QUEENSRŸCHE singer Todd La Torre has once again denied that Scott Rockenfield is officially out of the band, saying the drummer asked for paternity leave four years ago and just never came back.

This past January, Rockenfield shot down suggestions that he quit QUEENSRŸCHE or retired from playing music. The drummer, who hasn’t performed with QUEENSRŸCHE since early 2017, took to his Facebook page to say that fans “have not been given the facts by any means” and implied that he would offer more details at a later date.

Scott‘s comments marked the first time he has publicly addressed his status with QUEENSRŸCHE, which has used former KAMELOT drummer Casey Grillo for touring purposes since April 2017.

In a brand new interview with Sakis Fragos of Rock Hard Greece, Todd — who is promoting his debut solo album, “Rejoice In The Suffering” — was asked for his opinion of Scott‘s recent remarks on social media. The vocalist replied (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “[Scott] said, ‘I’m having a baby and I need paternity leave.’ We were really happy for him. ‘Congratulations. This is great. How much time do you need?’ [And he said] ‘I’m thinking six months.’ ‘Okay.’ Six months goes by, and then we learn that he is gonna take the rest of the year off. He never came back.

“I have no idea what he’s doing,” Todd insisted. “I don’t know what he’s up to. I hope that he’s doing well. I don’t have anything bad to say. I’m just telling you that actions speak louder than words.”

As for who will play drums on QUEENSRŸCHE‘s upcoming follow-up to 2019’s “The Verdict” album, Todd said: “Casey deserves to play on this record, in my opinion. When it comes to writing new songs for this record, Casey is involved; he’s showing up, he’s participating. When it comes to recording this album, in my opinion, Casey should play drums on this record. He has earned it. He’s dedicated every moment of the last four years to QUEENSRŸCHE, and he’s the guy that shows up to play the live shows — period. So when somebody says, ‘Who’s the drummer?’ The guy that’s been showing up.”

The drum tracks on “The Verdict” were laid down by La Torre.

Last year, former QUEENSRŸCHE singer Geoff Tate expressed his doubt that Rockenfield will ever play drums again, telling Metal Rules that Scott “has a lot of medical problems and things like that now.” In 2019, Tate told 88.1FM WESU‘s weekly syndicated radio show “Noize In The Attic” that he was “pretty sure” Scott “didn’t leave” QUEENSRŸCHE of his own accord. “I can tell you that there’s lawsuits involved; I know that,” he said. “He’s in kind of a really dark place, and I hope he gets some help, ’cause he’s really unraveled, you know? In my opinion. It’s too bad — he’s an incredibly talented drummer, and unfortunately, he never was happy with that. It wasn’t good enough for him.”

“Rejoice In The Suffering” came out in February via Rat Pak Records.