Queensrÿche — with the lineup of singer Geoff Tate, guitarists Chris DeGarmo and Michael Wilton, bassist Eddie Jackson and drummer Scott Rockenfield — broke into the mainstream with its 1988 concept album Operation: Mindcrime. The quintet’s 1990 follow-up, Empire, was a three-times platinum crossover success that spawned six singles, including the Billboard Hot 100 top 10 hit “Silent Lucidity.”
Starting in 1997, Queensrÿche has experienced multiple personnel changes, the most dramatic one being when Crimson Glory vocalist Todd La Torre replaced Tate in 2012. Tate’s firing resulted in dueling lawsuits that were settled in 2014. The band released its latest studio album, The Verdict, in 2019.
James R. Beach is the primary author. Brian L. Naron and Brian J. Heaton, founder of the historical retrospective AnybodyListening.net that’s dedicated to Queensrÿche’s original lineup, are cowriters. Former Kerrang! contributor Paul Suter, who profiled the band for the seminal metal magazine in 1983, will contribute the foreword.
Building an Empire: The Story of Queensrÿche is part of NW Metalworx’s book line, which issues new and previously released albums from 1970-1990 by Northwestern hard-rock and metal bands. In November 2020, Beach, Naron, James D. Sutton and James Tolin published Rusted Metal: A Guide to Heavy Metal and Hard Rock Music in the Pacific Northwest (1970-1995).
“We were looking for the next book to write and were shocked to discover no one had told Queensrÿche’s story,” said Beach. “For us, it was a no-brainer to tackle their rich history, especially off the work we did researching the band for Rusted Metal.”
“The thing the three of us agreed on was that Queensrÿche’s story is one of perseverance,” said Heaton. “The band’s music and personal history is rooted in change and overcoming obstacles, and that makes it a compelling story to write.”