Queensrÿche Guitarist Leaves Band, Future Uncertain

Guitarist and co-writer Chris DeGarmo has left Queensrÿche, but reports differ as to the future of the band.

A report from KNAC, the Los Angeles metal radio station that has taken up residence on the Internet, tells MTV News that the band has decided to break up after the departure of DeGarmo and after the band's record label, EMI, folded. According to KNAC, the band will soon issue a press release citing "creative differences" as the reason for the break-up.

Meanwhile the Queensryche Campaign website (the band's official website at www.queensryche.com) says that a replacement guitarist has been chosen and will be announced shortly. The report adds that DeGarmo has been working with Peter Cornell, the brother of Soundgarden vocalist Chris Cornell, and will continue to do so.

A Queensrÿche management representative confirmed that DeGarmo had left the group and would be working with Cornell,

but said the rest of the band were still considering their options.

Queensrÿche have been together for almost 17 years and have recorded eight albums. They formed in 1981 in Bellevue, Washington and the group's art-metal albums (especially the concept work "Operation: Mindcrime") earned the band a place in the rock landscape as the thinking person's metal band.

Queensrÿche's latest effort, 1997's "Hear In The Now Frontier," landed in the "Billboard" top 20 in its first week in stores, but quickly faded into oblivion. Following the demise of EMI, the band released their singles on Virgin Records. A Virgin Records rep could not confirm, however, that the band was scheduled to release a new album for that label. According to the Queensrÿche Campaign website, they had written roughly a dozen songs for the new effort.

Rumors of DeGarmo's possible departure began surfacing last fall when the guitarist began working with Cornell, who was reportedly recording

a solo album. Cornell, aside from his familiy connections, has been best known as the frontman with Seattle's Inflatable Souls.