QUEENSRŸCHE guitarist Michael Wilton says that "the door is always open" for drummer Scott Rockenfield to return to the band.
For the past 22 months, Rockenfield has been taking time off from QUEENSRŸCHE's touring activities to spend time with his young son, who was born in early 2017. Filling in for him has been former KAMELOT drummer Casey Grillo.
While Scott has not publicly addressed his status with QUEENSRŸCHE, it was recently revealed that the drum tracks on the band's upcoming album, "The Verdict", were laid down by singer Todd La Torre.
Witon, La Torre and bassist Eddie Jackson spoke about Rockenfield's current status in QUEENSRŸCHE during a brand new interview with SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation".
Todd said: "[Scott] had a baby in 2017, and he took paternity leave, which we totally support — no issue with that. And then that just turned into six months, nine months, twelve months. 'Hey, when are you gonna come back?' And we just never got an answer. So that's why I played drums on the record — because I did all the demos with these guys. And it just made logical sense. I'm capable, and my skills are totally adequate to fulfill that role."
Eddie concurred, saying: "Michael and I had a discussion when we were crafting these songs in pre-production. I ended up bringing out my electronic drum kit, just to start working out some ideas and stuff. And Michael and I were talking about, 'Well, we've gotta figure out the drummer situation.' And once [Todd] got behind the electronic kit, we were crafting all these songs, and I just talked to him. I said, 'That's the guy who's playing drums on our album.'"
According to Todd, QUEENSRŸCHE waited until a month before entering the studio to make the decision about who was going to play the drums on the disc.
"We all wanted Scott to play on the record," the singer said. "And we anticipated that, even though he wasn't part of the writing process — for whatever reasons, he wasn't making himself available for that — at least when we would press 'record,' we thought, 'Well, surely he'll record.' And we really did have confidence that he would track the drums. So, out of respect for that position with Scott, we weren't gonna bring in Casey and say, 'Hey, go in and…' 'Cause we really did think Scott would drum on the album. And it was only three or four weeks before we were pressing 'record' that we really needed an answer. And the truth of the matter is we had pushed recording back two times. We had no commitment from him to continue with what we were doing. And he just said, 'Look, I wish you all the best with this recording.' And so he basically gave us the green light to keep doing it. And so that's what we did."
Added Michael: "You have to realize, when you have deadlines with a record company and with a producer, and you have pockets of time. And we were put in a situation. We were on the fence: 'What are we gonna do? 'Are we gonna get an outside drummer?'"
Wilton, who has known Rockenfield for nearly four decades, remains philosophical about the drummer's decision to sit out QUEENSRŸCHE's current touring activities.
"After we've been in a band for as long as we have, people change and they wanna go down their own paths," the guitarist said. "And we totally respect that. If he wants to come back and tour — whatever — the door is always open."
"The Verdict" will be released on March 1 via Century Media Records. The disc was produced, mixed, and mastered by Chris "Zeuss" Harris (ROB ZOMBIE, ICED EARTH, HATEBREED) at Uberbeatz in Lynwood, Washington; Planet-Z in Wilbraham, Massachusetts; and Watershed Studio in Seattle, Washington.
Thanks: Bob Suehs of Rock N Roll Experience