PopStar.com has posted the second part of its interview with vocalist Geoff Tate of Seattle progressive rockers QUEENSRŸCHE. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
PopStar.com: Let’s talk about your voice. You have a four-octave range and a very unique style. Is that talent something you can easily acknowledge or is it something that you don’t think much about, having had it all of your life?
Tate: I’ve never been one of those people that look back at where I’ve been. In fact, none of us in the band do that. We’re all obsessed and consumed with what we’re working on at the moment. Even after we finish a record and after we’ve listened to it ten thousand times, we don’t listen to it again. It’s done, and we move onto the next thing. It’s the same thing with my voice, or what I do. I just do what I do [laughs], and I don’t think too much about it. It’s like writing a song. You don’t start out thinking, “OK, I’m going to write a song, but I can’t do this, because I won’t be able to do this live,” or “How am I going to get this across in another circumstance?” You just go with it. You write what your imagination has in there, you know? It’s the same thing with singing; I just go with what the lyrics are telling me or what the music is guiding me through. If it’s a song that has a lot of emotion to it, it drives me to come up with something that complements that. I think, as a youngster, you start out and you kind of try to prove yourself. You get kind of over the top with “OK, here’s what I can do.” The older you get, you start thinking more along the lines of, “What does the song need?” So I think that’s definitely where I’m at these days — in the mode of “What does the song need? What do the lyrics call for? Does it need to have me at the top of my range screaming? Not this particular song, but maybe the next one does.”
PopStar.com: What do you consider to be your most gratifying achievement, both personally and professionally?
Tate: Well, I think first and foremost for me is raising kids. Seeing my kids out of the house, raising them to adults and trying to instill in them my values and my wife’s values. Just seeing them being able to be, if nothing else, just happy people and not in need of serious therapy. [laughs] I just became a grandfather about a month ago and that’s screwing with my head a little bit. [laughs] Professionally, I feel very proud of the fact that we’ve remained together as a band all these years and we still can get into a room and create something and still make records, which is really important to the mental status of everyone in the band. If we just had to play live shows and play all the songs that we’ve written, I don’t think we’d all like that very much. We wouldn’t stay together. It’s the ability to keep making records, I think, that really draws us all together. I feel good about that. There’s not a lot of bands who have been around as long as we have and who are still making music.
PopStar.com: How’s the 30th-anniversary tour going?
Tate: It’s going good. It’s rolling right along. We have a break right now, then we start up again in Spokane Washington. But it’s going good. We started up in May and we’re booked up until the end of December, so we’re having a great time. We’re playing music from all of our different records, celebrating our 30th anniversary. The only real problem with the tour has been me. I keep having these accidents. The first one happened in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Often during the shows, we use that smoke in the air and our lighting director used a different product because he ran out of the regular stuff, and I had an allergic reaction to it. It made me lose my voice and my head was swollen up like a basketball. So we had to cancel two shows, which is unheard of. We’ve only canceled like three shows in our entire career. So that happened and it took me a couple of weeks to get over that. During that time, I threw a disc out in my lower back. I was in severe pain, so the doctor gave me these muscle relaxers, which I had an allergic reaction to, and then a week later, I broke my middle finger on my right hand. I play saxophone so the middle finger on my right hand is pretty darn important, and now I have this big brace on it so I had to completely rethink how I’m doing things. So for awhile there, I felt like things were just falling apart. [laughs] But I feel good now.
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Photo by Andy Batt