Back in 1996, Judas Priest recruited Tim Owens as their lead singer, replacing the irreplaceable Rob Halford. Owens was discovered because of his involvement in a Judas Priest tribute band. This was a novelty at the time, a tribute band singer now singing for the actual band he was in tribute of, and the story was co opted by Hollywood and turned into a mediocre movie, generically titled Rock Star.
For many Judas Priest fans this move was both sad and distasteful. Undoubtedly, this was the lowest point in band’s history, lower then even the blatant commercialism of the Turbo album. When you replace a member who was a major creative contributor and the lead singer, you no longer have the same band. And getting a guy who was in a Priest cover band makes the whole thing appear like a big pathetic joke.
It looks like Queesnsryche ignored this whole wretched affair in Judas Priest’s history because they are treading down the same comically tragic path. For years they have plodded on after being decimated by the departure of their main songwriter Chris DeGarmo. They haven’t produced a worthwhile album since he left. At least they could still put on a decent show though, certainly not at the level they once could, but still worthy. Now they are replacing lead singer Geoff Tate. Lead singers are hard enough to replace, but Tate, as Halford, was a main creative component of the band, not to mention one of heavy metal’s most iconic and influential singers. But there’s another component to this that makes it even more comical than Judas Priest’s tribute band singer replacement. Queensryche is replacing Geoff Tate with a singer who replaced a Tate clone in a Queesnryche clone band. A clone of a clone if you will. Or a clone once removed? Let me explain.
Todd LaTorre was (is?) the singer for Crimson Glory. He replaced their original singer Midnight and tries his darndest to sound like Midnight, basically a Midnight copy cat without the passion. Crimson Glory itself was a Queensryche clone band. When I first heard Crimson Glory’s Dragon Lady in 1986 I thought it was Queensryche. Not sounded like Queensryche, I thought it was Queensryche. Midnight was a dead ringer for Tate and their musical style was very, very similar. To their credit, Crimson Glory persevered and established a cult following. I like them; they are a good band with some great songs, just not very original. Actually extremely unoriginal, a clone.
And now the replacement singer of a clone singer is the singer for the band he was cloned from. That’s some funny shit.