Queensryche and northwest metal historian, Brett Miller, returns to shed some light on the latest rumored-guitarist for Queens˙che, Kelly Gray and of course his band Myth (in which, Geoff Tate was the vocalist for prior to joining 'R˙che). This is another great read from Brett. Again, we thank him for allowing us to bring his stories to the fans. Enjoy!

Click here to LISTEN to Kelly Gray with M˙th in 1985

Since no official word from the
Queensryche Campaign has been released to confirm or deny the addition of Mr Gray to the qr lineup, I ask that you check in with the latest official news for future updates.
All opinions expressed here are those of Brett Miller.
Thank You ~Kelly

You are visitor number since March 18th, 1998

- By Brett Miller

When the news of Chris DeGarmo leaving Queensryche first surfaced, a lot of people registered their vote on who would be the best replacement for Chris. A lot of people wrote in Nuno Bettencourt, Zakk Wilde, and a host of other big name "known" guitarists. I weighed in with MY vote for Kelly Gray - guitarist and founder of Geoff's former band MYTH.

Many of you may have seen the article I wrote about our favorite band called "Before The Storm" . In it I talk about Kelly Gray.

After THE MOB's original few cover tune gigs, Geoff joined MYTH because of their large wealth of original music in the can in need of lyrics. MYTH stuck it out for a long time since their first vocalist left because they didn't want to settle for less than the quality they were producing in Kelly's mom's basement. Kelly's mom, though probably not a huge metal fan (she used to play the "Superman" movie soundtrack 8-track tape all the time, I remember), was very sweet and hugely supportive of MYTH, as was Kelly's soundman brother H.D. (cool guy). They even let Geoff live with them for a while in their rural Redmond home.

I booked most of MYTH's high profile gigs at the time through my M-80 Productions. One time at my METALFEST II in September 1992 at the now torn-down Lake Hills Roller Rink. They played there again for my 1992 Metal Madness & Headbanger's Ball around Halloween 1992. (Yes, I coined Headbanger's Ball well before Riki Rachtman did on MTV). I remember the kick-ass Halloween party the next day at the Gray's house. It was the best Halloween party I've ever been to. I also got them a gig opening for a friend of mine's band, THE QUEENANNS, at the Showbox in Seattle. It was with MYTH that GEOFF first recorded the Simon & Garfunkel tune "Scarborough Faire". They also did "Walk In The Shodows" and a song called "The Sabre's Edge" which Geoff's first daughter Sabra was named after (a couple of years later).

Click picture for full sized image

In 1981 when Def Leppard was on their High'n'Dry tour with their original lineup (they were opening up for BLACKFOOT at the time), they set up a promotional appearance at THE END ZONE, an old supermarket in Kirkland, WA (next to Redmond) which had been converted into a teen night club. In a hurry, the END ZONE set up a quicky show featuring MYTH to show off Northwest metal at its finest. When interviewed later by a local newspaper, the band raved abouth the lead singer (Geoff).

MYTH really believed in themselves, and stuck it out as long as they could before Geoff decided to go for a sure success with the 'Ryche.

Not only was Kelly a top-drawer guitarist and songwriter, but he was and is a good friend of Geoff's. He has honed his studio chops considerably since those days in 1981. He is now a world-class producer having been the man behind the boards of Candlebox's Top-10 million selling debut CD and the last Dokken CD "ShadowLife."

After the Geoff version of MYTH, their drummer Jimmy Parsons joined my band LIPSTICK for a short time. (He refused to play in 4/4 time - saying it was too predictable. Glam bands are BASED on 4/4 time, so it didn't work out.) MYTH added a great drummer named Layne Antonesen (whom I referred to them) and brought back their awesome original singer named Brent Young, who had sung with them when they first formed the band. Brent was more in the Dio than Halford mode and complimented MYTH's Rainbow-esque writing style perfectly.

Brent Young was from a musical family that included Terry Young, the lead singer from 1992 MTV Basement Tape Winners RAIL, who were the most famous regional rock act at the time who got to open up for Van Halen on tour in 1980. Brent's other brothers - the twins Brad (guitar) and Rod (bass - he was my bass teacher early on) and Greg (guitar - Gibson SG if I remember) were all in a band with Brent called SHIFTER that was one of THE BEST cover tune bands around. SHIFTER's version of Bad Company's "Good Lovin' Gone Bad" with Brent singing all of Paul Roger's parts perfectly used to rock the house! After SHIFTER broke up, Brad and Rod Young replaced Geoff Tate in there-formed TYRANT wehere they shared the vocal chores.

The Brent-MYTH lineup wrote some scorching tunes at the time. I was so impressed that I arranged for the Dean of Northwest Metal Jeff Gilbert (the award winning host of Seattle's Brain-Pain radio show that discovered ALICE IN CHAINS among others) to come out and see them. I thought they'd be a shoe-in for Jeff's follow-up album to the "Northwest Metalfest" album compilation of local metal artists which discovered "Metal Church". My band at the time "Lipstick" had the first cut on that record. (LIPSTICK featured Chris and Mike's vocalist Paul Passarelli from their first band JOKER, now front-man in the Seattle 70's-tribute band "70 PROOF"). Gilbert agreed that MYTH kicked ass and put them on his "PACIFIC METAL PROJECT" LP which was released on Restless Records in 1985. MYTH's cut was "Let Me Hear The Thunder" and was so good I'm SHOCKED they didn't get signed.

After MYTH, Kelly Gray was a number of other bands. One was FIRE CHOIR, then another band called LYON HOUSE which I saw in 1991. They changed singers and their name to DOG DAZE shortly afterwards. His longtime bassist Richard Gibson were in those bands. The last two were managed by original QR manager Kim Harris' Harris Music Group Management.

I wrote in Before The Storm that Kelly was an awesome-clone of Ritchie Blackmore. That of course was back in those early formative days when we were ALL clones of someone as we tried to build our own identity. I, myself, fancied myself a Rudy Sarzo clone at the time. I was only 21 at the time with ass-lenth hair and enjoyed the comparison at the time as I played local rock star. The fringe benefits were good. Kelly isn't a Blackmore clone anymore. His main influences now are Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, U2's The Edge, Andy Summers from The Police, and Ry Cooder.

It would be easy for QUEENSRYCHE to add anybody to their band, but you just never know how compatible someone will be unless you've known them for years. With Kelly they have real history and mutual respect. Not to mention superior guitar chops and being a truly nice guy.

Queensryche will be well served by getting Kelly Gray as their new guitarist.

Brett Miller
Northwest Metal Historian

If anyone notes any innacuracies in this account, please excuse my time worn memory. Let me know and I will correct the record.

For more of Brett's history of Queensryche, check out BEFORE THE STORM!