"Hold the light, keep the flame, we can't let this world remain the same." "Voices are calling me back." "The computer word made flesh."

Chapter III: 1984-1985: The Warning Era | Chapter V: 1988-1989: Operation: Mindcrime Era

Queensryche circa 1986-1987

Chapter IV: 1986-1987: Rage for Order Era
By Brian Heaton

Queensryche's 1986 release, Rage for Order, employed an interesting three-tiered lyrical theme, along with an equally layered and complex musical structure. Heralded by fans, Rage for Order is considered by many to be one of the defining albums of the sub-genre now known as "progressive heavy metal." It was produced by Neil Kernon.

Kernon said in an interview with this author in 2007 that drums for Rage for Order were recorded in an office park in Bellevue, Wash. He explained by recording it in such a large space with a mobile recording truck, it helped give the record a "big bashy" drum sound. Kernon brought in Le Mobile truck from Montreal that he had used on many live albums and several other studio albums, including Kansas' Drastic Measures, and Dokken's Under Lock and Key.

"We wanted [Rage for Order] to be uncompromisingly cold sonically," Kernon said.

Queensryche already had most of the material well-constructed and arranged before the band hit the studio. But EMI Records was focused on getting a lot of radio airplay out of Rage for Order. What could have been a tense artist versus business situation was mediated by Kernon, who had the job of working with the band to balance what they wanted musically with the label's demands. A few tweaks were made to the song demoes and a decision was made to cover a track by Canadian singer Lisa Dal Bello.

"[Pre-production] took a while, during which time I slowly emphasized to them the importance of concise songs for radio. There was no need to trim all the songs down to 3:45, but we needed several to be able to have an album campaign with some legs," Kernon said. "So, we all talked about it and decided that we'd like one more song that was quirky and had single potential. We didn't want something that was out and out poppy, but something that had the potential to be dark and weird, but was still catchy. Lisa [Dal Bello's] song was suggested and we all loved that idea. We chose "Gonna Get Close to You" over "Wait for an Answer," which Heart went on to record a while later."

Kernon's favorite cut from Rage for Order, however, was -- and continues to be -- "Screaming in Digital," featuring the point-counterpoint lyrics of a man and a computer with artificial intelligence that has developed a personal relationship with its owner.

"There was something magical about the vibe to that song for me -- really nasty, tense, hi-tech," Kernon recalled. "I think it symbolized [Rage for Order] for me. The only thing I had to suggest for that song was to make it longer - the demo the band played me was less than half the length of the final version, so we needed to flesh it out a bit. I still love that song."

Kernon also played keyboards on Rage for Order, recording the parts for "Screaming in Digital" and "Neue Regel." But some of his fondest memories were from recording the sound effects.

Kernon, in his own words:

"One of my favorite [moments] was in recording 'Chemical Youth.' While Whip and I were tracking his lead guitars I had told him that shouting through the guitar pickup could make an interesting sound. So, once the [lead guitar] had been completed, we set about tracking some shouting through the amp via the pickup. Michael, in his inimitable way, decided to do an impression of Vivian from the Young Ones and started shouting 'Neil, you bastard' at the top of his voice, while I recorded the result onto some blank tape for use at a later date.

"He was crouching on the floor screaming this insult over and over again when the door burst open and in rushed several of the studio staff, the studio manager and receptionist etc. all looking very alarmed. We just looked at them standing there, and they just asked 'Err…is everything ok? We thought there was a fight going on.

"I was [also] apprehended by the Vancouver police while recording Geoff doing burnouts in his car, in the underground parking lot of our hotel. They said we had to stop as there had been some concern from tenants. I was, meanwhile, armed with loads of mobile recording gear, all strapped to me, so we assured the cops that we'd stop, but instead waited a while and did more once they'd left. By the way, all of these bits, the tire-squealing and the shouting were all used on the album."

The tour to support Rage for Order had Queensryche opening for some big acts, including Bon Jovi and Ozzy Osbourne, even if the band didn't quite fit in stylistically with those bands at the time. Queensryche also brought a sixth musician along on tour – keyboardist Randy "Random Damage" Gane. Tate's former MYTH bandmate played off-stage. The tour spanned approximately seven months and by the end, Queensryche were able to squeeze in some headline shows that further expanded its fan base. That included two sold-out performances on Feb. 13-14, 1987, at L'Amours East in New York, one of the more high profile clubs in the Big Apple for hard rock and metal acts.

Rage for Order

Title: Rage for Order
Release Date: 1986 (EMI Records)
Producer: Neil Kernon
Engineer: Neil Kernon
Mixing: Neil Kernon

Tracklist:

Walk in the Shadows -- (DeGarmo/Tate/Wilton)
I Dream in Infrared -- (Tate/Wilton)
The Whisper -- (DeGarmo)
Gonna Get Close to You -- (Lisa Dal Bello)
The Killing Words -- (DeGarmo/Tate)
Surgical Strike -- (DeGarmo/Wilton)
Neue Regel -- (DeGarmo/Tate)
Chemical Youth (We Are Rebellion) -- (Tate/Wilton)
London (DeGarmo/Tate/Wilton)
Screaming in Digital -- (DeGarmo/Tate/Wilton)
I Will Remember -- (DeGarmo)

Key Tracks: Screaming in Digital, Neue Regel, Walk in the Shadows





Singles:

Gonna Get Close to You
The Whisper
Walk in the Shadows

Notes:

It is safe to say that Rage for Order is where Queensr˙che got its most "progressive" as a band, at least in the sense of how the word is defined today. Incorporating a number of time changes, keyboard work, use of samples, and experimental guitar work, Rage for Order ended up influencing bands of note in both the progressive and gothic subgenres of hard rock and metal.

Writing for Rage for Order commenced in 1985, shortly after the tour for The Warning concluded. As mentioned earlier, while most of the material was written and arranged before heading into the studio, pre-production took a while becaues the band's blossoming progressive tendencies and the label's wish for a radio campaign. But Kernon mediated between the band and label. He explained to Queensryche that not everything had to be boiled down to less than four minutes, but they also had to have a few that fit that mold and the label's expectations.

The band bought into the idea, and Rage for Order ended up with a bunch of shorter cuts, without sacrificing the song in order to make it happen. Aggressive tracks such as "Walk in the Shadows," "The Whisper," and "Surgical Strike" clock in under four minutes, yet they maintain musical complexities that set them apart from some of the band's earlier work. In addition, some of the more "epic" songs on Rage for Order, such as "Neue Regel" and "London" are only slightly longer than the aggressive tunes, but contain a distinctly powerful and magestic vibe that make them feel longer than they really are.

The music on Rage for Order is rightly lauded by fans as complex and dark, with those progressive and gothic leanings shinging through. But it's the lyrical theme that really set the stage for Queensr˙che's ascension with Operation: Mindcrime a few years later. According to Tate, while not a concept album, Rage for Order has a three-tiered lyrical theme running through the songs: Personal, Political, and Technological. The album title is also a contradiction itself: rage and order.

For the sake of brevity, this essay won't go through each song and highlight how each contains pieces of the theme. But if you sit down with the lyrics, listen to the record, and pay attention to things, you'll easily spot all the references.

Of note, however, is "Screaming in Digital," a song that is a conversation between an artificial intelligence (son) and the human (father) who created it. The song encapsulates what Rage for Order is all about, lyrically, and is consider by many to be sequel (some make an argument for prequel) to "NM 156" on The Warning. Queensr˙che also played the tracks back-to-back over the years, cementing that theory.

"Screaming in Digital" straddles all three themes on Rage for Order, and creates arguably the record's strongest statement, despite it being one of the album's shortest cuts (3:39). According to Kernon, apparently when the band came up with the initial idea for it, it was even shorter, about 2:30. Kernon said he immediately heard the potential in the track and encouraged the band to flesh it out a bit so they could use it. The demo Queensr˙che recorded for it is actually the same length as the album version, a little less polished, and significantly creepier.

As mentioned earlier, Queensryche recorded a cover of "Gonna Get Close to You," which ended up being one of the singles from Rage for Order, and the only video the band shot for the album. The band also recorded Simon & Garfunkel's "Scarborough Fair" during this time period. The tune wouldn't appear on the album, but was resurrected as a b-side in 1990, appearing on the CD single for "Empire" in 1990. "Prophecy," which was tagged onto later releases of the EP, was also recorded during the Rage for Order sessions.

There were a few leftover songs that were demoed by Queensryche for Rage for Order that have never seen a public release: The title track, "The Dream" and "From the Darkside." The title track featured a very "pre-Queensryche-like" Geoff Tate vocal delivery. Geoff showed his penchant for rap/spoken type of vocal here. The tune was scrapped, but pretty much everything except the verses and chorus were resurrected as an instrumental ("Anarchy-X") on Queensr˙che's next album, Operation: Mindcrime.

"The Dream" was only partially fleshed out, clocking in at just over 2:30. It has a big chorus, and probably could have been turned into a decent full tune on Rage for Order. It absolutely sounds like a song that could fit comfortably next to "The Whisper" or "Chemical Youth."

"From the Darkside," however, sounds like a fully completed tune, and has a length of just over five minutes. It has a bit of a MYTH (Tate's band prior to Queensr˙che) feel to it, and as a result, it is certainly one of the quirkier cuts Queensr˙che has ever done. The verses are more spoken-word from Tate, but it works in the context of the song, and the album's three-layered theme. The verses contain a pretty basic riff with an acoustic guitar underneath. The chorus is the title of the song, with "ohhhhh oh ohhhhh" repeated afterward, with no real instrumentation. The solo, however, really captures the dark mood of the song.

In this author's opinion, it is unfortunate that "From the Darkside" was never properly recorded. While it was certainly different from the rest of the songs on the record, and given the amount of mid-tempo and ballads on Rage for Order, it made sense not to move forward on this one, it really could have added to the depth of the album.

Rage for Order was recorded in Bellevue, Wash., Vancouver, Canada, and Glendale, California.

In 2003, EMI remastered the Queensr˙che catalog, including Rage for Order. It is not recommended for audiophiles, because it was redlined (as were all the 2003 reissues and subsequent repackages), but the Rage for Order remaster does help boost up some of the effects so that they are audible. Kernon noted to me that the initial pressing of the record was "quiet" and "bass-lite," which the remaster addressed. It contains four bonus tracks: live versions of "Walk in the Shadows" and "The Killing Words," an acoustic remix of "I Dream in Infrared," and the 12" single version of "Gonna Get Close to You."

Cover art:

Depending on the pressing, the color of Rage for Order's cover varied. The initial pressing featured the blue ring. It was later changed to black so that the wording could be read better. The Japanese pressing featured a black marble color ring. These are a few examples of the vinyl covers. The cassette versions varied as well, with multiple shades of blue, before eventually being black. The "blue ring" cassette is one of the rarest editions. "Blue ring" vinyl is also rare, but not as rare as the cassette. Below are various examples of the vinyl and cassette releases.

All album imagery scans courtesy of Thomas Brogli. Used with permission.

The Rage for Order Tour (1986-1987)

Queensryche's touring on the Rage for Order record cycle consisted primarily of opening for other bands. Queensryche had stints supporting Bon Jovi, AC/DC and Ozzy Osbourne, generally playing 30-45 minute sets. Queensryche's staging was fairly simple, given their status as openers. The exception, however, was Scott Rockenfield's "tubular" drum set, which featured what looked like high-tech metal tubes going around his kit.

In addition, since Rage for Order featured a heavy dose of keyboards, Randy Gane, Tate's old bandmate in Myth, was also a guest on the tour, playing keyboards off-stage for the band. Tate also played a small bit of rhythm guitar on the Rage tour to beef up the sound during instrumental sections, likely due to Gane handling all the keyboard parts, and Tate having nothing to do on-stage.

Queensryche's support and headline sets featured five-to-six songs from Rage for Order and a smattering of songs from the EP and The Warning. The band also debuted a medley of "The Lady Wore Black," "Nightrider" and "Blinded" that they played at headline gigs in Feb. 1987.

Here are examples of the opening and headlining sets on this tour:


Opening Set
Headline Set
Neue Regel
Surgical Strike
Nightrider
Deliverance
The Whisper
Gonna Get Close To You
Chemical Youth (We Are Rebellion)
Walk In The Shadows
Queen Of The Reich
Take Hold Of The Flame
Neue Regel
Surgical Strike
Warning
Deliverance
The Whisper
No Sanctuary
London
Roads To Madness
Walk In The Shadows
Chemical Youth (We Are Rebellion)
guitar solo
Rage For Order
Queen Of The Reich
Take Hold Of The Flame

DATE LOCATION VENUE
July 31, 1986 New Orleans, LA Lakefront Arena
August 1, 1986 Shreveport, LA Hirsch Memorial Coliseum
August 2, 1986 Little Rock, AR Barton Coliseum
August 3, 1986 Kansas City, MO Kemper Arena
August 5, 1986 Ft. Worth, Texas Tarrat County Convention Center
August 6, 1986 Houston, Texas The Summit
August 7, 1986 San Antonio, Texas Hempisphere Arena
August 9, 1986 Tucson, AZ Community Center
August 10, 1986 Phoenix, AZ Compton Terrace
August 11, 1986 Las Vegas, NV Thomas & Mac Center
August 12, 1986 San Diego, CA Sports Arena
August 13, 1986 Laguna Hills, CA Irvine Meadows Amphitheater
August 15, 1986 San Francisco, CA Cow Palace
August 16, 1986 Sacramento, CA Cal Expo Ampitheater
August 18, 1986 Portland, OR Memorial Coliseum
August 19, 1986 Tacoma, WA Tacoma Dome
August 20, 1986 Spokane, WA Spokane Coliseum
August 22, 1986 Calgary, AB, CANADA Saddledome
August 23, 1986 Edmonton, AB, CANADA Northlands Coliseum
August 25, 1986 Winnipeg, MB, CANADA Winnipeg Arena
August 26, 1986 Bismarck, ND Civic Center
August 27, 1986 Rapid City, S.D. Rushmore Plaza
August 28, 1986 Sioux Falls, SD Sioux Falls Arena
August 29, 1986 Minneapolis, MN Bloomington Metro Center
August 30, 1986 Madison, WI Dane County Arena
September 1, 1986 East Troy, WI Alpine Valley Music Center
September 2, 1986 Kalamazoo, MI Wings Stadium
September 4, 1986 Miami, FL Unknown
September 5, 1986 Hollywood, FL Sport Auditorium
September 6, 1986 Orlando, Fla. Orange County Civic Center
September 7, 1986 St. Petersburg, FL Bayfront Arena
September 9, 1986 Atlanta, GA The Omni
September 10, 1986 Jacksonville, Fla. Jacksonville Coliseum
September 12, 1986 Columbia, S.C. Carolina Coliseum
September 13, 1986 Greensboro, N.C. Greensboro Coliseum
September 14, 1986 Fayetteville, N.C. Memorial Arena
September 16, 1986 Providence, R.I. Providence Civic Arena
September 17, 1986 Springfield, MA Springfield Civic Center
September 18, 1986 Philadelphia, PA The Spectrum
September 20, 1986 Kingston, NH Kingston Fairgrounds
September 21, 1986 Uniondale, NY Nassau Coliseum
September 23, 1986 Portland, Maine Cumberland County Civic Center
September 24, 1986 Montreal, AB, CANADA The Forum
September 26, 1986 Toronto, ONT, CANADA CNE Grandstand
September 27, 1986 Toledo, Ohio Toledo Sports Arena
September 29, 1986 Grand Rapids, MI Welsh Auditorium
September 30, 1986 Trotwood, Ohio Hara Arena
October 3, 1986 Biloxi, Miss. Mississippi Coast Coliseum
October 5, 1986 Beaumont, Texas Civic Center
October 6, 1986 Austin, Texas Austin Opera House
October 7, 1986 Dallas, Texas Reunion Arena
October 10, 1986 San Antonio, Texas Sunken Garden Theater
October 13, 1986 Albuquerque, NM New Mexico State Fairgrounds Exhibition Hall
October 14, 1986 Phoenix, Ariz. Celebrity Theatre
October 17, 1986 Salinas, CA Sherwood Hall
October 18, 1986 Sacramento, CA Arco Arena
October 19, 1986 Santa Barbara, CA Arlington Theatre
October 21, 1986 Santa Monica, CA Santa Monica Civic Auditorium
October 22, 1986 San Diego, CA Golden Hall
November 23, 1986 Burton-Upon-Trent, Bargates (UK) Central Park (cancelled)
November 24, 1986 London, UK Hammersmith Odeon
November 25, 1986 London, UK Hammersmith Odeon
November 26, 1986 Bradford, UK St. Georges Hall
November 27, 1986 Arnhem, HOLLAND Rijnhal
November 28, 1986 Paris, FRANCE Le Zenith
November 29, 1986 Luzerne, SWITZERLAND Festhalle
November 30, 1986 WĂĽrzburg, GERMANY Unknown
December 2, 1986 Dortmund, GERMANY Westfalenhalle
December 3, 1986 Hanover, GERMANY Eilenriederhalle
December 4, 1986 Copenhagen, DENMARK Falkoner
December 6, 1986 Stockholm, SWEDEN Isstadion
December 8, 1986 Helsinki, FINLAND Ice Hall
January 24, 1987 Biloxi, Miss. MS Coast Coliseum
January 28, 1987 Knoxville, Tenn. Unknown
February 4, 1987 Abilene, Texas Taylor County Coliseum
February 7, 1987 Lubbock, Texas Lubbock Coliseum
February 8, 1987 Norman, Okla. Lloyd Noble Center
February 13, 1987 Elmhurst, NY L'Amour East
February 14, 1987 Elmhurst, NY L'Amour East
February 20, 1987 Elmhurst, NY L'Amour East
February 21, 1987 Commack, L.I., N.Y. L'Amour Far East
April 24, 1987 Philadelphia, Pa. The Spectrum


1986-1987 Rage for Order Era Scrapbook

Band Photos


Rage Era Promo Shot 1


Rage Era Promo Shot 2


Rage Era Promo Shot 3


Rage Era Live Shot 1


Rage Era Live Shot 2


Rage Era Live Shot 3


Rage Era Candid In Studio


Post-Show 1986-1987


On Tour, 1986-1987


Tate/DeGarmo, live, 1986-1987


Wilton/DeGarmo, live 1986-1987


Tate, Backstage, 1986-1987


Photo Shoot, 1986-1987


Photo Shoot, 1986-1987

Article Scans


Circus (1986 pt. 1)


Circus (1986 pt. 2)


Circus (1986 pt. 3)


Circus (1986 pt. 4)


Kerrang! (June 1986 pt. 1)


Kerrang! (June 1986 pt. 2)


Kerrang! (June 1986 pt. 3)


Kerrang! (June 1986 pt. 4)


Circus (1986 pt. 1)


Circus (1986 pt. 2)


Circus (1986 pt. 3)


Concert Shots (1986 pt. 1)


Concert Shots (1986 pt. 2)


Concert Shots (1986 pt. 3)


Concert Shots (1986 pt. 4)


Concert Shots (1987 pt. 1)


Concert Shots (1987 pt. 2)


Concert Shots (1987 pt. 3)


Concert Shots (1987 pt. 4)


Concert Shots (1987 pt. 5)


Concert Shots (1987 pt. 6)


Concert Shots (1987 pt. 7)


Faces (1987)


Hard Rock Metal Studs
(1986 pt. 1)


Hard Rock Metal Studs
(1986 pt. 2)


Hard Rock Metal Studs
(1986 pt. 3)


Hard Rock Metal Studs
(1986 pt. 4)


Hit Parader
(1987 pt. 1)


Hit Parader
(1987 pt. 2)


Metal Edge
(1986 pt. 1)


Metal Edge
(1986 pt. 2)


Sounds July 1986


In Rock pt. 2


In Rock pt. 2

Misc. Scans


Ad for Rage for Order


Guitar World Ad (April 1987)


Rage for Order Advertisement


QR Fan Club News
(Late 1987-pt.1)


QR Fan Club News
(Late 1987-pt.2)


QR Fan Club News
(Late 1987-pt.3)


QR Fan Club News
(Late 1987-pt.4)


RFO Bumper Sticker


Rage for Order Promo Ad


Rage for Order Promo Ad 2


Rage for Order Poster

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