QUEENSRŸCHE singer Todd La Torre spoke to Jeff Gaudiosi of MisplacedStraws.com about the progress of the songwriting sessions for the follow-up to 2019’s “The Verdict” album. The group’s next disc will apparently mark the QUEENSRŸCHE recording debut of Casey Grillo who replaced original drummer Scott Rockenfield in 2017.

“We’ve been doing really heavy writing sessions,” Todd said. “We’ve got 20 or 25 song ideas in front of me that I have to start writing lyrics and melodies for now. Michael [Wilton, guitar] and I think Eddie [Jackson, bass] might be — I know Eddie‘s trying to get his vaccine, I think, within the next week or two, where he’ll feel comfortable traveling. But our producer, Zeuss [Chris Harris], will be coming down. If Parker [Lundgren, guitar] can make it…. He’s got a really busy guitar shop that he’s been running, his own business. So, we’re gonna be reconvening again in another month. We’ve got a ton of song ideas for the next record. And hopefully we can get in the studio by the end of the year, and sometime next year put out a new record. That’ll make sense anyway, because there’s no point in putting a record out this year when you’re not gonna tour. So that’s what’s happening with QUEENSRŸCHE right now.”

Asked to confirm who will play drums on the upcoming QUEENSRŸCHE album, Todd said: “I suspect that Casey will be drumming on the record. In my opinion, he deserves to play on the record. Scott hasn’t communicated with us. And the guy that shows up every day is the guy that’ll be playing drums. So, that’s the short end of it. Casey shows up for writing, he shows up to record, as needed. And he’s involved in this record, writing and tracking demo ideas for us. And he’s the guy that shows up to tour. So in every sense of the word — who’s drumming for QUEENSRŸCHE? I mean, you see who’s drumming with us so…”

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 Grillo for touring purposes since April 2017.

The drum tracks on QUEENSRŸCHE‘s latest album, “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.”

Todd‘s debut solo album, “Rejoice In The Suffering”, came out on February 5 via Rat Pak Records.