QUEENSRŸCHE Guitarist MIKE STONE On His Return To Band: 'It's Been Going Great'
February 18, 2022
Mike Stone says that his latest stint as QUEENSRŸCHE's guitar player has "been going great."
Since last May, Stone has been handling second-guitar duties in QUEENSRŸCHE, which announced in July 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.
In a new interview with "Rockin' Metal Revival", Stone stated about how his return to QUEENSRŸCHE came about: "Life throws things at you sometimes. And it was one of those things. I had just moved across the country — my wife and I — and I had been doing a jazz gig for the last — man — eight to 10 years; that was the main thing I was doing, which I really enjoy. We decided to move to the Southwest, and we did, and we were here for about a month. We did a bunch of stuff around the new place and getting settled. And I said to Laura, 'Man, I should probably get on it and start looking for some jazz gigs.' She's also a bass player in a jazz band. We were here for about a month and literally the next morning I got a call from Eddie Jackson [QUEENSRŸCHE bassist] seeing if I was available to do some shows. And I said, 'Wow! That sounds like a lot of fun.' [Laughs] And so I went and did a few shows. And I've been doing it now since May, I believe it was. And it's been going great."
Asked if it was a hard decision to come back to QUEENSRŸCHE this time around, he said: "It wasn't hard in the sense that… A lot of people, I don't know if they even realize, but a couple of years ago I filled in on an entire SCORPIONS tour; we did, like, three weeks with the SCORPIONS, and I filled in at the last minute. And it was a lot of fun. And that was my first time out with the lineup as it is now, and, wow, what a great time. And I said to Eddie and Michael [Wilton, guitar] at the time, 'If you ever need anybody, just call me.' So I'm glad they did. And like I said, I was happy to do it."
According to Stone, he has always kept up with QUEENSRŸCHE's music, even during the years when he was out of the band. "I listened to a few things," he said. "Every time they had a new release, I'd check out a few tunes to see where they were at. I always had a good relationship with the guys, so it's always nice to see what you friends are doing. Obviously, when I got the call to come back to the band and play, I dug in deeper. And I think their new records are great. [Laughs]"
Stone also confirmed that he will play on QUEENSRŸCHE's upcoming studio album which is currently being recorded with producer Chris "Zeuss" Harris. "It's deep in production right now as we speak," he said. "The guys started the first week of January and [are] making a lot of progress. I have a number of things to play on the record, which I've been back at my place and I have tracks that I'm gonna be playing on. And I've been working up things for that. And I'm gonna be flying down to the studio this coming Monday to go record my parts, which I'm very excited about."
Lundgren, a former member of original QUEENSRŸCHE singer Geoff Tate's solo group who was also briefly married to Geoff's stepdaughter Miranda, announced his departure from QUEENSRŸCHE in a social media post on July 2, 2021.
The now-35-year-old musician wrote: "For several years, I have been deeply immersed in collecting and selling guitars, as well as rare and fascinating musical instruments. This passion led to the opening of my guitar store Diablo Guitars in 2019. Since then, my business has grown and I recently acquired a storefront with a full-service repair shop. In 2020, my wife and I opened Lucky Devil Latte, which has quickly expanded to multiple locations. With these new endeavors and ensuing responsibilities, my time to devote to QUEENSRŸCHE has become increasingly strained, and I no longer am able to commit the time and focus it deserves. For these reasons, I have made the difficult decision to step down from my role as guitarist in QUEENSRŸCHE.
"I want to thank my friends, family, and fans for making the past 13 years an amazing journey. I wish nothing but the best for my fellow band members, crew and everyone who has supported us.
"I hope to have your continued support as I pursue new ventures."
The remaining members of QUEENSRŸCHE added in a separate statement: "For over a decade, it has been a great pleasure watching [Parker] evolve and flourish as a guitarist, songwriter, and most importantly, a wonderful human being. Parker will always be family to us and we wish him all the success in the world with his new endeavors. Take hold, brother!"
Lundgren, who joined QUEENSRŸCHE in 2009, previously sat out some of QUEENSRŸCHE's U.S. shows in September 2018 when the band was on tour as the support act for SCORPIONS.
Wilton and Jackson are the sole remaining original members of QUEENSRŸCHE, which split with Tate in 2012 and replaced him with ex-CRIMSON GLORY frontman Todd La Torre.
QUEENSRŸCHE has released three albums thus far with La Torre — 2013's "Queensrÿche", 2015's "Condition Hüman" and 2019's "The Verdict".
Last October, original QUEENSRŸCHE drummer Scott Rockenfield filed a lawsuit against Wilton and Jackson, alleging, among other things, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and wrongful discharge.
Rockenfield hasn't performed with QUEENSRŸCHE in five years. The band has used former KAMELOT drummer Casey Grillo for touring purposes since April 2017.
The drum tracks on "The Verdict" were laid down by La Torre.