Part 1 of the interview with Geoff Tate focused on Frequency Unknown. In part 2, Tate provided an in-depth look into the breakup of Queensryche, and the pending lawsuit for the right to use the name. In this final installment, Tate discusses his relationship with Chris DeGarmo and his musical plans for the future.
Has it been tough getting used to playing with a new band after all those years with Queensryche?
In some regards, it’s been a real challenge. The biggest challenge is putting the right people together and scheduling them to be a part of it. I wanted to play with really great players, people whose playing I admire. I came to the conclusion that, since these great players are in really high demand, you have to schedule around their availability, so it really comes down to timing. It’s been kind of a juggling act to keep everybody rolling in the same direction, but that’s cool though. I enjoy playing with other people and collaborating with them.
When things fell apart with Queensryche, did you ever consider trying to write with Chris DeGarmo again?
Yeah, sure. In fact, Chris and I are still really good friends. You know, Chris made a decision several years ago to get out of the music business. He put his energies into another area of life, and he’s become very successful at that. His heart and his mind aren’t in the music anymore, which is unfortunate because he’s a very talented guy. I loved our chemistry working together, but life goes on. People change and they have different passions, and different directions that they want to pursue, and I can’t hold it against him. I don’t agree with the direction that he’s taken, but I’m not him, and it’s not my life. It’s his life, and he feels that it’s the way that he needs to go.
What is he up to nowadays?
He’s a part owner in a private airline company that flies leer jets to transport executives and people that are wealthy enough to be able to afford a private plane.
Was flying always a passion of his?
Chris’s grandfather had a plane, a little Cessna. He got the flying bug when he was a kid, and bought a plane when he was able to afford one. He started with a Cessna, then bought a nicer plane, and now he’s in the airline business altogether.
You mentioned earlier that you’d like to put out a new record every six months or so. When can we expect the next release from you?
I’m working on the new record right now, which I hope to have out in the beginning of the year. It’s very cool. It’s a trilogy record that I’m really excited about.
Is it going to be a concept album?
Yes. It’s a concept album that tells a story. It’s a very topical record, thus the need to get it out there.
The release date that you’re talking about comes after the lawsuit for use of the Queensryche name has been decided upon. If you should lose the lawsuit, would the trilogy records be released as solo albums?
I haven’t actually decided if it would be a Queensryche record or a solo record yet. But as far as the lawsuit is concerned, there really is no losing situation for me. It’s a corporate dispute, and corporate disputes have a regulated way of settlement that’s mandated by the federal and state governments. There’s a process that needs to happen, and compensation needs to be paid, so it’s win-win for me.
If you are awarded the Queesryche name, will you be putting together a permanent lineup for recording and touring?
Probably not. I don’t ever want to be in a band again where you’re locked into each other. I want to have the ability to work with whoever I want to work with, and I want to collaborate with as many great players and writers as I possibly can. To me, that’s paramount in my life structure right now. I already did the band thing where I was tied to these guys for all these years, dealing with problems, fears, insecurities and anxieties, and having to create with people who weren’t into it like I was. Being tied to them just limits me too much. I’ve already been there and done that, so I want to keep myself open to whatever possibility I imagine.
Kind of like what Slash did on his first solo album?
Yes. It’s a great place to be. You get to work with these great players who are inspiring, people that push you, and push the song in another direction. I want to be surprised and shocked and have my paradigm shifted. The problem is that there aren’t a lot of people out there who don’t limit themselves. I’m always looking to define metal in a different way, to get out of the cliché. There’s nothing that I hate more than clichés when it comes to music.
You’ve definitely done that throughout your career. If not, Queensryche would have had several albums that sound like “The Warning.”
“The Warning” was really a stepping stone. We were a band that was trying to find ourselves, and come together and make something different. We hit on a couple of things with that record, but I think that the band really started around “Rage For Order.” That’s when we really became something unique and different, and kind of carved out our own niche. That’s my first Queensryche record in my opinion.
Will you be using the same collaborators and players on the trilogy records?
I’m still writing it right now. There will be some of the same people and some different people too.
Will there be a touring band, or will you feature guest musicians live as well?
I don’t know yet. It really depends on how things work out.
Thanks for your time, Geoff. This has been a very enlightening interview, and I hope that it helps clear some things up for Queensryche fans. I’m looking forward to hearing the trilogy records!
Interview with Queensryche’s Geoff Tate (Part 1 of 3)