By John Thibault

Bob Nalbandian and I get the star treatment when we walk into Atlantic Records because we're what industry people call "heavy hitters," and record companies need us. So they sit us down in this huge boardroom and order us pizza and give us drinks and rolls and this weird chocolatey thing that I scarf down in seconds. Heavy hitters, indeed. Players. Rock and roll journalists.

Then I remember who we're interviewing, and it dawns on me that the pizza, drinks, rolls, and weird chocolatey thing were probably for Queensryche, not us. When Scott Rockenfield and guitarist Michael Wilton enter the room, they give us some vodka which doesn't go well with the pizza, but what the hell--the rock and roll lifestyle does not make exceptions, and nor should we. Drinking vodka and eating free food with Queensryche; if we weren't bad-ass heavy hitters before, we certainly are now.

We start with a conversation about sketchy rock chick, Biff Naked, who scares me. We all agree she has really long arms. Talk soon turns to Queensryche, their music, and Britney Spears.

Rockenfield: Did you guys go to the show last night [at Universal Amphitheater]?

Shockwaves: Sure did. It was great. Great turnout, considering there was no rock station in this city who promoted the show. So, how do you get the information out to your fans?

Rockenfield, pointing up to God: It's the Big Guy up there.

Wilton: We have a real loyal fan club following. We have these networks--we call them "Empires"--out there in every city, and basically they do it out of their own desire. They're not paid, or anything. And they've gotten so good that the record company actually uses them. They call them splatter controls. They go out and newspaper towns, call the radio stations, have parties and shit.

Rockenfield: We actually hold contests to start new chapters in cities. If you get the most people to start a new chapter, we'll fly into town and hang out with everybody at some club or something.

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