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Geoff Tate (Queensrÿche)

Interview with Geoff Tate from Queensrÿche
by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos at 18 November 2010, 11:11 PM

The fact that the face-to-face interview did not happen in the context of the Chicago worked in favor of my curiosity about the ‘Cabaret Show’ that QUEENSRŸCHE had the idea of getting on the road. So, with kind help of the band’s management, I talked to Geoff Tate on the phone about that string of live dates and the new album that is on the making!

You have been on the road with the ‘Cabaret show’; so, how this idea was born in the first place?
Well, it was last January or February I got a call from a fried who is working at a casino in the Seattle area, asking if we were interested in doing a show on Valentine’s Day. We’ve been tossed the idea of integrating the Cabaret show in to our show and create something totally different. And we thought that it would be a great opportunity to try this out and so we did. We did two shows in Seattle and that was as far as we intended to go in the first place and then focus on doing the new album. But, we started getting calls from promoters around the country who have heard about the show, asking to bring the show into their city. It seemed like a fun thing to do and so, we arrange a string of days. The last date was in Chicago and I think we are done with the Cabaret show and now, we are ready to work on the new album.

Actually, we were at the Chicago show and I have to say that you were amazing!
Thank you, we did enjoy it.

During the show you said you had some “issues” in Kansas and in particular you said about not letting you showing nipples, is this right?
Yeah, they were threatening to fine the band with a huge amount of money if we showed some nipples (laughs). One of those conservative laws…

So, you do not have any plans to get this show in Europe.
No, not at the moment. We are pretty concerned about making the album that is planned to be finished by the end of January, so everybody is focused on that. We are going to have a tour coming in the spring to support the new album and also to celebrate our 30th anniversary. We are going to plan some special stuff then.

Yeah, I am going to ask you about the new album after a couple questions on the ‘Cabaret show’, if you don’t mind.
No problem, shoot!

How did you choose the songs for the setlist for this type of show?
We wrote the story first and then tried find the songs that in some way follow the storyline. We are always trying to find new ideas for our shows and in particular, we like doing more theatrical representations like we have done in the past. It was a fun thing to do and very different from what we normally do.

You looked very comfortable singing and acting at the same time. Have you taken any kind of acting lessons?
Actually, I have acted for my first film this year. The movie is going to be released in 2011. I want to do more acting and in fact, I have several movie offers right down that I plan to accept.

What is the title of the movie?
It is called “The Burningmoore Incident” and is kind of a reality horror film, I guess. It was pretty challenging; I had to work with a stunt director for a fight scene and I learned a lot working with professionals.

That sounds interesting. So, what was the story behind the ‘Cabaret Show’?
It is about a guy who has a rough time recognizing love and seems to be self-absorbed. Then, a chance to finally meet the true love comes and he just misuses it. From that experience he learns a valuable lesson about paying attention to other people, other than himself.

Did you have to rehearse having the band onstage with all the dancers?
Yeah, it was a whole different kind of thing. You had to be in the right position at the right time so, yes we did rehearse a lot.

Did you ever think that the audience would be distracted by the show and pay less attention to the music?
That was the whole point of that; to take them outside of our regular performance and have them focused on the bigger picture that was the show.

Have you ever thought of the reaction from the old school fans when mixing a cabaret show with QUEENSRŸCHE’s music?
Do you mean worrying about whether people would get the show?

Something like that…
Well, you know if you spend a lot of time worrying about what people might think or understand, then it really holds you back as an artist. An artist should be free to explore and try different things in order to keep the enthusiasm on what he is doing. Nobody wants to do the same things each time. And I think, the audiences don’t want to see the same stuff every time. They want to see different things from the band; otherwise, there is no point watching a band again.

Well, sometimes metalheads can be single minded and want a band to sound like it did back in the 80s.
Yeah, but that is not going to happen! From the band’s point of view that has done thousands of shows and you have to keep changing, trying new things and challenging yourself. Otherwise, there is no point of doing this? Just do it for the money? So, we prefer to experiment and challenge ourselves in order to keep this working.

Now, that you mentioned experimentation, let’s talk about the upcoming QUEENSRŸCHE album; do you have finished writing it?
Not exactly; we are about done ¾ of the way to be through with it. We have a lot of tracks for this one so, we have a lot of recording to do and as I said our goal is to finish it by the end of January. So, we are in the final stages, adding and changing stuff.

Will it be a concept album?
To be honest with you, I really do not know yet. Probably it will be in some extent. I have written most of the lyrics but I have not reached the final stage and put the theme together. It is always difficult for me to describe the music and the lyrics of an album. And that’s because it is art and art is a thing you experience one on one. Everybody takes different things from art it is something subjective so, I believe one has to listen for himself and draw his own conclusions.

I’ve read in an internet posting that you are experiment a lot on this album; so, can we expect new instruments in that?
Not exactly but we definitely experiment on different ways of playing the instruments that dominate QUEENSRŸCHE’s sound like the guitar, the vocal and the drums. It is going to be QUEENSRŸCHE but there will be a new element in the rhythm section, where Scott (Rockenfield) our drummer and Eddie (Jackson) our bass player wrote a lot of material for this album. I think the first thing people will notice that this album is very rhythm oriented.

What about saxophone, that I really love in “Promised Land”, have you ever thought of using more in the music?
There are a couple of tracks with saxophone in this album where we used as a texture. There are also some solos and some really nice saxophone melodies.

What do you prefer saxophone or piano?
Well, I do write music in the piano first and then bring the guitars in. But I also like saxophone so, I cannot really choose one or the other. These are the two non vocal instruments that I like.

Good, you have signed a new record deal with Loud & Proud records so, how did you decide to join them?
Loud & Proud is under by Roadrunner and they have some great bands with them. We knew some people on the executive positions from other labels that we had worked with in the past so, it seemed to be the perfect home for us. I met them two weeks ago and let them listen to a couple of songs. They seemed pretty excited about the new album and then we talked about the promotion plan, the photography and the artwork.

After the album release, what will come first; a European or a US tour?
I do not know yet but the sure thing is that we will go to Europe. We are also plan to go Japan and the south US. We have not been in Greece for a long time, you know.

What about the 20th anniversary release of “Empire”; did you have anything to do about it?
Yeah, they gave us an outline of what they wanted to do and we gave our suggestion reaching to a nice conclusion on the final version. It turned out pretty well and I think people will like it.

What can we expect from QUEENSRŸCHE in 2011 apart from the new album and the following tour; do you have something special in your mind like the 'Cabaret Show'?
Next year it will be the 30th anniversary of QUEENSRŸCHE so, we are planning to pull music from all our different records and maybe play some songs with different orientations. We are actually in the planning stage for this so, I do not have something solid to tell you.

Well, Geoff it was nice talking to you and I have to say that I really enjoyed the Chicago concert.
That’s great! I just want to thank our fans for coming to our shows and listening to our music. Hopefully, we will make it to your city, Athens, next year!


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Edited 04 December 2022

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