Michael Wilton

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Michael Wilton
Michael Wilton performing with Queensrÿche at the Reno Events Center on December 13, 2013
Background information
Also known asWhip
Born (1962-02-23) February 23, 1962 (age 58)
San Francisco, California, United States
Genres Progressive metal
Instruments Guitar
Years active1978–present
Associated acts Queensrÿche, Soulbender
Website http://www.michaelwilton.com

Michael F. Wilton (born February 23, 1962) [1] also known as The Whip, for how fast his fingers "whip" around the guitar fretboard, [2] heavy metal and hard rock guitarist and songwriter, best known for being a lead and rhythm guitarist and songwriter in the progressive metal band Queensrÿche, which he co-founded in 1982.



Wilton was born in San Francisco, California, [1] but his family moved to Seattle, Washington when he was 6 years old. [3] His father took him to concerts from an early age and introduced him to many musical styles, especially jazz, [3] including John McLaughlin, Larry Coryell and Al Di Meola, [4] but also to rock music like Led Zeppelin, The Allman Brothers Band, and Eric Clapton. [4] At age 8, he started practicing on the bass guitar, learning songs by bands from his father's collections, such as The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan. At age 13, [3] he also got a nylon string acoustic from his aunt and accidentally blew his father's speaker. He convinced his father to give him the Fender Bassman and speaker cabinet Wilton inherited from an uncle who died in a motorcycle accident.[ citation needed ]

While attending junior high school [4] and Interlake High School, [5] Wilton began to explore the guitar world further by listening to hard rock and heavy metal music such as Judas Priest, UFO, Iron Maiden, Van Halen, and Deep Purple, [4] and he began practicing seriously, for 2 hours per day. He changed his mind about playing bass guitar, and chose to play guitar instead. At age 16, his guitar teacher said, that Wilton "whipped on the guitar", which got him the nickname "Whip". [4] He bought a Les Paul copy and a fuzzbox, [3] and joined some garage bands with his school-mates, [3] such as Joker, which was formed in 1978. [5] In 1979, new sophomore Chris DeGarmo was briefly part of this band. [5] By the end of the 1979–1980 school year, they disbanded. [6]


Queensryche singer Todd La Torre with Michael Wilton. Todd la torre and michael wilton.jpg
Queensrÿche singer Todd La Torre with Michael Wilton.


After high school, Wilton attended the Cornish Institute of Allied Arts in Seattle (now known as Cornish College of the Arts), where he studied among others music theory, jazz improvisation, gamelan music and classical music (piano and guitar). [3] [4] This was a big step in his life as he began to appreciate more ethnic and improvisational music, which later gave him influences as a progressive rock musician. After studying for 1–5 years, he ran out of money, [4] but by this time, he had met bass guitarist Eddie Jackson and drummer Scott Rockenfield. [3] In 1980, Wilton and Rockenfield had founded a band called Cross+Fire, which DeGarmo and Jackson joined shortly thereafter. [7] The quartet began to play at parties, by which time they called themselves The Mob. [3] In late summer of 1982, Geoff Tate was involved as vocalist to record a four-song demo. [8] The band changed its name to Queensrÿche, and the demo was released in 1983 as the eponymous EP Queensrÿche . [3]

Wilton remains a guitarist in Queensrÿche to date. After DeGarmo left Queensrÿche in 1998, [9] [10] Wilton gradually began performing most of the songs that previously featured DeGarmo doing the main solo live, including "Silent Lucidity", "The Mission", "En Force", "I Am I", "Take Hold of the Flame", "Best I Can", "The Killing Words", "Bridge", "The Lady Wore Black" and "Anybody Listening?", amongst others. Queensrÿche had first taken in Kelly Gray as guitarist, who was replaced in 2002 by Mike Stone, [7] and in February 2009 by Parker Lundgren, [11] initially as a touring guitarist but mainly as a rhythm guitarist only joining in for dual guitar solos in songs like "Neue Regel" and "London". After the band's 2009 American Soldier tour, Wilton took over all of the solos.


In 2002, Wilton started a side-band with former Alice N' Chains guitarist and My Sister's Machine vocalist Nick Pollock, called Soulbender. [2] They released one album in 2004 on Licking Lava Records, following which they played various shows around the Northwest. Soulbender subsequently went on an extensive hiatus. A new album, Soulbender 2, was announced to be released in 2014, with plans to tour in 2015. [12]

Wratchet Head

In 2010, Wilton released the single "Coming for You" with his hard rock project Wratchet Head, which was intended for those Queensrÿche fans, "whose ears have longed to once again be filled with the classic, melodic and sometimes haunting sounds of 'the earlier years'". [13] In 2012, he continued making music with Wratchet Head. [14]

Michael Wilton performing live. Michael Wilton.jpg
Michael Wilton performing live.

Personal life

Wilton is an avid sports fan and guitar collector. [2] In high school, he was better known for being a star athlete in football, baseball and basketball than as a musician. He was among others in an all-star youth baseball team that toured through Europe. [5]



Aury Moore


Pamela Moore

Ronnie Munroe

Wratchet Head

Related Research Articles


Queensrÿche is an American heavy metal band. It formed in 1980 in Bellevue, Washington, out of the local band the Mob. The band has released 15 studio albums, one EP, and several DVDs, and continues to tour and record. The original lineup consisted of guitarists Michael Wilton and Chris DeGarmo, drummer Scott Rockenfield, bassist Eddie Jackson, and lead vocalist Geoff Tate.

Geoff Tate

Geoff Tate is an American singer and musician. He rose to fame with the progressive metal band Queensrÿche, who had commercial success with their 1988 album Operation: Mindcrime and 1990 album Empire. Tate is ranked fourteenth on Hit Parader's list of the 100 Greatest Metal Vocalists of All Time. He was voted No. 2 on That Metal Show's top 5 hard rock vocalists of the 1980s. In 2012, he won the Vegas Rocks! Magazine Music Award for "Voice in Progressive Heavy Metal". In 2015, he placed ninth on OC Weekly's list of the 10 Best High-Pitched Metal Singers. After his farewell tour as Queensrÿche, he renamed his band Operation: Mindcrime, after the Queensrÿche album of the same name.

<i>Hear in the Now Frontier</i> 1997 studio album by Queensrÿche

Hear in the Now Frontier is the sixth studio album by the American heavy metal band Queensrÿche, released in 1997. It was partly recorded at Studio Litho in Seattle, the home studio of Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard, and was engineered and mixed by Toby Wright, who had recently worked with Alice In Chains.

<i>Queensrÿche</i> (EP) 1983 EP by Queensrÿche

Queensrÿche is the self-titled debut EP by the American progressive metal band Queensrÿche, released independently in September 1983 through 206 Records and reissued later that same year through EMI-America. A remastered edition was reissued in 2003 through Capitol Records.

Christopher Lee DeGarmo is an American heavy metal and hard rock guitarist and songwriter, best known for being a lead and rhythm guitarist, backing vocalist, and primary songwriter in the progressive metal band Queensrÿche from their formation in 1980 until 1998, and with whom he played during their most commercially successful period. He briefly returned for collaborations in 2003 and 2007. DeGarmo was a member of Jerry Cantrell's band during his 1998 solo tour, and also contributed to his 2002 album, Degradation Trip. In 1999, he co-founded the short-lived supergroup Spys4Darwin with Alice in Chains drummer Sean Kinney. Since departing from Queensrÿche, DeGarmo has made his living as a professional private jet pilot. Since 2009, he has been making music with his daughter Rylie DeGarmo under the name The Rue, and collaborated with Alice in Chains on their 2018 album, Rainier Fog. DeGarmo was nominated for three Grammy Awards as a songwriter.

<i>Promised Land</i> (Queensrÿche album) 1994 studio album by Queensrÿche

Promised Land is the fifth studio album by the American heavy metal band Queensrÿche and their highest charting record to date. It was released by EMI on October 18, 1994, four years after their successful Empire album. The album was re-released on June 10, 2003 in a remastered edition with bonus tracks.

<i>Tribe</i> (Queensrÿche album) 2003 studio album by Queensrÿche

Tribe is the eighth studio album from the American progressive metal band Queensrÿche, released on 22 July 2003. It was self-produced by Queensrÿche, with Scott Olson engineering and Adam Kasper mixing the album.

Eddie Jackson (musician)

Eddie Jackson, also known as EdBass and One Take, is an American bass guitarist for the progressive metal band Queensrÿche, which he co-founded in 1982.

Scott Rockenfield, also known as SRock, is an American drummer and composer. He is best known as the drummer for the progressive metal band Queensrÿche, which he co-founded in 1982, and the hard rock band Slave to the System.

Revolution Calling

"Revolution Calling" is a song by Progressive metal band Queensrÿche appearing on their 1988 album Operation: Mindcrime. Written by vocalist Geoff Tate and guitarist Michael Wilton, the song was released as the third single from the album.

Kelly Gray (musician)

Kelly Gray is an American record producer and guitarist. He currently plays in former Queensrÿche vocalist Geoff Tate's band Operation: Mindcrime.

I Dont Believe in Love

"I Don't Believe in Love" is a song by progressive metal band Queensrÿche appearing on their 1988 album Operation: Mindcrime. It has also been featured in all four of their compilations, Evolution Calling, Greatest Hits, Classic Masters, and Sign of the Times: The Best of Queensrÿche, making it one of the band's most well-known songs.

Eyes of a Stranger (song)

"Eyes of a Stranger" is a song by progressive metal band Queensrÿche appearing on their 1988 album Operation: Mindcrime. It is the last song on Operation Mindcrime, summarizing the story in the album. It has also been featured on two of their compilations, Greatest Hits and Sign of the Times: The Best of Queensrÿche.

Anybody Listening?

"Anybody Listening?" is a song by progressive metal band Queensrÿche appearing as the last track on their 1990 album Empire. The song was released as the sixth and final single from the album.


Soulbender is an American heavy metal band formed in Seattle, Washington, United States, by musicians hailing from both Seattle and Vancouver, including Queensrÿche guitarist Michael Wilton and My Sister's Machine vocalist Nick Pollock. Other founding members were guitarist Dave Groves and drummer Wes Hallam, both of whom played in the Vancouver band Fallen Angel. This band has also featured two former members of the 1990s metal band Peace and Silence; Travis Bracht and Chuck Miller.

Parker Lundgren

Parker Lundgren is an American guitarist, best known for being in the progressive metal band Queensrÿche, which he joined in 2009.

<i>Dedicated to Chaos</i> 2011 studio album by Queensrÿche

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Todd La Torre American singer and drummer

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  1. 1 2 Brett Miller. "Before the Storm: The Early Days of Queensrÿche: Michael Wilton". QueensrycheHistory.com. Retrieved 2013-01-03.
  2. 1 2 3 "Wilton". Anybody Listening. Archived from the original on 2013-07-26. Retrieved 2012-12-29.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 "Declaration of Michael Wilton" (PDF). court testimony. 2011-06-12. Retrieved 2017-03-07.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Queensrÿche Guitarist Michael Wilton Interviewed On 'The Metal Factory' Radio Show (Audio)". Blabbermouth.net. 2013-04-20. Retrieved 2013-04-21.
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  6. Brett Miller. "Before the Storm: The Early Days of Queensrÿche: The Storm is Coming". QueensrycheHistory.com. Retrieved 2013-01-03.
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  8. Brett Miller. "Before the Storm: The Early Days of Queensrÿche: The Rÿche Is Born". QueensrycheHistory.com. Retrieved 2013-01-05.
  9. Waterbury, Mark E. (Aug. 2003)."Crossroads: Scott Rockenfield - Queensrÿche's Drummer" Archived 2007-03-11 at the Wayback Machine . Music Morsels. Retrieved April 24, 2006.
  10. Dargon, Kieran. Geoff Tate interview. The RatHole - Fireworks Magazine. Retrieved April 24, 2006.
  11. "Blabbermouth.Net - Guitarist Mike Stone Quits Queensrÿche". Roadrunnerrecords.com. Archived from the original on 2011-07-26. Retrieved 2011-07-14.
  12. Pacella, Jon (2014-04-24). "Queensryche's Michael Wilton and Stryper's Michael Sweet: The TVD M3 Rock Festival Interview". The Vinyl District. Retrieved 2014-05-05.
  13. "Wratchet Head". Ratpak Records. Archived from the original on 2013-07-20. Retrieved 2013-07-20.
  14. Fend, Ria (2013-06-15). "London Rocks Interviews Todd La Torre of Queensryche about upcoming Album (audio - 20 minutes)". London Rocks. YouTube . Retrieved 2013-06-29.