By Andrew Catania
There will never be a mistake about whose DNA is on the vocals of Queensryche’s albums. From the opening note of Queen of the Reich, You knew Queensryche meant business. The records that followed Queen of the Reich will forever be classics. It wasn’t until after 1994’s Promised Land that I could hear the band trying to go into a different musical direction. Was it Geoff and Chris Degarmo’s idea? Did Michael Wilton want to stay the course? Degarmo left the band and the industry in 1997. Tate and the rest of Queensryche had an ugly divorce in 2012 that ended up in court as to who could use the Queensryche name. Everything has been settled, and Geoff now uses the Operation Mindcrime named after the famed album. Will there ever be a reunion with his former band? I asked Geoff and spoke about Operation Mindcrime’s new album, The New Reality.
Did you do anything differently regarding production on this album that you didn’t do on the previous two?
GT: Yes, there’s a lot of different things on this record, different kinds of tracks although all of it was composed and recorded around the same time.
I took a couple of years to finish this one. This is the last one of course and took my time with mixing and mastering which I kind of like take a little bit more time with it rather than trying to rush it and get it all done. I’m just under the gun so to speak. There’s a little bit different process on this last one well actually the last two are mostly in the mastering step. It leads you to various mastering programs. So these last two kind fall in love with so it’s more of a technical thing
You’ve worked with Kelly Gray a lot on previous albums?
GT: I’ve been working together off and on with Kelly since 1979, and he’s been in lots of different configurations of my groups I’ve had over the years. And of course, made his name in producing and engineering. We still like to get together and do projects here and there. This is one of them, the trilogy of records we’ve worked on together.
Are you going to create another project of storytelling on any future collaborations?
GT: I’m actually on hiatus right now from recording for a while. I’m kind of in between projects, and I haven’t quite decided on what I’m going to do next. At the moment primarily is because this one just took up my life for the last three years and I want just to sit back and take a break for launching into a new project.
Do you have a favorite album of the three for this story?
GT: I like the intro on each record quite a bit. I like the last song on each album. On Resurrection, I love the first quarter of the album. The third one I haven’t wrapped my head around because I got to listen to the finished master. Haven’t got to listen to it that much. The record company has promised that they would send it to me and they have gotten me a copy of it yet.
Has your preparation changed any doing your solo albums versus a Queensryche album?
GT: You know I’ve always had since the beginning the same philosophy of really just trying to challenge myself musically with each record and write something new and different from myself. So I’d push my musical boundaries with each record. It’s been my philosophy going in, and kind of always just stayed with it till I got it the way I wanted it to be.
You know the only record the only record that didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to was the Warning album and that was because the record company took it out of our hands and had some pop producer guy mix it who’d never heard the band before and didn’t want any input from the band. So that’s all I record that I don’t like the sound of. I haven’t taken much of a different approach. The same preparation going in is what you get. You know what you’ve got going in there and not wasting too much time.
How do you keep your voice in shape?
It’s a ritual all singers do. I think to some extent you start your day warming up and you see running through scales you’re always humming, and you’re running over little scales as you start out in the day, and I’m getting more and more intense as you go on in the day you try to exercise and eat right. And not abuse yourself to death
How does it feel when a singer tells you that you’ve influenced them?
GT: I just got back from Sao Paulo Brazil, and I was singing with the most prominent metal band in Brazil called Angra. They’re fantastic and just amazing musicians and Fabio Lione who’s an Italian singer that sings for Angra. He’s a fantastic singer, but they had several guests which I was one, and they had four or five singers there who were all apparently influenced by me. So that was quite flattering. They were all just beautiful singers. If they said I influenced them, I was quite proud of that because they were fantastic singers all of them and they harmonize together and a couple of tracks and man it was just quite a festival. I love doing guest appearances.
After Promised Land was released, I could tell you were going in a different direction creatively.
GT: I’ve been trying to diversify for years. Thank you for recognizing that I appreciate that.
What’s your touring schedule in support of The New Reality?
GT: I’m starting the tour in January. I have a show on January 11th in Dublin, and then we’re going to do Ireland and the UK. Then we hop over to Europe for some shows, and we wrap up at the end of April. I’m going to take a break after that and then hit the road in America in the late summer early fall.
Do you think they’ll be a time in the future that you’ll rejoin Queensryche?
GT: I would never say never really. I keep my mind open for that. You know who knows. If everybody in the band wanted to do it and came into it with a positive mental attitude and didn’t feel like they’re dragged into it. It can be very honest and sincere. I’d like it to be a legitimate sort of getting together where we could all enjoy each other’s company. You know that would be fantastic. I’ll always be the voice of Queensryche.
Follow Geoff @ https://www.facebook.com/GeoffTateOfficial/
Follow Operation Mindcrime @ https://www.facebook.com/operationmindcrimeband/
To order ‘The New Reality’ click here