another rainy night


spacestation '76film
Apr 11, 2004
EMI's press release for The Warning

While the heavy metal world is consumed in themes of Satanic violence, anti-authority and face paint, Queensryche offers a refreshing synergy of melodic music and eye-opening reality. This combination has struck a universal chord and is thrusting the five-piece Bellevue, Washington, band toward world class status.

The young musicians, all in their late teens and early 20's, make no bones about the success being directly related to a groundswell of fan support that has transcended geographic and cultural boundaries. Since the 1983 release of a four song EP on EMI America Records (it has sold more than 350,000 copies), thousands of fan letters have been pouring in from around the world -- Japan, Brazil, Sweden, Spain, France, Belgium, Holland, Italy, Australia, even Yugoslavia.

They've just released their first full-length album, "The Warning," completed a sold-out tour of Japan, and are preparing for an international tour in the Fall of '84. The band's disciplined lifestyle in fact lead to a record contract with EMI America before they'd even played in front of an audience.

A curious history details Queensryche's progress to this point -- it's a story that undoubtedly puzzles record company executives and aspiring musicians alike. Little more than a year ago, singer Geoff Tate, guitarists Chris DeGarmo and Michael Wilton, bassist Eddie Jackson and drummer Scott Rockenfield, were still working their day jobs in stockrooms and electronic assembly plants. They had made the conscious decision to avoid hype hoopla and the local bar circuit, so they could concentrate on writing and perfecting their own original material.

"We wanted to be different," DeGarmo says of the band's choice not to get caught up in the dead-end local bar circuit. "We wanted to create some mystery and excitement so people would want to see us.

It all started at Easy Street Records, a specialty record store in Bellevue. The store is owned by Kim and Diana Harris and is a gathering place for young people. When drummer Rockenfield's older brother, Todd, casually mentioned that Queensryche had made a tape of four songs, the Harrises were enthusiastic and, after hearing it, decided to start their own independent label, 206 Records. They had a jacket designed and pressed 3,500 copies of the Queensryche tape.

In November, 1982, the Harris' took "a vacation" to England. They dropped a copy of the tape off at Kerrang Magazine (the UK heavy metal bible) and upon returning to the States started walking the Queensryche EP (four songs were recorded) around to local Washington stations. The unusual then happened. Rock radio powerhouses KISW, KZOK and KGON all loved the record, especially "Queen of the Reich" and "The Lady Wore Black." Meanwhile, Kerrang's chief critic, Paul Suter, was printing rave reviews of the band.

Said Suter: "Something's happening in Washington ... we have an absolute monster of a band in Queensryche ... Very few genuine heavy metal bands write material as classy as this, and very few writers of classy songs can get as utterly vicious as this; the successful blend that Queensryche have created puts them at the forefront of a small field that's previously been almost exclusively British..."

Having never played on the local level, they began to grace the stages of Coliseum's and Arenas with the likes of Quiet Riot,, Ronnie James Dio, Twisted Sister and Zebra. Quite a jump from their crowded practice room at drummer Rockenfield's home.

After touring, they returned to Bellevue to finish writing lyrics and music for the new album. They recorded "The Warning" in London with the guidance of producer James Guthrie, who has worked with the likes of Pink Floyd and Judas Priest.

On "The Warning", the band takes on the socially challenging -- and real -- subject of the individuals search for identity in today's confused and chaotic world. With an upbeat theme of hopefulness, Queensryche urges listeners of "heed the warning." lt's a heavy subject for such young musicians, but their lyrics push beyond the physical limits of time and space.

As Tate and DeGarmo penned in one of the album's cuts, Take hold of the flame:

Throw down the chains of oppression that bind you,
With the air of freedom the flame grows bright.
We are the strong, the youth united,
We are one, we are children of the light!

So take hold of the flame.
Don't you see life's a game?
So take hold of the flame,
You've got nothing to lose but everything to gain.
Queensryche is one of the bands that got me into metal. Promised Land is my favorite album but Rage for Order and the EP will always have a special place in my loins. That's where I keep my heart.
Everything up through Empire was fucking great. If they had taken half of the The Warning, stuck it to the initial EP, and released that as their debut, it could've been the single greatest power metal album EVER. Right up there with Virgin Steele, Fates Warning & Blind Guardian.