The progressive metal band QUEENSRŸCHE has scheduled a special visit on its spring 2004 tour. Vocalist Geoff Tate, guitarist Michael Wilton, bass guitarist Eddie Jackson, drummer Scott Rockenfield and guitarist Mike Stone will visit sailors on the nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego, California, on April 29. The band will tour the ship and conduct a meet-and-greet session with the Nimitz crew. QUEENSRŸCHE's San Diego stop with the USS Nimitz visit and concert at 4th & B is part of the tour promoting the concert DVD "The Art of Live", now available on Sanctuary Records.
The band was invited by USS Nimitz' Public Affairs Officer LCDR Brad Fagan, who is a longtime fan. Once Fagan learned QUEENSRŸCHE would be performing at 4th & B on April 29 he decided to see if the band would be interested in meeting the approximate 3,500 sailors on board. He sent an invitation via e-mail through QUEENSRŸCHE's official web site — www.queensryche.com — and was quickly answered with a resounding "yes" from the band's management.
The hard work and sacrifice made by members of the U.S. armed forces and their families is something that QUEENSRŸCHE knows well. Tate, Wilton and Jackson all have close ties to the military.
"We are very excited and looking forward to a guided tour of the U.S. aircraft carrier Nimitz. QUEENSRŸCHE has always supported the military troops of the United States and in fact my father was a career military man and worked for the Navy at Bremerton Naval Shipyard in Washington state for 20 years," says Tate.
Jackson says, "Growing up during the Cold War there was always a constant threat of nuclear war. However, during the early days of the Cold War, specifically during the late 1950s, my father was serving in the U.S. Army and was stationed in West Germany which at the time West Germany was a political pond between NATO and the Warsaw Pact and was constantly under the threat of invasion. Needless to say, my father's time in the service witnessed the advent of ballistic missiles that were capable of carrying nuclear warheads which not only scared the s**t out of me but also the rest of the planet! The difference between what my father and I have experienced as opposed to what my son's generation is experiencing is a whole new type of threat and that is terrorism. This is why the USS Nimitz and the rest of our armed forces are much more important now to defend our freedom and demand our support. Peace, love and kick some ass if needed!"
Wilton has several family members with military experience.
"My father-in-law Bruce Klein is a retired Air Force pilot who served from 1954-1974. He flew over 100 missions in Korea and Vietnam. He has been decorated with 10 air medals, two flying crosses and one service medal. He currently is married and resides in Panama City, Florida, were he hangs with his river rat buddies and other retired officers. My cousin Anthony Dickens is currently serving in the National Guard ground troops division. He has just finished his duty in Iraq patrolling hostile streets. He trained at Fort Rucker in Alabama and currently lives in Troy, Alabama. My nephew Gabriel Phoenix is currently training at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nevada. And my brother-in-law Chip Dozier trained with the Marines in San Diego in the early '90s. He is married and resides in Seattle, Washington."
The band will happily do anything it can to honor our troops, and the USS Nimitz meet-and-greet autograph session will give the sailors a chance to have some fun.
Here is some information about the USS Nimitz:
* USS Nimitz (CVN 68) is the lead ship in the Nimitz class of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers — the most powerful class of warships the world has ever known. Her keel was laid June 22, 1968, she was commissioned May 13, 1972, and was launched May 13, 1972. The ship is currently homeported in San Diego, California, and is commanded by Capt. Robert J. Gilman.
* USS Nimitz recently returned from an eight-month combat deployment to the Western Pacific Ocean in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. During deployment and work-ups Nimitz's crew made 42,334 flight deck aircraft moves and 4,571 hangar bay aircraft moves. During the same period Nimitz and her crew launched 12,748 aircraft and recovered 12,751 aircraft as well as 1,825 helicopter take-offs and landings.
* USS Nimitz was the first Carrier Strike Group to deploy with F/A-18 Super Hornets in place of the venerable Tomcat and were the last Carrier Strike Group to return from Operation Iraqi Freedom.
* The ship hosts a crew of 3,500 young men and women.
The band's U.S. tour dates include:
Apr. 28 - Los Angeles, CA @ House of Blues
Apr. 29 - San Diego, CA @ Viejas Casino
Apr. 30 - Anaheim, CA @ House of Blues
May 01 - Las Vegas, NV @ House of Blues