QUEENSRŸCHE's Michael Wilton has confirmed that guitarist Mike Stone will likely contribute guitar solos to the band's next studio album.
Since late May, Stone has been handling second-guitar duties in QUEENSRŸCHE, which announced in July that longtime guitarist Parker Lundgren was exiting the group to focus on "other business ventures."
Stone originally joined QUEENSRŸCHE for the 2003 album "Tribe" and stayed with the band for six years before leaving the group.
In an interview with Straus Project conducted before QUEENSRŸCHE's October 16 concert at the Arcada Theatre in St Charles, Illinois, Wilton stated about Stone (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "He's such a gracious guy to stop his life and come out on the road with QUEENSRŸCHE. He loves it. He was with us in the early 2000s, and so he knew the songs. So it just made sense, the transition into what we're doing. And he's learning more songs in the repertoire, so we can eventually start playing different songs in the setlist."
Asked if Stone is someone who might be involved in the recording process for the next QUEENSRŸCHE album as a full-fledged member of the band, Wilton said: "He's pretty much a touring guy. It's up to him, basically. But I think we'd like to have him come into some of the recording and do, like, double solos, 'cause he'll be playing 'em [live] anyway. And just to have a little diversity in the guitar area. So we'll utilize him as much as we can, as much as he allows us."
As for the progress of the songwriting sessions for QUEENSRŸCHE's "The Verdict" LP, Wilton said: "We've been writing lots of songs, lots of demos, and we've been putting songs together for this next QUEENSRŸCHE album. We've been doing these think-tank sessions where we all meet in a room and improvise and just come up with ideas. And you get instant yays and nays — if it's something we can work on. 'Cause sometimes I'll play something and I won't recognize it as something that I thought was really cool or something. And then [singer] Todd [La Torre will go], 'Oh, that's really cool. If you put that in this part right here…' You get a lot of this spontaneous creativity that happens, which is different than the way we did 'The Verdict'. 'The Verdict', we all had completed songs, and we were e-mailing, waiting for responses, waiting for this and that.
"It's kind of like the old days, but now you have technology. And it's faster, actually. For me, I'll come up with an idea — a riff and a couple of parts right here — and [producer] Zeuss [Chris Harris] will tell [drummer] Casey [Grillo], 'Casey, come play a drum beat to this. Let's see how this works.' And then we just build from something that simple into a song. And it's fun.
"We've got, like, 23, 24… I don't know. There's so many of these demos."
Lundgren, a former member of original QUEENSRŸCHE singer Geoff Tate's solo group who was also briefly married to Geoff's stepdaughter Miranda, announced his departure from QUEENSRŸCHE in a social media post on July 2.
The 34-year-old musician wrote: "For several years, I have been deeply immersed in collecting and selling guitars, as well as rare and fascinating musical instruments. This passion led to the opening of my guitar store Diablo Guitars in 2019. Since then, my business has grown and I recently acquired a storefront with a full-service repair shop. In 2020, my wife and I opened Lucky Devil Latte, which has quickly expanded to multiple locations. With these new endeavors and ensuing responsibilities, my time to devote to QUEENSRŸCHE has become increasingly strained, and I no longer am able to commit the time and focus it deserves. For these reasons, I have made the difficult decision to step down from my role as guitarist in QUEENSRŸCHE.
"I want to thank my friends, family, and fans for making the past 13 years an amazing journey. I wish nothing but the best for my fellow band members, crew and everyone who has supported us.
"I hope to have your continued support as I pursue new ventures."
The remaining members of QUEENSRŸCHE added in a separate statement: "For over a decade, it has been a great pleasure watching [Parker] evolve and flourish as a guitarist, songwriter, and most importantly, a wonderful human being. Parker will always be family to us and we wish him all the success in the world with his new endeavors. Take hold, brother!"
Lundgren, who joined QUEENSRŸCHE in 2009, previously sat out some of QUEENSRŸCHE's U.S. shows in September 2018 when the band was on tour as the support act for SCORPIONS.
Wilton and bassist Eddie Jackson are the sole remaining original members of QUEENSRŸCHE, which split with Tate in 2012 and replaced him with ex-CRIMSON GLORY frontman Todd La Torre.
QUEENSRŸCHE has released three albums thus far with La Torre — 2013's "Queensrÿche", 2015's "Condition Hüman" and the aforementioned "The Verdict".
Earlier this week, original QUEENSRŸCHE drummer Scott Rockenfield filed a lawsuit against Wilton and Jackson, alleging, among other things, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and wrongful discharge.
Rockenfield hasn't performed with QUEENSRŸCHE in more than four years. The band has used former KAMELOT drummer Casey Grillo for touring purposes since April 2017.
The drum tracks on "The Verdict" were laid down by La Torre.
Queensryche at the Arcada 10/16/21
I had the opportunity to sit down with Michael Wilton & Todd La Torre of Queensrÿche this evening before their show at the Arcada Theatre. They haven't talked to ANYONE on this tour, and I am honored they take the time when in town. I hope you enjoy this stripped down Straus Project EXCLUSIVE!!! - J.R.
Posted by Straus Project on Saturday, October 16, 2021