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Who is Queensr˙che?

The Mob was formed in spring 1981 by Chris DeGarmo, Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield, and Michael Wilton. With guest vocalist Geoff Tate, The Mob played a handful of shows as a cover band, and eventually hit the studio to cut an EP of original songs. They changed their name to Queensr˙che (after the song "Queen of the Reich") and after the Queensr˙che EP received a stellar review from journalist Paul Suter in Kerrang!, the band attracted the attention of EMI Records. Tate agreed to join Queensr˙che permanently, and the group signed a seven-album major label record deal.

Queensr˙che released The Warning in 1984, blending their Judas Priest-inspired twin-guitar sound with the moodier and progressive aspects of Pink Floyd. Fan-favorite "Take Hold of the Flame" was a hit in Japan, and Queensr˙che developed a cult following throughout the world. In 1986, Queensr˙che expanded their musical palette even further, incorporating industrial sonics and interwoven lyrical concepts on Rage for Order. The album was not an immediate success, but it went on to inspire several gothic metal and progressive heavy metal bands.

In 1988, Queensr˙che's continued musical evolution spawned a full-on concept album: Operation: Mindcrime. Spoken of in the same breath of classics such as Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon, and The Who's Tommy, Operation: Mindcrime was the heavy metal equivalent of a rock opera. The video for "Eyes of a Stranger" was picked up by MTV and put into heavy rotation in early 1989, and by the end of their tour, the original Queensr˙che's days as an opening act were over. The band, on the strength of Operation: Mindcrime, finally achieved headliner status.

If Operation: Mindcrime put Queensr˙che on the map, 1990's Empire made the Seattle quintet household names. Six music videos were made for the record's singles, and all were played heavily on MTV, including the award-winning crossover track, "Silent Lucidity." The ballad about dream control attracted a mainstream audience, and by spring 1991, Queensr˙che was headlining arenas and large venues around the world.

When the tour supporting Empire came to an end in early 1992, Queensr˙che disappeared for two years. They took a year off, dealt with some personal issues that immense success often brings, and returned with an introspective dark offering called Promised Land in 1994. The Road to the Promised Land tour was significantly shorter than Queensr˙che's prior trek, the Building Empires tour, but in some ways production was more massive. The band changed sets mid-show, showcasing a lounge, and playing the part of a lounge act for the song "Promised Land." It was a multimedia extravaganza of epic proportions, with Queensr˙che headlining outdoor amphitheaters in the United States through summer 1995.

Queensr˙che returned in early 1997, experimenting with a stripped-down, spontaneous sound on Hear in the Now Frontier. The band's bold approach worked well at first, with singles "Sign of the Times" and "You" both doing well on rock radio. A summer U.S. tour was booked in amphitheaters around the country, and Queensr˙che seemed primed for another successful campaign. Sadly, it never came to fruition.

The band's label, EMI Records, went bankrupt shortly after Hear in the Now Frontier was released, leaving Queensr˙che unsigned for the first time in 14 years. Without a record label supporting Queensr˙che from behind the scenes, radio stations ultimately stopped playing tracks from the band's new album. In addition, Queensr˙che was then forced to finance their own tour, which spanned just three months, ending in August 1997. That fall, DeGarmo told his bandmates he was leaving the group following Queensr˙che's South American festival dates in December 1997, thus ending the original lineup's initial 16-year run together.