Eddie Jackson of Queensrÿche discusses his more than 30 year career and how the band continues to stay relevant after so many powerfully composed releases.
Queensrÿche are back with their latest album The Verdict and have something to say. The band are very proud of the work they have created with their latest album. Eddie Jackson sits down with Loud Hailer to talk about the brand new record and how the band came together as one to make each song special. He also talks in depth about what it takes to continue touring while having to be more cautious about taking care of yourself.
LH: We will start off with talking about The Verdict. It released on Century Media Records. It is probably the heaviest albums that you guys have had. What has the response been from longtime fans an others?
Eddie: Yeah, the response has been great! We have gotten great responses from not only our fans, but from journalists. People seem to love it.
LH: I saw in a recent interview with your lead singer that this was an album that had the most team effort and everyone got to pitch in and write ideas and parts of songs. Would you care to elaborate on that?
Eddie: Well, I think basically, yeah, I’d have to say it was basically a team effort like our singer, LT said. We tend to work with everyone’s ideas that have been submitted. We will email it to one another, but when we get into pre-production is when we will get together and start crafting all the songs once everyone gets into the studio. It was a whole collective band effort. We really took our time to listen to each song idea and start to put everything in place and all that. We were in pre-production before we came into the studio and took care of all that. We knew there were some songs that needed to be paid more attention than others and some just fell into place, but collectively I’d have to say it was a band effort.
LH: In doing research for this interview, I listened to the album and it is really one of the heaviest albums that you guys have ever done. What do you think contributed to that? Was it just what was going on in all of your lives or do you feel that this was the direction that the band wanted to take?
Eddie: It was a lot of things. Me, personally speaking, I knew based on the last album we could have used songs with a more up tempo feel instead of a mid tempo, but ultimately we write what we feel. We take our time crafting these song ideas and make sure these are strong contenders and worthy enough to be released on an album. We like to keep quality instead of quantity. We are very proud of what we have released on The Verdict and like I said we have been getting many positive reviews on the album. We hope that continues.
LH: To prepare such a great album, what do you do personally when you sit down with the guys? What do you personally do to prepare for making an album?
Eddie: A lot of it is just based on making sure you know the material. When you get into the studio, you can fill in some of the blanks that you might address more than others. A lot of it is preparation and knowing what we are doing before we press record.
LH: The entire album itself is powerful, but one track that stuck out to me was “Blood of the Levant.” I think it was a perfect track for an intro and if I were to pick a song that summed up the album it would be that one. Could you elaborate on that track a little bit?
Eddie: It was a song that Michael wrote musically. I contributed a little bit, but our singer LT wrote most of it. Once we heard the templates of the song, it just inspires you and the ideas start flowing. Lyrically it’s a song based around the Syrian war and the civil war that is going on over there. It was inspired by some current events at the time. We agree that this is certainly a song that could be a great song, but I say everything is subjective. Some people might like it and others might not, but we try not to worry about that. We focus on writing and it connects with fans that is great and if it doesn’t that is okay too. We just think it’s a powerful song and it reflects what’s going on today.
LH: What would be your personal favorite on the album and why?
Eddie: Oh man! That’s tough, bud. It’s all fresh. I can’t say that I can single out just one song. We are very proud of everything we do. It’s typical. That’s a tough question for me. I’d say the whole album in general.
LH: They are all your babies. I understand.
LH: You guys are currently on tour promoting this album. It’s got to be nice to be able to get out there and play this fresh material. I know that you said you love all of them, but has there been one that you enjoy playing live the most? It could be the bass lines or just something that sticks out to you playing this song live.
Eddie: Again, that’s another tricky question because I love performing all the songs on our setlist. We are performing several songs from the new album and even off Condition Human and even off the self-titled. There are several songs that we haven’t played before off either of these albums and those are going over great and so are the new songs. The fans are really digging the new songs as well.
LH: Being a legend in the music industry, you guys have got to play all over the place in arenas, theaters, and other places. Do you enjoy the more sweaty intimate venues or do you like the atmosphere of something like a metal festival? I know you are doing a ton of those this summer and each one has perks that everyone loves. Is there one that sticks out to you the most?
Eddie: I’ll play just about anywhere. Sure, you have these festivals that have a bigger stage, bigger audience, and things like that. You can also see the same excitement playing in smaller venue. They all have the great things about them, but like I said I’ll play just about anywhere.
LH: What do you think is the biggest challenge for a band touring now that wouldn’t have been around when you first started your career?
Eddie: I think that it is just keeping that sustain and continue being active. That’s always a challenge, and continuing to be relevant. As you know, the music industry has changed, but I think it’s just keeping your sound, but changing it up and not going too far out of those boundaries. There are so many challenges now a days, being around 30+ years. Another challenge personally speaking, we just released a new album. So, now the challenge would be having to write 10-12 new songs for the next album and not have it sound like the rest of the other albums (laughs). I think that the challenge is how to continue to write new music that doesn’t sound like the rest of the stuff.
LH: Well, it definitely shows with this new album. In a way, I think this album is an evolution to all your music. It contains all the things that made you guys great, but it evolves to where you can gravitate new fans to you. How do you guys do that?
Eddie: I think of a lot of it is, Michael, our guitar player. He has that sound that Queensrÿche is known for. He is the original guitar player and me, being the original bass player, you’ll hear that chemistry that Queensrÿche is known for it and I think you’ll always hear that with me being an original bass player and him being the original guitar player.
LH: At the age of 58, how do you manage to continue to do all this and take such good care of yourself because you look great and you’re still playing great? What goes into maintaining such good health to continue doing this?
Eddie: Thanks man! It’s all about pacing yourself. The older you get you realize the harder it is to do this constantly. I’ve also realized that you have to watch what you eat and what you intake. It really boils down to just taking care of yourself and watching what you’re doing. You know, touring is not for everyone and it can get pretty gruesome. There is a lot of work involved so I just generally try even harder to take care of myself. It is difficult when you got the flu-bug going through your camp, but we just get through it. It’s difficult to avoid that, so you just have to be careful.
Queensrÿche’s brand new album, The Verdict, released earlier this month and is available on all platforms. They are currently on tour so catch them when they come to a town near you!
Photo By: Allan Linkous