QUEENSRŸCHE's TODD LA TORRE: 'After 10 Years, I've Proven Myself As An Asset To The Band'
October 3, 2022
QUEENSRŸCHE frontman Todd La Torre spoke to Sonic Perspectives collaborator Rodrigo Altaf about the tenth anniversary of his joining the band as the replacement for original singer Geoff Tate. Asked if he feels like the QUEENSRŸCHE fans have completely embraced him after all this time, Todd said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Look, there's always some asshole that doesn't like what I do. But I think after 10 years, I've proven myself as an asset to the band. I think I've been able to contribute in many ways, whether it's helping with art, helping with… I mean, just all of the creative process I'm fully involved in with the guys. But I think the majority of the people that support the band, or supported the band, dig what we're doing. And we've had a lot of great opportunities that the band hadn't had for a while. So I think we're doing things in the right direction."
He continued: "But yeah, there's always gonna be somebody that has to say something negative. But I don't care about them. I care about people that… And after 10 years of this and a couple of years in CRIMSON GLORY dealing with that too, I've heard it all; I've seen it all. Nobody's gonna come up with anything that's gonna hurt my feelings or make me feel… What they're saying isn't original; people were saying that 11 years ago. At least come up with something original. But yeah, people seem to really dig what we're doing. And no complaints overall."
La Torre was the lead singer for CRIMSON GLORY from late 2010 until resigned from the band in early 2013. In 2012, Todd became a household name in the metal world when he officially became the new lead vocalist of QUEENSRŸCHE. The band immediately began touring globally and started writing new material for the self-titled 2013 album "Queensrÿche". To date, QUEENSRŸCHE has released three studio albums with La Torre: "Queensrÿche", "Condition Hüman" (2015) and "The Verdict" (2019). The band recently completed work on its fourth release for Century Media Records, "Digital Noise Alliance", due on October 7.
This past June, Todd told the "Metal From The Inside" podcast about the criticism he and his bandmates have faced in the decade since he stepped into the group as the replacement for Tate: "First of all, people have to remember: I was a big fan of this band too. So I get it. People are, like, 'Oh, no [Chris] DeGarmo [original QUEENSRŸCHE guitarist]. Oh, no Geoff. And now Scott's [Rockenfield, original QUEENSRŸCHE drummer] not playing with them,' and blah blah blah. I understand that purist mentality. At the same time, if people aren't getting along, or if people just don't wanna do it anymore for whatever reasons… Some people say, 'Oh, they should have just stopped the name and continued under RISING WEST,'" he said, referring to the name he and the other members of QUEENSRŸCHE briefly performed under before Tate was officially fired from the band. "You say, wait a minute — you still have Michael Wilton [guitar] and Eddie Jackson [bass], who are very much, they're founding members of this band. they're supposed to just throw away their legacy and the name that they've spent their whole lives building up to, because a percentage of the original guys aren't in the band anymore? Like, fuck you! They have every right [to carry on as QUEENSRŸCHE]. They own the name. It's their band.
"When I came in, obviously I felt, 'Oh my God. This is a lot to live up to,'" La Torre admitted. "But I already kind of went through that when I was in CRIMSON GLORY. From day one, there were people saying how awful I sound, how I don't have the stage presence, how I don't have the richness in my voice or whatever. And it's been 13 years that I've had [people making hateful comments about me].
"I've read the most godawful comments you can imagine. When my dad passed away — he committed suicide back in 2014 — I remember somebody saying, 'I'd shoot myself if my kid sang like that too.' But you know what? It's not a reflection of me, how I am as a singer; it's just purely a reflection of them. Maybe they're musician that didn't get that opportunity. Or whatever the case is — maybe it's envy; maybe it's jealousy. People take stuff so personally that they're, like, 'That's my band.' I mean, you look at the 'Dimebag' Darrell thing" — referring to the late PANTERA guitarist who was shot and killed onstage by a troubled schizophrenic who believed that the members of PANTERA were stealing his thoughts — "where it's, like, 'This isn't PANTERA.' And whatever the case is, some nutjob. And there have been instances where I've had death threats made on me: 'You're gonna eat an effin' bullet if you're at this next show,' to where we've had to notify all the authorities and security with photographs of people and say, 'This person, they're not allowed in.' Blah blah blah. I mean, there's wackos out there. And at the end of the day, we're just, like, 'Wow. This is just music. We're just playing songs. What the fuck is your problem?' People are so fanatically, obsessively fixated on certain things, and it's creepy."
Todd went on to say: "I knew that I was gonna subject [to that kind of online hate] again, even more so, 'cause QUEENSRŸCHE was a much bigger band than CRIMSON GLORY, and [Geoff] was always the original singer, so it's, like, 'Who's this guy?' So I just said, 'I don't care. I'm just gonna sing to the best of my ability on this day.' Never mind I have my dad's sinus problems or I've been talking and my throat's tired and I've been in airplanes and I'm not acclimated to altitudes. Like, whatever. And they want this exact, perfect replication of what they heard on the record, which they weren't getting before anyway. It's not realistic.
"There are people that have come up to me at shows and said, 'Hey, I owe you an apology.' And I'm, like, 'I don't even know you. What are you talking about?' And they'll say, 'For years, I was, like, 'No Geoff Tate, no QUEENSRŸCHE. No this. No that.' And I didn't like you. But I figured I'd come out and see it, and I'll be damned. You won me over. And everything I said I take back and I'm sorry that I ever said that.' And, of course, I wouldn't know that they said that, but they feel compelled to tell me, 'Wow! The band sounds awesome. You're doing a great job. You do have those similarities of what we expect to hear, but it's not this perfect clone. You still are who you are, but you have those nuances and subtleties that the songs need.'
"I think that there are a lot more people that appreciate what the band is doing and have accepted me in the band than there are the opposite of that," La Torre said. "But when I hear… Like, there was something the other day. I forgot we were putting a little teaser, a 15-second teaser, of something on the new record, and it was out. And all the trolls come out, and they're, like, 'This doesn't sound anything like QUEENSRŸCHE.' It's, like, you literally heard 15 seconds. And it totally sounds like QUEENSRŸCHE.
"I think people, they just don't have any reservation anymore. And everyone is so quick to just react and say whatever they want online. Those people would never say that shit to my face. And now I don't care. I mean, I'm still a human being. I have really thick skin when it comes to this kind of stuff. But there are times occasionally where it's, like, 'Wow. That kind of hurt a little bit.' And that lasts about three seconds. And then I go, 'It's just another sad individual.' If you were given the opportunity I was afforded, you would take it. You would have to be an idiot not to take it. If I never accepted this gig and there was somebody else, I would always be thinking to myself, 'Maybe I'm better than that guy.' Maybe I think I could have done a better job. Or, 'Damn, that guy does great, but that could have been me.'
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