Former QUEENSRŸCHE vocalist Geoff Tate recently spoke with the "Australian Rock Show" podcast. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On touring with AVANTASIA:
Geoff: "It sounds like people are enjoying the show, which I think it's hard not to. It's a really good show, and very entertaining. The band is on every night, and the singers are all really great singers. Everybody that I know personally has seen the show loves it, and they're very excited about telling everybody about it. It's a wonderful tour with really great, fun-loving people who are excited and happy to be there every day performing. Traveling together, it's a lot of laughs, actually. [It's] quite a group of interesting artists, I have to say."
On what he learned from late vocal instructor David Kyle, who also worked with Layne Staley and Ann Wilson, among others:
Geoff: "David was an amazing instructor and teacher. Although I didn't take very many lessons from him or study with him for very long, I did have some valuable, valuable lessons, mostly in confidence and expressing yourself creatively. He had a way of instilling in you this feeling of confidence in what you do, and it's really kind of stuck with me all my life. His instruction was the thing at just the right moment in my life, and it really helped me out and benefited me greatly."
On when he learned of the extent of his vocal range:
Geoff: "I was a keyboard player to start with. That's what I started out playing in rock bands, and I never was a singer for several years. The band I was in at the time, the lead singer had to move, so he left the band. We were just sitting around in the rehearsal room and we started kind of jamming on a song, and I just started absentmindedly singing. The guitar player stopped and said, 'You can sing!' [I said,] 'I can? I guess I can sing.' He goes, 'Try this one,' and he played a RUSH tune that we'd played, and I could sing that so I got the job. That was the significant moment when I discovered that I could do that."
On being invited to participate in the heavy metal charity project HEAR 'N AID in the mid-1980s:
Geoff: "Ronnie Dio was really influential with me and with QUEENSRŸCHE in general, and invited us on our first-ever European tour and really showed us a lot of how to be on the road and how to survive on the road — some pretty valuable lessons. After the tour, I got a call and he invited me to participate in the HEAR 'N AID project, which I readily accepted. We all met at the Los Angeles A&M Studios, and I walked in to do my part, and Ronnie was in the control room and invited me in and shook my hand — 'Hey, welcome. This is great. Here's the track.' I didn't really spend much time with him because he was under a time limit. He walked me out to a performance room, and we set up the microphone and got my headphone mix going. He goes, 'I'll be in the control room. Let's have a go at it and see what happens.' I happened to look up through the glass and I could see all these amazing musicians and singers in the control room watching me. Rob Halford was there, and Eric Bloom from BLUE ÖYSTER CULT and Ted Nugent and all these really accomplished players and singers. There I was, under the microscope, so to speak. I was really scared. It was a petrifying moment, really. I just kept my sunglasses on, closed my eyes and let it rip."
On SWEET OBLIVION, his new progressive metal project:
Geoff: "It was a wonderful collaboration with Simone Mularoni, an amazing guitar player from Italy. We wrote some songs together and hit it off and made the record, and it's coming out soon. I'm really happy that it's finished and looking forward to hearing what people think of it. It's very guitar-heavy, so if you like very forward, heavy guitars, it's your kind of record."
On his memories of supporting AC/DC with QUEENSRŸCHE in 1986:
Geoff: "One of the all-time greatest bands ever, and one of the nicest bands — for us, at least. As an opening act, they treated us incredibly well, and gave us full use of their stage and sound and lights and never said, 'No, you can't go there.' They gave us full run of their whole show. Very generous. Brian [Johnson], bless his heart, he always picked up the bar tab, every time. [Laughs]"
On whether he'd change anything he's recorded if given the opportunity:
Geoff: "I don't usually want to change things musically on records that I've done. I'm pretty happy with them when they came out. Probably the only one that I have any regrets regarding was 'The Warning', because we didn't get to finish that one as a mix. Our own fault, really — the band had spent too much money and we'd gone way over-budget, so the record company took it out of our hands and they had some outside mixer mix the record. We didn't get our fingers on it, so to speak — we didn't get to give any input to the mixing direction. We learned a valuable lesson to stay on budget and stay on time with your commitments, so therefore we wouldn't have to be in that situation again."
Tate appears on three songs on "Moonglow", the new album by AVANTASIA, the "metal opera" project led by German vocalist Tobias Sammet (also of EDGUY). He is currently touring in support of the album along with other notable vocalists such as Eric Martin (MR. BIG), Ronnie Atkins (PRETTY MAIDS) and Bob Catley (MAGNUM).
The self-titled debut album by SWEET OBLIVION — which sees Tate collaborating with DGM guitarist Simone Mularoni — will be released on June 14 via Frontiers Music Srl.