Stone Free: Queensryche guitarist quits

Queensrÿche guitarist Mike Stone has announced his departure from the band.

He said in a statement, "After much consideration, I will not be joining Queensryche on the 2009 American Soldier Tour. I feel now is the time to focus on other musical endeavors, including my new band Speed X with Nick Catanese of Black Label Society. I would like to thank all of the Queensryche fans around the world for being nothing less than amazing to me during my time with the band. You have treated me like gold, and I will never forget it. It has been an honor to be a part of the Queensryche family, and I wish Geoff, Michael, Scott and Eddie nothing but the very best."

Queensryche added in their own statement, "We will miss Mike. He is a wonderful player and has contributed to our lives musically and spiritually. We wish him the best and hope to see him succeed in everything he chooses to participate in."

It seems like this may have been on the cards for a while. Queensryche's remaining guitarist Michael Wilton recently revealed that he had recorded all the guitar parts to the band's forthcoming concept album American Soldier.

What?! Queensryche in concept album shocker!

That album is due at the end of March and the songs will be inspired by 'ryche vocalist Geoff Tate's interviews with American veterans who have served in conflicts including World War II and Iraq.

So now it looks like the band will need to recruit another guitarist for live shows at least – surely it's time for former six-stringer Chris DeGarmo to enter stage right?

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