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Metal/Prog Metal Interviews


Interviewed by Greg Olma
Interview with Geoff Tate of Queensryche from 2005

MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2005 Year Book Volume 4 at

How did the Judas priest tour come about?
They called us and asked if we would be interested in coming out. We weren't actually planning on touring this summer. We're working on a record right now but the situation was such that it was a great opportunity to tour with Priest. We've never actually done a tour with them and I'm not sure this line up of the band is going to stay intact. Better jump while the gettings good. We were happy to join them; had a great time; and it was very successful.
MSJ: You mentioned the new record that your working on, which is Operation Mindcrime II. Do you feel any extra pressure due to the legacy of the original Operation Mindcrime?
Well, I wouldn't say pressure so much as trying to match up to somebody's expectations because I kind of gave up on that a long time ago. It's an impossibility. It's more of an internal drive to create something incredibly good. It's what we all feel. There is an attention to detail that everybody who's involved with the record is passionate about. It's going really well. It has taken us a long time to write the thing, which I guess every record is a year long endeavor. It is no more than any other record, it just seems like it has taken a long time because we interrupted it with touring. We've done two tours while doing the record.  

MSJ: Does the current political climate have an effect on you putting the record out now as opposed to 5 years ago?
Well, I think there are a few things that really brought the record to fruition. One is the political climate. The country being split down the middle politically. You've got the Christians and the non-Christians. It seems that the country is divided in half. The age old Christians fighting the Muslims. We seem like we're back in the crusades again. Those kinds of situations really inspired the record. Pretty much like the first record was inspired by the conservative wave that was sweeping over America in the 80's. Cynicism being on the rise in the country and the economy in the state that it is. All of these things add up to a very interesting commentary when you go to make a record.
MSJ: It's interesting how we have come full circle and so have the releases of these two albums.
I think that that is one thing that is interesting about the social sciences. Watching human growth and what we do. We don't move very fast. We pacify ourselves with technology and gizmos and things like that, but really, the deep down core of values, ideas of humanity, we move at a snail's pace. We change things too easily or too quickly. We swing from one extreme to the other.
MSJ: When you go out on tour for the new record, will you be presenting it in it's entirety like the first Operation Mindcrime?
'm really not sure what we're going to do with it. We've talked about a number of different ways of presenting it. One of those ways is presenting it as "An Evening with…" and presenting the record as one performance. We've talked about doing both albums back to back but that to me seems incredibly exhausting. I'm not voting for that. It's really hard.
MSJ: I saw you put two bootleg quality songs on your website. What are your thoughts about music file sharing?.
I come from the background of having published music; making a career out of that. That is what feeds my family, clothes my kids, and send them to school. I'm very biased when it comes to pirating music. I think people should be paid for the work they do. I associate it to a grocery store. You wouldn't load your cart with food and walk out. You would have to pay for it. Part of it is the record companies. The perceptions they've created is that we're all rich rock stars who live in mansions like Elton John. They're knighting us all. There are a handful of people who live like that, like the Beatles, Elton John, and Billy Joel. They've published hundreds of songs and have been doing it for 30 to 40 years. But the rest of us, the majority of the people in the music business, we're just making a living. Just doing the best we can touring and making songs. We'd like to be paid like everyone else.
MSJ: I like the artwork and lyrics but you don't get any of that when you burn music.
It's a different world nowadays. Society is all about the quick fix; get all they can get. We're like a fast food nation. Everything is disposable. We've made music disposable by not valuing it. It's become something you steal, burn, take away, and trade, rather than buying it and coveting it.
MSJ: What are your thoughts on people trading your live shows?
I don't know. I don't do it. I don't own any bootlegs from any bands. I guess I don't have a problem with people trading them or giving them away, so long as they are live performances. When they start selling them, or our t-shirts with our emblem or symbol, then that's just stealing.
MSJ: When you come back this fall, are you going to have an opener or will it be an "Evening With.."?
It's an evening with Queensryche.
MSJ: Do you have difficulty picking a set list for a show?
Oh yeah, it's a constant debate within the band as to what we're going to play. Even after all these years. We know roughly what works in front of an audience but when we go out to tour, we always pick a few songs that we don't know how they will work. Then we wind up changing the set list about 3 times during the tour to make exceptions and get things right. You'd like to play everything but honestly, everything doesn't work. There are songs that work really well live and songs that don't. You can never please everyone. You just do the best you can. We would like to play things that we like to play also. Things that the band really likes. We each try to pick a song or two that is our favorite, you know, the one that we really love to play even though the other guys might not like it. We also would like the other guy to exercise his freedom of choice. Sometimes you're on tour for 6 weeks and you have to play that damn song that the other guy likes but you can't stand.
MSJ: Hopefully those are few and far between.
Well, we've written some songs that aren't my favorite but you have to do that when you write a record. When you're a song writer, you have to write 100 songs that are crap before you write a good one. You write an occasional dog now and then.
MSJ: When do you think we will get another Geoff Tate solo album?
I'm thinking probably after the Mindcrime album, which is due sometime next year in January or February. I'm thinking 2007 or 2008. Something like that.
MSJ: Do you write songs and then decide if they are more Queensryche type songs or do you set aside specific time for your solo material?
I set aside the time to do my stuff. It's a different kind of mindset. Mostly with the last record, I used musicians that had nothing to do with Queensryche; that had never really heard Queensryche. They came from non-rock backgrounds. I used people that came from jazz backgrounds, classical backgrounds, and R & B backgrounds, which are three of my favorite kinds of music. That gave the record a whole different feel that wasn't rock necessarily. That is what I was trying to do. Trying to create something that was non-Queensryche and hearing my voice in a different musical background. People really liked it.
MSJ: Did you enjoy touring that album?
Oh yeah. I enjoyed the whole process of making that record. It was really new for me because I have never done a record before with other people other than Queensryche. It was a pleasure.
MSJ: If you could go back and change one thing about Queensryche, what would it be?
I'm not one of those people that thinks about regret too much. I always think that every path you choose leads you to somewhere that leads you somewhere else. If you hadn't made certain turns, you wouldn't be where you are at. I'm really happy with where I'm at. I've got a great career and one ahead of us. We're one of the few metal bands that are still around, making records, getting signed to record labels. It's a great life. I'm constantly reminded of that by my wife. She tells me "look, you don't know how good you have it". I'm home quite a bit of the time. I get to watch my kids grow up. A lot of people don't get that. They are at work all day long, then they come home exhausted. They spend a couple of hours in the evening with their kids, then its bedtime.
MSJ: What was the last CD you purchased?
The last CD I purchased was a CD of voodoo music. It was a voodoo temple in New Orleans. It is of this voodoo priestess. If you are not familiar with voodoo, music is a big part of the ceremony. She leads the musicians through this ritual. It's just breathtaking. It gives you goose-bumps and it's beautiful, haunting, and mesmerizing. It's a great CD. I bought it at a voodoo temple in New Orleans.
MSJ: What was the last concert you attended for fun?
The last concert was Loreena McKennitt. She's kind of a new Celtic pop singer.
MSJ: What is your favorite Spinal Tap moment?
Everyday is a Spinal Tap moment on some tours. There's so many. We've had a lot of bus incidents. We were on a tourbus going through New England. The bus driver went through a tunnel that was not tall enough. Our tourbus crashed in this tunnel and we were wedged in there for 4 hours. We nearly missed our show. They had to have a tow truck come out and pull us out. That was kind of Spinal. From the band standpoint, there are some many things that can go wrong; lighting cues and audio cues. I remember one night, Eddie had bought a new pair of shoes to wear on stage. He was making a big deal out of it; that these were like the perfect stage shoes. He was so happy he had found these. These shoes were going to change his life. He was having a hard time standing up. At one point in the night, he was supposed to be in a certain spot next to me, while we sang this part together. Well he wasn't there. I could hear him playing his bass but I had to sing the part alone. I looked around but he wasn't anywhere on stage. Finally, I walk off stage, during a guitar solo to see if I could find Ed. So there he is backstage. One of our roadies is kneeling on the ground with Ed leaning back over him with his feet up in the air. Another roadie is putting gaffe tape on the bottom of his shoes because he kept slipping and falling in these brand new shoes. There he was, smiling away, getting his feet taped up.
MSJ: Any last words for your fans?
Thanks again for all the continued support of the band. We can't wait to come and play our music for you.
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