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Geoff Tate on Life, Charity and the Future of Queensr˙che

By Philthy Phil, 8-Foot Viking
Monday, July 10, 2006 @ 4:01 PM

"We're working on a new album

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Queensr˙che frontman, Geoff Tate has been a busy man lately, balancing the promotion of Operation: Mindcrime II, touring, staying ahead of the Dutch police, recording new music, and finding time for family and hobbies.

I spoke to Tate about all of that, including his passion for music training in schools. Speaking to that, Tate provides information about a 60-day charity event he’s involved in that anyone can participate in.

KNAC.COM: Tell me about this charity ride you and guitarist Mike Stone are participating in.

TATE: It’s kind of a very cool event. It’s a motorcycle ride you can get involved in, sign up for, and donate some money to a charity, VH1 Save the Music. It’s a great charity. Putting music back in schools. So many schools around the country have taken music out of their courses. I feel personally that is a huge mistake. I’d like to see it put back in school s again, give kids a opportunity to learn music, to express themselves. The ride is very cool and anybody who’s got a bike can get involved in it. Go to our website, Queensr˙che.com and on the bottom of the website there’s an ad for it, VH1 or Buell, it’s our motorcycle sponsor and all the information is there.

KNAC.COM: I think people can go to Buell.com and get a better look at the bikes, because they are pretty happening.

TATE: Yeah. There’s very cool. Buell is a great company, makes great motorcycles. Eric Buell is a friend of ours and we’re very pleased that e was able to donate these bikes for the eent.

KNAC.COM: Is Buell based in the Pacific Northwest?

TATE: No they’re based in the mid-west; Milwaukee.

KNAC.COM: This is a 60-plus date charity tour. How many of these dates are you involved in?

TATE: I think it’s 21, 25 dates, something like that, of riding.

KNAC.COM: So what happens? You get on and ride from where to where? How does this work?

TATE: They are all different depending on the city and of course the terrain and the timing. Some are going to be from city to city. Some are from a set location like a dealer location, a Buell dealer, or Harley dealer…from the dealership to the venue. One of them in California is through the wine country. So they are all different depending on where you are located.

KNAC.COM: Can people go to the site, participate and ride along as well.

TATE: Yeah, exactly.

KNAC.COM: Is this one of those things where you get friends, co-workers, and family to pledge a certain amount of money per mile, and the total goes to the charity?

TATE: Yeah, there’s that and also at the end of the tour, we’re auctioning off the bikes, which Stone, our guitar player and I are riding, which are customized Buell bikes with Queensr˙che graphics and special gas tanks and customization.

KNAC.COM: I can’t wait to see those bikes. You guys are ready to head out on tour, starting down-under in Australia, huh?

TATE: Yeah, tomorrow we take off for Australia.

KNAC.COM: And your first date is this Thursday or Friday in Melbourne?

TATE: You know, I don’t know. I don’t even know what today is. (Laughs)

KNAC.COM: You just wait for your handlers to tell you were you need to be when, eh?

TATE: Kinda, yeah. I am really disorganized when it comes to dates and times like that.

KNAC.COM: I bet one thing you’ve learned how to do on your own is to have somebody else to pack the plastic gun.


TATE: You heard about that, huh?

KNAC.COM: We thought for a while there that you were gonna spend a couple months wearing striped pajamas and wooden shoes.

TATE: I thought so myself. It was kind of an unnerving situation. It was funny, because the replica gun was exactly like the cops gun. In fact, you put them side-by-side and you couldn’t even tell the difference. They are both Glock, you know, .45’s. They said, you see the problem we have, these replicas look so real, that somebody could walk into a store or banks, and get anything they want by waiving around the replica.

KNAC.COM: When the Dutch authorities detained you, what were your accommodations like?

TATE: Well, it wasn’t me. Actually it was our tour manager. He took the blame for it. They hauled him off, which was terrible for him, in a sense, because I was watching him walk away, and as the authorities had him hand-cuffed, and everything, and he looks over his shoulder and says, “OK, make the flight, get to the next gig, I’ll see you there.”


KNAC.COM: So was there an official charge and an official acquittal?

TATE: Yes. I can’t remember what it’s called, but it’s illegal to have any kind of hand-gun replica, real, no matter what, any kind of firearm.

KNAC.COM: But nothing goes down on your permanent record?

TATE: No. No. No. But, apparently, with paying the fine, which we did for our tour manager, the whole instance is now forgotten. It won’t show up in our records or Interpol records or anything like that…at least that’s what they said, so see what happens when we show up in Australia.

KNAC.COM: Count it to one more story as part of the rock and roll journey.

TATE: You know, it’s funny. You think Holland, very free society, very open, you can buy dope legally in store, they give you a menu with hash, all different kinds of hash to choose form, but you can’t have a toy gun.


KNAC.COM: You never know, you might hit somebody on the head with it.

TATE: (Laughs) Yeah.

KNAC.COM: So this tour is going to be kind of exciting for you with Mindcrime II out, and doing well…when you do these shows, how much Mindcrime, new and old will there be?

TATE: Well we’re doing, for the European Festival dates we just finished and for Australia, we’re doing edited version of Mindcrime I and II. Quite a bit of it, actually, but certain things we had to leave out because of time constraints. Then also we’re putting on some, because we’ve never been to Australia, we’re going to be playing some songs from other albums, kind of a selection of other albums as well, so they can see those because they have never seen us.

KNAC.COM: In all these years, Queensr˙che has never played Australia?

TATE: Never played Australia.

KNAC.COM: Wow. How unique is that, are there other stand out countries that you haven’t toured that have to see Queensr˙che?

TATE: You know, actually this summer was the first time we ever played in Spain as well. We’ve been touring a lot over the years and we’ve been to a lot of different countries, I think maybe 18 or 20 different countries. But certain countries we’ve never been able to get to for various reasons, either our timing, or the promoters timing, and so, Spain was one of those. We missed four opportunities to go to Spain, and we missed three opportunities to go to Russia, and never had a chance to do Australia until now. We’ve got some dates planned in Israel. We’ve never played there before. There’s another place, too…oh, Korea, we’ve never played there, but we have some offers to play there. It’s going to be a big year for us, going to different countries, which is exciting.

KNAC.COM: Where is this Mindcrime franchise, if you will, going? How much of the talk about a stage show or a movie reality and are you indeed working on any of that?

TATE: Well there is a screenplay for Mindcrime and it was finished around Christmas time. Now it’s in the hands of our Hollywood agent who is shopping it around Hollywood. And just recently, about a month ago, we got the green light for the next phase of it. The movie business is completely different than the rock and roll business. When you make a record, you make it, and you put it out and there it is. With a movie, all these different people get involved; you have re-writes on the script, it goes all the way to production and there’s re-writes going on while they are shooting. So, we got the first phase, which means we have a company interested in making the film. It’s in their hands right now, we’re just kind of waiting around until another decision gets made.

KNAC.COM: When you think about it, there really haven’t been that many rock and roll movies over the years, so when yours hits the big screen, you instantly become part of an elite group, and I guess that can be good or bad.

TATE: Yeah, I think it’s all good really, you know, as long as somebody is interested in what you are doing, it’s all cool. If nobody cared at all then that wouldn’t be good.

KNAC.COM: I don’t think you guys have to worry about that. The Queensr˙che flame is burning bright. But, it brings to mind, I know you’re busy working in the here and now, and you have plans for the movie, but where do you go from here musically? It seems like Mindcrime II is just an excellent cap to a stellar career, and if you wanted, you could say, “our job is done” and you stop writing music as Queensr˙che. Maybe you and the band members do solo stuff, and you continue to tour and play the Queensr˙che catalogue...have you arrived at that kind of conclusion or will there be more Queensr˙che music in the future?

TATE: We’re working on a new album right now. So no, it hasn’t been talked about (laughs) in that respect. It’s funny, as a band you never really know what we’re going to do next or what’s gonna happen. It’s all kind of a big, we get together and if we can sit in a room long enough to brain storm an idea out and we get rolling on something, Usually it bites and everybody gets involved and we take of from there. But there’s always this sort of trepidation, when you’ve done something, and it’s done and you know you are getting together to do something new…will you be able to do it, will be able to come up with something, there’s always that question on everybody’s mind. And with us, we always procrastinate, like we know we’ve got to do another record so we always find excuses why we can’t get together (laughs) kind of prolong the agony of having to actually sit there and come up with something. But about a month ago we got together and we started recording some stuff and it sounded interesting, so I think something ‘s gonna come from it.

KNAC.COM: It’s interesting how much shorter the days get the older you get..

TATE: Oh, there’s just no time to do everything you want to do.

KNAC.COM: There are soccer practices to drive the kids around to.

TATE: Well, I don’t have that. My kids are older now. They’re kinda doing their own thing. My oldest is driving. I’ve got a kid in college now! She just started this week.

KNAC.COM: You survived raising a girl through high school.

TATE: There is a light at the end of the tunnel. But, it’s very different. Trying to balance that with working and doing all the things you want to do, and other projects that are interesting to you. I love sailing. I’ve kind of forced it on my family all these years. We’re kind of a sailing family. We just got back from the San Juan Islands. We spent four or five days sailing around, camping out, looking at different islands end everything.

KNAC.COM: Not just in the (Puget) Sound, you guys take trips.

TATE: Yeah, we’re planning a big trip around Vancouver Island next spring. So, that’s kind of one of my passions. I’ve got this really old boat, a classic sailing boat all made out of wood, so it requires quite a bit of maintenance, so I’m splitting my time between making records and touring, being with the family, also working on my boat (laughs). I’m always trying to find ways of combining those things all together. So, I’ve got two of my daughters down there scraping the hull and painting it. I’ve got my computer and my Pro-Tools system set up on the boat so I can record while I’m there. (Laughs) “Why don’t you just paint this, I’m gonna record this part here. I’ll be back in about an hour.” (Laughs)

KNAC.COM: Are you one of these guys that has a dream to circumnavigate the globe? Maybe not in that boat, huh?

TATE: Well, I do actually. And it’s something I’m gonna do. My wife and I are planning on doing when the kids are grown. After schools, and all of that, we’re gonna take a big trip. Take a few years and do it.

KNAC.COM: Talk about a world tour.

TATE: Now that’s a world tour, yeah. One you never play rock and roll at, but you want to see.

KNAC.COM: you talk about other project…how’s the solo work coming. Do you have any time for that?

TATE: Yeah. I have a solo project in the works right now. It’s about halfway finished. I have a Queensr˙che record started. And I have another project, too, with a bunch of different people that I am doing as well. So I have three musical projects going.

KNAC.COM: One last questions about the current tour. Is there any possibility there will be some Ronnie James Dio sightings.

TATE: Yes, there will be some Ronnie sightings. We actually had a really good time in Holland. He was there for the festival. He didn’t sing for us that day. He got there late, and his mother had just passed away, so he wasn’t really in the best of spirits. But after the show we drank a bottle of wine and listened to the Roger Waters show, which is really weird, because we’re both big Pink Floyd fans. We’re sitting, he and I, are sitting and we’re all alone. Nobody is around us. We’re sitting in this big grassy field, drinking this bottle of Italian wine and listening to Pink Floyd play. (Laughs) It was very weird…a very weird experience.

KNAC.COM: Weird, and perhaps, in a subtle way, somewhat romantic?

TATE: Well, kinda, yeah. The fact that, you know, he’s just like, this legendary singer, I’m sitting there next to him. He’s kinda down ‘cause his mom passed away. But we’re both diggin’ on the Roger Waters music. It was very strange.


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