Queensryche - Live Evolution Calling
Band Returns with Live Offering

Geoff Tate Interviewed by Keith McDonald

Since 1983, Quennsryche, originally from Bellevue, Washington, have released an EP and seven full-length albums that have gone Gold, Platinum or multi-platinum. Some would say that would be enough to call it a career for any band. But Queensryche isn't any band. Singer Geoff Tate, drummer Scott Rockenfield, bassist Eddie Jackson and guitarists Michael Wilton and Kelly Gray have forged on with the recently released Live Evolution that spans the band's career from their EP to Q2K. Recorded at Seattle's Moore Theatre July 27 and 28 2001, the band reflects on their past achievements but looks forward to an even brighter future as they have signed on with the growing roster at Sanctuary Records. I had the opportunity to speak with Geoff Tate who filled me in on what's been going on.

Why a live album?
It was actually our record company's idea. They brought it to us and said (they were) interested in doing a live record. We never really did one, (a) proper one. I guess after the next studio album we'll go on tour and record some of the shows and make a live album. They said (they) were thinking about next month. So we had to scramble to put together a show and record it. This was actually a fun project, our first project working with Sanctuary and everything fell together very nicely.



How did you land at Sanctuary?
They called us. Over the years we had been talking, watching them grow. It finally got to the point where they could deliver on what they wanted to do with us. The time was right for us.



What happened with Atlantic Records?
We chose to leave.



When you released your demo the name of the band was MOB. When and why did you change it?
That was twenty years ago. I think the Mob was just a working title for the name of the band. We were getting ready to put out our EP, which included the songs from the demo tape. We decided to come up with the new name because we think someone else had the name. I really can't remember honestly.



Did the EP Queen of the Reich get the band their deal with EMI Records?
No, it was because we had sold a lot of records on our own label. We sold 60,000 records on our own worldwide. That made the record company take notice. If a little start-up label could sell that many records then they could sell a heck of a lot more on a major label.



Is it true the Kerrang review helped the band?
Paul Suter was a writer for Kerrang and reviewed our demo tape, our EP and gave it a very positive/glowing review. The time was really right for that type of music we were playing at the time.



Why did the band release only one video clip to promote Rage For Order?
Videos cost a lot of money to make. Just because you make one doesn't mean it's going to get aired on any sort of rotation. It's really a sort of investment. You look at how many records you've sold and how many you hope to sell. You're gonna roll the dice on the expenditure of making a video. If it gets played like 'Gonna Get Close To You' did, it got played a few times but it didn't go into heavy rotation. So we chose not to make a new one.



With Operation: Mindcrime, how did the idea to do conceptual album come about?
I was in Montreal at the time, living there. I had an idea and I just started writing it down. It grew into a story (and) months later I went back to Seattle to begin working on a record with Queensryche. I proposed the idea of doing a conceptual record to them. I described it all and that's how it began.



Why did Chris DeGarmo quit the band?
You'd have to ask Chris DeGarmo that.



How was the Rock In Rio festival?
The Rock In Rio festival was the single most attended concert Queensryche has ever performed. We've done a lot of festival dates around the world, but that was the largest, 225,000 people. Just enormous. I didn't get to relate to the audience in the way I normally would or would like to but we spent several days in Rio and since then, have met with Brazilian people. I felt there was a lot of interest in the band there and are anxious to get back there and keep visiting the country.



How did you get along with the other bands (Judas Priest, Megadeth, Guns N Roses, etc.)?
Fine. It was a kind of in and out thing where we really didn't have any contact. When we did it was all kind of civil.



Was the Empire tour your most successful tour?
Success is a very subjective thing. Every tour you do is successful because you can do it. Being in a band is not an easy thing. It's five very creatively challenging people and everybody's got giant egos because they're used to getting their way. Getting them to perform anything, a record or a concert, is a major accomplishment. Every tour is successful.



How did you land the Iron Maiden tour and how was it?
Well, it's like any tour. You talk to them; it's a business arrangement really. The tour was fine, an interesting mix of music.



What's the status of the 3 Tremors project with Rob Halford and Bruce Dickinson?
I don't know. I'd like for something to happen with it. We just haven't been able to schedule time to be in the same city. We all have various commitments with our prospective bands, deadlines to meet and all that. Maybe next year we'll take a look at it and see if it's possible.



Any tour plans for the live album?
We're just doing a short three-week tour of the States promoting this CD. Starts on the 1st in Phoenix and ends on the 21st in New York City.



When can expect a new studio album?
We haven't even begun hat. We'll get together in January and start writing. You just never know. When it's done it's done and we can't really predict.



How do you explain your longevity?
Vitamins, lots of vitamins. It's very difficult to be in a band. It's amazing that you can make three records let alone nine or ten.



What's the future for Queensryche?
Who knows. Day by day, living in the now.

2001 Metal Rules!!

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Saturday, November 17, 2001