Interview: Queensryche

Written by Molly Boekenheide

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“Keep on keepin’ on,” seems to be the unofficial motto of the hard-rocking bandmates of Queensryche, who, after a tumultuous couple of years, have found their collective center. Juggling lawsuits, line-up changes, and new albums all while actively touring can rattle even the strongest among us, but the guys, dare we say, the legends in Queensryche are survivors, and just recently have had a rebirth of sorts. Elated, yet still curious, we reached out to drummer Scott Rockenfield for the details of; their new album, bouncing back from and finally, FINALLY finding happiness…

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Thank you so much for speaking with us! What’s been going on with you guys lately, what’s new?

Scott Rockenfield: Wow, loaded question! [laughs] Things are going great right now! It’s really…it’s really kind of a new era, to be honest. Things cleared up, we got over the last few years of our transition, and the legalities that were thrown around because of what we decided to do to move on. So to make a long story short on that whole process, it just needed to be done. We were really kind of losing our focus in the band as to what we needed to do. You know, Michael Wilton and I certainly knew what we wanted to do, and we were trying to do it for a long time and just weren’t be allowed to to it. Those things were really the reason that we had to make those decisions to move on. But it’s been really great! You can kind of fast-forward from a couple of years back until today, and now everything’s going well!

The record we put out last year, with Todd singing with us, that was done really well and was really well-received. We’re working on another one now, so we’ve been writing for the past couple of months and playing shows at the same time. That process doesn’t really ever stop for us, we’ve been playing shows everywhere! So yeah, we’re going to go back in the studio here in the next couple of months, and start recording the record. We’re looking at a world tour sometime in 2015, all around the globe. I mean, damn…the roller coaster just never stops! [laughs]

Now, if you want to know about what we’re doing right this moment, we’re sitting in a parking lot of a Wal-Mart or something somewhere…we’re just leaving Seattle, which is our home base. We got picked up on a tour bus today and are driving two days to get to the Dakotas, we’re playing the Sturgis Motorcycle Festival are you familiar with it? It’s a big biker thing that goes on there, and all the people get together and bands play and all that fun stuff. Yeah, so we’re driving across America to get to that – we headline on Saturday night. It’s gonna be a great event, really a lot of fun. The people are fantastic, there are great bands and all these great motorcycles…it’s really quite the scene, we’re really looking forward to that. After that, we’ll drive back to Seattle, where we have a show Monday, and then two more shows this upcoming weekend (at The Rockin’ the Rivers Festival in Montana).

Photo Couresy: PFA Media
Photo Couresy: PFA Media

Wow, it sounds like you guys are certainly keeping busy! Was it hard to keep going after the lawsuit situation started? How did you and the band manage to stay positive and successfully bounce back from such an ordeal?

Scott Rockenfield: That’s a great question. I guess as a kind of prelude to your question, I should mention that the conflict started years ago, but prior to it when we were all still working together in the “old band,” so to speak…we had been in a dark place for a long time. It wasn’t going well, the years were stacking up on us, we weren’t making the music that we were passionate about and were being forced to do a lot of things that we didn’t want to do. We weren’t being allowed to play all of the music that we wanted to play live, and to give our fans what we thought was important. The darker the hole we kept falling into, the faster we wanted to get out of it. That’s what happens, you kind of hit the bottom of a hole, and there’s only one way to go: up and out of there.

I guess my point with all of that is rolling forward to the present right now and what we’ve had to go through the past couple of years…it was a huge defining moment, you know? In the end, it was exactly what we needed to do and now we just feel so good about where we’re at. It was meant to be; it was the right decision. We’re happier, the fans are happier, they’re certainly enjoying the music we play live, and have certainly given us great feedback on the record we put out last year.

So overall, everything worked out really well. The morale, for us, just kind of became perfect. I mean, the second we transitioned and got Todd in the band, the morale just went through the roof for us, you know? There was no weird dark clouds for us, and we just don’t have that anymore. We’re really close to each other. We have the same common interests, we’re energetic, and we’re happy! We’re all working together as a team, and it’s not just one person saying, “you have to do it like this,” it’s all of us making the decisions together and making the music together.

Long story short: the morale is really high, we’re having a great time, and we all really know what we want to do and why we want to do it. I think that’s why the fans like what we’re doing now – they can see that we’re happy and that we’re being honest again.

It’s certainly noticeable, you guys seem like you’re having a fantastic time, the energy is really great.

Scott Rockenfield: Exactly! It’s like being sick too long, you know? After a while, you finally feel like you’ve got your health back. It’s certainly…enlightening, you can walk around with your shoulders held high and you just feel better. That’s what it all came down to: we were able to kind of…clean up the sickness that we had, and really needed to do it for ourselves, so we did.

Well the fans love it, your last record was really well received! You kind of went back to the old sound for that last record, what kind of stuff can we expect for this next record?

Scott Rockenfield: Well thank you! Our old sound was kind of our thing, and I think we just found what Queensryche was good at, and we really wanted to do that. I think it really bought us back to the essence of some of that old material that we did together. It was honest material, and I think that record was one of the most honest records we’ve made. It really shows just “us” all around, and our fans response and the press’s response…people all over the world listened was happy, and it was quite overwhelming! So, I think it’s a great thing, for us to find that.

Photo Courtesy: PFA Media
Photo Courtesy: PFA Media

As for what’s coming next, I don’t really have a defined answer for you because we never really know. We tend to not really define it until it’s done, but we’ve been working on it quite a bit, so it will soon kind of lay itself out. But it’s going to be us…it’s just going to be us. It’s gonna be what we do in the best fashion possible.

I think you can say that there will be a lot of the elements from the last record in it. The energy and the chemistry and the honesty and the unity…all of that stuff will be in it, and hopefully the icing on the cake will be that we wrote really great songs and people enjoy what they listen to.

I don’t think they’re not going to, to be honest. We’re really good salesmen now because we feel so good about it! [laughs] Now we just have to do it! I think we’ll have it done within the next four to six months, after we get through putting it all together and stuff. It’s a great blessing, and it’s really a lot of fun for us.

That’s awesome, we’re definitely looking forward to hearing it! Lastly, is there anything you want to say to your fans?

Scott Rockenfield: That’s a sweet question…and thank you for putting me on the spot like this! [laughs] But seriously, I know that it sounds so cliche, but thank you so so much for the support, we can’t wait to see you all out at shows. It’s really hard not to thank everybody for enjoying what we’re doing…and, well, you know what? I’m going to ask everybody to buy TWO copies of our album, how about that?! That’s a salesman right there, everybody go buy two copies! [laughs]

But really, we’re happy guys, and we’re so thankful and so blessed that we have so many great fans around the world. We have a record out next year, and will be going on a world tour, and we really can’t wait to see everybody and have a good time. We’ll give you a night you won’t forget!

Queensryche will perform tonight, Friday August 8th, at the Rockin’ the Rivers Festival in Montana. Pop-Break will be onsite with a report coming soon.

Upcoming Queensryche Dates:

8/8: Rockin’ the Rivers Fest – Montana
8/13: Hacienda Event Center – Midland, TX
8/14: Arena Theater – Houston, TX
8/15: Rock on Rio II – Laredo, TX
8/26: DTE Energy Music Theatre – Clarkston, MI
8/31: Farm Rock 2014 at The Golf Farm, Wauconda, IL

Founded in September 2009, The Pop Break is a digital pop culture magazine that covers film, music, television, video games, books and comics books and professional wrestling.

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