me more and more songs to write to, to the point where it just didn’t make sense to be hopeful for “Crimson Glory” anymore. So I decided to leave the band because of that reason.
RockOverdose.gr: What about Geoff Tate and the fact that he has the same name as a band – “Queensryche”? What do you think?
Todd La Torre: The guy was the original singer for the band for 30 years. He obviously was a huge reason why the band was successful, but all of the guys in the band are a huge reason why that band was successful, it was a band, a team of people that did something special. To me, I don’t think that one person can be an entire band, or a band name. I think that I’m sure that he feels very much entitled to the band’s name, because he was the voice of the band, and I’m sure that he landed a large amount of creativity to those songs. But, at the end of the day, there are three original members still standing against one original member. So, I’m sure that it’s going to boil down to their corporate contracts and it’s really going to be a matter of contracts and what the law sees there. But, as far as we are concerned, we are the old “Queensryche” band, even though there are two versions that are out there right now. His band has a revolving door of wonderful musicians, but you can’t call that band “Queensryche”. In my opinion, it’s not “Queensryche”. The band that I played with was the band that Geoff sang for, and people who see the band “Queensryche”, saw also the guys who were standing on the stage with him. So, because he’s no longer in the band, does that mean that the guys that I played with are no longer “Queensryche” too? I would disagree with that. It’s ok though, I mean, he’s doing his thing, we’re doing our thing, and the fans are able to enjoy all of it.
RockOverdose.gr: So if you’d be able to look in the future, where would you like to see “Queensryche” going?
Todd La Torre: Obviously, things are going in a very positive direction, we have a new album that’s coming out, in ten days for you and eleven for the US. We signed with a great record company called Century Media, we have an amazing management company, booking agency, and we have a great team of people that believe in the direction that the band is going now. We’re really focused on writing really great songs, and doing things that the band hasn’t done in many, many, many years, bringing back a sound and a style the band has been longing for, and hasn’t been present in the last several albums. So, we see a very bright future and an exciting future for this band.
RockOverdose.gr: So what are the news that you would like to reveal about the band? You said that you were writing new songs for the new album.
Todd La Torre: Michael just sent me a new song yesterday, last night I was recording my guitar for a new song that I have here, Parker just completed a new song, on a structure that he has, and Scott actually has another song that he is working on and the frame work of the song should be presented for the rest of us to listen to. So, all of us are writing our own ideas, and then we present them to the rest of the band, to listen to, and then everybody else starts putting their creativity into the songs and that’s when the actual collaboration on the song writing begins.
RockOverdose.gr: Other plans with the band, touring?
Todd La Torre: We have dates came out from now until the end of September for the US and then we’ll be going back to Europe for October. We’ll still have more dates to be announced for October, in Europe as well.
RockOverdose.gr: How about Greece?
Todd La Torre: Right now, I don’t know what the other countries are in Europe, but our management and booking agency is negotiating with a lot of different promoters throughout Europe as we speak. So hopefully we will make it to Greece this year. If not this year, than I can imagine that next year we will be in Greece.
RockOverdose.gr: We hope it too, because the Greek fans love you, especially you as a person.
Todd La Torre: That’s really nice of you to say, and the people in Greece have been so wonderful to me, they were so gracious to me when I joined “Crimson Glory” and when we played in Greece, they treated all of us so well, and they’re really wonderful people and we know that they are perhaps the most passionate fans in the world for this music. So I would like to come back with “Queensryche” and play and feel that energy again, because Greek fans are so loud and passionate and energetic at the concerts, it’s such a wonderful experience.
RockOverdose.gr: We’re looking forward and hope to see you too not only for vacations but also with the band. Because I know that you will come to Greece of course for vacations.
Todd La Torre: I was just in Greece not long ago and like I said, my girlfriend lives in Greece and next year we’ll probably do vacations in Corfu where she has a place there. I’d like to spend my vacation in Greece because it’s a place where I feel very comfortable, I know my way around Athens pretty well now, and it’s the best food on the planet.
RockOverdose.gr: Would you like to name for us some of your favorite Greek foods?
Todd La Torre: Oh my gosh, I love all of it, I love the souvlaki, the fried feta, the baked feta cheese, there are so many great dishes there. I love all of it, all the time I’ve eaten there, I tried something new, and it was just the best food, also the meat, the pork and the lamb and the beef, it’s always so good. The vegetables, the egg plant, is awesome, all the food there is really great. I think I’ve gained ten pounds the last time I was there.
RockOverdose.gr: It was delightful talking to you. Do you want to finish our interview by leaving a message for your fans, especially here in Greece?
Todd La Torre: I would like to say thank you for your time, for the interview, and myself and the rest of the guys in “Queensryche” we all are very thankful for your support and for your interest for the new album. We hope you’ll enjoy it, and we really look forward to play in Greece in the very near future.
For RockOverdose.gr: Zisis Petkanas
Transcript: Ana Maria Tranca