Queensryche members Michael Wilton, Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield and Parker Lundgren announced last month that they had sacked vocalist Geoff Tate and recruited Todd La Torre of Crimson Glory as his replacement and have already played two shows at Seattle's Hard Rock Café under the band name Rising West, but it now looks like they are heading into a court battle over the Queensryche name with former vocalist Tate.
Tate has recently said, in an interview with RollingStone.com, that he would be filing a lawsuit against the other band members to "...sort out who is what, and who owns what, and that stuff..." and a suit has been filed in the King County Superior Court, Washington which shows that Tate is also attempting to get a court injunction against Wilton, Jackson and Rockenfield to stop them from using the name Queensryche for their new band.
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Court papers lodged on Monday 9th July 2012 (obtained by Blabbermouth.net) also show that Wilton, Jackson and Rockenfield have a counter-claim filed against Tate and his wife, Susan, who up until recently served as the manager of the band.
Below are excerpts from the courts papers lodge by Wilton, Jackson and Rockenfield:
"During this period of the late 1990s into the early 2000s, Susan Tate, Geoff Tate's wife, began her ascent to the ultimate management of the band. Susan Tate first began running the fan club and merchandising portions of the QUEENSRŸCHE operation. She then was instrumental in the firing of then current manager, Ray Daniels, and having him replaced with Lars Sorenson, to whom she then served as assistant. Then, in 2005, she took over management duties completely and Lars Sorenson was let go. This is quite an accomplishment since Susan Tate's only prior management experience was managing her previous husband's unsigned local band.
"Once Susan Tate was installed as manager, the Tates proceeded to take full control of the band. Geoff Tate began working with outside writers and regularly rejecting music offered by the band. Geoff and Susan Tate asserted full control over the budgeting and production process, not only cutting Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield and Michael Wilton out of the creative process, but eliminating songwriting royalties and manipulating all advances so as to coerce their cooperation. This was combined with constant threats from Geoff Tate to leave the band if his bandmates did not go along with his dictates.
"In an attempt to maintain what was left of the original membership and get what advance and other monies were available, Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield and Michael Wilton went along with Geoff and Susan Tate's creative and business control of Queensryche. This is ironic as Geoff Tate has stated publicly on several occasions about his bandmates' integral role in the sound and overall makeup of QUEENSRŸCHE.
"The results of the Tates' stewardship of QUEENSRŸCHE have been disastrous. Under Tate leadership, QUEENSRŸCHE has produced three albums to wildly declining sales. 'Operation: Mindcrime II' has sold only 150,000 copies to date, compared to 500,000 for the original 'Operation: Mindcrime' in the first year alone, moving on to over a million a few years later. It also received only mediocre reviews. The next album, 'American Soldier', sold only 60,000 copies, less than half again. And last year's 'Dedicated To Chaos', sold an abysmal 20,000 copies.
"In addition, Geoff Tate has shown an almost messianic dedication to these ill-received songs and musical direction. He openly loathes the Metal sound that made the band famous, even saying so to the press. Geoff Tate even refuses to perform the bulk of the songs from the first five, and most popular, albums, considering them 'stupid,' his refusal coming in the face of overwhelming fan demand.
"Although QUEENSRŸCHE has continued as a viable entity, the decline of recent years is evident in album sales and overall revenue. As a result, Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield and Michael Wilton, who own 75% of the stock in the QUEENSRŸCHE entities and are three of four directors, decided in 2012 to take a more active role in the direction of the band entities..."
The papers also reveal that a longtime rumour regarding the possibility of a stage play based on the band's career defining 1988 album 'Operation: Mindcrime' is in fact true.
"...the other band members learned through Scott Rockenfield that Geoff Tate had negotiated a development deal for a movie based on Queensryche's popular concept album, 'Operation: Mindcrime'. Scott Rockenfield received an e-mail from a mutual acquaintance who was part of the deal who explained how Geoff Tate was about to engage in a lucrative agreement. When Scott Rockenfield informed Eddie Jackson and Michael Wilton of this, they investigated with the Queensryche corporate attorney and confirmed that a six-figure advance was indeed being held by him until execution of documents by Geoff Tate, at which time the money would be paid to Geoff Tate alone. This is despite ownership of 'Operation: Mindcrime' and associated intellectual property by the Queensryche entities and former member Chris DeGarmo.
"Due to this litigation, the other bandmates (Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield and Michael Wilton) have now come into possession of the agreement executed by Geoff Tate for this movie option. Amazingly, and with no grant of authority from the band, Geoff Tate claimed full ownership in the 'Operation: Mindcrime' story, procuring for himself a $150,000 fee, 20% of all royalties, and $10,000 upfront for an option, all payable to him alone, and with 20% for soundtrack and merchandise revenue to be split amongst him and the band."
The new version of Queensryche are scheduled to headline the Halfway Jam Festival held at Royalton, Minnesota, USA on 28th July (http://halfwayjam.com) and have signed a new Management deal with the Front Line Management Group (part of the Live Nation Entertainment Group) headed by Irving Azoff who is the manager of Van Halen and Alter Bridge amongst others.
Geoof Tate has launched a solo career and has recently signed a worldwide recording contract with Insideout Music.