Was Chris DeGarmo Queensrÿche?


I remember now…

This writing will probably piss off and alienate some of my friends and readers, but it is my thoughts and feelings and I will not apologize for that.

In the early 80’s a track caught my ear one day and wormed its way into my brain, “Queen of the Reich”. It was Iron Maiden meets Judas Priest and yet somehow…not. I didn’t catch the band name but a quick phone call to the DJ, yes I said DJ, and found it was a band named Queensrÿche and I was hooked.

Album after album came out and my love for the band and appreciation for their music grew and grew. In the midst of all of this I met and married my wife and she, in turn, grew to like  Queensrÿche as well.

The years gave us great albums and music to share. We were fortunate to catch them on the Hear in the Now Frontier tour and then Chris DeGarmo left the band.

I thought to myself surely the departure of Chris wouldn’t be the end of  Queensrÿche and I stood by patiently to see the results. Q2K was released and it was ok, but something seemed lacking in the song structure. I then heard some rumors that Chris was working with  Queensrÿche again on a new record. Tribe was released in 2003 and it gave me the magic I felt before from open to close. The “reunion”, however, was short-lived. Chris faded away again.

2006 to 2011 brought us Operation: Mindcrime II, Take Cover, American Soldier, and Dedicated to Chaos, all decent efforts but still lacking that je ne sais quoi. Then, the Taterÿche Wars (as I like to refer to them) began.

While I refuse to take sides in the whole fiasco (I am not nor will I ever be a part of their internal business matters, and was not included in any discussions so everything we read or hear is hearsay.) I kept an open mind as to the outcome.

I then heard that Geoff Tate and the band had split. Rumors of a new band called Rising West featuring Todd La Torre surfaced and I was impressed and glad they had decided to move on. As for Geoff I was hoping that he would pursue a solo career and Queensrÿche would be put to rest in an honorable way.

Needless to say that did not happen. Like a bad political campaign there was name calling and mudslinging galore. Eventually it settled, Geoff gave up the name Queensrÿche and named his new endeavor Operation: Mindcrime.

Both camps have continued to make new music and yet have failed to reach me on the level that Queensrÿche once did. Don’t get me wrong, Michael Wilton, Scott Rockenfield, and Eddie Jackson, are all stellar musicians and were critical to the Queensrÿche sound. Parker Lundgren and Todd La Torre are great additions as well, I just wish they would have stuck to the Rising West name and let Queensrÿche die an honorable death. Todd is a phenomenal vocalist and front man but he’s no Geoff Tate and neither should he be.   Was Chris DeGarmo Queensrÿche? Maybe not but he certainly was a big part to me.

-the Hellion



5 thoughts on “Was Chris DeGarmo Queensrÿche?

  1. I completely agree. That combination of DeGarmo and Wilton was unique and can’t be reproduced with other people. The chemistry just isn’t the same. Eyes of a Stranger was the hook for me. Will never forget hearing it for the first time!

  2. Any band name is nothing more than a brand. Even bands who maintain their original members still evolve as artists. Stryper has retained their original members and still they are a very different band today.

    Queensryche is most definitely a sum of its parts. It was apparent when DeGarmo left things changed. But to your point he did return on a few tracks on Tribe. Guess what? Not the same band. If you listen closely, this had more to do with Geoff not performing up to par. The music was decent. But vocally, Geoff wasn’t cutting it anymore.

    The band may not have fully disclosed this, but they have certainly hinted at it but some of these Queensryche records were Queensryche in name only. Some of these records had session players…no Scott Rockenfield, no Eddie Jackson and no Scott Rockenfield. My ears don’t lie.

    Finally, Todd is no Geoff Tate. Thank God! He apparently still has some gas left in the tank. I can’t speak for anyone but myself. These last two records, to me, are of the same caliber of those first 5 or 6 records. Everything in between is mostly garbage with a few exceptions here and there. If their new music isn’t reaching you, oh well. There are plenty of us old school fans who love the new material and support it with our purchases of physical CDs, downloads and vinyl.

  3. I’m not so sure I would have given up on the name of the band so fast. Those who knew the Queensryche name would be reachable but those who would not know the band had turned into Rising West would have an uphill battle getting recognition. I remember that many MANY people had no idea that Dio was touring with his former mates under the name HEAVEN AND HELL. Once you have favorable brand recognition, youre less likely to part with it. I do however agree that after Chris left the music took a serious hit.

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