Queensryche are set to release The Verdict on March 1, and it features singer Todd La Torre on drums instead of founding drummer Scott Rockenfield. In a new interview, La Torre said that Rockenfield went on paternity leave nearly two years ago and has yet to return.

La Torre told The Metal Voice that the drummer had planned to take some time away from the band after the February 2017 birth of his child ("and we totally supported that," he said, but six months later, they never "really got a definitive answer" as to when he would be returning. Then, Rockenfield told management that he wanted to take the rest of the year off, and that was the last they heard from him.

"So Casey [Grillo] has been filling in with us the whole time, which was only supposed to be a very temporary thing," he continued. "I don't talk to Scott. I haven't talked to him in over a year and a half so I don't know what he's doing. I don't know what he's up to. I don't know if he wants to come back."

La Torre added that this put them in a bind as they began to write the material that comprise The Verdict. They demoed the songs with La Torre behind the kit, as he had done on the demoes for Condition Human.

"Scott is basically off the grid [in] family mode and he wasn't involved in the writing process at all," he said. "So of course I did all the drums on all these songs and when it came time to record we were hopeful that he would at least do the record. Like, 'Okay you weren't part of the writing but here's here's the songs and you know the door has always been open.' But we weren't getting confirmation about anything and so it reached a certain point where it was a few weeks before we had to enter the studio that was booked and flights were booked and there was still no confirmation. So finally you know in a nutshell he basically gave the band his blessing to record without him."

The day after The Verdict is released, Queensryche will embark on a month-long U.S. tour. You can check out the dates below, as well as the track listing and the official lyric video for the first single, "Man the Machine."

Queensryche, 'The Verdict' Track Listing

"Blood of the Levant"
"Man the Machine"
"Light-Years"
"Inside Out "
"Propaganda Fashion"
"Dark Reverie"
"Bent"
"Inner Unrest"
"Launder the Conscience"
"Portrait"

Queensryche 2019 U.S. Tour Dates

March 2 -- Orlando, FL @ The Plaza Live
March 3 -- Ft. Lauderdale, FL @ Culture Room
March 5 -- Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade
March 7 -- Baltimore @ Sound Stage
March 8 -- Uncasville, CT @ Mohegan Sun
March 9 -- New York, NY @ Irving Plaza
March 10 -- Worcester, MA @ Palladium
March 12 -- Cincinnati, OH @ Bogarts
March 13 -- Detroit, MI @ Diesel
March 14 -- Chicago, IL @ Concord
March 15 -- Milwaukee, WI @ The Rave
March 16 -- Medina, MN @ Medina Entertainment Center
March 17 -- Davenport, IA @ Rhythm City Casino Resort^
March 20 -- Dallas, TX @ House of Blues
March 21 -- Houston, TX @ House of Blues
March 22 -- San Antonio, TX @ Aztec
March 23 -- Albuquerque, NM @ El Rey
March 26 -- Tempe, AZ @ The Marquee
March 27 -- San Diego @ Observatory
March 28 -- Los Angeles, CA @ Fonda
March 29 -- San Francisco, CA @ Slim's
March 30 -- Sacramento, CA @ Ace of Spades
April 2 -- Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom
April 3 -- Seattle, WA @ Neptune

 

See Queensryche and Other Rockers in the Top 100 Albums of the '90s