QUEENSRŸCHE guitarist Michael Wilton says that drummer Scott Rockenfield “gave his blessing” for the band to continue without him.

For the past 23 months, Rockenfield has been taking time off from QUEENSRŸCHE‘s touring activities to spend time with his young son, who was born in early 2017. Filling in for him has been former KAMELOT drummer Casey Grillo.

While Scott has not publicly addressed his status with QUEENSRŸCHE, it was recently revealed that the drum tracks on the band’s latest album, “The Verdict”, were laid down by singer Todd La Torre.

Witon spoke about Rockenfield‘s current status in QUEENSRŸCHE during a brand new interview with “Rock Talk With Mitch Lafon”.

Asked if Scott‘s absence from QUEENSRŸCHE is permanent, Michael said (hear audio below): “Well, we don’t know. As far as Scott, he’s been drumming [in QUEENSRŸCHE] for 35 years and he just said he wants to do something else, and we respect his privacy. He’s just gone down a different path. He’s got a family, he’s working and he’s spending time with [them]. So it’s an open door if he ever wants to come back and tour. But otherwise, QUEENSRŸCHE is a machine, and if you miss the bus, it’s not gonna wait for you. You’ve gotta move on and continue. He gave his blessing and everything. He’s [doing] his own thing right now, and we respect his privacy.”

Wilton also talked about QUEENSRŸCHE‘s resilience and ability to bounce back despite being faced with several key lineup changes over the course of its nearly four-decade career.

“We’re dedicated to the cause,” Michael said. “We like to think we’re writing music that’s relevant now. We like to always be moving forward, as far as our evolution. You know what it comes down to? It comes down… It’s simple — it’s the song, it’s the songwriting. If the song moves people, it doesn’t matter who wrote it or who played it or whatever — it’s about the music. And that’s kind of the way it is. Look, you’ve got some key DNA in the band, so when the longtime fans hear the music, they hear a bit of the old style, and they go, ‘Wow! That sounds like QUEENSRŸCHE.’ Well, you know what? There’s DNA that is QUEENSRŸCHE that came up and wrote the music for QUEENSRŸCHE that started the band that’s in QUEENSRŸCHE, so I guess it’s gonna sound like QUEENSRŸCHE.”

“The Verdict” was released on March 1 via Century Media Records. The disc was produced, mixed, and mastered by Chris “Zeuss” Harris (ROB ZOMBIE, ICED EARTH, HATEBREED) at Uberbeatz in Lynwood, Washington; Planet-Z in Wilbraham, Massachusetts; and Watershed Studio in Seattle, Washington.

QUEENSRŸCHE‘s spring U.S. headline tour with special guests FATES WARNING kicked off on March 2 in Orlando and will make stops in major markets such as New York, Atlanta, Chicago, and Los Angeles before wrapping up on April 3 in Seattle.