Music, Treating Fans Like Shit

Queensryche is nothing without Chris DeGarmo.

I really, really, really liked this band.  Note the emphasis on the three really’s.  They started off as a normal metal band, with a singer in Geoff Tate that had a unique voice for the metal genre.  The musical style of the band evolved much the same way my musical tastes evolved during the Eighties, so it was perfect.

I have been forming an opinion on Queensryche, since Chris DeGarmo left in January 1998, after the 1997 Hear In The Now Frontier album.

After listening to what Geoff Tate has released recently with his Kings and Queens solo album and his F.U Queensryche offering, and also listening to the new song Redemption that the Queensryche/Todd LaTorre fronted version released, I can say without a doubt, that the star in Queensryche was Chris DeGarmo.

To be honest, I purchased all the Queensryche releases up to American Soldier.  That is what fans did once upon a time, and none of the new stuff stacks up.  The songs are forgettable and the music even more so.  I thought that Operation Mindcrime II would be a savior, however that failed to get my attention as well.  Who knew at the time that it came out, that session musicians played on it.

For those that don’t know the story so far, Geoff Tate was fired from Queensryche.  He countered that firing by saying that he is Queensryche, so how can they fire him from the band that he lived and breathed.

Stories continued to come out, about violent punch ups before a South American show, involving Geoff Tate vs the rest of the band members, about how the band members haven’t even played on any of the newer Queensryche releases even though they are credited and so on.  Just go to Loudwire, search for Queensryche and you will be filled in.

They have filed injunctions against each other and I am pretty sure if they could throw each other under a bus, they would.  This is one of those bad blood split ups, more controversial than Vince Neil’s ousting from Motley Crue or David Lee Roth’s ousting from Van Halen.

I saw Queensryche at the Metro Theater in Sydney back in 2009, August 31.  The band at the time was the original four, with Tate’s son in law Parker Lundgren on guitars.  What can I say, they killed it.  The Metro is a small venue, it was sold out.  1,200 people paid $90 to watch them.

They did songs from Rage For Order, Empire and American Soldier.  That was cool, because they promoted the shows that way as well, so people knew what they were paying for.   The American Soldier songs became toilet breaks.

Keeping bands together is a tough gig in itself.  Don Henley said that it was a horrible relief when the Eagles broke up.  That more or less sums it up.  On one hand, the break up feels like shit, you are sad and you are on the angry, but on the other hand, you are relieved its over, you are free, you can start over again.

What is pathetic in all of this, is that the fans are being treated like shit.  Both bands do not deserve the name of Queensryche.  They should have taken a new name, however both versions know, that they need the Queensryche name to sell themselves.

One thing is clear in my mind, Queensryche will always be Chris DeGarmo for me.

It looks even that is not working.   F.U debuted at #74, with 5,500 units sold, last week.  Week 2 saw it at #173 with 2,275 sold.  By week 3 it will be gone.  So expect Tate to start spitting out some controversial comments, so that he can get free press come his way.


9 thoughts on “Queensryche is nothing without Chris DeGarmo.

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  2. Pingback: I Don’t Believe In Love – Queensryche | destroyerofharmony

  3. I agree with you. When Geoff was fired, I expected to be amazed by the “new” Queensryche with Todd LaTorre. And I wasn’t. It sounded more of the same, like all the other Melodic Metal Bands that exist by the thousands. I expected something groundbreaking, like QR used to do in the 80’s, but they didn’t do anything new. As for Geoff’s band, it’s a decent effort, but the album’s name (FU) is horrible and it is not Metal, it’s mainstream rock with no creativity. None of the efforts are even close to what Queensryche used to be with DeGarmo. And I don’t think DeGarmo left the band because of Tate alone. He left the music business. If it had been because of Tate, he would have formed another group, but he left Music! He doesn’t play anymore.Something deeper happened to him and we all know how the Music Business uses people like toys. DeGarmo was the leader, the head. He left and they should have disbanded. Todd is great, Tate is still pretty good, but they don’t sound so good without DeGarmo.

  4. After The Laughter says:

    Much of this is spot on. Rage, Mindcrime and Empire are three dramatically different albums, all exceptional in their own ways. Any one of these efforts would be a career achievement for another band, yet somehow Queensryche recorded three consecutively.

    The decline, unfortunately, seemed to have started during this time period as well. I am no insider, no friend of the band–but an avid reader of blogs/articles/interviews/etc about this era. And a big Queensryche fan, which by default makes me a big DeGarmo fan. Piecing it together, this is the story that makes the most sense, and if true, is why they will never reunite.

    DeGarmo always came across as thoughtful, intelligent and reflective; he even used the term ‘aptly’ in a Headbanger’s Ball inteview. Had it on VHS, so I could rewind to actually confirm this. The band acknowledged he was a songwriting machine and a creative tour de force during Empire. It probably isn’t a surprise that as the responsible one, he was leaned on by the others to manage the band & their finances/business affairs. Chris worked while the others played, the appreciation/recognition from others diminished to a point of nothingness, and one of the final straws may have been when he was alone negotiating an agreement against an army of record label lawyers & scribes that he felt unarmed against (and the output of which may have pissed off some of his bandmates). The tension became unbearable, until the only option was to leave. I think he initially formed the Spys for Darwin project, before hanging up the guitar to fly the friendly skies. Although the order could be reversed.

    There may have been (and likely was) more to the story, but the documentation becomes fuzzier. Geoff Tate seems to surround himself with some shady types, who believe because of their relationship with him, they must be good at the music business & deserve a job with or cut of Queensryche’s proceeds. I think his ex or current(?) wife was one that would second guess Chris, create doubt, and probably add to the tension Chris felt. Whether or not these characters contributed to Chris’s departure, they certainly later caused Tate’s unplanned ouster. I believe Tate’s signficant other became band manager once DeGarmo left (personally, I would love a source to validate this).

    Fast forward, and you’ll notice Tate’s fingers in many different pies. The Insania wine label is one example curiosity, Queensryche’s perplexing burlesque/cabaret shows another. With Queensryche failing to attain the heights of their previous masterpieces, though, it seems more of his time shifted towards maximizing dollars. As the frontman, he often received offers and propositions, most of which he likely did not share with the others. One such offer was cash for rights to some type of play or theatric production of the Mindcrime story. Big dollars? Little dollars? I can only guess the latter, because dividing a small number by 3 or 4 nets an even tinier number, so insignificant as to be not worth mentioning. As the (primary? sole?) writer of the Mindcrime lyrics, he rationalized that it was his story being licensed, so he pocketed the cash, sold the Mindcrime rights, and told no one.

    Some of the band member seemed mistrustful of Tate’s entourage, of his significant other, and perhaps bad will had been building for some time (e.g. the fistfights). Still, the band accepted his son in law as a guitarist, and by all accounts, he was/is a great fit.

    Eventually, though, secrets slip and the band found out. Accepting money for the bands output, without asking permission or sharing the proceeds, was bad enough. But the outright theft of the band’s career crown jewel, without any remorse, amounted to the ultimate betrayal. Tate was out – instantly. While he took to the airwaves to point fingers, even his son in law sided with the rest of the band. And if Tate’s significant other was the manager, how far back did the corruption go? I place the act’s ugliness on par with Jani Lane’s “I Saw Red” moment, or Richie Kotzen shagging Bobby Dall’s woman–hence why I doubt the band will ever reunite. David Lee Roth/Van Halen was about egos–which have a shelf life. This seems deeper; more shameful.

    Ironically, Chris DeGarmo might be the key. If he could put the collective mistreatment behind him…way behind him…others may be able to do the same (or at least do it for him). Tate’s ego would almost certainly take a backseat for a paycheck, but it may take lean times for him to find the humility needed to sincerely initiate and orchestrate this.

    Great blog. Great perspective. Great observations. Agree neither band should be allowed to use the Queensryche name! Glad someone else refuses put late 80s hair rock behind them. I just subscribed and look forward to the continued commentary!

  5. Yeah I agree. When I heard DeGarmo was leaving I thought their music would suffer, and I think over the years this has proven to be true. Not sure I’d say they are “nothing”, but certainly not the Queensryche of their first several albums. I think DeGarmo is the missing ingredient that made QR not just a good band, but a great band.

    Can’t really blame him though. He’s flying jets for a living now. Pretty cool.

  6. Dean Innocenzi says:

    If you read the inside of all the albums Tate and Dagarmo wrote 90% of all the songs DeGarmo and Tate are still really good friends Chris Dagarmo is now flying planes he left bands to pursue other interests in his life

  7. DeGarmo didn’t actually leave the music industry until 2003. He played with Jerry Cantrell and Mike Inez for a while then returned to Queensryche in 2003 for “Tribe”. Tate refused to let him write any music so he quit.

  8. Pingback: The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – May 3 to May 9 | destroyerofharmony

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