Mike Araiza covers Geoff Tate’s Queensryche in Albuquerque, NM!!!

I am fortunate with the accomplishments achieved on the Hellion Rocks. I am proud to work with and call people like Charlie Owens and Randy Norris my brethren in arms with this crazy world of Rock N’ Roll journalism. I am now pleased to announce the addition of Mike Araiza to the fold as a guest correspondent. Mike was gracious enough to cover the Geoff Tate fronted Queensryche for me while I am away in New York. Here is Mike’s coverage so enjoy:

     When a living legend TAKES HOLD of the stage

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In a world of smartphones, tablets, online streaming and disposable trends I was
excited to drive up to the Sunshine Theater in Albuquerque, NM and see a line around
the building for a Rock show. Excitement was definitely in the air to see the one and
only Geoff Tate and his band of living legends which consists of Randy Gane
(keyboards), Kelly Gray (guitars,vocals), Robert Sarzo (Guitars Vocals), Simon Wright
(Drums) and the one and only Rudy Sarzo (Bass Vocals). By the time I got to the photopit
the venue was packed like I have not seen in a long time even to upper level was
full. I could hear fans talking about their favorite song(s) and discussing the hope to
hear them all. I even overheard the “ I saw ’em in 199x in Colorado” stories man I am at
a real rock show with which looks like a sold out venue!
The moment I never get tired of comes. Boom, house lights go off and the crowd erupts
into a loud roar of anticipation man this is what it is all about. The entire band struts out
with pure swagger (think of Jordan walking on the court for a finals game). To be honest
I was absolutely star struck by all of them and the crowd was so epically loud and full of
excitement I had a hard time remembering that I was there to take pictures. Within a few
bars of musical excitement the band forms into a visual balance and Geoff Tate takes
hold of center stage belting out THAT voice which we all grew up on also demonstrating
the true craftsmanship of being a legendary frontman. Not to mention, this band is
opening up a can of rock n’ roll whoop ass. Mix is tight, drums are thundering, bass is
locked hard with the drums, guitars are loud and punchy, keyboards sound fresh. I now
know why Geoff Tate recruited these guys! Chemistry is off the charts here folks!
Each song is accompanied by the crowd singing at the top of their lungs with fists
pumping in the air (which the entire band really appreciated I could see it on all of their
faces you guys kicked ass Albuquerque). It is important to note that each song was
played exactly like the respective albums. This band is loaded with a group of artists
that have been around the world with AC/DC, Ozzy, Quiet Riot just to name a few and
the stage presence shows it as well. After 90 minutes of mind-blowing Rock N Roll and
two outrageously killer encores it was time for the after show meet and greet. I watched
the entire band gracefully sign autographs, take pictures, have conversations with the
fans, this was really cool to watch. Nothing but humble and appreciative vibes going on
with this band. Geoff Tate was a pleasure to meet and was a true gentleman as was the
entire band. In closing I urge you to buy a ticket and go see this band when they come
to your area also check into the VIP as well. Last but not least a huge thanks to James
“The Hellion Rocks” for this awesome privilege and a huge thanks to Geoff Tate and his
team. Rock N Roll is a gift let’s keep giving it…
~ Mike

A tale of two Queensrÿches


A long time ago on a radio station far away…

I heard a song that caught my attention and drew me in. It was 1983, the song was “Queen Of The Reich”,  and Queensrÿche was the band. Over the years I grew to love the music and eagerly snapped up each and every release. In my humble opinion their music evolved, growing better and better which each new album.

The elements of  Queensrÿche were Geoff Tate on vocals, Chris DeGarmo on guitars, Michael Wilton on guitars, Scott Rockenfield on drums, and Eddie Jackson on bass. This lineup wrote some great, long lasting music that will forever remain in my heart.

Things were great for them until 1998 when Chris DeGarmo left the band. The salad days were over…

Various guitarists came and went in the following years, and then in 2012, the band parted ways with Geoff Tate and Todd La Torre was his replacement.

This is where the trouble started. I tried to stay out of making any statement on the whole mess but I recently read some articles on it and decided to finally weigh in on the subject.

When a band loses someone readily identifiable as their lead vocalist it is quite apparent. Some bands have managed to pull it off successfully (Van Halen, AC/DC for example). While I am familiar with Todd and his voice, he is no Geoff Tate and I feel he has been pushed into a situation where he is trying to live up to Geoff and not develop his own style. While Geoff has had to gather musicians around him to recreate the Queensrÿche sound. What are we left with? In my opinion, watered down versions.


2013 brought us two Queensrÿche records Frequency Unknown from the Geoff Tate version, and the self titled Queensrÿche from the Todd La Torre version. Here’s where I start pissing some people off. I feel that these two records are mediocre at best, there I said it. Each record has its good points but ultimately both fall short of the mark for the Queensrÿche legacy. I also feel that the inclusion of rerecorded classic Queensrÿche songs on each record were a feeble attempt by each lineup to try and show each other up.

What to do, what to do? I think both Queensrÿches need to take note of what the current lineup of Thin Lizzy has done. The band took stock of what had been and what was to be and made the decision to rebrand themselves as Black Star Riders. This allowed the freedom to create new music under the new name and play the classic Thin Lizzy songs keeping the legacy intact. The guys in Velvet Revolver moved on and still payed tribute to their previous bands as well.

While the Todd La Torre version did briefly appear as Rising West they dropped that and returned to performing under the Queensrÿche moniker. I think that they should have stayed n that path and become a new band and moved forward with it and still honored the Queensrÿche history in their live performances.

The Geoff Tate version should have done the same thing. Geoff and his new crew should have found a new identity under a new name and moved forward as well and honored Queensrÿche in their live performances as well.

Don’t get me wrong, I have the utmost respect for all of the musicians involved and the Queensrÿche legacy,  in fact I have the Tri-Rÿche logo tattooed on my arm, but I feel all parties involved need to let it go and move forward. 20140404_062220_1


    ” Your heads in overload.
You’ve reached your threshold
and you’re about to explode.

Open your eyes. Just say what you want to say?
Open your eyes, you see yours isn’t the only way .
Open your eyes. To you everyone is blind.
Open your eyes and your mind.”

     Rest In Peace Queensrÿche – the Hellion



Interview with Robert Sarzo about his new release AFTER THE STORM.



Every so often you run into someone who makes a positive impact on you. Robert Sarzo is one of those people. I was fortunate to meet him after a Queensryche show recently. He was extremely gracious to everyone he met and was genuine about it. That, my friends, is class. He recently released a solo record call After The Storm. Robert was kind enough to give me phone call and chat about his new record and music. Enjoy it right here:

     If you haven’t already, do yourself a favor and go to http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/robertsarzo1 and pick up After The Storm.

     Thank you Robert, for everything!

     it’s loud, it’s dirty, it’s ROCK N’ ROLL!

Robert Sarzo releases After The Storm



1. War Dance
2. Don’t Change Your Love
3. Lace, Pearls and Fire
4. Innocent Girl
5. Not Yet
6. Los Canbios De Amore
7. Heilo Y Fuego
8. Angelita
9. Backbeat

     Robert Sarzo is one of the worlds outstanding guitarists. I was fortunate to meet him and his brother Rudy at a recent Queensryche show. His playing and showmanship was outstanding.

Robert Sarzo on fire!

Robert Sarzo on fire!

Now Robert has released After The Storm. I picked it up yesterday and haven’t stopped listening to it. Full of tribal sounds, Latin rhythms and full on metal licks, there is something here for everyone.

After The Storm opens with the tribal inspired instrumental  “War Dance”. Great drum beat backed with ethereal sounds make up this track. “Don’t Change Your Love” is a straight on rocker full of great riffs and smoking vocals. Pure rocking at its finest. “Lace, Pearls, And Fire” is one  my stand out tracks on this record. Catchy hooks and dirty blues based rock make this a do NOT miss song. “Innocent Girl” slows the pace a bit but loses nothing in that. Opening with beautiful guitars, it leads into a “raise your lighter to the sky” type of ballad full of emotion and melody another stand out track for sure. “Not Yet” is a great sing along track that will get your blood pumping and head nodding in time to the hook, another favorite. “Los Canbios De Amore” is the kickass Spanish version of “Don’t Change Your Love”. “Heilo Y Fuego” is the awesome Spanish version of  “Lace, Pearls, And Fire”. “Angelita” is the Spanish version of “Innocent Girl” . “Backbeat” closes out this wonderful record with another rocking tune that fills the ears with joy.

Robert is filled with true musical talent and this talent needs to be heard. Be sure and pick it up at https://www.cdbaby.com/cd/robertsarzo1

You can keep up with Robert on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/robertsarzosr?ref=ts&fref=ts

it’s loud, it’s dirty, it’s ROCK N’ Roll!

the Hellion



     From the opening notes of “I Remember Now” to the closing notes of “Eyes of a Stranger”, Operation Mindcrime was played in its entirety  to perfection at The Hard Rock Casino in Albuquerque, NM on 04/12/13. No breaks, and no interruptions, the story of Operation Mindcrime was told to completion. Never mind about controversy and nay saying, THIS was Queensryche at its finest. Like a superhero calling forth his team mates, Geoff Tate has assembled a rock solid lineup.


     With Robert Sarzo (Hurricane, and was considered as Randy Rhoads replacement for OZZY), Simon Wright ( AC/DC, Dio, UFO, Rhino Bucket, John Norum, Tim “Ripper” Owens, Mogg/Way), Randy Gane (Myth), Kelly Gray (Myth, Slave To The System), and the LEGENDARY Rudy Sarzo (OZZY, Quiet Riot, Whitesnake, M.A.R.S., Manic Eden, Michael Angelo Batio, Dio, Bassinvaders, Tim “Ripper” Owens, Animetal USA), you can’t go wrong.

Robert Sarzo on fire!

Robert Sarzo on fire!

Kelly Gray in charge!

Kelly Gray in charge!

Somewhere behind this kit is Simon Wright

Somewhere behind this kit is Simon Wright

Rudy Sarzo showing us how bass is done!

Rudy Sarzo showing us how bass is done!

After totally annihilating us with their blistering rendition of Operation Mindcrime, Geoff finally broke his silence and talked to the wildly enthusiastic crowd.  “You want more?” he queried. Queensryche then launched into a four song encore set. “Silent Lucidity”, “I’m American”, “Jet city Woman”, and closing with “Empire”. Geoff and crew continued to whip the crowd into submission until the very end. It was awesome to see the massive crowd singing in unison to these great songs.

the crowd says it all!

the crowd says it all!


     Thanks Geoff, Robert, Rudy, Kelly, Simon, and Rudy S. for giving us a memorable evening and keeping the music of Queensryche true to form!

at the meet and greet

at the meet and greet

Funny story from the meet and greet. I happen to have a Tri-Ryche tattoo on my right arm. I also happen to have a green Happy Bunny tattoo wearing a blue shirt with my daughters nickname on it. In the process of showing Geoff my Tri-Ryche tattoo he asked “What’s with the green bunny?” A nice moment of levity with Queensryche.


I would like to give a special shout out to Jeff Albright from THE ALBRIGHT ENTERTAINMENT GROUP  for making it possible for me to cover this show.



it’s loud, it’s dirty, it’s ROCK N’ ROLL!

the Hellion





Deadline Music/Cleopatra Records to release first single “Cold” from the upcoming April 23rd album Frequency Unknown from QUEENSRŸCHE!

Deadline Music/Cleopatra Records to release first single “Cold”

from the upcoming April 23rd album Frequency Unknown from QUEENSRŸCHE!

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Deadline Music / Cleopatra Records is proud to announce the release of “Cold,” the premier single from the upcoming Queensrÿche CD, Frequency Unknown (due out Tuesday, April 23rd). Mixed by Anthony Focx (Jason Newsted, Aerosmith, Night Ranger, Ted Nugent) the single is available on iTunes for downloading and will also be released as a special limited-edition 7” vinyl single with a newly-recorded version of the Queensrÿche classic “Silent Lucidity” – mixed by Jürgen Engler (Doro Pesch, Die Krupps ) -on the B-side.

Catch Geoff Tate and QUEENSRŸCHE on their 25th Anniversary Operation Mindcrime Tour in a city near you!

Sat 04/06/13 West Wendover, NV Peppermill Concert Hall
Tue 04/09/13 Aspen, CO Belly Up Aspen
Wed 04/10/13 Grand Junction, CO Mesa Theater & Lounge
Thu 04/11/13 Denver, CO Paramount Theatre
Fri 04/12/13 Albuquerque, NM Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Albuquerque
Sat 04/13/13 Las Vegas, NV Chrome Showroom
Sun 04/14/13 Tempe, AZ The Marquee
Tue 04/16/13 Tucson, AZ Rialto Theatre
Wed 04/17/13 San Juan Capistrano, CA The Coach House
Thu 04/18/13 Agoura Hills, CA Canyon Club
Fri 04/19/13 Solana Beach, CA Belly Up Tavern
Sat 04/20/13 Los Angeles, CA Club Nokia
Sun 04/21/13 San Francisco, CA The Fillmore
Mon 04/22/13 Sacramento, CA Ace Of Spades
Wed 04/24/13 Austin, TX Emo’s
Thu 04/25/13 Houston, TX The Concert Pub North
Sat 04/27/13 Dallas, TX Granada Theater
Thu 05/16/13 Milwaukee, WI Northern Lights Theater
Fri 05/17/13 Saint Charles, IL Arcada Theatre
Sat 05/18/13 Turtle Lake, WI St. Croix Casino & Hotel
Wed 06/05/13 Verona, NY Turning Stone Resort Casino
Fri 06/07/13 Providence, RI Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel
Sat 06/08/13 Hartford, CT Webster Theater
Sun 06/09/13 Boston, MA Wilbur Theatre
Tue 06/11/13 Luzerne, PA Brews Brothers West
Wed 06/12/13 Lancaster, PA Chameleon
Thu 06/13/13 Falls Church, VA The State Theatre
Sat 06/15/13 Detroit, MI The Fillmore Detroit
Sun 06/16/13 Cleveland, OH House Of Blues