Larry Petro of KNAC.COM recently conducted an interview with QUEENSRŸCHE singer Todd La Torre. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
KNAC.COM: So how does it feel to be smack dab in the middle of one of the messiest divorces in the history of hard rock and metal?
La Torre: [laughs] Well, you know, for me, I felt bad for the guys having to go through all this kind of stuff and, you know, for the outsiders looking in, they’re like going real slow by the car accident; it’s like they don’t like what they see, but they have to look, and to be honest, the mindset and the attitude of the guys in the band is really positive. They’re not dwelling on anything and we have so many exciting things happening now that I think that they understand that the change needed to happen for whatever reasons, and various reasons, and there’s an excitement around QUEENSRŸCHE now that hasn’t existed in quite a long time. There’s a rejuvenation. They’re more excited. The fans get to hear all of the old songs with the set we’ve comprised, and they’re very receptive to that, and I’m really not too worried about it, to be honest with you. We have a new record that sounds great that’s getting ready to come out. Some people say to me, “How do you do it? Kudos to you for sticking through it.” I mean, what am I gonna do, you know? It’s a great band and they’re great people and I’m just glad that if I was any sort of a refreshing thing in their life, you know. Things just happened, and I believe that the positive far outweighs the negative, because this is just temporary what they’re going through from a legal standpoint and it’ll be over and we’ll be moving forward, so that’s a good thing.
KNAC.COM: As a fan, I try to keep an open mind about the whole drama that has unfolded between Geoff and his former bandmates but one thing that to me speak volumes is the band’s demeanor onstage when performing live now. They’re smiling, they’re interacting with each other and they generally appear to be having fun again.
La Torre: Yeah, you know, and that’s something that a lot of the people bring to our attention. You know, QUEENSRŸCHE dropped off the radar for me, I don’t know, 8, 9, 10 years ago and I had my own life and was involved in other things and I would go back and get some of the YouTube footage and say wow, you know, they’re not really moving around, I don’t see any smiles. It seemed kinda like they were just going through the motions. Some of the theatrics onstage just look contrived to me, and perhaps that’s the theatrics of Geoff‘s performance, you know; he’s a very theatrical guy, he’s great at that, the guy’s phenomenal at that. It’s just a different kind of animal now that the band has, it’s very ‘what you see is what you get,’ and you know, I move around and do things my way, and Eddie‘s (Jackson, bassist) having fun and you know, I get these guys to laugh and there are a lot of little things that you don’t see. When I’m turned around facing Scott (Rockenfield, drummer) I’ll make funny faces at him or there might be a part of a song that we have a joke about and you know, the guys are always smiling. Michael (Wilton, guitarist), you know, he’s such a sweet guy, but he’s kinda the quiet guy in the band for the most part, but when he speaks everyone’s ears perk up. Even him, he peeks through his hair that’s hanging in front of his face and I see that little grin on his face or something in his eye or he’ll wink at me and you know, these guys are having fun again and they’re not stuck to their little quadrants of their section of the stage. I think they feel re-energized again and stuff like that just comes out and it’s fun and it’s natural and people see through it and I think that it makes them happy that their band is happy, you know?
KNAC.COM: What did you guys think of the cover for the album of Geoff‘s version of QUEENSRŸCHE? Was it an intentional jab at this former bandmates or was it purely coincidental?
La Torre: Sure, sure, it was. It’s an obvious, it’s an obvious, you know…a monkey can decipher what that is. It’s below the belt. To me, it’s not what QUEENSRŸCHE was about. QUEENSRŸCHE wasn’t about the cheap shots. QUEENSRŸCHE was always more respectful and intelligent of that.
KNAC.COM: the first time I saw the album cover I was like, oh that’s real subtle.
La Torre: To be honest, when I first heard it, when I first heard “Frequency Unknown” (as the title), I thought, that’s kinda cool. And then I saw the fist with the “FU” and I was like, really?
KNAC.COM: And the Triryche logo in the middle.
La Torre: Yeah, and so when one talks about devaluing the name or the brand of QUEENSRŸCHE, it’s so obvious that when you’re putting a fist with an “FU” in a clever way to say that’s “Frequency Unknown”, but we know what it’s really likely to be standing for, with the Triryche, that’s not good for the brand, that’s not good for QUEENSRŸCHE to have the Triryche in front of an “FU”. That’s not good. That doesn’t add credibility or respect to the name and brand of QUEENSRŸCHE. It’s immature, it’s angry, it’s um, stupid. It is, it’s stupid, I said it, I don’t give a shit. Stupid. I don’t even acknowledge it as a QUEENSRŸCHE album, Larry! It’s not QUEENSRŸCHE. The guys that play on the record are not the guys that you see onstage and aren’t the guys that wrote the songs. It’s a revolving door, dude, it’s not QUEENSRŸCHE. What I’m in is QUEENSRŸCHE. I’m with the three core founding members and writers of the band QUEENSRŸCHE that wrote the songs that you and I liked and loved, okay? And we’re the guys that write the songs, we’re the guys that perform the songs, and we’re the guys that are on the record. That’s a band! That’s (the other QUEENSRŸCHE) not a band. You can put the Triryche on it all you want, but it’s not QUEENSRŸCHE and I don’t care what you call it, the majority of the fans aren’t acknowledging it as QUEENSRŸCHE either. It might look good on paper, but to me, it’s disrespectful to do that. It’s not good for the brand and what we’re doing is trying to build respect and honor to the brand name, and that’s not how you do it. FYI, Business 101, not a good move, but you know, whatever. Opinions are like assholes, everyone’s got one.
KNAC.COM: And the title of the album was cool enough and he could have done something with that as far as the cover goes, but to come out with the cover he did, it was like a slap in the face.
La Torre: We have a wonderful team with us. I don’t know who’s steering that ship but certainly that would never fly over here. QUEENSRŸCHE was never that, it’s so not authentic. Nobody’s buying it. You can throw metal studs and chains and throw the devil horns all you want, but that’s not authentic. You know, we could make this crazy album cover, but there’s a certain level of…..gosh, I’m having trouble thinking of the word…look, that’s just not what QUEENSRŸCHE always was or should be. We would never do that. We don’t want that kind of negativity. I mean, every time you look at the album cover and you see the “FU”? It’s gonna bring ya back to that place? Who wants that? How about good things moving forward man? We don’t want to live there, we wanna keep moving forward and be happy and healthy and have positive thinking. We have feelings, too, but thoughts become things, okay? If you think negative things, you’re gonna attract that negativity in your life, it’s magnetic dude. We believe in that. I believe in the law of attraction, in the idea that your thoughts become things and if you wanna talk shit and bring that kind of energy to your life, okay, but we’re all about good things and positivity and not putting “FU” on our album cover. We don’t have to, we’re not angry about that. We have some much cool shit going on with us, we don’t really care what’s happening on the other side. The only time we acknowledge it is when we’re asked in an interview and most of the time it’s “eh.” I’m the one who deviates a little bit but I always come back around and I can honestly say that we really don’t think about it, we don’t dwell on it. We have so many amazing things going on. We’re getting ready to go on “That Metal Show” on VH1, we just played some great shows in Europe, the record’s coming out, we’re super happy. We don’t have time to think about cheesy artwork.
Read the entire interview from KNAC.COM.