GEOFF TATE ON HIS FORMER QUEENSRYCHE BANDMATES: “THEY HAVE BASICALLY SLICED THEIR OWN THROAT AND RUBBED THE NAME OF THE BAND IN THE DIRT”
LRI: Hi Geoff, thanks for talking with us. This whole situation and court battle over Queensryche is something most of us could never have forseen back in the 90s but yet here we are talking about it sadly enough. Is there ever a day where the whole drama just doesn’t even enter your head?
Geoff Tate: Oh yeah, quite often (laughs). Yeah, yeah….You know, initially, the first few months that this all started happening was a very difficult time but I’ve kind of gotten past that now and am in a much better place now where things seem a lot more brighter. I had my new solo album, Kings And Thieves and the tour supporting that and that helped, just playing shows and supporting that. I never even think about the former lineup at this point, of course they launched a lawsuit against me that I won basically and from then on, I really haven’t thought about it too much. Our court date isn’t until November, 2013 so I basically have until then until all of that is officially decided, which is quite a ways from now. A lot of water is going to go under the bridge before then, definitely.
LRI: You surprised more than a few fans in recent months with your statements that you wouldn’t be opposed to sitting down in a room and just trying to talk rationally with those guys. On an obviously much less important note I have noticed that those guys are often not that accessible from a publicity end. We have reached out numerous times to both Michael Wilton and were actually scheduled to talk to Scott Rockenfield but both times have come up empty-handed. Have you also found a series of unending emails or found them pretty difficult to reach directly? (laughs)
Geoff: (laughs) Yeah, that’s pretty much been my experience over the years. That doesn’t surprise me. You know John, you’ve probably recognized the fact that I have probably done 99 percent of the interviews over the course of Queensryche’s career. There’s a reason for that, there was a reason for that when I talked to you for the last album and there’s been a reason for that our entire career; I’ve been incredibly careful and diligent about presenting our image in a certain way. I’m recognized, pretty universally, as the spokesperson for the band and there’s a reason for that (laughs). I can reliably do my interviews and put a sentence together and I think I have a very good handle on what it is that I am trying to do within the band as the band leader. I have always thought that we were collectively on the same page about this over the years so when they fired me it came as a complete shock. It was like a kick upside the head that I wasn’t expecting at all, especially at this point in our career where we’ve been a successful band for 30 plus years and have a very respected name around the world. Why in the world would any SANE people launch this whole shakeup and fire everybody who is your support system and everyone who’s involved with you, cancel all your income for the year and cut your head off by firing the face and voice of your band. They have basically sliced their own throat and rubbed the name of the band in the dirt in this quest of theirs and have no sane reason why such madness was necessary. It doesn’t make any sense. I’m still trying to wrap my head around what their whole plan is, what is their plan after the court date, it just doesn’t make any sense.
LRI: I have heard you say that you think the whole lawsuit really has a lot to do with money and they have mentioned it was also creative differences. Your wife and daughter worked for the organization and were also fired, did they just get the feeling there were too many Tates in the kitchen?
Geoff: You know, when you have a group of people, you need a leadership in place and set up efficiently, somebody has to do it.
LRI: Had you heard internet rumors that they were using your tapes while Todd La Torre was performing at some of the earlier shows? That sounds insane.
Geoff: Oh yeah, but to be honest, that’s pretty evident. Queensryche has always used click tracks and backing vocals on the live presentations because Eddie can’t really sing and we haven’t had a decent singer in the band doing backgrounds since Chris left. In order to pull off the music you have to layer my voice in there so they used that and when they fired me and started doing shows they used the backing tracks that have guitar parts and keyboard parts and backing vocals. Honestly, I’m a lot happier doing what I’m doing now and my new bandmates and I hope that they’re happier doing what they’re doing. We are going to be performing all fifteen tracks of Operation Mindcrime as well as a great deal of additional material and based on the rehearsals I don’t think you or anyone else is going to want to miss it. I just wish that the three of them could have handled it all in a much more civilized way and just sat down like men in a room and said “Look, the three of us want to go in a different direction. We’ve had a good run, 30 years, how can we make this split happen in a way that we all look good and take care of the employees who have been with us all these years, how can we make it right?” There was no conversation like that, there was none of that. How can you treat people who have worked their asses off for you at below industry standard pay for all these years and just fire them via a letter? That is so cold, corporate and heartless. It is just unbelievable to me that they are now these kinds of people, the three of them are bad people, really, to do that kind of thing. What is so difficult about sitting in a room and talking about our situation unless you’re just so vindictive and mean that your only goal is to screw everybody. People are judged by their actions and I think their actions are very telling as to what kind of people they are.
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