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  GEOFF TATE TELLS ALL IN CANDID ROLLING STONE INTERVIEW
27th June 2012

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Sacked Queensryche frontman Geoff Tate has given a candid interview to Rolling Stone that goes a long way to clearing up the confusion and aggravation that has surrounded the band in recent weeks.

Geoff had explained in detail the exact situation regarding the band, the background to his sacking and lifted the lid on the whole sorry scenario. Read on...

Article continues below...



Here's the full interview. You can click here for the original Rolling Stone version.

*******************

When exactly did the tensions within Queensryche first surface?

Well, with every band there's tensions that arise over time. You've got different personalities all mixed together and there's always that kind of thing going on. We'd never been a band that had lots of tensions. We've had challenges with making records and with personnel changes. When Chris DeGarmo left the band in 1998, it was a pretty big hit for us. But really, this new thing is kind of out of the blue. I wasn't expecting anything like this at all.

How did this new thing begin?

I think it really began around February of this year. It mainly started with a disagreement about economics, about moving our merchandising to a third party. We had control over our own merchandising company for years and years and we ran it ourselves. It's a very successful entity, and the other three guys wanted to take it out of our hands and hand it over to somebody else and pay them more money to operate it, which just seemed liked a ridiculous business idea to me. That's really where the disagreement started.

Where did things go from there?

It forced us into trying to talk sense into them, our manager and myself and our business manager, trying to get them to see this was not a good deal. Why were they so adamant about taking money out of our pockets and handing it to somebody else? Our manager found another company that would do it for considerably less and they ultimately went with that.

How about musically? Were you guys seeing eye-to-eye on the sound of the band at this point?

Well, this is kind of a weird situation too. In the press release they said there were "creative differences." But to have creative differences, you have to have two entities or more offering up creative ideas. And that just wasn't the case. Queensryche has always been my idea, starting from the first record. Queensryche is about albums. It's about concepts and themes, and those concepts were mine. [Laughs] I started out with The Warning, bringing those ideas in for Rage for Order, Operation: Mindcrime . . . all the albums. I write 81% of the music and the lyrics. Of the 144 songs that Queensryche has released, I've written 116 of those.

I am the creative energy in the band, especially since Chris left. When he was in the band it was more of a shared thing between him and I. But once he left, the burden was on me. I don't consider it necessarily a burden. That's what I do. I'm a creative person. I write everyday and I'm constantly coming up with creative ideas. I present them to the other guys and they go, "Yeah, sure, that sounds good to us."

How did they feel about the last album?

Well, you'd have to ask them about that.

Did they ever tell you they weren't happy with it, or with the direction the band was going?

Nope. No. Nothing.

How about the Cabaret tour? Did they like that idea?

Yep. Yep. Everybody signed up for it and we ran out and did a very successful tour with that.

So they never once said to you they were unhappy with anything that you were doing?

No, never.

So in February you started arguing about the merchandise business. How did things go from there? You played some shows after that. We had quite a few dates on the books. The plan was that we were all going to be doing some side projects and then we were gonna do a handful of Queensryche dates throughout the year. Everybody was going off and doing their own thing this year, and then we were going to regroup in 2013 for a big tour.

I've read lots of accounts about what happened in Brazil in April. The story on the Internet goes that you overheard them plotting to fire you and then you pushed Michael to the floor and pointed a knife at Scott. What actually happened?

Well, you know how the Internet goes . . . The way it went was, we had a gig in Sao Paolo, and before the show we had a meeting in the dressing room. I asked them straight up about the rumors I'd heard about them replacing me. I was definitely concerned about this. What kind of plan was that? Was it serious? What was going on? They said that they weren't planning on replacing me, but they had just fired our manager, our office assistant and one of our guitar techs, who all happened to be my family members.

I asked them, "Why is this happening?" They really couldn't give me a straight answer, or any kind of answer that made any kind of business sense. It seemed like a personal vendetta against me. Anyway, the meeting was short and we went to do the show. I'm getting ready by my station, ready to go on stage, and Scott [Rockenfield] looks at me and he smirks and says, "We just fired your whole family, and you're next." I just lost it. I tried to punch him. I don't think I landed a punch before somebody grabbed me and hauled me to the side. On my way, I managed to shove [Michael] Wilton, and really, that was it. I cooled down and we did the show, and everything went fine.

There was no knife involved?

No. No knife involved. You can't really get knives into foreign countries.

How did they have the ability to fire all those people without your say in the matter?

Well, that's just it. They made up a legal document and sent it to our business manager. It said, "These people are fired." They had worked for us for ten years. It was a completely cold, inhuman thing to do. You don't do that with people. At least you sit them down and say, "Hey, thanks for all the hard work. We're disgruntled and we want to find something else." Something like that. And there was nothing.

Did they at least explain their thinking to you?

No. It's all out of the blue. Just boom.

Do you know why they decided to push you out of the band?

Well, I think it's economically driven, mostly. I'm a 25 percent holder in our companies. I think it's just business in their minds. Cut me out and then split 25 percent and hire some young guy that's gonna work for a weekly wage so they make more money. It's just ridiculous.

You'd think they'd make more money with you in the band. Now they're going to be presumably splitting up a smaller pie?

It doesn't may any sense. [Laughs] Neither does taking a very successful merchandising company and giving it over to somebody else and then paying them more money to run it. It's bad business. It's short-sightedness, and it's just ridiculous.

The guys recently formed a side project called Rising West that was entirely devoted to playing material from the first five Queensryche albums. It seems to imply they didn't like the more recent material. But they never actually said to you that they preferred the sound the band had in the Eighties?

Hmmm . . . I looked at that forming of that band as a side project. I was surprised that all four guys went in the same direction. That didn't make such sense to me. That felt like some kind of calculated move, but I can't even speculate what they were thinking. But if they want to do a side project, I'm all about that. I've very supportive of everybody in the band doing side projects.

But this is a side projects devoted to songs that you wrote

Well, that is a little weird. I would think if they were gonna do a side project, they should probably write some new songs and present them as a group, and then play some Queensryche songs too. If they wanna do that, that's cool. But to do only Queensryche material and only material that I wrote . . . I don't know. It's kind of a slap in the face.

Honestly, I'm not angry over this. I'm more hurt by it all. This has been my life's work. It's been 30 years building this name and this image of the band. All the lyrics and the directions of the albums and the concepts, that is all from me. And to have them do what they're doing and kick me out – God, I didn't realize that these guys were those kind of people. It's shocking to me.

In May Queensryche played Rocklahoma and you told the audience that they sucked. What happened there?

Over the last 30 years I've played thousands of shows. Sometimes the audience needs some direction. [Laughs] They need to be kicked in the ass a bit, and the Rocklahoma audience this year was one of those audiences. They needed to be challenged. They needed to get called out. They needed to get fired up.

As a frontman, that's part of my gig. I do that. I am in control of the audience. I'm pushing them. I'm pulling them. I'm riding them at times. That was just me getting the audience fired up. They needed it. They were really a lackadaisical audience that looked really confused. They didn't know what they were supposed to be doing.

How were you able to keep playing shows with the band after the fight in Sao Paulo?

It was difficult. We played the show in Sao Paulo, and then we played the M3 Festival. That went fine. Rocklahoma was fine from a performance standpoint. It was difficult, but as anybody that's ever been in a band knows, the show must go on. You try to do the best you can given what you're working with.

How did they actually tell you that you were fired?

By a legal letter from their attorney to mine.

In your estimation, do they have the legal right to fire you and carry on as Queensryche?

No. They don't.

What's gonna happen now?

Well, we're in a lawsuit right now and it's probably gonna get ugly. I filed a claim a couple of days ago. So it's all going to the legal system now to sort out who is what, and who owns what, and that stuff.

Are they gonna be able to play dates as Queensryche before this is resolved?

Well, they shouldn't. Definitely. It's a situation where, in my opinion, they're doing everything the wrong way. If there was a dispute over who is in the band, or who owns the band name, I think that stuff should all be worked out before they try to book gigs with the name Queensryche.

Are you going to form a new version of Queensryche, and possibly have two competing groups out there?

No. I'm not interested in doing that at the moment.

Just to totally clarify, from your point of view, all the differences in the band were about money? These weren't personal issues and they weren't about the musical direction of the band?

Definitely not about music or the direction of the band, because there's only me that's been pushing that and guiding that. The other guys have very little input in what Queensryche does. They just sort of show up and play shows and collect a paycheck. But two of the guys are going through some personal issues. It's not really my place to comment or talk about. I think those personal issues probably have a lot to do with the way they're acting right now.

It would seem to many that firing the lead singer is sort of a suicide move. When people buy a ticket to a concert they tend to want to hear the original singer.

It doesn't make any sense at all. It's typical of these guys to have a very short-sighted look on everything. Why on earth would they cancel all remaining Queensryche shows? How are they gonna survive economically? And then, by that action, you're completely alienating the promoters, who you work with closely to book shows for you. So now the promoter is left holding the bag, and that doesn't make the promoter want to work with you again. So here they fire everybody in our organization and don't hire anybody to take care of the business, all the websites, all of our merchandising companies, all that stuff. There's nobody running it right now. They locked it all up, and there's nobody running that stuff. Then they fired our publicist, our booking agent, they canceled all the shows, so now they have no income. What are they doing?

It doesn't make any sense at all. And that's what's so difficult to stomach about the whole thing. If they had some sort of grand plan that all made sense, I could understand. [Laughs] And I'm forced to engage in a lawsuit with them now. This is not something I want to do at all. I want to make records and I want to tour and live a creative life. I don't want to be bogged down in some legal hassle. My God, but they're forcing me into it. I have no other way to go. I can't give up my life's work and walk away from it. These are my ideas, my concepts, my life, that I'm writing about. What are they gonna do – hand it to some kid to sing?

If you win the lawsuit and get the name rights, are you going to hire new musicians and tour again as Queensryche?

Honestly, I don't know yet. It's too early to make any kind of comment like that.

Do you think any sort of reunion at any point in the future is even conceivable?

Again, it's just too early to comment. This is all pretty raw and new.

Tell me about your new solo album. What does it sound like?

It should be done in August. I just signed with InsideOutMusic. I'm very excited about it. The album is very hard rock. Very metal, very hard rock, very modern . . . and kind of retro in some ways too. I'm combining retro and modern styles.

On your solo tour, are you gonna mix solo songs with Queensryche songs?

Yeah, this will be my second solo album. I'll be playing songs from both of my solo albums, and then probably a few Queensryche songs as well.

Are there any misconceptions about this split that you want to clear up?

I don't know what other people think, but with the presentation of of the band I've always tried to do different things – different kinds of records, different influences, bringing those into the writing. And also with the live shows, trying to make them interesting and unique and different, rather than just five guys up there playing songs, I tried to create a theatrical environment for the presentation. And I think people like that. They want to keep seeing that. Without me, that won't happen. I can guarantee that. It won't happen.






 
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turbowolf TURBOWOLF RELEASE BLISTERING NEW SINGLE 'NINE LIVES'
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arch enemy ARCH ENEMY ANNOUNCE NEW LIVE DATES FOR 2015
European fans will see Arch Enemy again in late April. The band are coming back with support from US Metal force Unearth and Drone from Germany...

toto TOTO DEBUT NEW SINGLE 'HOLY WAR'
Toto have announced a March 20th release date for their new studio album 'Toto XIV' in Europe...

motley crue EXCLUSIVE: MOTLEY CRUE PAY TRIBUTE TO GARY GLITTER ON THE FINAL TOUR
Debauched rockers Motley Crue are currently in Japan performing their last Asian dates on their much publicised Final Tour...

music for nations LEGENDARY HEAVY METAL LABEL MUSIC FOR NATIONS IS BACK
As well as reissues, the label will be signing new artists for the first time in over a decade...

satyricon SATYRICON SIGNS WITH NAPALM RECORDS FOR RELEASE OF SPECTACULAR LIVE DVD
"It's not a live album. It's a celebration of what Satyricon stands for as a band..."

absolva ABSOLVA RELEASE NEW VIDEO FOR 'IN SOME WILD UNIVERSE' PLUS TOUR UPDATE
This video features the touring line-up of the band for 2015...

tytan TYTAN AND FRIENDS TO PLAY AT THE WEDFEST
Joining them will also be Midnight Messiah plus the promising young rocking sounds of Bad Touch, Knock Out Kaine and Piston...

rival sons RIVAL SONS WITHDRAW FROM SOUNDWAVE 2015
Australia will have to wait a little longer to see Rival Sons in the flesh as family matters take priority...

the answer HARDCORE SUPERSTAR WILL RELEASE NEW ALBUM 'HCSS' ON 20TH APRIL 2015
"This is nothing less than Hardcore Superstar coming full circle by showing our fans where we come from and what we still believe in..."

the answer THE ANSWER RELEASE BRAND NEW LYRIC VIDEO FOR TRACK 'LONG LIVE THE RENEGADES'
"The song is about just doing what you do best and having a bit of a bunker mentality..."

dead kennedys DEAD KENNEDYS ANNOUNCE UK AND EUROPE HEADLINE TOUR FOR JUNE 2015
US punk pioneers will bring their distincitve sound to four countries over ten dates...

carl sentance BREAKING NEWS: CARL SENTANCE ANNOUNCED AS NEW VOCALIST FOR NAZARETH
Persian Risk vocalist Carl Sentance replaces Linton Osbourne to start the next chapter for the Scottish hard rockers...

rockingham firefest BREAKING NEWS: ROCKINGHAM RELIGHTS THE FIREFEST; GOTTHARD, DAN REED, STAN BUSH AND MORE ANNOUNCED
The AOR flag will be raised high yet again over Nottingham Rock City...

sven dirkschneider U.D.O. ANNOUNCE DIRKSCHNEIDER'S SON AS NEW DRUMMER
"His style of playing drums is fresh and really grooves heavily. It simply is exactly what we need for U.D.O..."

pentagram PENTAGRAM RE-SIGNS WITH PEACEVILLE RECORDS - ALBUM RECORDING UNDERWAY
Through four decades of adversity and triumph, Pentagram have become a legendary international act...

uriah heep URIAH HEEP 2015 UK TOUR ANNOUNCED
This tour follows on from the release of the band's acclaimed album 'Outsider' which enjoyed excellent reviews...

godsmack GODSMACK VOCALIST SULLY ERNA TO MAKE AN ONLINE POKER COMEBACK
For Godsmack fans this could be disheartening as Erna shifts his attention from music to poker...

heidevolk HEIDEVOLK LAUNCH VIDEO FOR NEW TRACK 'WINTER WOEDE'; NEW ALBUM ON THE WAY
The album and video mark the debut of the band's newest members, Kevin Vruchtbaert on guitar and Lars Vogel on vocals...

quo convention FIRST EVER STATUS QUO FAN CLUB CONVENTION ANNOUNCED
There will be live music, very special guests and a packed programme this October for this very special celebration...

queensryche THUNDER CONFIRMED AS VERY SPECIAL GUESTS TO ZZ TOP AT WEMBLEY ARENA PLUS MINI UK TOUR ANNOUNCED
The group's first studio album in six years, 'Wonder Days', reminds us why Thunder are now more revered than ever before...

queensryche QUEENSRŸCHE TO TOUR EUROPE AND RELEASE NEW ALBUM IN 2015
It's a busy year for Queensrÿche with headline shows and festival appearances before the new album release...

dir en grey dir en grey RETURN FOR TWO EXCLUSIVE SHOWS
The Islington O2 Academy will be the scene for Japanese avant-garde Metal in May...

unleashed SWEDISH LEGENDS UNLEASHED REVEAL ALBUM TITLE AND ARTWORK
The founders of the Viking Death Metal movement are back and as brutal as ever...

status quo BREAKING NEWS: STATUS QUO ANNOUNCE 'AQUOSTIC' ROYAL ALBERT HALL GIG IN APRIL
This is the show that wowed the listeners of BBC Radio 2, plus those lucky enough to be in the intimate surroundings of Roundhouse in October...

monument MONUMENT ANNOUNCE UK TOUR
You want great British Metal? You've got it with Monument's headline tour this Spring...

santa cruz SANTA CRUZ REVEAL LYRIC VIDEO FOR 'MY REMEDY'
Get a taste of the new album with 'My Remedy', the third single to be released...

Shattered sun LEGENDARY BRITISH MELODIC ROCKERS FM RETURN WITH 'HEROES & VILLAINS' ON APRIL 17TH
"We're on a roll! Some of the tracks on this album are better than anything that the band has ever produced, and Steve's voice is as good as ever..."

nightwish NIGHTWISH ANNOUNCE ONLY UK DATE THIS YEAR WITH ARCH ENEMY SUPPORTING
"Who would have thought about headlining at Wembley Arena one day when we were starting our UK touring history..."

quireboys THE QUIREBOYS GO UNPLUGGED AND PERSONAL: ACOUSTIC DATES ANNOUNCED
After last year's highly acclaimed unplugged tour, The Quireboys are pleased to announce a very intimate string of evenings early 2015...

killit KILLIT UNLEASH DEBUT VIDEO AND ANNOUNCE FIRST EVER LIVE SHOW
'Shut It Down' is the first single from the album and is out now and available...

state villains STATE VILLAINS TO RELEASE SECOND EP IN SPRING
State Villains have an honesty that harkens back to an era of integrity and a distinct lack of gimmicks...

chris slade BREAKING NEWS: CHRIS SLADE IS BACK IN AC/DC
Chris will rejoin the legendary hard rockers for their appearance at the 57th annual Grammy Awards as well as the band's upcoming tour...

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