Geoff Tate talks to Rock and Blog about his past, present and future projects now that his is touring in Europe with the “Empire and Rage Of Order” Tour
This is a great year for European rockers. There are a lot of great artists and great rock vocalists traveling along the continent. Today we speak with Geoff Tate, former Queensrÿche vocalist and current member of the Avantasia troop.
RnB: First of all, we would like to thank you for the time you are giving to us in this interview. We are really delighted to talk to one of the best voices that is currently on stage. What was the trigger? What went through your head to start different Tours including those that are from our point of view your most legendary albums?
Geoff: Well it was the upcoming 30 year anniversary of the Operation:mindcrime record really that began the idea.
My record company was wanting to re release the record and asked if I could perform some shows supporting the release. I thought that it sounded like a fun idea so our agent looked into it.
The response from promoters worldwide was phenomenal. Some of them brought us back to their markets multiple times because the demand was so good. I was surprised and overwhelmed with the response.
RnB: Making a new tour playing Empire and Rage Of Order is consequence Operation Mindcrime tour success, isn’t it? How was the audience on that tour? What could you highlight?
Geoff: The audiences were great everywhere I went, which was a lot of places. 23 countries over 26 months. It was an absolutely fantastic experience playing the record for all those different people.
RnB: And what about the band? How was the experience with them?
Geoff: The band and I were just having drinks in the bar of our hotel in Melbourne, Australia recently. It was our last show of the tour and we were reminiscing, talking fondly of the crazy travel schedule, the intense performances, the fun days off renting houses in exotic locations, site seeing and pub crawling across the world.
We had all come a long way from the two weeks of rehearsing the tour in a cold dreary room in Dublin over 2 years earlier.
RnB: You are a very heterogeneous band and with members of different generations … What do you think about Edu Cominato? We think he is great, an exceptional drummer and a fantastic singer too.
Geoff: Yes, I like to surround myself with great players. My music demands this and my audience deserves this. Kieran Robertson and James Brown on guitar are two of the best young players I have seen. They live and breathe music. Jack Ross, my bassist, is exceptional and solid. Edu on drums is amazing. I don’t even worry about a thing when he is playing with us. He leads the band with confidence and skill.
RnB: And now, with Empire and Rage Of Order? What are you going to do?
Geoff: I am currently on tour in Scandinavia. We have just begun the tour playing Rage for Order and Empire. It’s going very well and we have already had many near perfect performances. The two albums are very different from each other. Rage is very dark and introspective and Empire is very up and energetic. I’m enjoying the contrast.
RnB: Will it be the same band?
RnB: We wanted to consult with you a curiosity about your “work tools”. When we saw you in Madrid last year, you used a device, full of buttons, hehe, behind you, which you activated on occasion between song and song. Could you tell us what it is, how it is used and what for?
Geoff: Oh sure. It’s an iPad. I use it with a program app that connects to my in ear monitors. It’s so I can adjust my live audio mix, like bringing the guitar level up or down or my vocal up or down. Everyone in the band uses the program, it is how we connect with each other. Very 21st century yes?
RnB: It seems like yesterday, but it’s been more than thirty years on the road. What keeps you so active and looking forward to it, even after what you’ve been through with Queensryche?
Geoff: I honestly love the music. I love to travel as well, so two of the things I love go together well.
RnB: A great feature of yours, and that we believe makes you unique and one of our favorites, is that, in many of your albums, they follow a storyline, which is called conceptual albums. How do you compose, how do you structure the creation? What is the first thing you tackle when you are going to write, lyrics, melodies… or think of a whole?
Geoff: I typically write a short story overview. Then I try to find musical themes that I feel capture the feel of the story. Then I work to develop these themes into songs.
RnB: And why these themes, technology, future, dystopia …?
Geoff: These are topics I find interesting. It’s interesting to me that subjects I was writing about on these records 30 years ago are relevant now. Open borders throughout Europe, GPS tracking systems and the rise of A-I or artificial intelligence.
RnB: Do you think that at some point there will be a meeting of the original Queensryche? How is your relationship with your former colleagues now?
Geoff: Well I would never say never but… probably not. Now with myself, Chris DeGarmo and Scott Rockenfield no longer in the “band”, it would be a major undertaking to put the whole thing back together again.
RnB: On the other hand, how was the experience with Avantasia?
Geoff: Working with Tobi and Avantasia is wonderful. It’s a madcap group of exceptionally gifted musicians. At every show, the band plays like it might be the last show ever. It’s precision with passion. The vocal arsenal that Tobi has assembled is stellar. All very unique voices that blend together perfectly in the beautiful melodies that he has composed. I am a huge fan and wish I could sing on every song.
RnB: Will you participate in the Avantasia 20th anniversary tour this summer?
Geoff: Yes I will be there. I wouldn’t miss it. It will be epic!
RnB: What would you say to our readers to take advantage of the opportunity and go through one of your next shows ?
Geoff: I would love to see everyone coming out to the shows. This is going to be a real treat for fans of Rage for Order and Empire.
RnB: We are almost finished, so now it’s time for our most personal questions. Don´t worry, this is not about relationships, the only lover we’re interested on is rock and roll (hehehe):
– What was the first concert you attended, as an audience?
Geoff: My first concert ever was Alice Cooper’s Billion Dollar Babies Tour -1973.
– What was the first record you bought?
Geoff: Abbey Road – The Beatles.
– Did someone close coax you into loving rock and roll?
Geoff: I discovered Rock music on my own through the radio broadcasts.
That is all. We want to insist, once again, on our admiration. Thank you very much!