For a Rock fan , Geoff Tate needs no introduction. The former lead singer of Legendary rock band QUEENSRYCHE and one of the greatest rock vocalist of all times , Geoff is busier than ever , touring and working on the new Operation Mindcrime album. I got connected to him for an interview for Anylouder. I called him and with his ever refined voice he greeted me. We got talking. He was kind enough to share his experiences and life story for our readers. While i am still trying to savour the moment , you guys can check out the interview below –
Hi Geoff Welcome to Anylouder. How have you been ?
GT : Hi i am doing good . Finally we got connected .
Whats’ happening for you lately ?
GT : Well i just finished a very long extensive tour which started off in November last year and finished just two weeks ago all across USA , Canada and Europe and i am taking some time off now getting ready to release the third album of my trilogy project for Operation Mindcrime and that comes out in September and then i’ll begin touring again in the winter.
Tell our readers about your early years in music , your influences and some of the bands you were in before Queensryche .
GT: I started studying music theory and taking lessons when i was 9 and studied it all throughout school and played in school bands and later i joined the school orchestra and later when i was in high school which was when i was about 15 to 18 , i started playing in my own bands and writing original music at that time and that was up until about 1980s and then moved to Seattle and started playing with bands and musicians there and i met some of the guys that eventually were in Queensryche . I have had quite a long musical career up until Queensryche actually ( laughs ).
Well in the 80s with the Glam Revolution at its peak , was it hard for a progressive rock band like Queensryche to get noticed ?
GT : Queensryche spent most of its early career opening for other bands and in fact we were a very successful opening act and we opened for almost every major popular band at that time and we didn’t play our own shows for many many years and it was perhaps 1991 when we started headlining our own shows . It wasn’t difficult to get noticed as we played in front of thousands and thousands of people.
You have one of the most unique voices in Rock/Metal music and even now you have been able to keep you voice very refined . What is the secret . What advice would you give to young singers on learning the art ?
GT : I just really sing a lot ( laughs ) . I sing everyday and typically when i am on tour i try not to take days off . I like to keep touring and keep singing everyday and i would advice everyone to sing everyday , work hard and eventually with practice you will have a strong voice .
You voice is both the extremes – you have a great baritone voice going for you as well as some pretty insane high range too . Is it something you developed in time or you had that in you from the start ?
GT : Oh yeah i was born with a very wide singing range but with music studies and voice training i expanded that and strengthened it and made it into what it is now .
Was the idea of Operation Mindcrime being a concept album something that you guys had planned for a long time or was it something very abrupt ?
GT : Well i have been wanting to make a concept album with a band for many years . I grew up listening to what we now classify as Progressive Rock music throughout my early years and concept albums were something i was very familiar with and so i was searching for a subject to write the songs and i was living in Montreal , Canada at that time and i came up with the story and bought it up with the band and through much talking about it i convinced them that it was the right thing to do . We began working on the album and shaping the music so as to become what it is today . Yes it was specifically designed as a concept album with a lot of thought and work put into creating that album.
You have said sometime back that you don’t want to be in a band specifically anymore. So if in the near future you are planning a completely solo career , how would you approach it ? Will it be progressive rock or something completely different ?
GT: How do i explain that ? Well i have always been interested in rock music and in fact i have 18 albums with that ( laughs ) and so i will probably continue with Rock music in the future albums that i write .
How is the project Operation Mindcrime different from what you did with Queensryche back in the days ?
GT : Ya it is very different . Operation Mindcrime isn’t really a band . Its a project that has three albums and we have produced two of them and the third one will be out in September this year and the project was recorded all at the same time with a group of musicians and then another group of musicians toured with me on the first album . Then i toured again in January with a different band . When i toured Europe i had a different band and when i toured North America i had a different band . When i will tour South America this year in July i will have a South American band . I like to change things around. Its really fun and unique and challenging at the same time . I love hearing their interpretations of my music .
Since Moving on from Queensryche , do you notice any difference in the crowd that comes to your gigs ?
I don’t notice any difference to be honest. Its the same people that i have been seeing all my career ( laughs ) . Every night i do a meet and greet where we talk about bands and music and i see the same people with same enthusiasm . No difference really .
Take us through the experience of working in the ” Hear n’ Aid – Stars ” project with Ronnie James Dio and all the fabulous musicians ?
GT : It was a wonderful experience . I felt very fortunate to be asked by Ronnie to be a part of it and he was very much in charge of the whole project , he wrote the song and produced the sessions and he paid for most of it to be done . It was a very challenging project to get it done for him and Wendy , his wife who was his manager at that time . They did a fantastic job of getting it done so perfectly . It was a major project and it raised so much money for charity and that was the purpose of it all. I felt very fortunate to be a part of it and overwhelmed by the musicians in the project although i knew most of them as i had toured with them already and came to know a lot of them. It will be a wonderful memory for me .
You’re a wine enthusiast from what we know. How do you perceive the Wine business ? Also tell us a bit about Insania .
GT : Yes ” Insania ” is my wine label and we produce red wine and white wine and they are made in Europe and other areas right between France and Germany . I started my first vintage in 2007 and i try to release a vintage each year and its fantastic and one of my favorites. I am involved on a very basic level like picking the grapes , harvesting them , being in the production and signing them off once its done .
You were born in Germany . So have you ever been asked to join any major German band over the years?
GT : I haven’t been asked to join but i have sang with Avantasia on their album .It was fun .
How did people react to Resurrection ?
GT: I don’t know . I didn’t really ask anyone ( laughs ) . I don’t really pay attention those things. All i know is i am busier than ever . I have so many different projects that people are asking me to do , different tours and guest appearances i have been asked to do this summer . I am very busy although i think i should slow down a bit but there are so many wonderful things happening that i can’t say no to them ( laughs ) .
Can you let our readers know of one of your favorite song from your repertoire ?
GT :Well i have 18 albums and 180 published songs so i have a lot of things to choose from ( laughs ) . I am very happy with my latest album Resurrection. There is a song called ” Life from my Machine ” and i play the song quite often while i am driving . There’s albums that i love. The Promised Land album is one of my favorites . I really really like some of the songs on the last Queensryche album . Its one of my favorite sounding album. I really love my upcoming album .I love the tracks on that .
Any plans for India ?
GT : I have never been to India as a tourist or a musician and i would love to go there . I have played in 65 countries but never in India but i would love to.
Geoff Thank you for your time. Please leave a message for our readers and your fans .
GT : Thank you so much in continued interest and support of my music and i hope you guys will come to my shows somewhere in the world . I would love to meet you guys and shake hands . Thank you for the interview . Its a pleasure.
Interviewed by : Ashiqur Rohman