MICHAEL WILTON: How QUEENSRŸCHE Weathered Rise Of Grunge In 1990sJanuary 7, 2023
In a recent interview with Max Davallo of the "Sonic Dorms"music talk show, QUEENSRŸCHE guitarist Michael Wilton spoke about how the rise of grunge in the early 1990s forced most hard rock bands off the radio and MTV, with album and tour sales plummeting.
"I think as far as the metal, the progressive rock and the hard rock, we catapulted," he said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). "So I think we were kind of in our automatic way of existing. And it's something that you see technology changing, the dynamics of the record companies were changing, a new crowd was coming in and they wanted something of their own. And that all was great for all those bands, and especially all the bands from Seattle because we knew 'em all. For us, it was a time of just a shift in the industry. And I think we weathered it. We kind of went through some changes, probably like most bands do. I think we had such a solidified following that it really didn't matter. We just kept doing what we do. And then the whole grunge thing happened. That was really great. Music got stale, I guess, and this new music came in. But for us, it's always been about a certain way we do things. Whether trends and things happen, I don't think we follow trends. We just do what we do."
Wilton previously discussed grunge's impact on QUEENSRŸCHE's popularity in a March 2019 interview with the "Cobras & Fire" podcast. At the time, he said: "The grunge thing happened pretty much in the mid-to-late '90s, so we had already gone through that whole early-'90s explosion of rock videos on MTV and lots of record companies selling tons of CDs and albums and everything. It was a glorious time.
"I remember, I think we were playing in '96 or '97, and that's kind of when it all hit, right? It just kind of goes in cycles. There's a new generation coming in, and they want their own thing. And for us, we never fit into any concrete genre and we weren't a band that was on any trends. We were kind of oblivious to it all, and we just kept doing what we were doing. And lo and behold, look at us today — we're still going strong. And I think it's just because QUEENSRŸCHE's music is unique and it has its place. And it obviously, for the most part, can be timeless."
Six years ago, former QUEENSRŸCHE frontman Geoff Tate said that he was offended when his band started being compared to the so-called "hair metal" acts of the 1980s.
"When we started, genre wasn't really a thing in the business," the singer said. "Rock music was all encompassing. You had different bands doing different things and it was all totally fine.
"What happened was that the marketing mentality came into the business," he explained. "They started breaking everything down and putting music in boxes. At that point, writers began placing us in the same box as MÖTLEY CRÜE. It wasn't about the music — it was a selling technique.
"To be compared to MÖTLEY CRÜE… I took it as kind of an insult, frankly."
Last month, QUEENSRŸCHE announced an early 2023 U.S. tour in support of its sixteenth studio album, "Digital Noise Alliance". Direct support on the trek will come from former MEGADETH guitarist Marty Friedman, with TRAUMA opening each show.
"Digital Noise Alliance" came out on October 7 via Century Media. The record was once again helmed by Chris "Zeuss" Harris, who previously worked with QUEENSRŸCHE on 2015's "Condition Hüman" and 2019's "The Verdict" LPs.
Guitarist Mike Stone, who rejoined QUEENSRŸCHE in 2021, contributed guitar solos to the band's new studio album.
Since late May 2021, Stone has been handling second-guitar duties in QUEENSRŸCHE, which announced in July 2021 that longtime guitarist Parker Lundgren was exiting the group to focus on "other business ventures."
Stone originally joined QUEENSRŸCHE for the 2003 album "Tribe" and stayed with the band for six years before leaving the group.
For the past six years, drummer Casey Grillo has been filling in for original QUEENSRŸCHE drummer Scott Rockenfield, who stepped away from the band's touring activities in early 2017 to spend time with his young son.
In October 2021, Rockenfield filed a lawsuit against Wilton and Jackson, alleging, among other things, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and wrongful discharge. A few months later, Wilton and bassist Eddie Jackson filed a countersuit against Rockenfield, accusing him of abandoning his position as a member of the band and misappropriating the group's assets to his own personal benefit.
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