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      Articles Home » Music Talk » Talking With Tate (Geoff Tate Interview)
      Talking With Tate (Geoff Tate Interview)

      Talking With Tate

      Q&A With Geoff Tate

      By Nina McCarthy

      Boston Rock Radio


      After an amazing show, I had the honor of being escorted onto Geoff’s tour bus with his wife Susan and some close friends, along with my photographer, Marlene Buckley. We had a great time talking about his 30th anniversary of Operation: Mindcrime, his other projects, and winemaking. Tate will be back for the 30th anniversary tour of Empire and he will be performing the Queensryche albums Rage For Order and Empire in their entirety. Catch this tour at The Vault in New Bedford, MA on March 3, 2020.  



      BRR: You've kept busy with other projects after Queensryche, what made decide to do this Operation: Mindcrime tour in over 24 countries?

      GT: It was the 30th anniversary of Operation: Mindcrime, so that should be talked about. We got a lot of offers from different promoters around the world who want to bring the show to their area, so it sounded like a good idea. It just went on really long. In fact it went along a lot further than we thought. We're still doing it with this being the last shows now. It just takes a long time to get everywhere.


      BRR: It sold out fast here in Massachusetts so they added the second night. So what's your favorite song to perform live from Operation: Mindcrime? 

      GT: I don’t know. I like them all. I think of the whole album as one big long song, in a sense, you know, with different movements.


      BRR: It was great seeing it live tonight because it was so theatrical.

      GT: This place isn’t really set up for a big show. It is more like bar band playing. It’s really small and the stage is as if I’m going to fall down. I actually did in fact fall off the stage. Did you see me fall? The front row had to save me during a song. That just hardly ever happens. So anyway, it's an uneven surface. I don’t know what it is with people who build stages.


      BRR: They probably have never performed on one.

      GT: The whole idea is to make it an even surface so that you can do things. You're really limited in what you can do on a stage like this because its like there's all these tables put together to form a stage with different levels so that you're tripping over everything.


      BRR: It's interesting to hear that about the stage. I know you’re definitely used to bigger venues though.

      GT: It was actually quite horrible. The lights are right in your face.


      BRR: You didn’t even get a sound check today, did you?

      GT: No, I chose not to today. I chose to take a nap.


      BRR: So your soundcheck was basically the show tonight and you actually play tomorrow.

      GT: Yeah, kind of.


      BRR: Are there any songs that you're sick of singing?

      GT: No, because they're different every night because the audience is different. The people you sing your songs to react to them differently, so it's like singing for the first time in a sense because there’s this excitement and they're shouting the words back. That’s handy when you get to my age and you can’t remember the words. You read the lips.


      BRR: What's in your immediate future after you finish this tour? Are you're doing stuff with the other projects?

      GT: I finish this tour in a few days and then I get a week off. Then I go to Europe touring with Avantasia. Felix, the drummer, and I will be doing that with some big festivals in Europe. I have my own tour in August in the UK and I’m doing some West Coast states in mid-September into October doing Operation: Mindcrime.


      BRR: The album with Sweet Oblivion came out on June 14th. What has been the response? Have you had a lot of feedback?

      GT: I haven’t really paid much attention. I just can’t.


      BRR: I really enjoyed it because it kind of has that Queensryche sound but it’s different. Your voice is unique though, so when you hear it, you know it’s you.

      GT: I’ll actually tell you one kind of cool thing about that record. Simone Mularoni is the guitar player in that project and he and I put the album together and we've never met.


      BRR: Wow, that is interesting. So it was all done by computer?

      GT: We did it all over the internet, in the virtual studio of the world, and I recorded all my stuff in all the different countries I travelled through, in my hotel rooms and backstage and on buses and things like that. We still have not spoken to each other. We have only texted back and forth.


      BRR: How long have you known him online?

      GT: Well, a year virtually. I’d like to kind of keep it that way.


      BRR: Some bands do that now with members living all over the place.

      GT: With the age we live in, it's fantastic. You don't have to be in the same place. You can be in 18 different studios around the world and making music together. It is fantastic. It’s kind of pure in a sense because you're not subjected to the personality of the other person so you're just talking about the music. You’re not talking about all the other crap that people waste time talking about. It’s great.


      BRR: Now your bio said you used to look at the glass half empty…

      GT: I never said that. Wikipedia isn’t accurate either.


      BRR: Well, it  was on the Facebook bio, so whoever wrote that said it. It was kind of interesting to me because I was kind of a negative person because of how life has been and I've worked hard trying to change over the last year.

      GT: How’s that working for you?


      BRR: We’ll see. It’s still a work in progress. Actually, it’s gotten a lot better because my life has gotten better. It’s all about training the mind. I’ve almost died twice and have chronic pain so it’s not always easy to be positive.

      GT: Have you tried CBD oil? That works for a lot of people.


      BRR: It didn’t help me a lot but my doctor did recommend medical marijuana. (We had a whole conversation about medical marijuana with his wife, Susan.)

      Susan: Tell her your Fourth of July story


      BRR: I love personal stuff! It’s much better than rehashing Queensryche stories.

      GT: All right. So, last year my daughter and her boyfriend made marijuana cookies and said, “Dad, you're have to have these. They are great.” We were going to go to watch the fireworks and our son-in-law's band was playing at the fireworks show. So I eat the cookie and by the time we got to the fireworks place I was so high.

      Susan: He was tripping fucking balls!

      GT: I couldn't even watch the fireworks because they looked like they were so close and going to kill me...and I really like fireworks. “Make it stop! It’s going on way too long!” It seemed like hours but it was only 30 minutes. Then it was over, thank God. We all got in the car and then that's when the vomiting started.

      Susan: I was so pissed because he wouldn’t vomit out the window so he just vomited on the floor of the car.

      GT: I couldn’t roll down the window so I just vomited in my lap.

      Susan: And I'm like looking over and I'm like, “You are too fucking old for this!” It was a shit show. Then we had to drive home with all the windows down.

      GT: I was high for two days.  They told me later that they messed up on the dosage and it was like a 90mg per cookie. No wonder I was so high. I mean, I never do that.


      BRR: Yeah, a normal cookie is like 5-10mg. We didn't really get into when I was asking about the glass half empty. I was gonna ask if you have any insightful advice?  Eat edibles?

      GT: Take drugs. It really helps. (We both laugh) I think to change perspective, you really have to do some dramatic self help work. A lot of times people say that, “You don’t know what you lost until it’s gone” type of thing. That really changes your life. Consciously just try to look at things like, “I'm just really grateful for this.” Count how many times you are grateful for the things you are grateful for.  Once you start keeping track, you’ll realize that life is good. “It’s sunny today.” “Oh, I’m enjoying this.”


      BRR: Like I mentioned, I almost died twice, so now every day I wake up and I'm just happy to be alive.

      GT: Me too. I'm always kind of amazed that I wake up at all because I don’t ever dream. I just go to sleep and I’m gone. I wake up and think, “Oh, I’m still here. Yay!”


      BRR: That's unusual. I understand that you have been collecting wine since 1983. First of all, how big is your collection?

      GT: It’s horribly small because I drink everything I collect. We have our own wine too.


      BRR: That’s what I was going to ask you about next. I read about it and it was interesting. Are you drinking your own now?

      GT: No, this is Jamison. We have vineyards in Germany. Susan's family has been making wine for generations. It’s called Rinklin Family Winery. They make our Insania and we have a red and a white. It's really fun work. I enjoy that kind of work.


      BRR: How much are you involved in the making?

      GT: We are involved in the growing of the grapes and harvesting and everything. Every October we have a big harvest festival. This year it's on the 26th of October. People come from all kinds of different countries and converge on this little tiny village in Germany. We celebrate with music and food and drinking too much. All kinds of musician friends of mine show up and we have this impromptu concert. It's pretty fun. All kinds of strange people show up and just play sets of music. We do it every year in October and then we release our wine. It usually sells out pretty fast because we don't make a lot of it.


      BRR: Is it available worldwide?

      GT: Yes it is.


      BRR: I’d like to find some and try it. So, are there any crazy moments over this recent tour that will leave a lasting impression in your mind?

      GT: Oh yeah, so many. Well, this has been a really long couple of years of touring because we finished the Mindcrime tour officially in December after a year of touring 21 countries. Then we started up again in January doing dates in Greece, Turkey, South America, Germany, and all over Europe. It’s been nonstop really. I think I've been home for one week and I left again in February and I just went home for one week since then.


      BRR: What do you do to keep your energy up on tour. Drink Jamison? It kills all the germs.

      GT: Yeah (jokingly). Well, I try to take care of myself, eat right and exercise. I try not to have too much stress in my life.


      BRR: No better way to stay healthy. What's next in the future?

      GT: Working on a new album and touring some more. Getting ready for 2020. That’s the 30th anniversary of the Empire album, so I’m going to play that album in its entirety.


      BRR: So you’ll do a big tour like this?

      GT: Yes. That's all I got so far. 2020 is pretty well booked up, which is next year, so that's pretty good.


      BRR: Do you have any advice for up and coming musicians?

      GT: Yeah, do something else. Today’s a different world than it used to be.


      BRR: I often hear, “Don't do it! Get a real job.”

      GT: If you’re going to be a musician in the 21st century, you really have to dedicate yourself to it. It's hard to do because there's no income if you don't have an audience, but how are you going to get an audience?


      BRR: Basically, don't quit your day job. You have to be able to support yourself.

      GT: Yes, I mean it's almost impossible because if you're a new band, nobody knows you so they aren’t going to buy tickets to your show. Or you have to buy onto another tour and that costs a lot of money and people can't come up with that kind of money. And if they do, they have one shot to get on a tour and that's going to expose you to some people, but when you do go on the tour you have to have something to sell people other than your performance, like CD of your songs.

      Susan: Bottom line, is get the fuck out there and play. Play, play, play, play. You have to take all the chances you can to play out otherwise you aren’t going to get anywhere.

      GT: You have to build your reputation. That’s what you need to do.


      BRR: So true. It definitely is challenging for new artists. I really appreciate your time and the opportunity to do this interview. It’s been a pleasure. I’ll let you get back to relaxing and enjoying your friends.


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