Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Queensryche by Ross Halfin (Rufus Rock ‘n Roll Publications)

Back in their heyday, Queensryche were blessed (or was it cursed?) with the epithet “the thinking man’s heavy metal band,” a tag they carried with them all the way through their career, and especially when they were at their peak between 1987-92.

Queensryche hailed from the Seattle area and were a successful collision of a hard rock attitude with a prog sensibility, with each member of the band being a superb musician. In their pomp, they sold millions of albums, and this book captures them at a time when they were at their commercial peak, releasing two best-selling albums, Operation: Mindcrime 1988 and Empire 1990, and they were capable of filling arenas at the time when, in 1992, they took a step back from the fray, partly to avoid grunge and alt-rock, but also due to burnout after years of relentless touring.

Ross Halfin, photog to the rock fraternity, was there with the band at the very beginning, when he shot a single pic of them in their early days for a magazine cover, and he went on to become their ‘go-to’ photog during this five-year successful period which saw them elevated to rock star status. 

There’s a varied collection of photographs in this book, and they extend beyond the inevitable stage shots to include pics taken when Halfin’s presence wasn’t suspected, which shows the camaraderie between the band during this period, before it all turned sour years later on, when singer Geoff Tate was thrown out of the band due to a backstage altercation with other band members. As well as pictures, there are also comments from ex-members Tate and Chris de Garmo as well as from current members Michael Wilton and Eddie Jackson, who were there from the beginning, as well as from their manager during this period, Peter Mensch, all of whom also signed the book, who went on to manage Metallica, and who regards Operation: Mindcrime as one of the best albums he’s ever been involved with.  

In all, this is a varied and unique look at an enigmatic band when they were at their peak, containing more than just the usual onstage pics. Their song, ‘I Don’t Believe In Love,’ mentions being “under surveillance from the camera eye”. Ross Halfin’s book shows just how true this was.     

Pre-order the book here.                                                  

Laurence Todd
Laurence Todd
Took early retirement after many years as a teacher in order to write books as well as about music. A long-time music obsessive, has wide and eclectic tastes but particularly likes prog rock and rock in general. Enjoys going to gigs and discovering new acts.

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