Michael Lello of Highway 81 Revisited recently conducted an interview with QUEENSRŸCHE singer Geoff Tate. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Highway 81 Revisited: You recently ran a video rant contest, where people could send in clips of themselves talking about why they hate the new album ["Frequency Unknown"]. How did that come about? I've never seen anything quite like that before.
Geoff Tate: Yeah, that was kinda fun, wasn't it? [laughs] I'm involved with a lawsuit right now with the former bandmates, we have court dates coming in November which will hopefully settle the whole thing. Because of that, there's a lot of negativity on the Internet, the whole side-choosing game, and a small group of people who are very vocal about spreading negativity, going to every review of the album or every live review, anything regarding me, this small group of people paints a negative picture of me. They sort of create like a smear campaign. Which in the big picture doesn't matter at all, because this is a corporate suit, and corporate suits have regulations and rules of engagement governed by the state and federal government. So at the end of the day, when we get to court, both sides are going to be compensated, and we're going to come to a monetary settlement that has nothing to do with he said, she said, or who's better, who's worse. That doesn't even play into it all, it has nothing to do with it. So really the whole smear campaign is a waste of time. But on the bright side, it has created a lot of press, and I think we've had more sold-out shows with this band than the former QUEENSRŸCHE has had in 10 years. So you can't really argue with the Gene Simmons philosophy of "any press is good press." The rant contest was sort of an extension of that. Tim from our record company said, "Why don't we have a contest and get all these haters to send in their submissions?" Let's see how eloquent they can be, how accurate they are in their critiques. And it was kinda fun, listening to the inane insanity of some of these people [laughs] and actually looking at them as they're saying it and wondering, "That's really my critic? That guy? OK. Interesting."
Highway 81 Revisited: Do you think some of the negativity directed at the album is not people reacting to the music per se, but instead reacting to you and the breakup?
Geoff Tate: Oh yeah, yeah. I think that that's a lot of it. But honestly, I don't think there's as much negativity as what is evident on the Internet. There's people with multiple Internet accounts and Facebook accounts just having conversations with their multiple selves, all aimed at spreading this negativity, and it's kinda psycho and fanatical. I guess that's where the word "fan" comes from. But ya know, but they are organized in their attack, I must say. It's pretty stunning the stuff that they're saying and doing. But from my standpoint, from what I see, I don't read stuff on the Internet, I hardly ever go on the Internet anymore, but what I see is the fans at the shows, the packed houses and the enthusiasm that the audience is feeling for this new band, which is a phenomenal band. Great players, passionate players, who are coming into this organization as fans of the music, so they're playing music that they love, that they've always been attracted to, and they're getting to interpret it in their way as artists, and what a fantastic position for them to be in. They're loving it, and I'm loving what they're doing, and the synergy that we're creating together is phenomenal. It's actually infectious. And I think the audiences are a witness to that and they're affected by that.
Highway 81 Revisited: What is your desired outcome of suit? Does it just boil down to who gets the name?
Geoff Tate: Well, it's a corporate suit, yeah, so our name is owned by our corporation so we have to divvy it up, and the only way to divvy it up is through monetary compensation. Somebody will get the name, and somebody won't, and the people that don't will be compensated for what they've done and what they've contributed in the organization and that kind of thing. It's just a standard corporate dispute.
Highway 81 Revisited: It seems like you have a very positive outlook for QUEENSRŸCHE right now. How would you describe your state of mind?
Geoff Tate: My state of mind is elevated. I'm really enjoying every performance. The band is just on fire. They're playing incredibly every night, and at the same time, it's a really fun bunch of people to hang out with. Everybody's laughing and joking and lighthearted after the show. They leave the show behind them with each performance, and the next day starts. They're glad to be here and doing what they're doing and appreciative of where they're at in their lives. There's nothing worse than being surrounded by people who just hate themselves and hate being around each other, and the negativity just seeps into everything you do, and man, it's like all you can do to keep your head above water. And I was just very tired of living like that, and I'm very happy to be in the situation that I'm in right now.
Read the entire interview from Highway 81 Revisited.