QUEENSRŸCHE's MICHAEL WILTON Says Returning Guitarist MIKE STONE Was 'Instantly' Accepted By Fans

September 24, 2022

QUEENSRŸCHE guitarist Michael Wilton spoke to Ruben Mosqueda of We Go To 11 about the band's upcoming album, "Digital Noise Alliance", which will arrive 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.

"Digital Noise Alliance" features returning QUEENSRŸCHE guitarist Mike Stone who has been handling second-guitar duties in the band since late May 2021. QUEENSRŸCHE 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.

Michael told We Go To 11 (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "When Parker decided he was gonna retire, it was, like, 'Oh, boy. Here we go.' [Laughs] But Mike was available, and he's been seamlessly integrated into what we're doing. He's a team player. He's a great individual to just be around. It's all about recreating the songs to their true format and representing 'em in their original way. And for him, the guitar parts that he's doing, that's what it's about. He's motivated; he's doing the research and woodshedding on all the guitar parts. And instantly the fans accept him. And it's great to play with him; he's a great player. And he actually recorded on some of the songs on the new album as well."

In a February 2022 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]"

For the past five and a half years, Casey Grillo has been filling in for QUEENSRŸCHE's original drummer Scott Rockenfield, who stepped away from the band's touring activities in early 2017 to spend time with his young son.

Last October, Rockenfield filed a lawsuit against the band's fellow original members Wilton and Jackson, alleging, among other things, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and wrongful discharge.

Photo by Silly Robot Studios

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