In an interview with Aardschok Magazine, guitarist Simone Mularoni explains how Geoff Tate nearly sabotaged The Sweet Oblivion project when he sent the music back to him completely butchered and sounding like “hip-hop” vocals:
“Serrafino, Chief of Frontiers Records, got me in touch with Geoff Tate and Tate was also happy with the music and the rough vocal melodies I had delivered. Very soon he sent me the first two songs back. (Simone pauses, in order to contain his emotions.) The entire structure of the songs had changed. The guitar solos were erased and the vocal melodies were a closer resemblance to Hip-Hop rather than Metal. Besides that, he added all sorts of strange keyboard sounds. I was in shock and wondered how Frontiers would feel about this. They were not pleased either and asked me to persuade Tate to stay closer to the original ideas. So I wrote him a polite email, something along the lines of ‘I think my version will do better commercially.’ But his wife, also his manager, throwing a fit, phoned Frontiers and demanded to know what I was thinking, how dare I criticize Tate’s work? Wow, I had a high opinion of Geoff Tate, but now I was summoned to the Frontiers office. Luckily, I had kept all the email correspondence and could show that I hadn’t been rude to Geoff. I told them that I would produce the album for them, but if the final results would be anything like the songs Geoff sent back, I wouldn’t want my name on it.”
Question: The contact with Tate was not so friendly after that?
Answer: What contact? “He simply quit responding to my emails. A few weeks later, I got all my material back. Geoff had recorded his vocals on the tour-bus. Who records vocals on a tour-bus? I struggled for a month just to make it all sound a bit better. Ultimately, the album turned out okay, but If we had done it my way…”
When we interviewed Tate last week, we asked if he’d do more Sweet Oblivion music. He was non committal but said he’d like too. What Simone describes is what members of Queensryche had complained about for years.