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Metal/Prog Metal Interviews


Interviewed by Gary Hill, Jason Hillenburg, Mike Korn, Greg Olma and Josh Turner
Interview with Scott Rockenfeld of Queensryche from 2013

The new album is shorter than most of the Queensryche catalogue. Was this by design or was this a timing issue?

Our focus for Queensryche has always been on writing and recording the absolute best quality material that has been developed to the highest standards that we impose on ourselves as a band. We wanted to make sure and not have any music that felt like "filler" just for the sake of adding more songs. To us it's about quality and not quantity. We want the listener to enjoy the journey and want more!
MSJ: Why did you decide to just self-title the record?
We very much feel that "we are" Queensryche, and so for us to self-title the CD made perfect sense for us to make that statement.
MSJ: Queensryche has always been a band of moving forward and exploring music but the new record is almost a step back in sound (not that I'm complaining). Was this to try and win back fans who gave up on Queensryche after the last few releases?
Our goal was to get Queensryche back to making music that we felt was important to "us" as a band and also to our fans. Michael, Eddie and I have been making music together longer than before Queensryche even started, and so we very much feel that this is a natural progression for us and or music together. We are very excited that our fans and the media have accepted our new found energy, and that they all seem to feel like we have made our new CD as though it fits within our history of music back in the time frame of Mindcrime/Empire and Promised Land.
MSJ: Do you have any material written for the next record?
Absolutely. . . we had such a great time writing and recording this new record, that we have already begun writing new material! Just wait! (laughter)
MSJ: Any thoughts of doing another concept album, maybe one not related to Mindcrime?
We are always talking about new ideas and themes to what we are interested in doing musically, and so, yes, I think there is always a possibility of us digging in deep with an interesting theme or concept sometime soon.
MSJ: Certainly a fresh start with a new voice out front can be empowering and inspiring. That said, how does a deeply held conviction about the band being steered wrong in the last decade or more fuel your desire to re-establish the Queensryche brand?
We are so enthusiastic now about our new found friendship and creativity together. We feel as though a “dark cloud” has been lifted from us! And working with Todd has now opened us up for some amazing new ideas and opportunities that we have not been able to pursue for quite many years. Our goal is to keep it rolling for as long as our fans will allow us to.
MSJ: How did you guys wind up on Century Media Records? Did you seek them out or vice versa? What do they bring to the table for you?
We began recording the new CD months ago, and in the process we had been discussing with our management about a great label that would be interested in working with us. At that same time Century Media came into the fold and were interested. They had heard our initial demos of the music and contacted our manager to express their interest in the band. Century Media is a great label with a global presence and we are very excited to have them be so interested in the band and our new music!
MSJ: Since the split with Geoff Tate, it seems like you, Scott, are doing more interviews than you used to do. Were you not given the opportunity for interviews in the past or did the band decide to have Tate do most of the interviews?
Actually, we have all done huge amounts of interviews in the past, but being that things in the past years were becoming more controlling by a certain band member and his wife, for whatever reason, we were being left out of the interview chain so to speak. Now that the band is doing so great, we seem to have an amazing amount of media around the world that is once again interested in talking with the five of us!
MSJ: From your back catalogue, what is your favorite Queensryche record and why?
Geez, tough question. . . (laughter) I suppose one of my faves for certain reasons would be Promised Land. We had a great time making the record, and dug in deep with things like building our own recording studio in a cabin on an island outside Seattle, Washington, living there for six months and recording together. . . great experience. . . and the music was a great band effort to achieve all that.
MSJ: If you could go back in time, which Queensryche record would you fix/change/re-do?
I try not and think about regret or what I shoulda/coulda done. . . I try and take my experiences and learn from them (good or bad) and take those experiences and move forward with my work.
MSJ: Rage for Order is a favorite for many fans and you did a few shows where you played it start to finish. Is that something you would like to revisit and do a complete tour highlighting that album?
Again, we are now able to do things with Todd in the band that we have not been able to do before. Maybe we'll do an entire set of The Warning some day. . . (laughter) And yes Rage could also be something that we could achieve in its entirety live! The world is now our oyster. . . (laughter)
MSJ: What is the process for picking out a set list?
Since we have Todd with us now, we can essentially talk about playing any material we have ever written. . . That being said, it becomes somewhat a funny discussion with all of us wanting to play everything. . . Heck we'd be on stage for six hours or something…(laughter)
MSJ: What are the touring plans once the record is out?
We have summer festival shows booked all through the USA. Then in September we start a complete "official” world tour starting across the USA, and then we go to Europe for the month of October. We have tours being planned for all the other parts of the globe sometime after that, and it will most likely keep us touring on this new CD well into 2014! UGH. . . (laughter).
MSJ: What side projects (if any) are you currently working on?
I have been scoring music for films, TV and video games for many years now. And so currently I have a lot going on. I just finished some new music for the film trailers to the Will Smith film After Earth and also to the new Matt Damon film Elysium. I am now working on some music for the film trailers for the new Robocop film for Sony, and beyond that, I have four feature films being offered to me to do the entire orchestral film scores…fun stuff!
MSJ: Looking back quite a ways, how did your tour with Dream Theater come about?
We have had mutual respect for each other and our music for quite a long time, and when the time came back in 2003 for us (Queensryche) to tour, we simply decided that it would be fun to do together. Great guys, great band and it was a really great tour together!
MSJ: Do you have any particular memories of that tour, good or bad, especially regarding Dream Theater in general or playing on stage with them for “Won’t Get Fooled Again?”
Yeah, it was a huge amount of fun. . . and yes playing together at the end of each show was always an experience to remember. (laughter)
MSJ: If you weren't involved in music what do you think you'd be doing?
Living on a tropical beach hut with nothing else to worry about but feeding my dolphins or something. . .
MSJ: Who would you personally see as your musical influences?
So much to answer here! As drummers, Neil [Peart] (Rush), Van Halen, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden were all and still are big influences. As for music in general, I listen to all sorts of music, but mostly am interested in film music. I am a huge fan of some of the great composers (old and new) and they continue to inspire me!
MSJ: Are there musicians with whom you would like to play in the future?
I would love to sit with Neil Peart someday, but more so, I would very like to sit with film composers such as Hans Zimmer, Steve Jablonsky, James Newton Howard, etc, etc. . I wanna see how they work. (laughter)
MSJ: Do you think that illegal downloading of music is a help or hindrance to the careers of musicians?
It is what it is, but for us (and me) ya just have to get over it and move on. . . We as a band are always looking for new and interesting methods to embrace our fans and the mediums that are now present for us as musicians.
MSJ: In a related question, how do you feel about fans recording shows and trading them?
We completely encourage our fans to shoot our shows with their phones, etcetera. They have opened us to a huge amount of coverage over the last year once Todd joined in with us, and for that, they helped us greatly in exposing our new found energy.
MSJ: If you were a superhero, what music person would be your arch nemesis and why?
Wow, interesting question. . . Hmmm…? I suppose my nemesis would be a guy like Hans Zimmer. . . He has built a fantastic "film music" empire, and I want to take it from him  (laughter)
MSJ: If you were to put together your ultimate band (a band you'd like to hear or catch live), who would be in it and why?
This is a somewhat difficult question for me. . . being that I sincerely feel that the best music comes from a team of guys (much like Michael, Eddie and I) that have spent enough time together to really understand themselves and their work relationship together. In this, you can really build a musical repertoire that translates into an on going deep musical experience.
MSJ: If you were in charge of assembling a music festival and wanted it to be the ultimate one from your point of view who would be playing?
Queensryche would love to assemble a new "Ryche Fest" and invite all sorts of great bands both old and new. So many choices could be made. . . Hmmm, not sure we could convince Iron Maiden to open for us, but hey, it's worth a try. . . I'll call Nicko (McBrain - drummer) today! (laughter)
MSJ: What was the last CD you bought and/or what have you been listening to lately?
Well again, film music is my current inspiration. I purchased the music to the new Superman film yesterday. . . great stuff!
MSJ: Have you read any good books lately?
My wife gave me the new Bruce Springsteen book recently, and I found that to be very interesting. Other than that, I spend most of time studying music. . . go figure. . . (laughter)
MSJ: What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?
To be honest, I have not been to a concert for quite sometime now. . . most of my home time is spent with my wife and kids.
MSJ: If you could sit down to dinner with any three people, living or dead, for food and conversation, with whom would you be dining?
My grandparents who passed when I was young. . . and the great film composer Jerry Goldsmith!
MSJ: What would be on the menu?
Good wine and sushi. . .
MSJ: Are there any closing thoughts you would like to get out there?
Well for sure, thank you to all our fans and supporters. . . The last year has been extremely enlightening for us as a band and we are so grateful that you have all embraced us and welcomed Todd into our band! We are going to continue to conquer the world musically…. (laughter) OK, back to earth, Scott. .
MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 4 at
You'll find concert pics of this artist in the Music Street Journal members area.
You'll find an audio interview of this artist in the Music Street Journal members area.
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