Always looking to push at the boundaries, Queensryche singer Geoff Tate has taken the art of being interviewed to the next level… by exclusively interviewing himself for queensryche.com! Some excerpts appear below…
Geoff Tate: Geoff, let’s get started by talking about the career direction that Queensryche has taken since 1988, when the groundbreaking operation: mindcrime album went platinum, you toured the industrialized world, playing for at least a million people, and Queensryche was being compared to Pink Floyd after having produced one of the all-time great concept albums. Queensryche didn’t wind up becoming the “heavy metal Pink Floyd,” though. What happened?
Geoff Tate: Well, Geoff, this is a complex question. The answer lies in Queensryche’s wanting to break the mold. Many bands seek to evolve during their careers, and we see the phrase “musical evolution” applied by reviewers to that kind of thing all the time. We in the ‘rhyche wanted to buck the trend and do the exact opposite thing of what people expected. So, we musically devolved. Instead of driving to be the heavy metal Pink Floyd, the models for us since operation: mindcrime have been four-piece Foreigner and ‘80s Kansas.
Geoff Tate: I see, Geoff. In 1990, after “Empire” was released, there were actual press accounts of vomiting being induced by the record. How do you respond to that issue?
Geoff Tate: Look, Geoff, when a person vomits, their alimentary canal goes into spasms and expels the contents of their stomach. I really don’t see how listening to a record could cause that, and think we should move on here.
Geoff Tate: That’s fine, Geoff. Another criticism of ‘90s-era Queensryche is that you tended to have one ‘80s-style metal single at or near the beginning of each record, that one song receiving radio and MTV airplay, while the rest of the record was more in the devolution style you discussed earlier. Many people took this as an attempt to mislead the fans into thinking that Queensryche was being true to its metal roots when it was in fact continuing to devolve. It seems to me like that criticism is well founded. What do you have to say in response to it?
Geoff Tate: I think you are being too critical here, Geoff. What we did with the “one metal single” concept was make sure that people who we view as narrow minded toads to manipulate got to appreciate how good we had become at emulating four-piece Foreigner and ‘80s Kansas. Had it not been for songs such as “Empire,” “I am I,” and “Sign of the Times,” I don’t think the toads would have noticed our devolution at all.
Geoff Tate: Fair enough Geoff. But, you have to admit that ‘80s bands that maintained their credibility with the fans during the ‘90s are currently outselling you by 20 or more to 1. How do you address the “loss of credibility” issue?
Geoff Tate: It isn’t us, Geoff, that lost credibility – it’s the fans who did. After all, if the fans had any credibility, they would have rejected us immediately when “Empire” was released, instead of delaying that rejection until “Promised Land” hit the shelves.
Geoff Tate: Good point, Geoff – we will move on. Now that you have mentioned “Promised Land,” Chris DeGarmo’s song “Bridge” on that record has been on the receiving end of criticism and outright derision from metal fans who see the song as a pansy sellout. Would you care to comment?
Geoff Tate: Yes Geoff, I would. It is no secret in the metal community that bands are often motivated to write a song by films or sci fi and fantasy novels. Iron Maiden, for example, even wrote a song called “Where Eagles Dare” that was influenced by a Burt Lancaster World War 2 film. The story behind “Bridge” is that Chris DeGarmo was influenced in writing it by several ‘80s comedies, including “The Breakfast Club,” “Sixteen Candles,” and “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” the common theme in those films being that someone was bitching and moaning about their parents.
Geoff Tate: OK Geoff, with that one explained, let’s talk about your solo career, which, in contrast to Queensryche’s devolution, has not been noticed much at all. As opposed to it having any kind of impact or direction, your solo career merely hit the ground without any kind of bounce. I believe “a turd in a bag” is the appropriate comparison to be made here.
Geoff Tate: It indeed emitted a thump upon landing, Geoff. I really would rather not talk about this. Can you ask me about something else?
Geoff Tate: OK, Geoff, I will. Over the course of your career, you have been photographed with a number of different looks, different haircuts, different outfits and styles, even while wearing sunglasses. Would you comment on all of this, and what you feel is important concerning the “Geoff Tate look?”
Geoff Tate: Sure Geoff. The thing to emphasize concerning the various looks I have had is that, however else it may appear, over the course of my entire career the size, shape, and proximate location of my skull have remained constant no matter what haircut I had. This constancy remained in force even when I was wearing sunglasses, although it is true that sunglasses exert a slightly downward pressure upon one’s ears…
The rest of the interview can be seen at www.queensryche.com/geoff_on_geoff.html