Former QUEENSRŸCHE and current OPERATION: MINDCRIME frontman Geoff Tate spoke to the Irish Examiner about how the rise of grunge in the early 1990s forced most hard rock bands off the radio and MTV, with album and tour sales plummeting.
"When we started, genre wasn't really a thing in the business," the singer said. "Rock music was all encompassing. You had different bands doing different things and it was all totally fine.
"What happened was that the marketing mentality came into the business. They started breaking everything down and putting music in boxes. At that point, writers began placing us in the same box as MÖTLEY CRÜE. It wasn't about the music — it was a selling technique.
"To be compared to MÖTLEY CRÜE… I took it as kind of an insult, frankly."
Tate told Chicago At Night in a 2012 interview that he was happy to see the commercial focus shift from hard rock and metal to grunge, especially with QUEENSRŸCHE coming up in the Seattle area shortly before the grunge floodgates opened.
"Oh, it was exciting to watch especially since we knew most of those young bands that were coming up behind us," he said. "SOUNDGARDEN, ALICE IN CHAINS, PEARL JAM, those three bands toured with us quite a bit during the early nineties, so we got to know those guys quite a bit. So it was exciting seeing their rise to popularity. It was fun watching that."
Tate's sentiments were echoed by QUEENSRŸCHE guitarist Michael Wilton, who told Hot Metal last year he didn't blame the grunge explosion for the collapse of a flourishing — and very lucrative — scene. "Let's face it, the industry got stale, you know?" he said. "We knew those guys in those bands and I was totally happy for them. I was, like, 'Right on! This industry needs a shot in the arm!'"
In the court documents that were filed in 2012 during Tate's bitter legal battle with his now-former bandmates over the rights to the QUEENSRŸCHE name, Wilton, drummer Scott Rockenfield and bassist Eddie Jackson admitted that the poor sales performance of their 1994 album, "Promised Land" — which came out four years after the band's mega-succcessful "Empire" LP — had put "huge" pressure on the group to "stay on top." They wrote: "With the now huge phenomenon of the 'grunge' sound, the production for [1997's 'Hear In The Now Frontier'] album was very sparse and raw as we were trying to capture an essence of that sound to make us sound more current."
"Resurrection", the second album from OPERATION: MINDCRIME, was released on September 23, 2016 via Frontiers Music Srl. The album is the second part of Tate's musical trilogy.