In The Eye's Of A Stranger.. Geoff Tate Speaks Out.
By now there should be no introduction to Seattle’s biggest Metal band. Yes you guest it ‘Queensryche’, who has along side ‘Iron Maiden’ & ‘Judas Priest’ have influenced so many bands throughout the years. With the bands success of their stunning albums such as ‘Operation Mindcrime’, ‘Rage For Order’, ‘The Warning’ (My #1 album), and ‘Empire’ the band have now returned with a new label and a new live DCD titled ‘Live Evolution’ through ‘Metal -Is’ records.
Geoff Tate fill’s Jason Brown in on what the band have been up too lately and what the future holds for the band. The interview started when I asked him “What is your favourite and least favourite albums you have recorded in the past?” Here is what Geoff had to say to this and many other questions. In the meantime check out the new live album, it’s awesome!! Also watch out for the DVD also soon to be released.”
"Mmm, I really don’t have any favourites, I’m really into the next thing that I am recording to be honest. I tend to focus on the present really.”
“So who are the bands influences from the 80’s and who inspired you to start singing?”
Well I don’t have any vocal inspirations to be honest as I’ve always been singing since I was a young boy. I don’t think there was one particular person who inspired me to start singing, but band wise we all listen to different music and I like some Hard Rock music, Classical, Jazz, Blues, anything but American Country Music.
"I can’t speak for the rest of the band, but I’m sure there influenced by the 80’s Metal & Rock bands for sure.”
So why did you decide to use the name ‘Queensryche’, what does it mean and were there any other names in mind?
“Well the name really does not mean any thing to be honest, it’s just a difficult word to pronounce and spell. I think you can make the name into anything that you want, that is the beauty of it!!”
So wasn’t ‘EMI’ in Europe interested in carrying the band on?
“Well if they were they certainly did not contact the band.”
So how did the deal with ‘Atlantic’ Records come about and why did you only record one album with them?
“Well they were interested in what we had to offer the label, and we had just finished the ‘Q2K’ album and they thought they could sell a lot of this album, and it turned out that they did not and we decided that we no longer wanted to be with the label any more. So in the end we had a nice offer from ‘Sanctuary’ and we decided to go along with them.”
Did the ‘Q2K’ album sell well enough for the band or was it a disappointment for the band? Also why did you decide to call the album ‘Q2K’?
“I really don’t know the figures of the sales for this album, but it did OK. We decided to call the album ‘Q2K’ because it felt right as it was the turning of the century, so ‘Q2K’ was a fine title for the band, as we’ve been around for 20 yrs.”
Did you ever think that the band would of lasted as long as you have so far?
(Laughing) “No not at all!!”
The last album ‘Q2K’ featured your new guitarist ‘Kelly Gray’, from what band was he once in?”
“Well Kelly has been in a number of bands. He made his living by been an engineer and record producer, he’s worked with ‘Candle Box’, ‘Brother Kane’ and a bunch of other bands that I can’t remember.”
So why did Chris leave the band and are you still friends with him?”
“Yes we are still friends and you would have to ask him why he left the band.”
I have heard a rumour that Chris is forming a new band in the vain of old ‘Queensryche’, have you heard this rumour and is it true?
“Well I don’t know anything about this, but he does have a new band called ‘Spy’s For Darwin’, but I don’t think that it is in the vain of ‘Queensryche’. I think you may of been misinformed, sorry!!!”
Last year saw the band supporting ‘Iron Maiden’ with ‘Halford’ in the States, how did the tour go for the band? Also why didn’t the band play in Europe for that tour?”
“It went really well for the band, and it lasted about 5 wks across the States. I do not know why we never came to Europe and the UK for that tour, it would of been nice but there you go!!”
Geoff you also appeared in London when ‘Halford’ played their last show in the UK as headliners last December with Bruce & Rob doing the song ‘The One You Love To Hate’, how did that come about and I bet that was a killer version right?”
“I was just in London at that time and Rob asked if I wanted to come on stage and do the song with Bruce and his self. It was a lot of fun!!”
It’s a shame that version was not on the ‘Live Insurrection’ album, I know the fans would of loved to of heard that!!”
"Do you really think so?”
Yes without a doubt!! I also hear that there is a rumour going about that Bruce, Rob and yourself maybe doing a album together under the name of ‘The 3 Tremors’ is this true?
“Well it’s actually a rumour, we have been talking about doing a record together and we are all trying to get it all lined up at the beginning of this year but we could not schedule all of us to be in the same city for the same length of time which it would require to do such a project like this. So we have delayed it until we all have time to record the album.”
What is it going to be like, I heard it was going to be like a Rock Opera or Classical music, is this true?
“I really don’t want to talk about it at this moment in time, sorry!!!”
Do you think that you may even tour for this project, that would be awesome!!
“I guess that would happen, it would be a fun tour to do.”
So how did the deal with ‘Metal -Is’ (Sanctuary) Records come about?
“The deal just came about when they asked if we were interested in recording the next album with them, so we were!!”
Is the label linked too Major label? Also did you think that an Indie label would give the band much more support?”
“Well ‘Sanctuary’ is a Indie label and they are very big. We never went to any other label, and we are totally happy with ‘Sanctuary’ that's for sure!! I don’t think that all Indie label’s would give the band a much bigger support, but ‘Sanctuary’ are a very hungry record label .
They seem to be very enthusiastic about ‘Queensryche’ though it makes sense to go with a label that shows interest in what you are doing and to support the band. I’m happy with the label and we have just finished a 8 wk project putting together our live record and it went really well for the band.”
The art work for the live CD ‘Live Evolution’ reminds me of the 3 specimen jars which is featured in the film ‘Independence Day’ with the 3 aliens inside, do you agree?
“To be honest I have not seen that film!! I better go and check out this film.”
As you are promoting the band’s latest release ‘Live Evolution’, and I have a promo copy of the CD, would I be right in saying that it was recorded on the ‘Iron Maiden’ U.S. tour or was it recorded somewhere else?”
"No it was not recorded in the ‘Iron Maiden’ tour, it was actually recorded in our home city ‘Seattle’ on July 27th of this year.”
Didn’t you ever think of recording this album anywhere else besides in Seattle?
“No not at all. We really never haven’t been interested in making live records and the only reason why we did this one was because our label wanted us to do it. They were very keen on doing a live album for the band. It became quite a monster in the end covering a few trax from all of our previous albums.”
I have heard that this album is also going to be released as a live DVD, am I right in saying this?
“Yes you are right about that!! It will be released in November, which will include some backstage footage and some interviews.”
Were there any songs that you could not fit on this live CD?”
“No as we recorded the whole show and there was no support act which made it a lot easier for us to record more trax.”
As you have just released the 2nd live CD, you have also re-released the ‘Operation Livecrime’ CD, what made you want to re-release it once more?”
“Well ‘EMI’ own the rights to that record and I’m sure that they are trying to re-release something from the band each year and that one has previously been deleted until now. We also have added a couple of bonus trax to it as well which are ‘The Lady Wore Black’ and ‘Roads To Madness’.”
Have you heard any of these ‘Queensryche’ tribute CD’s that are kicking around at the moment?”
“No I have not!!”
So when will we be likely to see the band entering the studio for the next full length new album?
“Well we are suppose to get together in January for the next record and we hope to enter the studio in February, March.”
Do you have any idea to what direction the band will be taking for the next album?
“I have no idea, but we’ll get together with some idea’s to see how the songs will sound like.”
Do you think you will go back to the classic sound of the band like the ‘Rage For Order’, ‘Operation Mindcrime’?
“No I think you can only do what you can do. I could not even think of those terms any more, that is part of the bands history.”
You have any idea’s who you will have as the producer for the next record?
“Again we have no idea about that neither.”
When do you think we will see the band touring the UK next year?
“It will most certainly be after the release of the next record. We hope to be over there in late summer or in Autumn.”
Well Geoff it’s been a pleasure to finally talk to you, I want to wish you the best of luck and before we finish do you have anything to say to the readers & fans?”
“Yes it was a pleasure to speak to you Jason, good luck with the zine. To our fans, thanx for reading the interview and thanx for supporting the band.”