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Queensryche

Although they were initially grouped with the legions of pop-metal bands that dominated the American heavy metal scene of the '80s, Queensrÿche were one of the most distinctive bands of the era. Where their contemporaries built on the legacy of Van Halen, Aerosmith, and Kiss, Queensrÿche constructed a progressive form of heavy metal that drew equally from the guitar pyrotechnics of post-Van Halen metal and '70s art rock, most notably Pink Floyd and Queen. After releasing a handful of ignored albums, the band began to break into the mainstream with the acclaimed 1988 album Operation: Mindcrime. Its follow-up, Empire, was the group's biggest success, selling over two million copies due to the hit single "Silent Lucidity." Queensrÿche never sustained that widespread popularity -- like most late-'80s metal bands, their audience disappeared after the emergence of grunge. Nevertheless, they retained a large cult following well into the ensuing decades.

Guitarists Chris DeGarmo and Michael Wilton formed Queensrÿche in 1981 in the Seattle, Washington, suburb of Bellevue. Both guitarists had been playing in heavy metal cover bands and had decided to form a group that would play original material. The duo recruited high school friends Geoff Tate (vocals) and bassist Eddie Jackson (bass), as well as drummer Scott Rockenfield. Instead of hitting the club circuit, the group rehearsed for two years, eventually recording and releasing a four-song demo tape. The cassette came to the attention of local record store owners Kim and Diana Harris, who offered to manage Queensrÿche. With the help of the Harrises, the tape circulated throughout the Northwest. In May of 1983, Queensrÿche released the EP Queen of the Reich on their own record label, 206 Records. Queen of the Reich sold 20,000 copies and, in the process, earned the band major-label attention. By the end of the year, the band signed to EMI, which released an expanded version of the EP as the Queensrÿche LP later in the year; the record peaked at number 81.

At this stage, Queensrÿche sounded closer to British metal bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. Over the next few years, the group continued to refine its sound, opening for hard rock acts as diverse as Bon Jovi and Metallica. Their next two albums -- 1984's The Warning and 1986's Rage for Order -- sold respectably, with the latter reaching number 47 on the U.S. charts. Rage for Order also demonstrated a flowering of progressive rock influences, an idea that would reach its fruition with 1988's Operation: Mindcrime. Boasting orchestral arrangements from Michael Kamen, the album was Queensrÿche's most ambitious and focused effort to date, earning both positive reviews and strong sales. Operation: Mindcrime stayed on the American charts for a year, selling over a million copies during its run.

Queensrÿche returned in the fall of 1990 with the equally ambitious Empire. The album proved to be their commercial high-water mark, peaking at number seven on the U.S. charts and going double platinum in America; in the U.K., the album also cracked the Top Ten. Empire's success was instigated by the stately art rock ballad "Silent Lucidity," which received heavy airplay from MTV and album rock radio. All the exposure eventually sent "Silent Lucidity" to number five on the U.S. singles charts. Following the long Empire tour -- which included a spot on the 1991 Monsters of Rock tour -- Queensrÿche released the live Operation: LIVEcrime in the fall of 1991. Recorded on the Operation: Mindcrime tour, the album replicated the group's live performance of the rock opera that comprised their 1988 artistic breakthrough; the package also included a video and a thick book.

In the three years following the release of Operation: LIVEcrime, the band rested and leisurely worked on the follow-up to Empire. Occasionally, they contributed a song to a soundtrack, such as "Real World" for Arnold Schwarzenegger's 1993 movie Last Action Hero. Queensrÿche finally delivered their sixth studio album, Promised Land, in 1994. Though the heavy metal audience had changed drastically since Empire, with many fair-weather metal fans switching their allegiance to grunge and alternative rock, the group retained a strong following, as evidenced by Promised Land debuting at number three on the U.S. charts. Promised Land would eventually go platinum and spawn two album rock hits, "I Am I" and "Bridge."

With 1997's Hear in the New Frontier, Queensrÿche stripped back their sound to the bare bones, leaving behind the prog rock influences that made them distinctive. Although the album debuted at 19, it received mixed reviews and quickly fell down the charts, leading shortly thereafter to founding guitarist Chris DeGarmo's exit from the band. (DeGarmo would soon resurface as part of former Alice in Chains' guitarist Jerry Cantrell's touring band.) Q2k followed in 1999, as new guitarist Kelly Gray took DeGarmo's place. Queensrÿche's first best-of set, Greatest Hits, was released in 2000; the band supported the CD with an opening slot on one of the year's hottest metal concert tickets -- Iron Maiden's Brave New World reunion tour, which also included former Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford.

In 2001, the band issued a double-CD/DVD package titled Live Evolution. Meanwhile, former member DeGarmo began gearing up to form a new band, which was purported to include former Alice in Chains drummer Sean Kinney and bassist Mike Inez; although he appeared on Jerry Cantrell's Degradation Trip in 2002, no solo material materialized. DeGarmo then rejoined forces with Queensrÿche for a brief spell, appearing on the band's subsequent album, 2003's Tribe, but never officially joining the lineup. Three years later, Queensrÿche (sans DeGarmo, who had become a professional charter pilot) released Operation: Mindcrime II, the long-awaited sequel to their 1988 conceptual smash. The year 2007 saw the dual release of Sign of the Times: The Best of Queensrÿche and Take Cover, the latter of which featured cover versions of songs by U2, Buffalo Springfield, and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

During the following two years, Geoff Tate launched a series of one-on-one interviews with various military vets; he then funneled what he'd learned into the band's next project, a concept album about war titled American Soldier. Produced by Jason Slater (who had also helmed Operation: Mindcrime II), the album was released in March 2009. After that release, the band set out on the conceptual Queensrÿche Cabaret tour, merging the band's prog sound with a wild, cabaret aesthetic. The band also went overseas to Iraq to play the music of their American Soldier album for the troops for whom it was written. While there, they found themselves victims of a bomb attack but came out of the ordeal unscathed. Later that year, Queensrÿche announced that they were working on new material, and in 2011 released their 11th studio album, Dedicated to Chaos.

In June of 2012, the band fired founding vocalist and lyricist Tate and replaced him with ex-Crimson Glory singer Todd La Torre. Tate filed a lawsuit over use of the band's name and his songs. He used the Queensrÿche name as "Original Singer Geoff Tate & Queensrÿche" to strike first in the recording department, and issued the studio album Frequency Unknown in April of 2013. The La Torre version of the band has countersued. It was this version of the band that issued the album Queensrÿche in June of that year. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine & Greg Prato, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: If I Were King (Radio Single)

Comments

Thanks for sharing...
I hate ken from sf the games. I still like Ken from the Warlock 2 movie.
Right side of my mind...Class i c Queensryche song to conclude an album! The boys always had that special song to end a release.
Religion and sex are power plays manipulate the people for the money they pay selling skin selling god the numbers look the same on their credit cards
Had the pleasure of meeting these guys in Tax. in 83 at my record store at the time for a meet and greet signing tour! God were they hot and very nice!!! Will cherish those days! For anyone out there who lived in Corpus Christi at the time, might remember my store was called Melal Mayhem on Everhart St. Still have friends in the area and miss those days very much!! So much fun was had by all who entered my doors!
We watch the sun rise, and hope
That it won't be our last.
One of the best! /KK/
How can they even think of firing Tate? I'm floored.
saw them in san diego in 91 great concert
Degarmo remains one of my favorite rock guitarists ever. Great rhythm section too. These guys are the balls.
Seriously one of the best concerts I've ever been lucky enough to see. Amazing.
azinspection s i n c
This band was definitely underrated. One of my all time favorites, and yet not played enough.
A few day's ago was lucky enough to hear some of Geoff tates New band operation mindcrime New material awesome
One of better bands of its time
hjones38306
Love the story, we all have to adjust to a different world even as we get older, all i can say is enjoy these enjoyable years !!!!!&&$$$$
Its in the eyes chico!!they dont lie!!!
Lol.;-);-)
Their EP was NOT called Queen of the Reich, it was self-titled.
This could have been a rush song. Geoff loves rush.
I've seen Queensryche 4 times. Saw them on the Mindcrime tour back in 91. The best concert I have ever seen. The band was incredible and Tate was spot on with his voice and acting. He owned the stage in those days.
One of my favorite '80's bands. And love this song too on "Empire" album!
Great band. I recall seeing an add for Mindcrime in a metal rag and then heard a song on Boobie Bondage's show (on that nationwide 80's metal am channel) and got the record and never looked back. Saw em twice live as well =)
I don't Bo Lieve on love
I need to get the ninja cooking system
I graduated from the ninja gym. I will remember
Sorry to hog comment page-Rockenf i e l d not only had the coolest kit I'd ever seen-but he pounded it-I knew that I was witnessing greatness ,& I wore out 4 albums(lol) of Mindcrime,&E m p i r e as well-just a brilliant show by a brilliant band-there was no way Leppard could top their show,but unfortunatel y , i t was the last time I was able to see Steve Clark- Mindcrime is a desert island album,also Empire-Both must-haves - & Geoff IS the king of the Reich-Sheer brilliance,R o c k On,C
October 10,1987-I went to see Def Lepp on Hysteria tour(In the round-with rotating stage) & basically went to see my hero,Steve Clark-Ashame d to admit that I didn't know much about Q-ryche,but they were opening,and their whole set was Mindcrime in its entirety-Hol y S**t-I realized that I was hearing 1of the best conceptual albums ever-w/The Wall being the only thing similar-Geof f sounded unbelievable , e s p e c i a l l y for a man that smoked 3 packs of reds a day-De Garmo & Wilton trading leads,& Rockenf
Mindcrime stands alone for perfection
I had my cards read to me like Geoff but when I was 10. I'm going to be a musician and have 2 kids and be married.
Very nice
Got to see them on the operation mindcrime tour without Geoff tate there not the real Queensryche
I'm no troll. You're thinking of some emo named chicane.
It seems there's a troll lurking in this comment section...
Saw these guys twice, the best concert I've seen, if you get a chance to see them, DO IT!! 2 thumbs up!
I'm getting a Kramer Baretta Special Guitar for Xmas.
soundgaren always sucked. audioslave too.
Between 1988-1990, possibly the best of all the Seattle bands. Sorry, Soundgarden.
Haohmaru Windy on youtube
I lived this song for 10 yrs come to find out she was bi poler !!! But what a ride
brendao37
too bad. music cant be 'liked' just because I like it.
brendao37
if you don't like don't listen
brendao37
stop b**chin (take it to the fan page) shut up and listen if you like it
Me Tate I have lived your music
I might record an album
Gonna Get Close to you
jet city woman
the thin line
i love queensryche
operation mindcrime, yep geoff tate sucks and is bald
Over..... like your Career Geoff. ....
another rainy night without angela estrada
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