QUEENSRŸCHE Singer: We’re Always Experimenting With Our Music And Pushing It In Different Ways

Peter Hodgson of Gibson.com recently conducted an interview with vocalist Geoff Tate of Seattle progressive rockers QUEENSRŸCHE. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Gibson.com: QUEENSRŸCHE have an extremely varied back catalog — it all sounds like QUEENSRŸCHE but no two albums sound like each other.

Geoff: In our stuff, we’re kind of a difficult band for a lot of people. We try really hard to stay out of categories and genres, and we don’t think of ourselves as anything other than QUEENSRŸCHE. We don’t attach ourselves or our thinking or identity to any genre. But the industry is kinda built around selling a genre. So record companies have a difficult time with us because we don’t fit neatly into a little package that they can market. We’re always experimenting with our music and pushing it in different ways, adding our musical influences into our writing. A lot of times people find that frustrating. They don’t see the art in it, which is beyond me, because that’s what I always look for in music. I see music as being strictly art. It’s not a competitive sport.

Gibson.com: Well, METALLICA just announced that they’ve recorded an album with Lou Reed, and the online reaction has been pretty negative from some fans, even though they haven’t even heard it yet! And it’s not like this new album is going to go out and delete all the other METALLICA CDs — they’re still going to be there!

Geoff: Exactly! And that’s what I don’t get about human nature: that symptom of just jumping off the deep end and judging something before you hear it or experience it for yourself. It seems bizarre to me. But people do that all the time. They just jump to conclusions. And music is a very personal journey. Not just for the artist, but also for the audience. And music takes a while to sink in with people. We all hear it different, and we all experience it different. Some people can listen to an orchestral piece and pick out any instrument and identify what it’s playing at any given time, and other people hear music as just a wall of sound. We have that kind of variance and scope. We all hear it different, and we all apply music to our own personal lives. A song becomes the background music for our life for a given period of time. And that times time to be established. It’s not something that you just latch onto immediately from hearing a 30-second clip off iTunes. You’ve got to live with stuff, and then it becomes very special to you. For example, “Let’s Dance” by David Bowie. I fell in love with that record. I must have listened to it a thousand times. He came out with an album called “Earthling” and I immediately bought that album and was incredibly disappointed in the fact that I couldn’t relate to it. I didn’t think the album was horrible, and I didn’t think the album sucked, because Bowie‘s not going to release an album that’s bad. It’s just an album that I haven’t got yet, y’know? So I put the album away. Six months later I’m in Paris at the Virgin Megastore. The listening station has Bowie‘s “Earthling” on it. I put the headphones on and listen to a couple of tracks, and man, it hit me! I got it! I bought the album again so I could have it with me! And I think that’s true with a lot of music. It depends on the timing. What headspace you’re in, what’s happening with you personally — we had an album that came out in 1994 called “Promised Land”, and so many people weren’t into it.

Gibson.com: It’s my favorite QUEENSRŸCHE album.

Geoff: It’s one of my favorites, too! And they’d write in to us, “This is a horrible album! It sucks!” No, the album doesn’t suck. You just don’t get it! And then the same people would write a couple of years later and say, “Y’know, I really dissed that record when it came out, and I was really vocal about my disappointment, but now it’s become my favorite record. I get it. Because since then, this, this and this have happened to me, and I feel the mood the album is expressing now.”

Read the entire interview from Gibson.com.

Photo by Andy Batt