QUEENSRŸCHE's WILTON And LA TORRE Say Touring With JUDAS PRIEST Was 'Seamless': It Was 'Really Awesome'

January 15, 2023

QUEENSRŸCHE guitarist Michael Wilton and singer Todd La Torre spoke to Pete Pardo of Sea Of Tranquility about the band's recent North American tours as the support act for JUDAS PRIEST. Michael said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "JUDAS PRIEST was one of my influences when I was [in my] late teens, early 20s. So I was gravitated to the two-guitar hard rock/metal bands. I was listening to these guys — all their old albums, I still have 'em, the LPs. And for me, since we've been able to tour with them, they're just really nice guys; they're super easy to work with, and they bring it every night. They kick ass. Rob [Halford, PRIEST singer] has still got it. And for me, it's a good package. And our music complements each other in some way. But for me, it's just, like, 'Yeah, I grew up listening to these guys, and now I'm on tour with them. It's pretty damn cool.'"

Added Todd: "Yeah, it's awesome. And thing is, too, anything can happen. We turn on the news or the Internet, and somebody's passed away, something tragic happened. And to see a band that's been around as long as JUDAS PRIEST has, to be on a tour with them, you're, like, 'How many more tours does anybody have?' You don't know. So to be able to get two tours with them was really awesome. And they changed the set up on both legs; it was totally different. And getting to know them, like Michael said… We'll be going to our dressing room and we'll hear them rehearsing in one of the little side rooms. Scott [Travis, PRIEST drummer] has a practice kit and they would all be in there and they'd be rehearsing a part to a song. And we're, like, 'Oh, yeah.'

"It was a lot of fun," he continued. "[We have] so much respect for them. And the organization treated us so well. It was a real treat, and we're very honored that they not only chose us one time, but I think that they saw we did deliver… And behind the scenes, our crew… There was a 10-minute changeover for us, so we had to have everything off — boom, boom, boom — and done. And adhering to that timeline and being professional and out of their way… We're a totally self-contained unit, so we don't rely on them for a bunch of stuff. We have all our own everything. And it was just a seamless thing. We couldn't have asked for a sweeter situation.

"Michael has toured with everybody — Ozzy [Osbourne] and DIO and [IRON] MAIDEN. I don't have those experiences, but I did get to do some great tours with the SCORPIONS and now a couple of great tours with JUDAS PRIEST, and, obviously, festival stuff where I played with other bands. But these actual tours were really great. And the timing couldn't have been better as well because of the new [QUEENSRŸCHE] album ['Digital Noise Alliance']. It was, like, we had a built-in several thousand people a night. A lot of QUEENSRŸCHE shirts in the audience. Good reaction on the songs. Man, [we're] very, very thankful to them."

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.

La Torre told Canada's The Metal Voice about QUEENSRŸCHE's setlist for the upcoming tour: "We're gonna play a nice handful of songs from ['Digital Noise Alliance'] and the last three records. And then I think we're talking about doing some pretty deep cuts that have never been done since the beginning of the band and maybe something that hasn't been done for sure at least maybe since I joined the band. And then you'll have a few staple songs, but I'm pretty sure that this setlist is gonna be really for the diehards that follow everything we do, because you're gonna have a huge chunk of my era with the band being played. If you [think] you're just gonna get a lot of the old stuff that we kind of usually play, a lot of that stuff is not gonna happen on this tour. So I'm looking forward to it."

Wilton previously discussed the band's 2023 tour in an interview with Rock Show Critique. He said: "It's a full 'Digital Noise Alliance' headline tour. We're really excited to get out there and get touring again. We're rebuilding and establishing again, because for us it's a bit of the Wild West. There's a lot of congestion out there, there's a lot of bands touring, and to put a tour together like this, we're really happy that we can get out there and do a full tour."

"We appreciate the fans, their input," he continued. "For us, I think we're gonna make this different than previous tours 'cause we're really gonna mix up the setlist. So, for people saying, 'Oh, they're just gonna play the same stuff again,' they'll be surprised.

"You've gotta keep a balance, 'cause you've got the hardcore fans that wanna hear the deep cuts and they wanna hear the new stuff," Wilton explained. "And then you've got the casual fans that just wanna hear the hits, the staples from the legacy albums. But it's a headline set, so we have 90 minutes. There's a lot of wiggle room in there for some different stuff."

"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 bassist Eddie Jackson, alleging, among other things, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and wrongful discharge. A few months later, Wilton and 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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