QUEENSRYCHE REACHES OUT TO SOLDIERS WITH NEW ALBUM:
March 27, 2009
When Queensryche singer Geoff Tate was growing up, he was curious about the experiences of his father, Perry, a career veteran who fought in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. But the elder Tate, who was nearly killed by a mortar in Korea, was of the generation who didn’t discuss their service, so he didn’t start opening up until recently.
The stories inspired his son to learn more about soldiers’ experiences, which in turn led him to interview hundreds of vets from conflicts that spanned from World War II to the current occupation of Iraq. The results can be heard on “American Soldier,” the Seattle rock band’s new album on Rhino, which is due March 31.
To ensure that the soldiers whose stories inspired the album get to hear it, Rhino is heavily marketing “American Soldier” to service personnel. Vice president of marketing Kenny Nemes said the video for lead single “If I Were King” had its world premiere March 23 on military.com as a 24-hour exclusive. The label also is using TroopTube, an interactive video Web site for members of the military and their families.
When Queensryche goes back on the road, starting April 16 at Snoqualmie Casino in Seattle, it will do meet-and-greets and performances at military bases along the route and hopes to do a USO tour as well.
In addition, the band has teamed with JamsBio.com to create an online forum where fans can post tributes to soldiers and earn chances to win “American Soldier” merchandise. Queensryche also made 30,000 free download cards for “If I Were King” available March 31 at retail exchanges that serve the Army, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard.
Sales and marketing service firm Eurpac is distributing 9,000 of the download cards to Navy stores. Vice president of purchasing Kerry Fly said he hasn’t seen many artists use the card format to sell music to the military. “It will be interesting to see how it does, because it’s something that’s a little new and different,” he said.
On the civilian side, “American Soldier” is rapidly making gains at Amazon with a presale price of $9.99. The band established a phone number for fans to call to hear daily updates about the record and to leave messages, and all four Queensryche members are now Twittering.
The record, however, goes deep into emotional territory that can’t be captured within the 140-character Twitter limit. Songs detail the wrenching emotions that service people endure, like devastating survivor’s guilt after watching your friends be killed (“If I Were King”), internal chaos when returning to society (“Man Down!”) and homesickness (“Home Again”). Tate hopes that when troops hear the album they’ll feel like “maybe they’re not so alone, like other people have done this. You know, ‘I can do it too, I can get through it.’
“This is the first time that I wrote songs from other people’s perspectives,” Tate said. “I’m not even important in this. There’s no observation, there’s no politics, there’s no moralizing or anything like that. It’s just other people’s stories.”