Let the ticket buyer beware: There are two different bands claiming the rights to the Queensryche name — at least for the time being.
The Queensryche performing 9 p.m. Saturday, March 15, at Revel Casino Hotel is fronted by Geoff Tate, the veteran metal band’s original lead singer and co-writer of much of its material. Another edition led by founding guitarist Michael Wilton and two other original members — Eddie Jackson on bass and Scott Rockenfield on drums — is calling itself the “official” Queensryche.
The two bands have been embroiled in litigation over the rights to the name for the past few years but hope to reach a settlement soon, according to Tate.
“We’re nearing the end of it now,” he says. “Both sides have the legal use of the name for now.”
In the meantime, Tate’s Queensryche is laying the groundwork for its future. The band’s lineup consists of veterans of the rock and metal scene, including Kelly Gray on guitar, Randy Gane on keyboards, brothers Rudy Sarzo and Robert Sarzo on bass and guitar, respectively, and Simon Wright on drums.
Together, they released a new album last year called called “Frequency Unknown” (Deadline Music/Cleopatra Records).
For their latest Atlantic City appearance, Tate and company will be marking the 25th anniversary of Queensryche’s breakout 1988 album “Operation: Mindcrime” (EMI America) by performing it in its entirety.
The concept album tells the story of a disillusioned ex-drug addict.
Ahead of the show, Tate discusses the legal battle over the band’s name, how he put together the new lineup and what the future holds for his Queensryche.
Q: Has the legal fight over the name been a distraction for you and the fans?
A: At first, it was a complete distraction, because it was a disruption of life as we knew it. For the past year-and-a-half it’s been operating fine — both sides are using the name and touring.
I suppose it could be confusing to some people, but we live in the age of the Internet, where you can pretty much find out anything you want to know pretty quickly.
Q: How did you put together the new lineup?
A: I was trying to put together a certain caliber of musicians. Queensryche’s music is somewhat deceptive in its construction. On first, second and third listens, it seems fairly easy. When you start trying to break it apart and try to play it, it’s very different from what you’ve played before.
It doesn’t follow rock rules. I wanted to find musicians who would play the stuff well. We have a lot of history together, all these guys, through playing and touring together. It’s really just been a fantastic experience making music together.
Q: Is this version of Queensryche running more smoothly than before?
A: It was a really smooth running organization for years and years. Just in the last couple of years, it erupted into this unforeseeable situation that brings us to where we are now. It was really quite surprising, actually.
Q: “Operation: Mindcrime” really helped set Queensryche apart from its rivals as a kind of thinking man’s metal outfit. What did you want to accomplish with the record?
A: We were very interested in writing songs from a conceptual standpoint. We worked on telling stories with the songs. On the previous album (“Rage for Order”), it was kind of a conceptual record, but there was no full-blown story.
We wanted to write a complete album that was based on a theme or a storyline. I had written the story and brought it to the band and decided this was a good story to start writing from.
Q: What’s next for your version of Queensryche?
A: We’re going to finish out this cycle of touring. That brings us to the fall. We’ll start focusing on another new record at that time. By the spring, I imagine the lawsuit will be settled, and we’ll be able to continue on doing what we do.