A. Lee Graham of Classic Rock Revisited recently conducted an interview with QUEENSRŸCHE frontman Geoff Tate. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:
Classic Rock Revisited: Why release "Operation: Mindcrime II" now? What makes 2006 the right year to finally get it out?
Geoff: "That's just kind of the way we do things. We're not too good at calculating (laughs). We go with our gut feeling. It just feels right now."
Classic Rock Revisited: So it wasn't thinking that the heavy metal community would be more receptive nowadays than in the past few years.
Geoff: "Honestly, I don't have much involvement in metal or the hard rock community."
Classic Rock Revisited: Yeah, but you're one of the most identifiable voices in heavy rock, yet you're known by some as not exactly being metal's biggest fan. If that's the case, it must be strange being such a key figure in a genre you've not exactly known for being enamored with.
Geoff: "I'm not interested in any genre. Genre is a term that was coined after, way after, my involvement with the music industry and music in general. When I was growing up and started getting interested in music, we didn't have subgenres and categories because the industry wasn't as categorized as it is today. It was all called rock music. From RARE EARTH to HUMBLE PIE to CROSBY, STILLS, NASH & YOUNG to CARLY SIMON to CAROLE KING, it was all rock music. We weren't limited to what by genre. Today, the world is so much different because we psychologically attack each other if the other doesn't fit into our accepted area of what sort of music they listen to. It's really ridiculous. When you break it down, we're all victims of the marketing mentality that's all over our country and puts everybody into little corporate niches. I like all kinds of music."
Classic Rock Revisited: But you have to admit that when the QUEENSRŸCHE EP hit back in '83, you guys were very specifically metal. You had the screams, the speed, the long hair, leather, gothic logo. You definitely seemed metal specific.
Geoff: "The way I look at it is we defined what metal to us was and no one else. But why limit yourself to that little box? I wanted to be able to stretch out and redefine what metal was with each record."
Classic Rock Revisited: Did you strive for a similar sound this time, production-wise, to the original "Mindcrime", or did you go for something more stripped down?
Geoff: "It was definitely a challenge. I think one of the things that worked well for us was taking 'Mindcrime' back on tour (last year). That kind of helped us realize what styles and the way of layering and even getting into the story again and the history of it all and wrapping our heads around it. It's a different thing to go back and revisit it. It is a story that you need to throw yourself back into, and definitely the music, so there's a similarity between now and then."
Classic Rock Revisited: What did Jason [Slater, producer] bring, idea-wise?
Geoff: "Jason brings an amazing ear for sounds, and he's very good with chord arrangements and actually recording itself. He's really into microphone selections and what sort of effects to put on what. At one point, we got the master tape of the original 'Mindcrime' and listened to them all separated out and analyzed the sound and how best to duplicate those sounds. We tried several different kinds of recording techniques to capture some of that. And we actually went to the rental company and rented vintage recording equipment that pushed us in a more vintage sonic area."
Classic Rock Revisited: Were you after a particular mood or sound this time compared with the original? Productions these days seem more stripped down compared to those in the '80s.
Geoff: "Recording techniques and technology were very different in the '80s, particularly with big drum sounds. The new record is very modern. It's multidimensional. For example, listen to the first record. It has the same drum kit throughout the entire record and only two guitar sounds. So it was kind of a one-dimensional record. On this one, there's a different drum kit on each song. We have different guitar setups than we had even dreamed of on the original 'Mindcrime'."
Read the entire interview at www.classicrockrevisited.com.