Don De Leaumont of The Great Southern Brainfart recently conducted an interview with former QUEENSRŸCHE and current OPERATION: MINDCRIME frontman Geoff Tate. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
The Great Southern Brainfart: The last time we talked, the whole QUEENSRŸCHE name debacle was still unresolved. You have since moved forward with OPERATION: MINDCRIME, and, I'll be honest, the output has been so stellar, especially the "Resurrection" album. Did getting past all of that finally make it easier for you to get back to being creative on your own terms again?
Tate: "Yeah, very much so. It was a slow kind of feeling that took a while to really become reality for me. Once it happened, I could recognize it. I don't know if somebody could imagine this, but at the breakup point, there was so much negative energy and people saying horrible things about me and questioning everything I did. Sort of like [the first time somebody asked me for my autograph when we first started out]. I felt uncomfortable about it but they turned it around like I was being an asshole because I didn't want to give them my autograph. That's what I felt was going on with me during that court case. People just had the complete opposite opinion of me and they would say it. [Laughs] It makes you feel very self-conscious for a while and you start analyzing and looking at yourself saying, 'Are they even close to being right? Am I this way? Is this the way I come off?' It's like a process you have to go through to come to terms with who you think you are versus who people say you are."
The Great Southern Brainfart: There was such a chemistry between you and [former QUEENSRŸCHE guitarist] Chris [DeGarmo] on and off stage. Do you miss that connection? Not so much in just the terms of QUEENSRŸCHE, but just sitting with an old friend, working on songs, and just playing.
Tate: "Honestly, I'm just not that nostalgic about it, really. Don, there's just been so much water under the bridge, so to speak, but it's hard to even find something about it that was pleasing to me. Even though it would be in my best interest to sit here in an interview and say, 'Oh yeah. We were really great together. I miss that. I wish everybody would get back together and be all hunky dory again.' Honestly, I'm enjoying what I'm doing now. I like my life. Looking back on that period of my life with the band, there was so much stress all the time and so many personalities that didn't click. We just tried to make it work for so long. Once you're away from that scene and you're breathing easily and your blood pressure goes down, you wonder, 'Why in the hell did I put up with that for all those years?'"
The Great Southern Brainfart: What is one misconception about Geoff Tate that you would love to put to rest?
Tate: "Well, I don't really know what a misconception is, because I rarely read about myself, so I don't always know what people think. [Laughs] I've heard people call me arrogant and I don't agree with that. I think I'm confident in what I do and I'm confident in my ideas. Maybe people aren't used to that. I think often times people mistake confidence for arrogance. Another thing, Don, that's kind of unusual is that when I performed the 'Operation: Mindcrime' 1 and 2 albums several years ago, it was kind of like a stage play presentation. I was acting the character. That character is not me. That character is a fucked-up individual whose life has been completely tormented. He's a victim, he's killed people, and he's an addicted personality. He's nothing like me. I think people in the audience sometimes thought that was me, so, yeah, who would like that character? [Laughs] I think it can be confusing for people and I can see how that would happen."