Metal Assault: About the new album: are we going to see a return to the progressive metal sound Queensrÿche had in the ’80s? And what kind of modern elements, if any, are we going to see in the new material?
Scott Rockenfield: What we’re trying to do, and what has been really interesting since Todd has jumped into the band, we’re trying to revisit the old Queensrÿche catalog — stuff off of the EP and “The Warning“. That’s always been a part of what we are, so yeah, definitely! I think in my opinion, we’re really revisiting that vibe of why that music was special back then for us. There will be a modern flair to it, though, just because we’re in the modern age. The fun thing about Jimbo (Barton) being a part of it is that he can help tie together the two sides. He does come from our past and some of the great records and some of the great sounds that we’re known for, but he’s also living in the modern age and doing some interesting things as well. I think it’s going to be a really great Queensrÿche record. People are going to go, “Wow, that’s Queensrÿche! That sounds just like what we’ve known them to be, and what we would expect them to now be.” That’s what I think people will get out of it.
Target Audience Magazine: Over the years, you’ve repeatedly said that you no longer feel inspired to sing selections from the earliest QUEENSRŸCHE albums, especially the most obscure tracks which have not been played on recent tours. Even if you had the inspiration to sing such QUEENSRŸCHE classics now — “Deliverance”, “Child Of Fire”, “Blinded” and “Roads To Madness”, to cite some examples — would you be able to sing them up to the level you once did, or would those notes and style of singing put too much strain on your voice?
Tate: Wow! This misconception is puzzling to me. If one starts at the beginning, my life and my interests can be traced through my music. I do admit, some of those early songs from the EP and the “Warning” album hold different meaning for me now, much like the “dungeons and dragons” of early adolescence now hold a different meaning for most adults. There are several gems on those early records that I still feel strongly about and, as most people who have attended a QUEENSRŸCHE show lately, we as a band picked every song on the set list to reflect our individual favorites and our audience’s favorites. In fact, over the years, we have conducted polls of our fans to get an accurate idea of what people wanted to hear live. I have very fond memories of playing “Rage For Order” in its entirety last year and also “Operation: Mindcrime” in its entirety at the end of our thirty-year-anniversary tour in December of 2011. In fact, the entire anniversary tour setlist was comprised of songs from all our albums.
File this in the ‘huh!?’ category. METAL SHOP listeners may strongly disagree.
RockshowCritique.com: “Queen Of The Reich” has been one of your most popular tunes yet over the past several years, you rarely played it live. Was that by choice or is it just a harder song to sing?
GT: “Actually its not very popular at all. It’s funny actually a lot of people don’t know about that song. A lot of people don’t care about that song. Its an early song that was written and it shows. It’s funny the reaction you get because it’s a lot of blank stares. In fact its the same stare you get when you play a new song that nobody’s heard before. People just aren’t that familiar with it. Given there are a few hardcore fans that might know that song or like that song and know what it is but the majority of the people there don’t. So its not really a song that I enjoy singing strictly because lyrically its pretty adolescent. It was the first song written thirty some odd years ago and obviously I cannot relate to it anymore. I think for performance its always best for the performer to really believe in the material their singing or playing. If you don’t believe in it its really difficult to get behind a song, do it well and do it at a level that comes across with any kind of believability. For me I honestly can’t relate to the whole dungeons and dragons lyrical content of that song its really cartoonish and juvenile to me.”
In other recent interviews, Tate seems to be really trying to distance himself from his Queensrÿche past.
PureGrainAudio.com: In your vocation it becomes difficult because when you go out and play live, you have to play what you wrote twenty years ago. How do you approach a song that’s twenty years old and make it fresh from today’s perspective?
Geoff: There’s a huge amount of pressure to be a nostalgia act… Just play “Empire” songs. No! I don’t just want to keep playing “Empire” songs. I want to write new music. I want to keep stretching and growing as a musician and an artist. I’m going to do that no matter how much people tell me I can’t.
PureGrainAudio.com: But you still have to deliver it with conviction when you step on that stage…
Geoff: “And I want to and that’s why I don’t do some songs from the past because I can’t deliver them with any kind of conviction. I can’t get behind those lyrics. I gave up dungeons and dragons when I was thirty, you know what I’m saying?”
PureGrainAudio.com: What songs in particular?
Geoff: The first two albums. That stuff. I can’t… I understand and appreciate that some people really like it, but I liked it at the time I wrote it. But I’m in my fifties now and I don’t look at it the same way now. I don’t want to do a song that I can’t throw down with complete conviction because it’ll come across as fake.
Examiner.com: Queensrÿche now has joined the ranks of fellow ’80s-era bands L.A. Guns and Great White as groups with two versions. While his ex-mates hired Crimson Glory vocalist Todd La Torre to be a younger, simulated version of Tate, the original countered Sept. 1 with the announcement of his new version of Queensrÿche featuring Ratt drummer Bobby Blotzer, bassist Rudy Sarzo (Quiet Riot, Dio, Ozzy Osbourne), guitarist Glen Drover (Megadeth, Testament) and former Queensrÿche guitarist Kelly Gray and keyboardist Randy Gane.
Geoff Tate: “I haven’t heard him (Todd La Torre) sing. I don’t really know anything about him. Honestly, I look at the whole situation — their situation — as kind of insignificant to me. I have my own life and my own scene that I’m completely engulfed in. I really don’t pay attention to what they’re doing or how they’re doing it or what they think or what they say.”
“Queensrÿche had a glorious legacy, in my opinion. We had a very respectful name. We had a body of work that was very well-respected and very diverse and unique all over the world. We had a stellar reputation. Those three guys, they took that reputation, and they tore it apart and rubbed it in the dirt. That’s how much they cared about it. And if they care so little about it, they’re not the kind of people I want to associate with. Ever. Again. Honestly, I feel complete freedom being away from them, and they can live their small, little lives and do what they’re going to do, and that’s great. Happy for ’em. But I won’t have anything else to do with them.”
“Oh, I did it. I don’t make any bones about it.” said former Queensrÿche singer Geoff Tate, who taped a guest appearance on VH1 Classic’s “That Metal Show” in early August for an episode that aired on Saturday, August 25, 2012.
“Right before the show, we held a quick meeting in the dressing room and they told me that they just fired my wife, who has been our manager for ten years, and my daughter, who has been our fan-club president, and basically our office assistance all these years, and my son-in-law, who is our guitar tech, and I was next. . . And I lost my temper. I came unglued. I’m glad someone stopped me, ’cause I look back on it with regret that I could have hurt one of them pretty badly. But, man, it’s not something I’m proud of.”
Get More: That Metal Show
Queensrÿche drummer Scott Rockenfield says the band didn’t come up with many alternatives when it came to naming themselves.
“We started as a covers band playing Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, all the fun stuff. But with Geoff Tate singing with us we were able to play the more challenging songs. We were called The Mob but that didn’t last long.”
“We finished the four-song EP and realised we didn’t have a name, so someone suggested we combine the words from our tune Queen of the Ryche, and that was it.”
“It sounded powerful and fitted with the direction we wanted to head.”
QUEENSRŸCHE singer Geoff Tate stars in the psychological thriller “The Burningmoore Incident”. The film focuses on the murderous rampage that took place in March 2010 in Bayside, Queens, as the construction team of Cole Contracting was being video taped by multiple cameras on the first day of what was to be a home makeover reality show. By sundown the house was a bloody scene of carnage.
Longtime admirers of Geoff’s onstage theatrics and commanding presence, Fires At Midnight Films, found him to be a perfect fit as the film’s unstoppable killing machine. Geoff also contributed an exclusive new track to the film.
Watch the official movie trailer below. More information is available from the official movie web site at www.burningmooreincident.com