QUEENSRŸCHE has confirmed that guitarist Mike Stone will continue playing with the band at least for the remainder of 2021.
Since late May, Stone has been handling second-guitar duties in QUEENSRŸCHE, which announced last month that longtime guitarist Parker Lundgren was exiting the group to focus on "other business ventures."
Asked by a fan in the comments section below an Instagram photo of Stone if Mike has officially rejoined QUEENSRŸCHE, the band replied: "Filling in for the rest of this year and then we'll see..."
Stone originally joined QUEENSRŸCHE for the 2003 album "Tribe" and stayed with the band for six years.
Lundgren, a former member of original QUEENSRŸCHE singer Geoff Tate's solo group who was also briefly married to Geoff's stepdaughter Miranda, announced his departure from QUEENSRŸCHE in a social media post on July 2.
The 34-year-old musician wrote: "For several years, I have been deeply immersed in collecting and selling guitars, as well as rare and fascinating musical instruments. This passion led to the opening of my guitar store Diablo Guitars in 2019. Since then, my business has grown and I recently acquired a storefront with a full-service repair shop. In 2020, my wife and I opened Lucky Devil Latte, which has quickly expanded to multiple locations. With these new endeavors and ensuing responsibilities, my time to devote to QUEENSRŸCHE has become increasingly strained, and I no longer am able to commit the time and focus it deserves. For these reasons, I have made the difficult decision to step down from my role as guitarist in QUEENSRŸCHE.
"I want to thank my friends, family, and fans for making the past 13 years an amazing journey. I wish nothing but the best for my fellow band members, crew and everyone who has supported us.
"I hope to have your continued support as I pursue new ventures."
The remaining members of QUEENSRŸCHE added in a separate statement: "For over a decade, it has been a great pleasure watching [Parker] evolve and flourish as a guitarist, songwriter, and most importantly, a wonderful human being. Parker will always be family to us and we wish him all the success in the world with his new endeavors. Take hold, brother!"
Lundgren, who joined QUEENSRŸCHE in 2009, previously sat out some of QUEENSRŸCHE's U.S. shows in September 2018 when the band was on tour as the support act for SCORPIONS.
Guitarist Michael Wilton and bassist Eddie Jackson are the sole remaining original members of QUEENSRŸCHE, which split with Tate in 2012 and replaced him with ex-CRIMSON GLORY frontman Todd La Torre.
QUEENSRŸCHE has released three albums thus far with La Torre — 2013's "Queensrÿche", 2015's "Condition Hüman" and 2019's "The Verdict".
In April 2014, Tate and QUEENSRŸCHE announced that a settlement had been reached after a nearly two-year legal battle where the singer sued over the rights to the QUEENSRŸCHE name. Original QUEENSRŸCHE members Wilton, Jackson and Scott Rockenfield (drums) responded with a countersuit. The settlement included an agreement that Wilton, Rockenfield and Jackson would continue as QUEENSRŸCHE, while Tate would have the sole right to perform the albums "Operation: Mindcrime" and "Operation: Mindcrime II" in their entirety live.
Rockenfield hasn't performed with QUEENSRŸCHE in more than four years. The band has used former KAMELOT drummer Casey Grillo for touring purposes since April 2017.
The drum tracks on "The Verdict" were laid down by La Torre.