Interview: Michael Wilton of Queensrÿche
In the music world, it’s not common to see many bands that can stay together for 30 years. In fact, it wouldn’t be outlandish to say that bands that last even 10 years could be considered to have had "a good run."
While some bands with this longevity might be content to sit back and tour around albums they released 15 or 20 years ago, Queensrÿche decided to celebrate their 30th anniversary as a band the only way they knew how; by releasing an album of brand-new material.
Dedicated to Chaos is the band’s first record on their new label (Roadrunner Records/Loud & Proud) and their first album of new material since 2009’s American Soldier.
In addition to the release of the new album, which is due out June 28, the band is also planning a full-scale tour this summer in celebration of their anniversary.
As if recording their 12th studio album and embarking on an international tour wasn’t enough to keep them busy, Queensrÿche guitarist Michael Wilton recently took time out of his schedule to sit down with Guitar World and discuss everything that’s been going on in the world of the band.
GUITAR WORLD: Your new record, Dedicated to Chaos, comes out June 28 on Roadrunner Records. How did you guys wind up signing with Roadrunner?
You know, we came from a different deal and they gave us a good deal.
Did Roadrunner give the band the freedom to pretty much do what you wanted on the record?
We’ve been doing this for a while so we always get to do what we want.
At which Seattle studio did you record, and did you work with a producer or produce the record on your own?
A lot of the recording is done in our own studios. I have a Pro Tools studio, big guitar setup, lots of amps, speakers, microphones and everything. It’s kind of guitar central right there. Drums were recorded at London Bridge Studio in Seattle. And then different home studios set up with Pro Tools.
What was the writing process like for this record? Did you come to the band with ideas or demos that you'd been working on, or did you work on them together in the studio?
It’s kind of through the mail.
When you began the album, did you have a concept in mind or certain ideas you wanted to accomplish, or do the ideas that come out when you write dictate the direction of the album?
We had a couple of different ideas, and then the lead singer kind of changed the direction.
After all the albums you’ve recorded, do you ever feel pressure to live up to expectations based on your previous work?
Each one is a step. The writing style now is kind of maturing.
Has the band discussed how much of the new record you plan on playing on tour?
Touring these days is kind of super important because of the economy and the record business. We usually like to integrate a couple of new songs into the set. But because it’s touring, everyone wants to hear the old favorites.
After 30 years of being in a band and writing, recording and touring, what do you think has changed the most about your playing and writing?
At 30 years, it’s been a great bus ride. It’s going to be fun on this tour. We’re going to play songs from each of our albums. That will be a kind of homage to all of our long-time, loyal fans.
Queensrÿche's Michael Wilton in the studio.