At the May 2022 Record Show in Charlotte, I found a handful of singles and the one we are discussing today is from Queensryche for their single “Empire” from their 1990 album of the same name. The song was the first single and came out in September 1990. The song didn’t chart in the Top 40, but it did go to #22 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart. It is the 2nd most played song by the band live…”Eyes of a Stranger” is #1. The song was written by Geoff Tate and Michael Wilton.
The version I have is the standard U.S. Version on 7″ Vinyl and the B-Side is “Scarborough Fair” which was not on the original album but added as a bonus track for latest re-issues of the album. “Empire” is said to be the radio edit of the album version but any changes is virtually unnoticeable.
The song is very political and talks about how much the government spends on law enforcement and how little that amount is compared to military and space exploration. The song itself is about the drug trafficking within the United States and all the related crimes that arise from it. The song believes that it will inevitably lead to the breakdown of civility in American society. I can’t say for sure if that is the case, but today it is still just as bad as it was in 1990 and Society does seem to be imploding at times. The gun violence is definitely on the rise.
The song opens with a massive guitar riff and a very heavy, metallic drum beat. The vibe is foreboding and urgent. Geoff Tate almost speaks the lyrics as he describing the events that result from drug trafficking. When he gets to the chorus his vocals soar and then with “Empire” it turns deep and sinister. Some of the echo effects on his vocals are added fro dramatic effect and are so cool. Musically, the boys give us an industrial sound that is as dark and sad as the lyrics yet it rocks out as the production quality is perfection. There is a break in the song where Geoff speaks out statistics backed by the band with a driving beat that builds and builds until we get to the solo that will blow your mind…okay maybe not, but it is superb. The song might be one of the best they have ever done and there are a quite a few great ones from them.
“Scarborough Fair” is an old traditional English Ballad that dates back generations. It was made famous in modern times thanks to Simon & Garfunkel. Queensryche recorded it back in 1986 and it ended up as the B-Side for “Empire”. Back in 1990, you wanted this single for the reason that this song had been previously unreleased at the time. The song is sad sounding and Geoff sings in a deep dark voice…which doesn’t feel natural. The song sounds sinister and evil with how they are playing. It does build and get a little heavier and Geoff actually hits some higher notes as well. It is a weird song for them and not a favorite of mine, but there is something cool about it.
And there you have it. Another 7″ Single from the collection. Don’t worry…there are more to come. Thanks for stopping by.
At the most recent Record Show in Charlotte back in May, I found a few really cool items. One of them was a Limited Edition Cut-To-Shape Picture Disc for the song “Jet City Woman” by Queensryche. The song was off their 1990 album ‘Empire’ and was one of the best songs on the album. It was the 4th and final single from the album and was released in May 1991. The song was played a lot on MTV and reached #6 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock songs. However, this is not the official single. This was released in the UK in August 1991.
The song was written by Geoff Tate and Chris DeGarmo and the title was taken from their hometown of Seattle which is known as the Jet City. The woman part was Geoff’s first wife who was a flight attendant. The song tells the story about after being out on the road and the longing for the ones you love. The loneliness that is felt without them and you can’t stop thinking about them. You want to get home and be with them, but can’t.
The A-Side is “Jet City Woman” of course. The sound is very industrial at times and very metallic, but overall, still a pop-rock song. Very melodic and Geoff’s vocals are quite stellar. They are slickly produced and the production on the whole song is done very well. There are still progressive metal elements as well and I like the added airplane sound effects to go with the song title. It is very mature sound unlike most bands of the time. Queensryche always sounded like a smarter band then their peers and this goes a long way to proving it.
The B-Side of the single is the title track from ‘Empire’ and it is a live version. I believe it is from the 1991 Wisconsin Show where Operation: Livecrime was recorded. That show was done in May 1991 and released in September of the same year. Now, “Empire” was not on that release as the release was Operation: Mindcrime full album live only. This was one of the other songs played that night and was previously unreleased. Geoff and Chris together live is lethal and these guys slayed it. I miss those two together. I don’t have a video to show you that has the song live. I am really surprised by that I will admit.
Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoyed this cool Shaped Picture Disc.
At the May 2022 Record Show here in Charlotte, I found a couple bootlegs on CD that I had to grab. The first was from Extreme which we discussed recently and this one is from Queensryche. I don’t know much about it but I do know that it had to come out sometime after 1992 as the most current songs on here were recorded around that time. There are 3 different versions of this bootleg according to Discogs and all three have the same track listing. The other two were from Italy and released in 1992 and the other 1994. This one has no date or country of origin so all is unknown. If you do know, please comment below.
The first 5 tracks are taken from MTV Unplugged which were recorded on April 27, 1992. I don’t think there has ever been an official MTV Unplugged release for this show…at least not that I can find. Tracks 6-9 and 11-14 are all recorded around 1983 in New York which is very early Queensryche. Pre the release of ‘The Warning’ which is really cool. They would’ve only had out the Queensryche E.P. at this point. Song 10 comes from Tokyo and Budokan in 1985.
And like any good bootleg, there are mistakes in both song titles and track orders. First, the song “Take Hold of the Flame” is actually “Take Hold of My Flame”. Track 7 is listed as “Blinded” but is actually “Queen of the Reich”. Track 8 is listed as “The Lady Wore Black (Electric)” but is actually “Blinded” and as a result, Track 9 is listed as “Queen of the Reich” but is “Blinded”. Okay, I think that is all that I can find.
Alright…You Picked It! And this one wasn’t really that close. After the first five picks were one for each artist, the winner took the early lead and never looked back. The winner this month is Queensryche and their album ‘Rage for Order’ which was one that was in my collection. This one was never really that close. Queensryche had the lead from vote 1 and never lost it. Here are the results.
Queensryche – ‘Rage for Order’ – 8 votes
John Prine – ‘John Prine’ – 6 votes
Triumph – ‘Allied Forces’ – 6 votes
Neil Young & Crazy Horse – ‘Barn’ – 3 votes
Shania Twain – ‘Come on Over’ – 1 Vote
Thanks to all for participating. The February choices will be up on Saturday!
QUEENSRYCHE – ‘RAGE FOR ORDER’:
I discovered Queensryche back in 1988 when they opened for Def Leppard. They were touring for the ‘Operation: Mindcrime’ album which I immediately purchased. As a result, I went back and tried to find more music by them and the next thing I picked up was ‘Rage for Order’. The album came out back on June 27, 1986 and was unlike anything else I had heard at the time. It was progressive metal and I am not sure what the hell was with their clothes and that hair. Woah! That hair. Was it glam? Was it Metal? I had no clue.
After the band’s revolutionary album ‘Operation: Mindcrime’, Queensryche delivered another masterpiece with the album ‘Empire’. The band is celebrating this album with a Super Deluxe Edition Box Set and it is full or wonderful things. You get 3 CDs, 1 DVD and a book all included in a wonderful and sturdy box. It looks like a lot of time was spent on the packaging. And if you look at the back cover, it tells you everything you are going to get, but maybe it is overstating things a little and I will get to that later.
Just look at all the stuff you get. You get a remastered album, ‘Concealed Empire – Bonus Tracks’, ‘Live at Hammersmith Odeon, London 11-14-90’ and a DVD called ‘Building Empires’. If that isn’t enough you get a hardback book with lot of wonderful goodies inside. Let’s not waste anytime and get right into it.
The 3 CDs / 1 DVD come housed in a cardboard foldout that houses each disc in a slot with the DVD getting its own packaging as well. And if you were smart, you would pull each disc out and place them in to their own jewel slim case so they don’t get scratched up…at least that is what Aaron would do over at keepsmealive.wordpress.com.
What is one of the greatest concept albums of all time? That is right! It is the Queensryche masterpiece, ‘Operation: Mindcrime’. The band is celebrating this album with a Super Deluxe Edition Box Set and it is full or wonderful things. You get 4 CDs, 1 DVD and a book all included in a wonderful and sturdy box. It look like a lot of time was spent on the packaging. And if you look at the back cover, it tells you everything you are going to get…or does it? More on that later.
Before we get to the meat of the box set, the CDs and DVD are housed in a tri-fold cardboard sleeve that is all black with the exception of the logo on the front. The CDs slide in to slots on each side while the DVD is housed in its own mini-cardboard sleeve which slides in to its slot in the middle fold. It is not my favorite way to house CDs as you have to be careful not to scratch them when you insert or pull it out.
When I hit up Noble Records for the big metal collection he was selling, it wasn’t all Def Leppard Singles I purchased. There was a Queensryche in there as well and it was a single from my favorite album ‘Operation: Mindcrime’. The single was for the song “Eyes of A Stranger” which was only moderately successful as it only reached #35 on the US Mainstream Rock chart. It was played on MTV, but for me it was played constantly as that album was on repeat for most of 1988 and has been played every year (multiple times a year) ever since.
For those that don’t know, ‘Operation: Mindcrime’ was a concept album and this song, “Eyes of a Stranger” was the final track on the album and a culmination of the whole album story. This 12″ Single is a Limited Edition Gatefold that contains a Video Story Board of the video shot for the song. The gatefold has pictures from the video and sums up the story as seen below.
I think it is time I finally address Queensryche and Geoff Tate in the Meme’s collections. I scoured the internet and found some great memes of both Queensryche and of Geoff Tate…mostly Geoff Tate because it is just too easy to poke fun at him. I hate they are no longer together, but honestly, I really only like maybe the first 8 albums or so…I haven’t paid attention since 2000 maybe even sooner. Anyway banter, let us get to it…Enjoy!!
For My Sunday Song #79, “Silent Lucidity” by the progressive metal band Queensrÿche will be the point of discussion. The song was released on Valentine’s Day in 1991 and was on their triple platinum selling album ‘Empire’. “Silent Lucidity” was the band’s top selling single ever in the U.S. where it reached #1 on the Album Rock Tracks and all the way to #9 on the Billboard Top 100. The song was even nominated for a Grammy for Best Rock Song.
“Silent Lucidity” was a ballad, which was not something the band was known for doing. The song is absolutely beautiful with the whole lullaby feel to the song, the wonderful orchestration added and lastly, Geoff Tates vocals perfectly fit the mood of the song. It felt like you were in a dream state while listening to the song which was exactly the impact the band was going for with the song.
The song was supposedly inspired by the book ‘Creative Dreaming’ by Patricia Garfield, PhD which explains how to control your dreams…which I don’t think I have ever been able to do that. The song is about lucid dreaming which is the where you are actually aware that you are dreaming and as the book states, you can actually have control over parts of the dream. During the song, there is actually a voice that is explaining how to do just that. They state…”Visualize your dream. Record it in the present tense. Put it into a permanent form. If you persist in your efforts, you can achieve dream control.”