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Representing The Bay
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Interview with Geoff Tate
Q: So "Live Evolution" is a combination of
everything you've done so far from all the albums?
A: Yeah. It's kind of a snapshot of our musical career,
starting out back in '82 all the way up to Q2K, which was Year 2000.
Q: Any Special stage props on this tour ?
A: We had quite visual show on our previous album,
"Hear In The Now Frontier." And then on the introduction to
"Q2K," which was our first record with our new guitar player, Kelly
Gray, we chose a really stripped down show in order to sort of reintroduce him
to our fans. We wanted them to see what he was all about and not be really side
tracked by visuals and things and really focus on the band themselves. Which I
think was a good idea because it went over really well and it was kind of fun
for us to do something like that to for a change.
Q: Does the changing the Guitar line up effect the music?
A: I think it's really really difficult to change a singer
in a band. It's difficult to change a songwriter too, but we managed to get
through that record with Chris gone, because he was the main music writer in
Q: What album made you hit the charts?
A: Oh sure. Back when we did "Empire," that was
1990-1991, that was an interesting sort of example of being in the right place
at the right time with the right album, the right songs, you know radio was
very open to rock music at that time and we had a lot of radio air play and MTV
support as well. And I think we made six videos for that record and all of them
were in rotation, so it was a different time that it is now, which the music
television of course is aimed at a completely different audience now and
different kinds of music and it's just a different era.
Q: Are you working on anything after this tour.
A: Well the band has been really in a year of transition
really ... well a couple of years really, since the loss of Chris DeGarmo. When
you lose your main music writer, it throws the band into a real tailspin,
because it's really difficult to find a songwriter as a replacement. It's so
easy to find someone that can play the guitar really well. There's a lot of
real good guitar players up there, but very few songwriters. And then very few
songwriters that can work within a teamwork, a framework, of people. So, we
were lucky in a sense that we got Kelly, who kind of happened to be in the
right place at the right time, but ultimately he's not the perfect replacement
for Chris because he's very difficult for me to work with, again in a
conceptual mode. Chris - he's the kind of guy, that you could sit down and kind
of brainstorm an idea and it would become ... you start with a seed and it
grows into something completely better than what you started out with. It's
very rare to find something like that. So, Queensryche has kind of been in a
transition phase, you know trying to sort of find themselves again over the
last couple of years with the new writer. So, we've taken the last year off in
order to do side projects and solo projects and give ourselves a little bit of
breathing space so that we can come together on this next year and make a new
studio Queensryche record, which we're planning on doing in January.
Q: Do you do anything special to get your voice in the
right range before a performance?
A: As a singer, your body is your instrument, so you just
like any instrument, you've got to take care of it. You've got to make sure
it's in working order. You kind of have to do that with your body as well. You
have to keep yourself healthy. Singers have the least amount of fun on tour
because we have to get 8 hours of sleep. We can't drink and party like
everybody else. Stay out late. So, I kind of take care of myself is my think
that I do.
Q: Can you explain your type of music?
A: Well with our music, the lyrics I write, if you'll look
our records back to back, you'll notice different phases I've gone through.
Such as when I first started out, the first couple of records are very science
fiction oriented, the themes and the ideas and futurisms was really interesting
to me at the time, what the possibilities were with computers and that kind of
thing. And come to find out, a lot of what we were talking about back then, is
now true today, 20 years later. And then I kind of what through a social
political point where I was very interested in looking at what was going on
around me and was directly inspired by some real time events, such as the
Separatists Wolfman Quebec, Canada which inspired "Operation
Mindcrime" album. And then I kind of moved into more of the philosophical
antropological point of view, where I am really interested in human beings and
how we interact with each other on various levels on various subjects which is
kind of where I've been for a while lately - the last few records have been
based upon that. So, yeah, it's not just rock and roll. It's let's look at some
things you know. And the songs and records themselves are really a snapshot of
a place in time where I'm at.
Q: Sometimes when you have a single like "Silent
Lucidity," stays high on the charts and the rest of the album is being
ignored, does that kind of bother you sometimes?
A: I think at that point you have to ask yourself, why
should I be concerned about my record being ignored. Because, if you're
concerned, then that means you're looking at what you do from a sporting event
type mentality. Where you're rating it, you're judging it, you're scoring it,
and I don't look at music that way. I look at music as self expression, so
anytime I have the opportunity to make a record, I feel incredibly successful,
because I got to talk about what was on mind, my point of view, express myself.
That's what music is to me. Q: It sounds like you give a lot of thought to your
A: Well songwriting is craftsmanship. It's like building a
fine home or furniture or creating jewelry or something like that. You're
creating something, you're making it and the beauty of music, which has always
kept me interested, is that it's kind of a nebulous thing. It's always
changing. It's different and there's always new ways that you can approach it.
There is no one way to make music. There is a limitless amount of ways you can
approach it, and songwriting is a craft that you hone. You have your tools. You
have your mind and your abilities to sort your music theory and to take all the
musical influences you've had during your life and channel them into something
new, something different, something that has your touch to it - that's
craftsmanship. That's probably what you're saying you're feeling that you're
missing in a lot of today's music. That craftsmanship is missing in a lot of
Q: Did you have opera training before you were a singer?
A: Yeah. When I was a budding singer, I found that I
couldn't sing very long without getting hoarse or losing my voice and so I
heard from a friend that you could create more endurance with your singing if
you learn some vocal lessons, learn how to strengthen your voice through
diaphragm exercises and things like this. So, I found this vocal teacher, who
turned out to be actually quite famous, named Maestro David Kile and he was
located in Seattle. I went to see him and he taught me some exercises to do and
I started doing them. Within a year, I could sing for 2 hours straight and not
lose my voice and I got stronger and more powerful and more confident. He
really helped. It just goes to show in life, you don't have all the answers,
and it's good to look elsewhere for a little bit of instruction, or little
inspiration in order to get you into a space that you're wanting to be.
Q: Does putting your music in a category of heavy metal
bother you? A: At first it bothered me, because it wasn't a category I chose,
it was a category that somebody else chose. Like I sort of related to somebody
saying "Randy, let's define him. He's a carpenter." Well, no you're
not, you're a journalist. But you didn't make that decision, they did. And now
other people are catching on to that. Randy's a carpenter, Randy's a carpenter.
And that's all you hear. Well it kind of pisses you off a little bit
(laughter). Well, no I'm not a carpenter. I can fix the door when it breaks, it
doesn't make me a carpenter. Or yeah, I made my kid a boat, but it doesn't make
me a carpenter, I'm a journalist. That's the way I kind of look at it, I'm not
a category, I'm a musician.
Q: Do you try to make every song a hit ?
A: No. I just never really ... at one point I said to
myself why am I getting so concerned about what other people think? Then I had
to stop worrying about it and just kind of did what I wanted to do. And then
they sort of changed their category to progressive rock, and then I think it
became at one time, the alternative to alternative. There's all kind of
different slogans and categories people put you into, which is kind of music
journalism's job. Being a music journalist must be the toughest thing in the
world, because music is so subjective. You play a song for ten people and
they're all going to have different feelings about it. So, what makes you think
that your opinion about some kind of music is the end all. You know. You can't
really think that way can you. Journalists have a tough deal, because they have
to sort of describe what they're hearing and say how it effects them, but
leaving it open for other people to come up with their own interpretation - so
man, I wouldn't have that gig, it's too tough.
By Randy Cohen
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|| Members of Queensryche
| Geoff Tate (vocals), Kelly Gray(guitar), Michael Wilton
(guitar), Eddie Jackson (bass), and Scott Rockenfield (drums),