Straus Project conducted an interview with QUEENSRŸCHE frontman Todd La Torre prior to the band's May 5 show at the Arcada Theatre in Saint Charles, Illinois. You can watch the full chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On plans for his first solo album:
Todd: "I've had solo material for many, many years. When I joined QUEENSRŸCHE, it was, like, 'Okay, a hundred percent of your focus is on that,' and rightfully so. But it was always hard to try to find the time: okay, we're writing an album. You can't work on your stuff, because we're doing that. Then it's, 'Well, we're touring in support.' So trying to find the timing to, well, if I had it done, when could I release it where it didn't take away from the promotion and everything we're really trying to do with QUEENSRŸCHE, which always my number one priority. That being said, five years almost into the band now, and going on three records, it's time for me to start recording these ideas and eventually get 'em out there for a solo effort. So I've got a handful of songs, and more are being written. My friend Craig Blackwell is the co-songwriter and he'll be playing on the album. [He's] a great guitar player, producer, engineer. It's gonna be more of a power/groove metal [album] with thrash elements. It'll allow me to do more of the gutturals [vocals] that I wanna do, some of the really high, gritty kind of… more… just 'metal.' It's gonna be a metal record. I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel. I want it to be melodic but definitely hard-hitting and very riff-oriented. So that's something that I'm still working on in the little pockets of time that I have, along with, as you know, writing the next QUEENSRŸCHE album with the guys."
On how he determines which songs to use for QUEENSRŸCHE versus his solo effort:
Todd: "In the pool of songs that we have for the new record that we're working on for QUEENSRŸCHE, there was a song that I pitched to the guys and I played everything on it. The drums, I laid the drums down first and then I tracked all the guitars and did some rough vocal stuff. And I showed it to them and I thought, 'They're probably not gonna… I don't know that they're gonna like it for QUEENSRŸCHE.' And, actually, they really liked it. It needed to be bumped up in the beats per minute, so we just put it in Elastic Audio, changed it to around two hundred beats per minute, and everyone was, like, 'You know, I think, yeah, this is cool.' We may do a few tweaks, but overall, all the music, they were really cool with. And so that was a little surprising. I tried to use some chords that Michael [Wilton, guitar] or Parker [Lundgren, guitar] may use, instead of just straight power chords. But when I start working on something, I don't have a pre-determined thing in my head. I just give it a listen. And sometimes I don't have any ideas. And I just say, 'Okay, I'm not gelling with this today.' I have to be in a certain headspace, so I'll just go through the songs that need working on and say, 'Okay, I'm in that kind of a mood,' and whatever the music starts to sound like and make me feel is how I'll initially start working on something like that."
On the direction of QUEENSRŸCHE's forthcoming album:
Todd: "There's some stuff on there that feels like… There's one [song] in particular that sticks out that Eddie [Jackson, bass] started writin, and it does sound 'Rage For Order'-ish. It's got odd time signatures. I don't know — it kind of felt like it belonged in that era, perhaps. But it still needs vocals done on it and everything. But I've introduced some of my own stuff that has just been shelved that's more progressive and some pretty interesting time signatures, and then I have guitar riffs in my head that go with this stuff, so I've been showing Michael, just to kind of get the idea and then they can tweak it how they want. I think there's more… probably some more up-tempo songs so far that this record, I think, will have than 'Condition Hüman'. But it's still kind of eclectic. It's a little early, because I can't say, 'Okay, here's the songs that are going on the record for sure,' and then put a playlist together and listen to it and get a vibe. That hasn't happened yet."
On whether he feels comfortable as frontman of QUEENSRŸCHE:
Todd: "I feel great. Since I got into the band, everyone in the band has been just very gracious and let me be who I am. We're all just really good friends and very close, and so… I think after… especially after the last record, people know what I sound like. I was able to go in some areas on the last record that the songs didn't quite call for on the 2013 [self-titled] release, but I still love that record. And hopefully this next one will be everything that we want it to be and that the supporters of the band dig it; we hope they really like it. But, again, you just never know, and that's kind of scary. Because you say, 'Oh, they've been off for three years. This'd better be good!' You know, [it's been three years] since the last release or something like that, so there's that little bit of… I don't wanna say it's 'anxiety,' but 'concern.' On the other hand, we're just gonna keep writing music and recording. So this isn't gonna be the third and final record. We're gonna keep going and keep doing records. Yeah, it'll be… I think June or July [of 2012] is when I got into the band, so we're going on five years, three albums. It feels great."
QUEENSRŸCHE is tentatively scheduled to enter the studio in September to begin work on the follow-up to 2015's "Condition Hüman" album, to be released in early 2018 via Century Media. Helming the record once again will be Chris "Zeuss" Harris, who previously worked on "Condition Hüman".
"Condition Hüman" debuted at No. 27 on The Billboard 200 chart, having shifted 14,000 equivalent album units in the week ending October 8, 2015.
QUEENSRŸCHE last fall completed a month-long headlining tour of the United States. Support on the trek came from ARMORED SAINT and MIDNIGHT ETERNAL.