GEOFF TATE: Why I Spat On My Former QUEENSRŸCHE Bandmates

Former QUEENSRŸCHE singer Geoff Tate taped a guest appearance on VH1 Classic's "That Metal Show" earlier in the month for an episode which premiered last night (Saturday, August 25).

Asked about the cirumstances that led to the split with his QUEENSRŸCHE bandmates after nearly 30 years of working together, Tate said, "Well, really, it's kind of difficult to explain, 'cause I'm not in their heads. I can only speculate, really. It came out of the blue for me. We've never had any kind of creative differences, or any kind of a situation where we are at odds with each other. It just happened. And I can only speculate that we're in a really tough recession right now all over the world, and I think that when we have economic times like this, it kind of makes people do strange things. That's really the only speculation I can give — that it's a money thing. We have a company together and [now that] they kicked me out, they can split my 25 percent."

When "That Metal Show" co-host Jim Florentine pointed out that QUEENSRŸCHE won't sell as many concert tickets without Tate, Geoff concurred, saying, "I know it doesn't make a lot of sense."

According to Tate, he was given no advance notice that his days in QUEENSRŸCHE were numbered and the whole thing took him by surprise. "It was really out of the blue," he explained. "And I tell you, it's something that I haven't quite come to terms with yet; I'm kind of emotional about it still. We're talking about 30 years of being brothers, people living together, all our decisions were [made] together, our children grew up together, we had camping trips and Fourth Of July [celebrations] together. And for it to all just implode so quickly and all of a sudden out of the blue, it's shocking. These [are] people that I loved, I took care of, I nurtured all our relationships, worked at a very intimate level creatively with these people, [so] the betrayal is immense."

Regarding the claims made by his former bandmates accusing him of assaulting, and spitting on, drummer Scott Rockenfield and guitarist Michael Wilton prior to, and during, QUEENSRŸCHE April 14, 2012, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Geoff didn't deny the allegations, telling "That Metal Show" co-host Eddie Trunk, "Oh, I did it. I don't make any bones about it." He continued, "Right before the show, we held a quick meeting in the dressing room and they told me that they just fired my wife, who has been out manager for ten years, and my daughter, who has been our fan-club president, and basically our office assistance all these years, and my son-in-law, who is our guitar tech, and I was next. . . And I lost my temper. I came unglued. I'm glad someone stopped me, 'cause I look back on it with regret that I could have hurt one of them pretty badly. But, man, it's not something I'm proud of."

He added, "The spitting thing… I know a lot of people are giving me hell about that. But spitting is something that, historically, has been the most degrading thing you can do to somebody, and that was exactly what was meant by it."

Asked if he is planning on fighting to keep the name QUEENSRŸCHE for himself, Tate replied, "It's something that I've worked all my adult life to take care of and build and protect, and I feel like, yes, it's mine." He continued, "[Right now] we both have the name. The judge [who denied Tate's motion for a preliminary injunction that would have kept his former bandmates from touring and operating under the band name. — Ed.] said something very interesting. My lawyer wanted to say, 'Look, we think that nobody should use the name until we have our court date.' And the judge says, 'I don't see anything different about QUEENSRŸCHE or the FOUR TOPS. It's the same situation.' The FOUR TOPS… [laughs] But, basically, there's two QUEENSRŸCHEs now. Or [at least we have] the ability to have two QUEENSRŸCHEs."

Addressing the accusations by his former bandmates that he was controlling QUEENSRŸCHE's musical direction for much of the last couple of decades, Tate said, "Well, I don't know how I would do that. I have one vote. We do everything by voting. 'I think we should do this, I think we should do this…' That's how we do it. So I don't have the power to dictate where we go in that regard."

When "That Metal Show" co-host Don Jamieson brought up the fact that QUEENSRŸCHE's latest album, 2011's "Dedicated To Chaos", was a huge departure from the metallic sounds of the band's early efforts, Tate said, "[It's] redefining what metal is? Thank you. That's what we've always tried to do — we've always tried to not be somebody else's version of what metal is. We've always tried to forge our own path. And how people take that, you never know. You have to just, kind of, write what's in your heart, you know?!"

Asked what he hopes will happen in his ongoing legal battle with his former bandmates, Tate said, "I'd like to sit in a room with those gentlemen and have them tell me face to face what the situation is. Explain their actions. I'd like to know, and actually understand, their point of view. I'd like to see them talk to me face to face rather than through the Internet. . . Communication is a big part of any kind of relationship — you've gotta have it. And if nobody's talking, then nothing's getting settled. And that’s where we're at right now — nobody's talking."

Tate revealed last week that he will support ALICE COOPER on a Canadian tour in November, and will embark on a QUEENSRŸCHE "anniversary tour" in 2013 backed by an "all-star lineup" of musicians.

The singer recently completed work on his sophomore solo album, "Kings And Thieves", for an October release via InsideOut Music.

Tate's personal web site, GeoffTate.com, was recently upgraded with a new banner that reads "Geoff Tate: The Voice Of QUEENSRŸCHE." He is also billed on the web site for booking agency Monterey International as "QUEENSRŸCHE Starring Geoff Tate: The Original Voice." The band's lineup isn't listed.

Guitarist Michael Wilton, drummer Scott Rockenfield, bassist Eddie Jackson and Parker Lundgren (guitar) announced on June 20 that they were parting ways with Geoff Tate and recruiting La Torre of CRIMSON GLORY as his replacement.

Wilton, Jackson and Rockenfield defeated Tate's motion for a preliminary injunction on July 13 that would have kept them from touring and operating under the band name,

Tate and his wife, Susan, QUEENSRŸCHE's former manager, filed a lawsuit against Geoff's ex-bandmates on June 22 in King County Superior Court over whether he should be awarded the QUEENSRŸCHE name after being dismissed from the group in June. Their complaint states Rockenfield, Wilton and Jackson wrongfully fired the singer and are tarnishing the group's brand by attempting to move forward without him.

If the case goes to trial, the date is set for November 18, 2013.

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