INTERVIEW: Queensrÿche founding guitarist Michael Wilton talks about the limits of musical progression, underrated albums, and finding unexpected success going back to where it all began 40 years ago

CINCINNATI, Ohio (WOUB) – Seattle’s Queensrÿche has been a key force in taking the classic metal sound of bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest and pushing it to its musical and conceptual limits, focusing on virtuosic guitar work, soaring melodies and high concept lyricism.

Since 1982, the band has released 16 studio albums, including 1988’s iconic Operation: Mindcrime and 1990’s Empire.

Currently between album cycles, this progressive band is going back to their roots for the Origins Tour. Neglecting some of their most iconic work, and new songs, this tour is dedicated to full playthroughs of their first release, 1982 EP Queensrÿche and their first full album, 1984’s The Warning.

WOUB’s Nicholas Kobe spoke with founding member and guitarist Michael Wilton ahead of the band’s show at Bogart’s (2621 Short Vine St.) tomorrow.

Nicholas Kobe: If you had to describe Queensrÿche in one sentence, what would you say?
Michael Wilton: Queensrÿche is a band that’s been together since 1981 and we are still hammering out touring albums, everything. So this is a progressive metal band and we’ve just garnered huge success from the fans supporting us and the industry supporting us. So we’re very grateful and we keep the fans informed when we’re touring and it’s something that we’ve been doing forever.

I’m calling right before the band takes off on a tour spotlighting the band’s first EP and LP, released back in the early ’80s. What was kind of the inspiration to center a tour around doing full play throughs of these two projects?

Wilton: Well, we heard a lot of comments from fans that this would be a great thing, and then last year we got an offer for a festival called Hell’s Heroes, in Houston, and the promoter brought up the idea of us playing the EP and The Warning. So our management and booking agency team, a light bulb went off in their heads. They said, “Well, let’s check this out. This may be something we can do in between album recordings.” So that’s kind of how it started. Now this thing is just blossomed up like you wouldn’t believe. We’re getting offers to keep this thing going all year.

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