Queensryche's Scott Rockenfield says parting with Geoff Tate was like shaking off a long-term "sickness".
The band settled a long-running legal dispute with former frontman Tate in April this year, with Tate's band now performing under the name Operation: Mindcrime.
And while much has been said of both parties' relief at the settlement, drummer Rockenfield says things were tense while Tate was still in the band. He was replaced by Todd La Torre in 2012, leading to a situation where two bands called Queensryche were touring and recording.
Rockenfield tells Pop Break: "The conflict started years ago, but prior to it when we were all still working together in the old band, we had been in a dark place for a long time. It wasn’t going well, the years were stacking up on us, we weren’t making the music we were passionate about and were being forced to do a lot of things we didn’t want to do.
"We weren’t being allowed to play all of the music we wanted to play live, and to give our fans what we thought was important. The darker the hole we kept falling into, the faster we wanted to get out of it. That’s what happens, you kind of hit the bottom of a hole, and there’s only one way to go – up and out of there."
Sacking Tate and bringing in La Torre had an instant positive impact on morale, Rockenfield adds, saying it felt like shaking off an illness.
He says: "It’s like being sick too long, you know? After a while, you finally feel like you’ve got your health back. We were able to kind of clean up the sickness that we had, and really needed to do it for ourselves, so we did.
"The second we transitioned and got Todd in the band, the morale just went through the roof for us. There was no weird dark clouds for us, and we just don’t have that anymore. We’re really close to each other.
"We have the same common interests, we’re energetic, and we’re happy. We’re all working together as a team, and it’s not just one person saying, 'You have to do it like this.' It’s all of us making the decisions together and making the music together."
News / 28 Apr 2014Queensryche settle with Tate
Fired singer loses rights to name but gains exclusive chance to perform Operation Mindcrime albums live
News / 30 Apr 2014Both sides of Queensryche row relieved it's over
Tate and former bandmates speak of future plans after finally reaching agreement
News / 6 May 2014Tate to stop use of Queensryche name within two years
New details on settlement come to light
News / 17 Jun 2014Queensryche: We have our energy back
Legal settlement has worked out great for band, says drummer Rockenfield
News / 30 Jul 2014Tate's farewell to Queensryche
Sacked singer Geoff relieved to move on without name - but admits public wrangles has robbed him of some pride in band's achievements
News / 14 Jan 2015Queensryche add UK dates
Total of 3 shows confirmed for August, following launch of 2nd album since split with Tate
News / 27 Nov 2015Ringo Starr sets up charity auction
Beatles drummer to sell items he and wife Barbara Bach have accumulated over the years - with a portion of proceeds going to good causes
News / 27 Nov 2015Scholz loses court case over Delp death claims
Boston mainman Tom’s lawsuit against ex wife of late singer Brad thrown out
News / 27 Nov 2015Def Leppard hear their influence in pop acts
Frontman Joe Elliott says their broad appeal means they've had an impact on other artists' material
News / 27 Nov 2015Black Star Riders ride into Soldierstown
Premiere: Black Star Riders launch video prior to UK arena tour