"All I need, besides my pills and surgery, is a new metaphor, for reality." "It's my insistence you keep your distance from the glare behind my stare." "Turned to face 'The Void,' numb with the suffering..."

Chapter VI: 1990-1992: Empire Era | Chapter VIII: 1996-1997: Hear in the Now Frontier Era

Queensryche circa 1994-1995

Chapter VII: 1993-1995: Promised Land Era
By Brian Heaton

From the end of 1992 through 1994, times were difficult for some of the band members. While a couple of the guys enjoyed well-earned vacations, others struggled with personal demons and a whole host of family problems. Rumors circulated that the band had even broken up during this time period - with Tate admitting later that he felt he was close to leaving the band.

Eventually, all five members of Queensryche got together in a log cabin in the San Juan Islands called "Big Log" to write and record what would become Promised Land. It was revealed in 2012 that the Promised Land sessions were filled with tension between DeGarmo and Tate. Both Rockenfield and Tate had gone through divorces and rumors floated that DeGarmo helped put a roof over Tate's head during the time period, which could have played a role in the disagreements.

As artists, difficult times usually mean a well of ideas to draw upon, and Queensryche was no exception. The lyrics of the Promised Land album connected in a theme of self-examination – the idea of someone reaching the pinnacle of what they are told is "success" and realizing they left a lot of their lives behind attempting to reach a goal. Musically, If Operation: Mindcrime was Queensryche's heavy metal conceptual opus, Promised Land was the band's nod to Pink Floyd and cerebral hard rock.

Released in October 1994, Promised Land eventually sold more than one million copies. The number was respectable, but a significant drop from the sales of Empire. Although EMI got behind Promised Land with a massive marketing campaign, it had been four years since the release of Empire – a lifetime in the music industry. By that time, the mainstream audience was more interested in Seattle's grunge movement, as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains and Soundgarden had taken the Pacific Northwest and the world by storm.

Promised Land also wasn't as accessible as Empire, turning off fans that had jumped aboard the Queensryche bandwagon during the heights of melodic hard rock in the late 1980s and early 1990s. As a result, the support from MTV the band had received from 1989-1992 disappeared. Videos made for "I Am I," "Bridge," and "Dis-con-nec-ted" were aired just briefly in late 1994 and early 1995, leaving the band without much TV and mainstream attention.

The touring cycle for Promised Land was shorter than the one for Empire - but no less stunning, visually and musically. A few warm-up dates were scheduled for late 1994, but the "Road to the Promised Land" tour kicked off in earnest in early 1995 in Europe, concluding in late July of that year in the United States. The entire Promised Land album was performed (although not in sequence), along with familiar hits and some rare cuts from The Warning and Rage for Order. An interest tidbit for hardcore fans -- Queensryche did an instrumental cover of The Rolling Stones' "Waiting On a Friend" during a guest spot on a European music channel.

Much like the Building Empires tour, video footage enhanced the music and dramatic scenes were performed live by the band, including a second stage made-up as a bar to perform the album's title track. Tate took on a more theatrical role on this tour, expanding the stage acting approach he incorporated on the previous tour when Operation: Mindcrime was presented in its entirety.

Queensryche offered up a section of seats each night to fans that wanted to record their performances and solicited copies in an effort to release an "official bootleg" of the Promised Land tour. Despite fan outcry for the footage, no official DVD has ever surfaced from the band. Fans also were given opportunities to view the concert from the stage as "bar patrons" during the performance of the song, "Promised Land."

To tide fans over until its next release, Queensryche released in 1996 what could be the first band-related video game. Called the "Promised Land CD-Rom," the game featured five distinct worlds where players could explore the personalities of each band member. Along the way, users have to solve riddles and search for pieces of the Queensryche totem pole depicted on the Promised Land album cover. Once all pieces of the totem are recovered, the game reveals its reward – a new acoustic song from Queensryche titled "Two Mile High."

Promised Land

Title: Promised Land
Release Date: Oct. 20, 1994 (EMI Records)
Producer: Peter Collins & Queensryche
Engineering: James "Jimbo" Barton
Mixing: James "Jimbo" Barton

Tracklist:

9:28 a.m. -- (Rockenfield)
I Am I -- (DeGarmo/Tate)
Damaged -- (DeGarmo/Tate)
Out of Mind -- (DeGarmo)
Bridge -- (DeGarmo)
Promised Land -- (DeGarmo/Jackson/Rockenfield/Tate/Wilton)
Dis-con-nec-ted -- (Rockenfield/Tate)
Lady Jane -- (DeGarmo)
My Global Mind -- (DeGarmo/Rockenfield/Tate/Wilton)
One More Time -- (DeGarmo/Tate)
Someone Else? -- (DeGarmo/Tate)

Key Tracks: Damaged, Promised Land, Bridge

B-sides: Real World (released as a standalone single in 1993), Dirty Lil Secret, Someone Else? (full band), Two Mile High (from PL CD-Rom)
















Promised Land Era Singles:

Real World
I Am I

Bridge
Dis-con-nec-ted
Someone Else?

Notes: Released over four years after Empire, Promised Land went the exact opposite direction most fans expected from Queensryche. Instead of building on the Empire's warmer, melodic hard rock sound, Promised Land took a more acoustic and simplistic approach instrumentally. Cuts such as "Bridge," "Out of Mind," and "Someone Else?" provide a moody atmosphere, while rocking tracks like the first single, "I Am I," "Damaged," and "My Global Mind" balance the record out.

If Operation: Mindcrime was the more Iron Maiden/Judas Priest side of Queensryche, then Promised Land features the more cerebral hard rock, Pink Floyd-like portion of the band. It retains some aggressive, metal moments ("Damaged" in particular), but embraces a more introspective, dark and mid-tempo vibe overall.

The writing for Promised Land took place mostly in 1993 and spring/summer 1994, during the height of the "grunge" movement. Curiously, while past records from Queensryche incorporated elements of whatever trend was popular in music at the time (the band always changing styles to a degree from album to album), Promised Land was an oddity. The 11-track effort builds off of Empire to a degree (mostly in production), but the songs are clearly not influenced by grunge, nor do they harken back to Queensryche's "metal years." They stand alone as what could arguably considered the most "pure" snapshot of the band's "own" sound.

Acoustic guitars played a critical role on tunes such as "Bridge," and "Out of Mind," but the record as a whole really seemed built more on creating an overall mood than looking for a hit single. The result is a roller coaster that really runs the gamut of emotion and style from the quirky sitar-laced opener "I Am I," to the aggressive metal guitars in "Damaged" to the piano-only closer of "Someone Else?" Instrumentation-wise, Promised Land was the most adventurous in the band's career to this point, also featuring cello, saxophone, and keyboard arrangements.

Lyrically, Promised Land is a dark, introspective look into the psyches of DeGarmo and Tate. The former's lyrics take a look at issues such as loss and mental instability, while the latter concentrated on self-doubt and the disappointments in the wake of reaching the pinnacle of success. For example, in a live solo acoustic show in March 2017, Tate revealed the genesis of "Out of Mind," explaining to the audience that his mother worked in a mental hospital when Tate was a child, and often took him to work with her (she was a single parent at the time). As a result, Tate observed a lot of interesting behavior from the patients. During the Promised Land sessions in 1993-1994, Tate told the story to DeGarmo, who according to Tate, was so inspired by the story, he came back the next night with "Out of Mind" completely written.

While Promised Land sold over one million copies in the U.S., and is considered by fans to be one of Queensryche's landmark albums, it was a commercial flop for EMI Records. Videos were shot for "I Am I," "Bridge" and "Dis-con-nec-ted," but the songs were rarely played on MTV, as the network turned its focused to grunge-era bands from Seattle, such as Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Nirvana and Pearl Jam.

Interesting facts: During the recording of "Promised Land" (the title track), Tate couldn't quite capture the emotion in the song Jimbo Barton was looking for. The two went out drinking, Tate got hammered, came back to the studio, and nailed the vocal in one take. In a conversation with a friend of mine years ago, he also warned to never listen to the song while in a depressed state, alluding to the dangers of suicide.

The tri-ryche totem pole depicted on the cover of Promised Land was created by Harold Alfred, an artist from Victoria, B.C., Canada.

Promised Land CD-ROM

Promised Land CD-ROM
Release Date: 1996

Notes: The Promised Land CD-ROM was a video game released by Queensryche in 1996. The game takes players through the minds (worlds) of all five band members, in search of pieces of a Promised Land totem pole. During the game, users encounter riddles and tasks that must be solved and are greeted by the band membes throughout game play. In addition, snippets of the recording process of Promised Land are shown, which when put together, create a nice "making of" segment on the record for fans.

Once the game is complete (or if fans find the video file in the game's directory), the player is rewarded with an exclusive acoustic song titled "Two Mile High." The Promised Land CD-ROM took approximately two years to create, and is loosely based on the concept and game play of MYST, which was released in 1993.

The Road to the Promised Land Tour (1994-1995)

Support of Promised Land consisted of late 1994 promotional performances in Europe, followed by proper headline tours of Japan, Europe and the U.S. in 1995. The setlists for the headline tours stayed fairly static, particularly in the U.S. The stage show expanded the dramatics in the Building Empires tour and featured a bar scene for the song "Promised Land," where fans got to sit at the bar on stage as Queensryche performed the song, and crew doubling as stage actors during "Out of Mind" and "I Am I."

Queensryche played Promised Land in its entirety, but not in order. They combined new songs with hits from Empire and Operation: Mindcrime, along with a medley of "NM 156" and "Screaming in Digital" from The Warning and Rage for Order, respectively. The medley featured the opening half of each tune. The band closed with an encore of "Take Hold of the Flame" and a special live version of "Someone Else?" that had the arrangement from the album piano version of the song, but with subdued additional electric guitar, bass and percussion sprinkled in. Other highlights in the set included the performance of the b-side "Real World," (which was released in 1993 on the Last Time in Paris movie soundtrack) and a shortened version of "Neue Regel."

A typical setlist on this tour looked like this:

9:28 A.M.
I Am I
Damaged
Bridge
Screaming In Digital/NM 156 (medley)
My Global Mind
Neue Regel (abridged -- song ends right before guitar solo)
I Remember Now
Anarchy -X
Revolution Calling
Operation: Mindcrime
Spreading The Disease
The Mission
I Don't Believe In Love
Waiting For 22
My Empty Room
Real World
Eyes Of A Stranger
Empire
Jet City Woman
Promised Land
Dis-con-nected
Lady Jane
Out Of Mind
One More Time
Silent Lucidity
Take Hold Of The Flame
Someone Else?

Video Download: Queensryche does an interview and performs on MTV Europe Most Wanted on March 9, 1995. Songs included a commercial break bumper cover version of the Rolling Stones' "Waiting on a Friend," along with full performances of "Bridge" and "Jet City Woman."

DATE LOCATION VENUE
October 20, 1994 London, UK Astoria Theater
October 21, 1994 Cologne, GERMANY Altes Presswerk
October 25, 1994 Stockholm, SWEDEN P3 (Studio 13)
October 28, 1994 Milan, ITALY Rock FM Studio
November 1994 Hilversum, HOLLAND Vara Studio
February 9, 1995 Glasgow, SCOTLAND Barrowlands
February 10, 1995 Manchester, UK Manchester Apollo
February 11, 1995 Sheffield, UK Sheffield City Hall
February 13, 1995 Nottingham, UK Royal Concert Hall
February 14, 1995 Wolverhampton, UK Civic Hall
February 16, 1995 Leeds, UK Town & Country Club
February 17, 1995 Newport, UK Newport Center
February 19, 1995 Brussels, BELGIUM Forest National
February 20, 1995 Paris, FRANCE Elysee Montmartre
February 22, 1995 Neu-Isenburg, GERMANY Hugenottenhalle
February 23, 1995 Hannover, GERMANY Capitol
February 24, 1995 Hamburg, GERMANY Grosse Freiheit
February 26, 1995 Stockholm, SWEDEN Circus
February 27, 1995 Copenhagen, DENMARK KB Hallen
February 28, 1995 Berlin, GERMANY Neue Welt
March 1, 1995 Stuttgart, GERMANY Kongresszentrum B
March 3, 1995 Milan, ITALY Palaido
March 4, 1995 Zurich, SWITZERLAND Volkhaus
March 5, 1995 Munich, GERMANY Terminal 1
March 7, 1995 Cologne, GERMANY E-Werk
March 8, 1995 Rotterdam, NETHERLANDS Ahoy
March 9, 1995 London, UK MTV Studios
March 10, 1995 London, UK Royal Albert Hall
March 16, 1995 Tokyo, JAPAN Kosei Nenkin Kaikan
March 17, 1995 Osaka, JAPAN Kosei Nenkin Kaikan
March 18, 1995 Fukuoka, JAPAN Sun Palace
March 20, 1995 Tokyo, JAPAN Nakano Sun-Plaza
March 22, 1995 Sendai, JAPAN Izumi T-21
March 23, 1995 Kawasaki, JAPAN Club Citta
March 24, 1995 Tokyo, JAPAN Gotanda Kani-Hoken Hall
April 14, 1995 Kalamazoo, MI Wings Stadium
April 15, 1995 Saginaw, MI Wendler Arena
April 17, 1995 Cleveland, Ohio Unknown
April 18, 1995 Cleveland, Ohio CSU Convention Center
April 19, 1995 Toledo, Ohio Sports Arena
April 21, 1995 Indianapolis, IN Pepsi Coliseum
April 22, 1995 Dayton, Ohio Irvin J. Nutter Center
April 23, 1995 Peoria, IL Peoria Civic Center
April 25, 1995 Madison, WI Dane County Coliseum
April 26, 1995 Rosemont, IL Rosemont Horizon Arena
April 28, 1995 Auburn Hills, MI The Palace
April 29, 1995 Milwaukee, WI Mecca Auditorium
April 30, 1995 St. Louis, MO Kiel Center
May 1, 1995 Bonner Springs, KS Sandstone Amphitheater
May 2, 1995 Omaha, NE Omaha Civic Auditorium
May 5, 1995 Green Bay, WI Brown County Veterans Memorial Arena
May 6, 1995 Minneapolis, MN Target Center
May 7, 1995 Cedar Rapids, IA Five Seasons Center Arena
May 9, 1995 Denver, CO McNichols Sports Arena
May 10, 1995 Salt Lake City, UT Delta Center
May 11, 1995 Boise, ID Boise State University Pavilion
May 12, 1995 Ogden, UT Dee Events Center
May 13, 1995 Sacramento, Calif. Cal Expo
May 14, 1995 Las Vegas, NV Thomas & Mack Center
May 15, 1995 Reno, NV Lawlor Events Center
May 16, 1995 Tucson, AZ Tucson Convention Center
May 17, 1995 Albuquerque, NM Tingley Coliseum
May 19, 1995 Phoenix, AZ Desert Sky Pavilion
May 20, 1995 Inglewood, CA Great Western Forum
May 21, 1995 San Diego, CA Sports Arena
May 23, 1995 Concord, CA Concord Pavilion
May 24, 1995 San Jose, CA San Jose Arena
May 26, 1995 George, WA The Gorge
May 27, 1995 Portland, OR Portland Coliseum
June 9, 1995 Odessa, Texas Ector County Coliseum
June 10, 1995 San Antonio, Texas Freeman Coliseum
June 11, 1995 Houston, Texas Woodlands Pavilion
June 13, 1995 Dallas, Texas Starplex Amphitheater
June 14, 1995 Oklahoma City, OK Zoo Amphitheater
June 16, 1995 Wichita, KS Britt Brown Arena
June 17, 1995 Little Rock, AK Barton Coliseum
June 18, 1995 New Orleans, LA Lakefront Arena
June 20, 1995 Birmingham, AL Unknown
June 21, 1995 Nashville, TN Starwood Amphitheater
June 23, 1995 Pensacola, FL Pensacola Civic Center
June 24, 1995 Orlando, FL Orlando Arena
June 25, 1995 Miami, FL Miami Arena
June 27, 1995 Tampa, FL Expo Arena
June 28, 1995 Atlanta, GA Lakewood Amphitheater
June 30, 1995 Raleigh, NC Walnut Creek Amphitheater
July 1, 1995 Charlotte, NC Blockbuster Pavilion
July 2, 1995 Hampton, VA Hampton Coliseum
July 4, 1995 Manassas, VA Nissan Pavilion at Stone Ridge
July 5, 1995 Pittsburgh, PA Star Lake Amphitheater
July 7, 1995 Louisville, KY Louisville Gardens
July 8, 1995 Fort Wayne, IN Fort Wayne Coliseum
July 9, 1995 Cincinnati, Ohio Cincinnati Gardens
July 11, 1995 Evansville, IN Roberts Stadium
July 12, 1995 Columbus, Ohio Polaris Amphitheater
July 14, 1995 Scranton, PA Montage Mountain
July 15, 1995 Buffalo, NY Darien Lake Amphitheater
July 16, 1995 Boston, MA Great Woods
July 18, 1995 Wantagh, Long Island, NY Jones Beach Ampitheater
July 19, 1995 Camden, NJ Blockbuster-Sony Entertainment Center
July 21, 1995 Albany, NY Knickerbocker Arena
July 22, 1995 Hartford, CT Meadows Music Theater
July 24, 1995 Holmdel, NJ Garden State Arts Center
July 25, 1995 Middletown, NY Orange County Fairgrounds
July 26, 1995 Weedsport, NY Cayuga Fair
July 27, 1995 Toronto, Ont., CANADA Molson Amphitheater

1994-1995 Promised Land Era Scrapbook

Article Scans


RAW (1995 - pt. 1)


RAW (1995 - pt. 2)


RAW (1995 - pt. 3)


RAW (1994)


RAW Special (1995 - pt. 1)


RAW Special (1995 - pt. 2)


RAW Special (1995 - pt. 3)


Kerrang (1994/1995 - pt.1)


Kerrang (1994/1995 - pt.2)


Kerrang (1994)


Circus (1994-pt.1)


Circus (1994-pt.2)


Circus (1994-pt.3)


RIP (July 1995-pt.1)


RIP (July 1995-pt.2)


RIP (July 1995-pt.3)


RIP (July 1995-pt.4)


RIP (July 1995-pt.5)


EQ (1995-pt.1)


EQ (1995-pt.2)


EQ (1995-pt.3)


EQ (1995-pt.4)


EQ (1995-pt.5)


EQ (1995-pt.6)


EQ (1995-pt.7)


EQ (1995-pt.8)


Guitar World (Jan. 1995 pt.1)


Guitar World (Jan. 1995 pt.2)


Guitar World (Jan. 1995 pt.3)


Guitar World (Jan. 1995 pt.4)


Guitar World (Jan. 1995 pt.5)


Guitar World (Jan. 1995 pt.6)


Guitar World (Jan. 1995 pt.7)


Guitar World (Jan. 1995 pt.8)


Guitar (Dec. 1994-pt.1)


Guitar (Dec. 1994-pt.2)


Guitar (Dec. 1994-pt.3)


Guitar (Dec. 1994-pt.4)


Guitar (Dec. 1994-pt.5)


Guitar (Dec. 1994-pt.6)


Guitar (Dec. 1994-pt.7)


Guitar (Dec. 1994-pt.8)


Guitar (Dec. 1995 pt.1)


Guitar (Dec. 1995 pt.2)


Guitar (Dec. 1995 pt.3)


Guitar (Dec. 1995 pt.4)


Guitar (Dec. 1995 pt.5)


Guitar (Dec. 1995 pt.6)


Guitar (Dec. 1995 pt.7)


Modern Drummer
(March 1995 pt.1)


Modern Drummer
(March 1995 pt.2)


Modern Drummer
(March 1995 pt.3)


Modern Drummer
(March 1995 pt.4)


Modern Drummer
(March 1995 pt.5)


Modern Drummer
(March 1995 pt.6)


Modern Drummer
(March 1995 pt.7)


Modern Drummer
(March 1995 pt.8)


Modern Drummer
(March 1995 pt.9)


Modern Drummer
(March 1995 pt.10)


Modern Drummer
(March 1995 pt.11)


Modern Drummer
(March 1995 pt.12)


Modern Drummer
(March 1995 pt.13)


Guitarist (Dec. 1994 pt.1)


Guitarist (Dec. 1994 pt.2)


Guitarist (Dec. 1994 pt.3)


Guitarist (Dec. 1994 pt.4)


Guitarist (Dec. 1994 pt.5)


Guitarist (Dec. 1994 pt.6)


Livewire (1994 pt.1)


Livewire (1994 pt.2)


Livewire (1994 pt.3)


Metal Edge (1994 pt.1)


Metal Edge (1994 pt.2)


Metal Edge (1994 pt.3)


The Music Paper
(Feb. 1995 pt.1)


The Music Paper
(Feb. 1995 pt.2)


The Music Paper
(Feb. 1995 pt.3)


Kerrang 515


Kerrang 516 (Cover)


Kerrang 516 (Part 1)


Kerrang 516 (Part 2)


Kerrang 516 (Part 3)


Kerrang 516 (Part 4)


Metal Edge (Jan. 1995 pt.1)


Metal Edge (Jan. 1995 pt.2)


Metal Edge (Jan. 1995 pt.3)


Metal Edge (Jan. 1995 pt.4)


Metal Edge (Jan. 1995 pt.5)


Metal Edge (Jan. 1995 pt.6)


Rip Magazine (Dec. 1994 pt.1)


Rip Magazine (Dec. 1994 pt.2)


Rip Magazine (Dec. 1994 pt.3)


Rip Magazine (Dec. 1994 pt.4)


Los Angeles Times (Jan. 1995 pt.1)


Los Angeles Times (Jan. 1995 pt.2)


Metal Edge (Oct. 1995 pt.1)


Metal Edge (Oct. 1995 pt.2)


Metal Edge (Oct. 1995 pt.3)


Aardschok (Nov. 1994 pt.1)


Aardschok (Nov. 1994 pt.2)


Aardschok (Nov. 1994 pt.3)


Aardschok (Nov. 1994 pt.4)


Aardschok (April 1995 pt.1)


Aardschok (April 1995 pt.2)


Aardschok (April 1995 pt.3)


Kerrang (1994 pt.1)


Kerrang (1994 pt.2)


Metal Hammer (1994-review)


Metal Hammer (1994 pt.1)


Metal Hammer (1994 pt.2)


Metal Hammer (1994 pt.3)


Metal Hammer (1994 pt.4)


MEAT #52, Oct. 1994


Walkman, Nov. 1994


Blue Jean, Dec. 1994


Burrn Cover, Nov. 1994

Band Photos


Promised Land Era Promo Shot 1


Promised Land Era Promo Shot 2


Promised Land Era Promo Shot 3


Promised Land Era Promo Shot 4


Promised Land Era Promo Shot 5


Promised Land Era Promo Shot 6


Promised Land Era Promo Shot 6


PL Era Promo Shot 7


PL Era Promo Shot 8


PL Era Promo Shot 9


Michael Wilton Photo Shoot


Geoff Tate PL Photo Shoot


Chris DeGarmo PL Photo Shoot


Eddie Jackson PL Photo Shoot


Scott Rockenfield PL Photo Shoot


Wilton & DeGarmo (PL Era)


Press Kit Photo 1


Press Kit Photo 2


PL Band UK Promo Photo


DeGarmo - Magazine Promo Shot


Chris DeGarmo (live, 1995)

Misc. Scans


PL Promo Ad


HMV PL Promo Ad


EMI PL "Out Soon" Ad


PL Promo Kit Bio pt. 1


PL Promo Kit Bio pt. 2


PL UK Tour Flyer


Promised Land. Now.


Ad for "I Am I" Single

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