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“Um yeah, definitely.” — Geoff Tate, on whether or not Bobby Blotzer is as crazy as he seems



METAL SLUDGE EXCLUSIVE: After messy split, ex-Queensryche singer Geoff Tate eager to make own mark


GG_Signature_July_2015._1LOS ANGELES — Geoff Tate is on a comeback.

The singer with the golden scream was by far the signature star for multi-platinum metal act Queensryche before being ousted in 2012. For two years, there were two Queensryches — the original and Tate’s new version — but eventually the two sides settled in court with Tate accepting a buy-out to never use the name Queensryche again.

All very messy stuff with lots of mud-slinging but old news by now. 

Queensyche is continuing on with a new singer, and Tate now calls his act “Operation: Mindcrime” while basically playing a similar live set with all the old classics that helped Queensryche sell more than 20 million records through the years.

Tate, 56, has a new CD called “The Key,” and he hits the road for a fall tour beginning Nov. 18 in Germany.


LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 23: Geoff Tate of Queensryche performing live on stage at High Voltage Festival on July 23, 2011 in London. (Photo by Kevin Nixon/Classic Rock Magazine)  Geoff Tate
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – JULY 23: Geoff Tate of Queensryche performing live on stage at High Voltage Festival on July 23, 2011 in London. (Photo by Kevin Nixon/Classic Rock Magazine) Geoff Tate


METAL SLUDGE: I remember Queensryche from before anyone knew who you were. In 1983, my old college roommate Derek Price used to play “Queen of the Reich” over and over again. Do you remember the early days?

GEOFF TATE: Oh gosh, that was so long ago.

Well, do you remember having a lot of ambition back then? Did you think you were onto something?

TATE: No, I had no idea how far the band was going to go and what was going to happen. Like everyone else, I was just in the moment doing what felt right and what felt good.

You had kind of a unique sound. There were a lot of other popular bands coming up at the time, but Queensryche sounded different.

TATE: I don’t think I ever really compared myself to anybody else, really. I was just interested in exploring music. I had started when I was nine, and to this day I’m still a music fan.

GT_Oct_29_2015_13By the way, who was your favorite Beatle?

TATE: I don’t know if I have one. I do like what they did together as a group. I like the way they wrote songs, the different combinations and different personalities. I have to say, one of the first albums I fell in love with was “Sergeant Pepper.” It was quite an amazing album, one of the first sexual records and conceptual albums.

Your big conceptual album was “Operation Mindcrime.” 

TATE: That album really struck a chord with a lot of people, and several generations have discovered it. For it to become a soundtrack for a lot of people’s lives, I’m very proud of that, very fortunate.

Oh, before I forget: I know you worked just recently with Bobby Blotzer. Is he as crazy as he seems?

TATE: Um, yeah definitely!

And we have to talk about the lawsuit between you and the rest of Queensryche. They’ve got the name now, and you’re calling your deal “Operation Mindcrime.” Are you happy with the way things have worked out in court?

TATE: Yeah, I think we finally came to a settlement that worked for all parties involved. We’re each doing our own thing, and that’s a good thing.

There was nasty stuff going on between the two of you, with them saying you disrespect the fans. Well, you have an open forum here: What message do you want to tell your fans?

TATE: I would say thank you for listening to our music all these years and coming to shows. Music is for life.

What do you think of Queensryche’s new singer, Todd La Torre?

TATE: No, I really don’t have a comment.

OK, OK. Here are some classic Sludge questions for ya, starting with what bands treated you the best through the years, and which ones treated you like shit?

GT_Oct_29_2015_7TATE: I’ve been fortunate to tour with many, many really popular acts, and it’s a wonderful thing when a successful band shares their audience with an up-and-coming band. It’s not something to be taken for granted. It says a lot about a band when they’re confident and don’t feel threatened. An interesting story: On our first tour in Europe, we were with Ronnie James Dio, and when we got to the venue the first night, he comes into our dressing room and introduces himself and brings in the entire band. He said he wanted to be on first-name basis with everyone, and he invited us to his own dressing room for dinner. He was just so cordial and welcoming. I didn’t think there was anything strange about it at the time, the way it was done, but all these years later, it’s never happened again! I have to say, Ronnie James Dio was exceptional.

No one ever treated you like shit?

TATE: Not really. We always found a way to work with everyone.

What’s the biggest music-related check you ever received, and what did you spend the money on?

TATE: I don’t recall any amount. I do remember that when we first signed to EMI, we each got $650. I think I paid some overdue bills and bought food to live on until the next check came.

GT_Oct_29_2015_14Sex, drugs and rock and roll. Is that the perfect order?

TATE: Well, jeez, I guess rock and roll is first for me. It just depends where your real passion is. Of course, sex is a close second. I have five daughters, so I guess sex is very important.

Who do you like more, Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton?

TATE: I’d say Hillary Clinton. I don’t really think Donald Trump is presidential material. He hasn’t really got a physical plan on all the issues. It’s all about promoting The Donald and kind of furthering his name and legacy more than focusing on what’s good for the country. I like what Hillary Clinton stands for, especially with education because, by comparison to Europe, we’re way, way behind in that area. I think we would have a better future if we stressed education more, so more people can be become critical thinkers and to think outside the box.

You’re from Seattle. What are your thoughts on the Seattle grunge scene changing the face of rock in the 90s?

TATE: There were some really good bands that came out of Seattle at that time, bands that had actually been around for a while and had toured with us, so it was nice to see them finally get some recognition because they were worthy. I guess people really gravitated towards that and what they were doing, and that’s a good thing.

I guess you’re kind of a Seattle rock expert by now, so give me a little comment about the following Seattle bands, starting with Heart.

TATE: Heart was a very influential band from this area. They were one of the first to have international success. The wrote really interesting records. They were the band that all the other Seattle bands looked up to.

What about Nirvana?

TATE: They’re an interesting band. I am not so much a Nirvana fan, as far as their music is concerned, but there are a couple of songs I like.

I guess Jimi Hendrix was first.

TATE: Yes, Jimi was incredibly influential. There is a beautiful statue of him in Seattle.

Pearl Jam.

TATE: They’re one of the more successful bands from Seattle. They’re still together and releasing records. That’s an admirable thing.

I guess Duff McKagen is from Seattle, so there is a Guns N’ Roses connection.

TATE: I’ve actually done some shows with Duff, the various different musical groups he has been in, and he’s a really nice guy.

And the Foo Fighters. They might be the biggest American band right now.

TATE: Oh yeah, they’re huge. Yeah, I think so. They’re right up there. Hey, you never asked me about Soundgarden.

GT_Oct_29_2015_12aOh? Yeah, I had them on my little list, but I was thinking too many grunge bands. But yeah, what do you think of Soundgarden?

TATE: In my opinion, I prefer Soundgarden to the others. Everyone in the band, they’re nice people. I really admire what they’ve done.

Also, you’re kind of known as one of the kings of the high-pitched metal screams. Rate the following metal singers, one through 10, starting with Ronnie James Dio.

TATE: He was an exceptional human being. He’s a 10 to me.

What about Rob Halford?

TATE: Oh yeah, he’s right up there with Ronnie. Very personable and smart, a 10.

Geddy Lee.

TATE: I like him, too. Great musician, really personal human being. A 10.

Axl Rose?

TATE: I don’t really know Axl, and I haven’t really followed what he has done. I’d give him a 10.

Dude, you’re giving everyone a 10.

TATE: I know, I know! Singing is a personal thing, I guess. Whether you like it or you don’t, it doesn’t have anything to do with anything else.

OK, let’s switch gears. Who turned you on more when you were in your 20s, Joan Jett or Blondie?

TATE: Oh Joan Jett. I think Joan Jett was very talented and just a beautiful woman, and she’s a real sweatheart of a person.

When is the last time you did the following? Ate fast food?

TATE: Oh, Arbys. That’s a place a go to a lot, especially when I’m on the road. I like to stop at Arbys for a ham and swiss sandwich. They’re darn good.

Heard “I love you” from a stranger.

TATE: Um, probably on tour. I hear that a lot from people at meet and greets before or after a show. I assume they really love the music — because they don’t really know me.

GT_Oct_29_2015_9Shook hands with a celebrity.

TATE: Well, Carrot Top, I guess.

Drank so much you regretted it.

TATE: (laughs) Oh gosh, probably my birthday last January.

Saw KISS in concert.

TATE: When we toured with them in ’84.

Lastly, some memories of the following cities, starting with Los Angeles.

TATE: Lots of memories. I’ve spent a lot of time in Los Angeles but never lived there. I stayed there making a lot of records, that kind of thing. It’s a wonderful city. I enjoy L.A. quite a bit.


TATE: I was just there a few weeks ago. I lived there for a while. I love the UK. It’s a beautiful city with so much to do, plus a thriving music scene.

GT_Oct_29_2015_5New York City.

TATE: I once lived in Queens for about a year. I never could get to sleep. It was a loud, noisy place, and I wasn’t used to that. New York never sleeps. It’s constantly on the go — and that made me constantly on the go.


TATE: I had pnemonia once in Dallas and spent three days in my hotel room trying to stay alive.


TATE: Well, Seattle is a place I’ve lived most of my life. I keep coming back here. I think it’s about time to leave again, actually.

Any final words?

TATE: The record came out, a new album on Sept. 18, and we’re getting ready to go on tour, starting in Europe in November. I enjoy traveling a quite a bit, and I’m looking forward to presenting this new project and this new album.

Geoff Tate @ WebSiteTwitterFacebook 

Gerry Gittelson can be reached at

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