In the wake of a series of bizarre rumors about QUEENSRŸCHE's relationship with lead singer Geoff Tate, the band's publicist is downplaying reports of strife in the group.
Metal Talk and Metal Sludge recently reported on unsubstantiated rumors that Tate assaulted guitarist Michael Wilton and pulled a knife on drummer Scott Rockenfield at an April 14 gig in Brazil. The incident allegedly took place after Tate overheard his bandmates discussing plans to oust him from the group.
On Tuesday, four members of QUEENSRŸCHE — Michael Wilton, Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield and Parker Lundgren — announced a new project called RISING WEST, which will make its live debut on Friday, June 8 and Saturday, June 9 at the Hard Rock Café in Seattle, Washington. Tate had previously announced his plans to spend the summer focused on a series of solo acoustic shows.
When asked for a comment, QUEENSRŸCHE publicist Jeff Albright stated in an email to Billboard.com, "There's really no 'situation' other than the fact that Geoff Tate is concentrating on his acoustic solo performances this summer while the other members of the band have formed a new outfit called RISING WEST with Todd La Torre of CRIMSON GLORY. Everyone wants to stay busy, try new things and do what they do best . . . and, of course, that's rock in front of the masses. QUEENSRŸCHE are slated to perform select dates throughout the year."
QUEENSRŸCHE's web site lists the band's next scheduled performance for June 11 in Valley City, Utah.
RISING WEST will perform rare and classic hits from the first five QUEENSRŸCHE albums — from the 1983 EP through 1990's "Empire" — and plans on hitting the studio sometime early summer to begin recording its first release.
Geoff entered the studio on February 29 to begin recording his second solo album.
Tate released his first solo CD in 2002 on Sanctuary Records. Self-titled, the LP was a huge departure from the work he had previously done with QUEENSRŸCHE.