November 26, 2019
As the TriRyche Turns: A Look Back at 2019
By Brian Heaton
The original lineup of Queensryche may not be back together, but the individual members were quite busy in 2019. The following provides an overview of what Chris DeGarmo, Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield, Geoff Tate, and Michael Wilton were up to musically over the last 12 months, and what may be in store from them in 2020.
Of the five original members of Queensryche, Geoff Tate was by far the busiest in terms of touring. The singer traveled the world multiple times over in 2019, both with his own band, Operation: Mindcrime (with shows dedicated to Queensryche’s greatest hits, and others full performances of Queensryche’s Operation: Mindcrime album) and then as a featured vocalist with Avantasia, the metal opera project spearheaded by Tobias Sammet.
Recording-wise, Tate was a featured singer on Avantasia’s latest album, Moonglow. He appeared on several tracks, including the popular songs “Alchemy” and “Invincible.” Tate also partnered with guitarist Simone Mularoni to record Sweet Oblivion—an album written in the style of classic Queensryche. The record was praised by many as a “return to form” for Tate. In addition, Tate confirmed that his work on the 30th anniversary box set of Empire was completed. Still no word yet, however, on the contents, or a release date.
Looking ahead, Tate has already booked a first leg of shows celebrating the 30th anniversary of Queensryche’s Empire in 2020. Those shows will feature complete performances of both the Empire and Rage for Order albums. Look for Tate to expand that tour throughout 2020, along with appearing at various live dates with Avantasia.
Eddie Jackson and Michael Wilton were also in the spotlight in 2019 with Queensryche’s The Verdict. Released on March 1, 2019, the album marked the first Queensryche recording project (not counting Frequency Unknown, the album from Geoff Tate's short-lived version of Queensryche in 2012-2013) without Scott Rockenfield. The Verdict garnered praise from critics and fans, however, and the band toured extensively, including a headline of clubs featuring support from Fates Warning. Other dates included a run of dates in Europe, and a variety of fly-in dates at casinos and festivals.
As of this writing, Queensryche (now down to and led by the last remaining original members in Jackson and Wilton) have a winter/spring tour planned for early 2020 with John 5 in support, as well as various other live appearances. There continues to be no word from the band about the status of Rockenfield, who remains on hiatus. Geoff Tate commented in July 2019, however, that Rockenfield was in “a really dark place,” and he didn’t leave Queensryche willingly, hinting that there are lawsuits involved between the drummer and the band.
Saving the feel-good story for last, Chris DeGarmo played a gig with his daughter Rylie on September 20, 2019, as the opening act for Alice in Chains at the WaMu Theater in Seattle. The duo performed acoustically as The Rue, their father-daughter collaboration that has been an ongoing project for the last several years. Check out “Black Dog.” The appearance was unannounced, but given Chris’ contribution to Alice in Chains’ last record (he performed the acoustic guitar on “Drone” off of Rainier Fog), and his friendships with Jerry Cantrell, Sean Kinney, and Mike Inez, it wasn’t surprising.
As I previously reported this year, Chris DeGarmo also sold off a big chunk of his Queensryche publishing to Sony/ATV Music. In addition, there’s been no word whether DeGarmo has contributed to the upcoming 30th Anniversary box set of Empire. Given DeGarmo’s spearheading of the original album, however, I’d be surprised if he didn’t contribute at least a few words to commemorate the milestone in the new edition.
Happy Thanksgiving to all you Rychers out there! Have a wonderful and blessed holiday season. Thank you for your continued support of AnybodyListening.net, and the original lineup of Queensryche.