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Interviews : “We’re very thankful that we can come to Australia again”- An Interview With Michael Wilton (Queensrÿche)

By on May 9, 2016

Queensryche band 2016

Michael Wilton – Queensrÿche

Queensrÿche are heading back to Australian soil in October this year. After having endured a very public lawsuit episode featuring former vocalist Geoff Tate, the band is truly back to the form of their glory days. It will be the band’s first tour down here with Todd La Torre as their frontman. I phoned up co-found/guitarist Michael Wilton last week to have a chat about the state of the band and the upcoming Australian tour. 

I told Michael from the get-go how happy I am that they’ve pushed through all the negative stuff that’s happened to the band in recent years. 

“I appreciate that, yeah. You really have high moments and low moments in this career, and that was some trying times down in the trenches like that. But we made it out, and we’re doing what we love and what we believe in. But it wasn’t easy!” <laughs>

Todd La Torre might not be that well-known to a lot of metal fans, the Queensrÿche faithful the exception. I asked Michael if he could tell me some random facts about Todd. 

“Todd La Torre, he was filling in as a singer for Crimson Glory for a while. He’s also a very accomplished drummer, a great drummer. He can play guitar and keyboards as well. He’s also a musician, he’s not just a lyricist and a singer, he’s a musician. That’s some insight that you’ll learn as you get to know him. Very powerful with an amazing voice. He represents the music exactly like it was recorded, impeccable range, he’s killing it man. He’s a great guy, gets along with the band, no ego, just a good guy.”


I gave the latest album, Condition Hüman, a few spins before the interview, and the music felt very fresh and powerful to me. Does this album mark a new beginning of a sort for the veterans?

“You know, when you’re in a situation where someone is dictating your creativity and bringing in outside writers when you have the proven assets of the band, it doesn’t make sense. But now, here we are, it’s a band again. The chemistry is strong, we’ve bonded again, it’s going great. We’re on a good roll, firing on all cylinders. It works just as well in the writing process because everybody is contributing. Everybody is writing songs, parts and lyrics. It makes it more of a band situation. I think that it gives you the energy, it’s like in the early days.”

That’s the way it should be isn’t it? Because then everyone can connect to the music on a personal level as well.

“Very much, you know, obviously you get a lot of push and pull, a lot of people doesn’t like certain things, but you know what? That’s what makes it great, when the final product comes out it’s something that everybody worked so hard at to make it amazing. It’s working better when you have the whole strength of the band and not just the one person.”

Do you feel inspirations flowing for your next album flowing already?

“Yeah, there’s no shortage of demos, things we’ve had for years plus all the new ideas. We’re excited and motived, in January we’re gonna get going again. You’ll get more of the same, intense, progressive hard rock.”

One thing that I always find interesting, especially with bands that have released many albums, is how they go about picking setlists. 

“It’s hard to keep it fresh, we have so many songs that work well. Each city is different, they all want to hear the same song and then we have to play the same songs over and over again. I think we do a good balance, people want to hear songs from the first five albums. So we’re trying to represent that as best as we can and then there’s the occasional obscure song that we throw in there. And then songs from the new album that we’re marketing and promoting. It’s a blistering 90 minutes!”

While we’re still on the subject of playing live, I had to ask Michael if he feels that it’s important to be a good live act nowadays. 

“Definitely. There’s hundreds of millions that don’t buy CDs. They listen to it on the Internet for free. CD sales are down, so you have to tour. If you have to tour all the time, you have to make sure that you can perform, because there’s a lot of competition. It’s definitely a beneficial asset that your band is tight, you can play your instruments and you can perform night after night. In this industry, it’s something you have to do.”

Your band pretty much grew up at the same time as the metal genre as a whole. What’s your take on the future? Are the arena bands a dying breed? 

“I don’t know, because the whole industry is changing every day. The bands that play those big festivals, they are getting old. I don’t know what technology is going to bring to the record industry. But I know that we have a place, we’re fortunate that we have a great following worldwide, that we can tour no matter what happens.”

As we were nearing the end of our chat, I asked Michael if he had any great memories from past visits to our big island. 

“I was in the bar of the hotel, I believe in Brisbane, an aboriginal fellow came in. I had never met one, it was very interesting. He was a character of sorts, I had a great chat with him before he was kind of kicked out <laughs> That was hilarious. It was a great time to meet a person like that. I can’t remember what his name was, he was kind of a jack of all trades. We talked a lot and he played the harmonica. That was really fun.”

Do you have any career goals left? 

“I think we’ve got some offers around the world to places I’ve never been. That’s kind of a goal. We’ve been to a lot of countries and I think that’s mainly what I want to do with the band. I know we’ve got some offers from Indonesia so hopefully that’s in the works for the future.”

Before we go, what do you have to say to people who might not be sure about getting a ticket for your upcoming tour here in Australia? 

“If you’ve got a curiosity for the band give it a chance. It’s in experience that you’ve got to see. We’re clicking on all cylinders. It’s a great performance, you definitely want to check this one out.”

I also think it’s interesting, because there might be old fans that got put off the band a bit because of the lawsuit, but I’ve watched some of your recent live clips and I think that it’s really important that they come back because I think you’re the best that you’ve been in many years.

“That’s true. We get that all the time now. Lots of fans that haven’t seen the band since ’95. Lots of people haven’t followed the band, they gave up. So it’s great when you meet those people again and they tell you that we blew them away. That’s what we’re going to do. One show at a time, proving ourselves, and having fun while doing it! We’re very thankful that we can come to Australia again, it’s going to be a great time.”


Tuesday 11th October – Brisbane – The Triffid
Thursday 13th October – Adelaide – Fowlers Live
Friday 14th October – Melbourne – Prince Bandroom
Saturday 15th October – Sydney – Manning Bar

Tickets and Meet & Greet packages available from Metropolis Touring.

The band are currently promoting their fifteenth studio album Condition Human, out now via Century Media Records.


Martin is an aspiring music photographer/videographer. He is originally from the southern parts of Sweden and now he's living in Sydney, Australia. Thanks to his older sister, he got into Rammstein at the age of 9, and since then he's been into all types of metal/rock. He loves to combine photography and music, but also filming concerts and produce live material. Follow him on Twitter and check out his website.