Queensryche settles legal dispute over name

**The Tale of Two Queensryches has come to an end**

Geoff Tate - Queensryche - Center Stage, Atlanta GA - 10 Jan 2014

Geoff Tate – Queensryche – Center Stage, Atlanta GA – 10 Jan 2014

After a two-year legal dispute, the question about “which Queensryche” gets to use the name has been settled. Geoff Tate, lead vocalist and quintessential front man of the original band out of Bellevue, WA, has after 30+ years lost the right to use the trademark to the Queensryche name but has won the exclusive performance and promotion rights for the concept albums he wrote, “Operation: Mindcrime” and Operation: Mindcrime II” as unique performances.

During Tate’s run as Queenryche’s most visible public face, the progressive heavy metal band had immense success with four Grammy nominations and more than 20 million albums sold. In a settlement reached on April 17, former bandmates Michael Wilton, Eddie Jackson and Scott Rockenfield will get to use the standalone name “Queensryche” while Tate will be free to pursue other creative endeavors under another name. In a joint statement released Sunday night, the two bands announced “We wanted to let Queensryche fans around the world know that an amicable settlement has been reached between Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield, Michael Wilton and Geoff Tate with regard to the future of the Queensryche name.”

Since 2012, when Tate and the former members of his band had a major falling out after a backstage altercation which resulted in Tate’s firing, followed by a counter-suit by Tate for wrongful termination, there have been two bands using the name Queensryche – the one with Geoff Tate being informally qualified as “Geoff Tate’s Queensryche” to distinguish it from the one known just as “Queensryche.” The lead singing on the non-Geoff version was taken over by former Crimson Glory singer Todd La Torre, with Wilton continuing a strong presence as guitarist, plus Jackson, Rockenfield, and Parker Lundgren. Each group felt it had the more valid case to control exclusive rights to the name. A preliminary injunction gave both sides permission to use the same name until such time as a court ruled in favor of one case over the other, and the final settlement cedes the trademark from Geoff Tate while allowing him sole rights to perform “Operation: Mindcrime,” a concept album he wrote and which was first performed in 1988.

“One thing that’s really important for fans to know is that this never went to court,” comments Geoff Tate. “They (Wilton, Jackson and Rockenfield) bought the name from me. But I retain ‘Operation Mindcrime.’ It’s sort of similar to the Pink Floyd situation where Roger Waters retained ‘The Wall.’ ‘Mindcrime’ was my thing and my story, so it’s appropriate that I keep that. So they will continue on as Queensryche, and I will continue on as me.”

According to the Seattle Times, both sides say they are relieved to settle the dispute and look forward to moving on. “It’s the rebirth of Queensryche and the way it used to be,” Wilton said to the Times by phone. “We’re rebuilding the Queensryche name.”

Tate and “his Queensryche’s” roster of musicians (bassist Rudy Sarzo, guitarist Robert Sarzo, guitarist Kelly Gray, drummer Simon Wright, and keyboardist Randy Gane) will be going on a final tour starting in July to bid adieu to the Queensryche name. The Atlanta date is Sunday 8/17 at Center Stage; tickets go on sale for the majority of shows this Friday, 5/2 and Saturday 5/3. Last time they played here on the 25th Anniversary Mindcrime Tour (with Sass Jordan as “Sister Mary”) (see previous article) they brought the house down so their final show Atlanta should be a killer for the many hardcore fans who attended last time. For more information, check out their website and social media: queensryche.com, facebook.com/GeoffTateOfficial, and twitter.com/GeoffTate. Geoff’s Queensryche also has a Facebook (facebook.com/queensryche) although the name seems likely to change soon.

The “other” Queensryche is at queensrycheofficial.com, on Twitter @queensryche, and on Facebook at facebook.com/QueensrycheOfficial.

Queensryche Starring Geoff Tate / 2014 Farewell Tour Dates
Wed 7/30 – Saint Rocke – Hermosa Beach, California
Thurs 7/31 – The Coach House – San Juan Capistrano, California
Fri 8/1 – Sycuan Casino – El Cajon, California
Sat 8/2 – House of Blues – Las Vegas, Nevada
Sun 8/3 – The Canyon Club – Agoura, California
Thurs 8/7 – Strummer’s – Fresno, California
Fri 8/8 – Theatre Deville – Vacaville, California
Sat 8/9 – Downtown Amphitheater – Morgan Hill, California
Tues 8/12 – Music Marathon Works – Nashville, Tennessee
Wed 8/13 – Lincoln Theatre – Raleigh, North Carolina
Thurs 8/14 – The Chop Shop – Charlotte, North Carolina
Fri 8/15 – Ziggy’s by the Sea – Wilmington, North Carolina
Sat 8/16 – Ziggy’s – Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Sun 8/17 – Center Stage – Atlanta, Georgia
Tues 8/19 – Trees – Dallas, Texas
Wed 8/20 – Aztec Theatre – San Antonio, Texas
Fri 8/22 – Rialto Theatre – Tucson, Arizona
Sat 8/23 – Talking Stick Resort – Scottsdale, Arizona
Sun 8/24 – Sunshine Theater – Albuquerque, New Mexico
Tues 8/26 – The Depot – Salt Lake City, Utah
Thurs 8/28 – The Cotillion – Wichita, Kansas
Sat 8/30 – Tailgaters – Bolingbrook, Illinois

Article and photos by Maryelle St. Clare