MICHAEL WILTON Talks QUEENSRYCHE’s Ongoing Tour: “At Our Age Now, We Are Still Crushing It”

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In a recent interview with Brian Aberback of The Aquarian, Queensrÿche‘s guitarist Michael Wilton delved into the band’s decision to embark on “The Origins Tour,” where they are performing their entire 1983 debut EP and 1984’s “The Warning” album. The genesis of this tour, according to Wilton, emerged from a simple question posed by a promoter and has since flourished into a nostalgic journey for both the band and their fans.

Wilton revealed that the idea sprouted when a promoter inquired about the possibility of Queensrÿche revisiting their early works in full. The response was overwhelmingly positive, with ticket sales skyrocketing for the initial performance at Hell’s Heroes festival in Houston. Encouraged by the reception, the band embraced the concept wholeheartedly, allowing them to reconnect with their roots and showcase their enduring musical prowess.

“It came about last year. A promoter asked, ‘Have you ever thought about doing the EP and ‘The Warning’ in their entirety?’ We said, ‘Well, let’s think about it,’ and it just kind of blossomed. We said we’d do it at this Hell’s Heroes festival in Houston. Then ticket sales were through the roof. We thought, ‘Hey, this would be a good thing to do.’ It was born out of that. And our manager put it together and then our booking agent put it together even more. All the venues were highly interested in it, so for us, it was, ‘Okay, let’s get it going.'” Wilton explained.

“It’s pretty amazing to go back and play those songs. We’ve played a lot of them, so there were only a few we had to kind of relearn. It’s all challenging, progressive, and heavy music. At our age now, we’re still crushing it,” he added.

Reflecting on the creation of their debut EP, Wilton reminisced about the band’s humble beginnings and the journey that led them to the recording studio. With limited resources and day jobs to juggle, Queensrÿche poured their passion into crafting music during graveyard sessions. The EP’s success, marked by the overwhelming reception from local listeners, catapulted them into the spotlight and paved the way for a record deal with EMI.

“When you’re 18, 19, 20 years old, and with the technology back then, we were just making demo cassettes and jamming on them. Before Queensrÿche, we were called The Mob. We were playing roller rinks. We were performing everywhere, playing covers of Judas PriestDioAC/DC, and Iron Maiden. Then we decided to write music on our own. We kept hammering out riffs and ideas and songs. We got to a point that we could afford to go into a studio at that time,” Wilton remembered.

“When we recorded EP, we could only afford the graveyard time. We had day jobs, so we were recording the album at night. That’s when Geoff came in and things just went from there. We took a mastered cassette to our management at the record store. They played it and people in the record store were going, ‘Who the hell is that? Oh my God, that’s killer.’ It was a slam dunk. We put out the [record label] 206 record, which was released by our management at the time who owned the record store — 206 was the area code of where we lived. After we sold 50,000 to 60,000 of those records, the record companies were knocking on our door. EMI offered us a six-record deal. We said, ‘Okay, let’s do it.'”

As “The Origins Tour” continues its journey across the United States, Queensrÿche, alongside fellow ’80s stalwarts Armored Saint, invites fans old and new to join them on a trip down memory lane, celebrating the rich tapestry of their musical history.


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