New Queensryche singer Todd La Torre says Geoff Tate wasn't making music the band's fans wanted to hear and he's talking as a fan.
The Crimson Glory frontman was confirmed as Tate's replacement earlier this year in a messy split which has resulted in legal action and the sacked singer forming his own version of Queensryche.
But La Torre is focusing on the task in hand: leading his outfit in a direction he believes the fans want it to go. And he's falling back on the experience of replacing former Crimson Glory singer Midnight.
He tells Mayhem Magazine: "Some would arguably say Geoff Tate is irreplaceable. I am, in fact, filling those shoes, so 'replace' is probably a fair term.
To be compared, to even be in the same breath as the biggest influence in the genre is surreal but I feel I've already been down this road with Crimson Glory because Midnight was a highly-revered singer, and I've been kind of held to the fire on that.
I'm not worried about the naysayers who are like, 'F--k this guy Queensryche will never be Queensryche without Geoff Tate'. I respect that. I'm a fan too, so I won't criticise someone for that opinion."
But from his position as a fan, La Torre believes Tate's musical interests were becoming increasingly distant from what the followers wanted.
He says: "I don't know this from the other members but it's fairly evident that Tate is moving in a different direction. The music was not what the fans are really wanting, in my opinion."
That gives rise to the conundrum he has to deal with in singing old material and helping write new songs. "If I sound too much like him I'm labelled as a clone. But if I sound nothing like him they say, 'This guy sounds nothing like what it should sound like'. I'm damned if I do, damned if I don't.
So I say, I do the best I can. Yes, my phrasing is very similar to him it's going to be. If I was a guitar player that grew up on Yngwie Malmsteen and Paul Gilbert, it's going to be reflected in that playing. If you like Steve Vai, it's going to be on your sleeve."
But he adds: "People expect too much. Even out of Geoff Tate they expected too much. 'Oh, he doesn't have the range'. Dude, the guy's voice, in my opinion, is still f--king awesome. The problem is when you build your sound around a range that he's known for, then you don't deliver like a record. Queensryche is some of the hardest material in the world to sing."
Thanks to Classicrockmagazine for the report.