Geoff Tate, the legendary former singer of Queensrÿche, visited Greece for two live shows and we all had the honor and the pleasure to see him performing live in concert! What we experienced was incredible and cannot be erased from our memory. And Myth of Rock had the great chance to meet Mr. Tate, with whom we had a very interesting, serious chat. These were special moments, indeed!
by Dimitris Zacharopoulos and Iro Kalligeri
How is the tour going until now?
It is going great, yeah. I think that the shows tonight, in Athens, and tomorrow, in Thessaloniki, are the two last shows of the tour in Europe, until February. Then we will come back and do some shows in Scandinavia, at that time.
You have also announced a tour in the States.
Yes, in America. I think it starts at the end of November and goes up until Christmas. Just a short, little tour, yeah.
You underwent a surgery, everything went fine and now you are back on track, performing on stage like a teenager. Which are your feelings now about it?
I am happy to be well, haha! I feel very good, I am at 70% back. My doctor told me that I cannot lift any weights or anything until six months after the surgery. So … I tried to do a push-up the other day on the floor, but it didn’t work, haha!
Tonight you are going to play live two classic Queensrÿche albums, “Rage for Order” and “Empire”, in their entirety. How do you feel about that?
I love it! They are two of my favorite records. It feels really great to play all the songs on a record, because, when I was in Queensrÿche, we didn’t play all the songs. This is really a treat for me to finally play all the music.
Do you miss the days you were in Queensrÿche?
No, not at all.
Which is your relationship with the guys from Queensrÿche?
We don’t have a relationship. We haven’t spoken in ten years, I guess. I think we had a really good relationship, we were together in a band for 30 years, we wrote a lot of really interesting music together, we made a lot of really interesting albums, we did a lot of touring and played shows in many, many different countries. We had a very good experience, you know … All things must pass … I think we gave it a good run.
Have you listened to the latest Queensrÿche albums?
Let’s talk now about your recent project you did, Sweet Oblivion. How did this project come up?
Mario (de Riso) is the president of my record label (Frontiers Records), and he and I were having a conversation one day. I said, “I am very interested in collaborating with different artists. If you know any artists on your label or if you get an idea, let me know, because I am open to things. So he called me about a year later, he said to me that he had this idea and he put me together with this guitar player, named Simone Mularoni. We started emailing back and forth, sending some of our ideas, and over a year we came up with an album. And then, couple of years later, maybe a year later, Mario spoke to Aldo Lonobile and we started working on a second album - I really enjoyed that one quite a bit. And now, we have a third one that we are going to begin around December, we will start working on it then and it should be fun, I am looking forward to it too.
Is there a chance that you will release a solo album?
I have a bunch of songs, I just haven’t … I have three different projects I am working on, right now, so … I am trying to find time for all of them, so, yes, I have some songs written for that, but I don’t know when I am going to finish it.
You participated in the latest Tobias Sammet’s Avantasia album.
It is always fun working with Tobias Sammet, trying to figure out what he is doing, he writes really interesting music. He always sends me all these messages, like … “OK, well, it should feel like the color blue, when you sing”! So, I have to figure out what he means by that, haha! It is funny! I think he does it just to infuriate me, haha!!
How did the covid-19 pandemic affect you as a personality?
I recognized that I definitely could be some sort of a functioning alcoholic, you know, haha! I spent all of my time drinking, yeah, sitting around …, but then I got again busy, I made some music, my wife and I went over to Ireland, rented a house and stayed there with my daughter. I saw friends and family, you know, visiting … we sold our house and bought a new one, I took care of some projects …
What do you think about the war against Ukraine?
Oh, it’s a tragedy anytime there’s a war, it’s ridiculous. I think war is an outmoded, outdated concept. When you get to the point of actually having warfare, I think you have failed of being a human.
Do you think that musicians should send messages about peace, love etc.?
Well, I think bands will do what they are going to do, regardless of what they should do or they shouldn’t do, haha!
You released some of the best metal concept albums with Queensrÿche. Can you name some of your favorite concept albums?
Yes, I quite liked the concept album KISS did, it’s called “Music from the Elder” and it came out in 1981. I also liked “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway” (1974) by Genesis, when that album first came out, I saw that tour, it was amazing … Pink Floyd has done a few concept albums I quite like, “Dark Side of The Moon” (1973) of course and “Wish You Were Here” (1975) are two of my favorites … I was a fan of bands that made concept albums, you know … I liked The Who that made “Quadrophenia” (1973) and “Tommy” (1969), … I grew up in that era, the ‘70s, when there were no limits on what you could and what you couldn’t do, like there are now, and the term “genre” wasn't even a term at that point, so that was refreshing, you know.
Queensrÿche was one of the greatest progressive metal bands. Do you listen to progressive music?
I hardly listen to music. Maybe, because I am around music all the time … I don’t listen to music so much. Like I said before, we didn’t have the term “genre”, until later in our existence. Even metal wasn’t a genre at the time that we started out, it became one, you know. I like music that has something to say, rather than the typical kind of three chord love songs, … I like some of those too, I am a music fan, I guess I like a lot of different kinds of music, … when I do listen to music, which is rare nowadays, haha!
Which were your vocal heroes, in the beginning of your career, your favorite singers back then?
Oh, yeah, … I quite liked what Peter Gabriel did, quite a bit, I think Roger Waters and David Gilmour were really inspirational to me. Mmmm, a guy like Tom Jones, the pop singer, the English pop singer, he was really, really influential for me, big powerful voice. He started, when I was really young. He used to have a TV show that was on, when I was young, my sister and my mother and I used to watch his show, and he did the singing part on the show, where he sang some songs and he always wore a really nice looking sharp tuxedo and he had like a bow tie, and at some point during the song, at the end of the songs, he would take that bow tie off and he would throw it in the crowd and all the women in the audience were diving, trying to kill each other, trying to get that, you know, that bow tie. And I thought to myself, that's what I wanna do.
Could you please send your message to the fans?
To the good fans? Only?
Are there good and bad fans?
Yes, there are some bad fans, yeah! Some very bad fans! They don’t mean to be bad, they are just drawn that way. So, to all the fans, thanks for listening to my music and I hope you will come out and see some shows, ahhh, they are always fun! I really enjoy playing live, I am very happy to be here in Athens, even on a rainy day, it is still an incredibly beautiful city.
What should we expect from Geoff Tate in the future?
Oh gosh, I don't know, I guess. Um, expect the unexpected.
Thank you so much, Mr. Tate.