QUEENSRŸCHE vocalist Geoff Tate recently spoke to The Patriot-News about the group's forthcoming CD, the next chapter to the 1988 ground-breaking concept album, "Operation: Mindcrime", tentatively titled "Operation: Mindcrime II". Several excerpts from the interview follow:On the "Mindcrime"'s biting commentaries about quasi-pious religious figures and power-hungry politicians being even more meaningful now than they were in '88: "I think that's why people like this story and like the record and it still sells today: it appeals to the Everyperson. "They see all around them people that are very rich, people with power, setting the rules and breaking them and living life on their own terms. That's a very frustrating thing. 'Mindcrime' is that story; it's the story of a regular guy who gets taken advantage of by the rich and powerful and [is] used and then thrown away. I think people can relate to that." On how he began to revisit "Mindcrime" after being approached by a group of filmmakers who wanted to make a movie from the original concept: "I started writing out what the vague areas could be, and that turned into pages and pages of notes, which ended up turning into lyrics. And then I thought, I guess there's room for a sequel story. And then once I started getting on that idea, it started really fleshing out," he said. On the upcoming album's musical direction: "Musically, I think it's going to be light years away from the original," Tate said, although he said they have included bits of melodies from the first one as touchpoints. He called the music "very aggressive and at times very violent, other times very introspective and moody." "'Mindcrime' musically was one-dimensional; all the music was very same-y. It was exploring frustration. In a nutshell, [this] album's about revenge and how that emotion or that motivation can really consume you as a person." On the story of "Mindcrime II": "It takes place 18 years later; it picks up in what's happening in Nikki's life at that point and takes you from there. "He's been in prison for so long without drugs and things to prop him up, and he's started to get a clearer picture of his reality and becoming aware of what he's done in his life and feeling in an awful place. "Although he's guilty of many, many murders, on the other hand, it wasn't like he meant to do it or wanted to do it — he couldn't stop himself. So it puts you in a weird place — where do you draw the line here, what's the law, does the law apply to this, is it really fair." Tate says the album, which will probably be a double disc, will be complete by September as planned, but probably won't be released until January. He knows the sequel and the original will be inextricably linked, but thinks they'll be able to stand on their own. "Musically [they will be independent]," he said. "Storywise, I think you'll be able to pick it up and listen to it and understand what's going on without listening to the first one."