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Trilogy And Trinity: An Exclusive Interview With GEOFF TATE Of OPERATION: MINDCRIME

By Shelly Harris, Chicago Contributor
Tuesday, September 13, 2016 @ 12:54 AM

"We're going to eat food, drink wine, have fun, sing some songs, and crush a few grapes!"

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"We have wine [Insania] that is bottled at a vineyard in Germany," explains Geoff Tate, in a quick chat regarding his new OPERATION: MINDCRIME album, Resurrection (the 2nd in a Triology), and why the album release party is taking place across the pond in Eichstetten, Germany, on September 24. "It's harvest season there and we're going to eat food, drink wine, have fun, sing some songs, and crush a few grapes!" he adds with a laugh.

Because it is the second of three, and a follow-up to The Key, Resurrection continues on the story line which Geoff conceived of a few years ago while hiking with his wife in northern Spain, when he was still in the last throes of the acrimonious QUEENSRYCHE "divorce". That breakup led to the remaining three original members buying Tate out of the the QUEENSRYCHE corporation, but with Tate retaining the rights to fully use the Operation: Mindcrime title, along with all its intellectual property. (Side Note: Was the QUEENSRYCHE breakup really that surprising when Geoff himself told me way back in a 2002 interview that he was the "unpopular guy in the band" due to his perfectionism, and that QUEENSRYCHE had become "a very volatile bunch of people who are like a dysfunctional family...it's a very stressful sort of relationship"? But I digress...)

Not unlike Tate himself in some respects, Geoff says one of the main characters in Resurrection is "starting over" at the beginning of the ACT II, after ACT I, The Key, laid out a story line that he has often shared previousy, explaining that the story is "about four people who create a technology that allows people to see and feel reality in a different way ... where rules from their previous reality don't apply." The mind-bending saga also includes "a conflict between the four people about how to use the technology - whether for self-serving or altruistic purposes to help the world." At its core is the classic theme of the struggle between good and evil, which, Geoff admits, "Almost everything is, isn't it? Almost all stories and everything in life comes down to that - the struggle between good and evil."

Not coincidentally, the album is complex aurally and thematically, and highly reminiscent of the Operation: Mindcrime and The Warning era QUEENSRYCHE, with the inimitable Tate classic vocals still soaring over and under it all.

With Act III of the triology already in the can, too, to be released in exactly another year, with the same collaborators such as Kelly Gray, Randy Gane, and Scott Moughton involved, and with only some mixing remaining, Tate says he plans to tour for Resurrection with the OPERATION: MINDCRIME moniker, but the band will be playing songs that "my fans expect to hear - and there is a lot of material, so we have to get that all in." But, Tate says this despite the fact that he does feel that the Triology is indeed like "the three Acts of a play" and "I think all musicians have a dream of performing an entire album...so maybe later...."

In the meantime, he actually has another project in the works, a 10-date northeastern U.S. tour in November with former IRON MAIDEN vocalist Blaze Bayley and former JUDAS PRIEST vocalist, Ripper Owens. It's a new-fangled version of the metal Trinity once proposed some 15 years ago.

Tate elaborates: "We're getting ready to do a video right now, and, on the tour, we will be doing acoustic numbers, and singing on each other's songs - various QUEENSRYCHE, IRON MAIDEN, and JUDAS PRIEST songs, and trading lead vocals and harmonizing."

But, he also reckons that it could grow into something more - or a more protracted tour - should schedules and impulses collide for all three: "I think it's going to be a great experience, but we will just see how it goes. Right now we just want to go out there and have some fun. It is hard for us all to get together because we all have separate schedules, and of course, I'm in Washington, Blaze is in England, and Ripper is based in Ohio, so we will have to see how it all works out."

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