QUEENSRŸCHE members Michael Wilton, Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield and Parker Lundgren announced on June 20 that they were parting ways with singer Geoff Tate and recruiting powerhouse vocalist Todd La Torre of CRIMSON GLORY as his replacement. The new QUEENSRŸCHE lineup has already performed live, having played two successful shows in their home city of Seattle under the name RISING WEST.
In a new interview with Billboard.com, Tate spoke about being forced out of the group he had been a member of for three decades. A few excerpts from the chat follow below.
Billboard.com: You raised the point [in your recent interview with Rolling Stone] that you personally wrote the vast majority of the QUEENSRŸCHE catalog...
Tate: I would say, in vague terms, of the 144 songs that QUEENSRŸCHE has published and written, I've been a co-writer on 114, which is something like 81% of all of the music.
Billboard.com: The way it's stated in Rolling Stone is that you wrote them — as in, you completely wrote them.
Tate: Oh yeah. Well, that's one of those little inaccuracies that get passed along through interpretation [laughs]. But the accurate numbers and all that, it's obviously in the legal claim.
Billboard.com: After Chris [DeGarmo, guitar] left the band in '97, you said the other guys didn't contribute much — they just came in, they played shows and they got the money. Yet Michael and Scott do solo projects and are clearly writing and creating in that forum. Did you ever go to them and ask them to bring more to the plate inside the band?
Tate: Yes, absolutely. Every album cycle, I'd say, "Please contribute. Please contribute. Let's try to make another album."
Billboard.com: At a Brazil show in April of this year, you found out that three QUEENSRŸCHE staffers were being let go — including the band's manager, who is also your wife. How long after that incident was it before you got the letter saying that you were being let go?
Tate: I couldn't give the exact date, to be honest. I can't give you the exact date. It was somewhere within a week, two weeks, something like that.
Billboard.com: So, you never told them at that point that you were leaving?
Tate: No. Why would I?
Billboard.com: Considering what had just gone down, it wouldn't have been out line if you just said, "I quit."
Tate: Well, for me it would. I mean, it's my life's work. I can't really walk away from it [chuckles]. It's me, you know.
Billboard.com: I understand why you don't think they should be going on and performing without you. But considering that the three of them are original members of QUEENSRŸCHE, don't they also have a leg to stand on?
Tate: I think that if they want to continue going out and playing music, they should do it standing on their own two feet, with music they write and … albums they create. I think that would be the honorable thing to do rather than trying to make a living off what I've done, what I created. Especially if there's a situation where it has to be decided about the name and the legalities. I would think they would have the decorum and the respect for [what was] built over the years to take care of that stuff before they launch into a public arena and claim themselves to be something that they're not.
Billboard.com: Don't you think they feel as well that they've helped create what QUEENSRŸCHE is?
Tate: I don't know what they feel. I'd hate to be one to try to interpret that.
Read the entire interview at Billboard.com.
Geoff Tate photo credit: Stephanie Cabral