KNAC.COM recently conducted an interview with QUEENSRŸCHE frontman Geoff Tate. An excerpt from the chat follows:
KNAC.COM: You've revisited "Operation: Mindcrime". How did that come about?
Tate: "There's always a series of different reasons why you do things and you never really know why you're doing it at the time. You try to figure it out in retrospect. We don't plan things out. We just find ourselves in situations that feel right and just go with it and that was the case with this project. The first one was written in '88 with a sequel in mind. We had left the story open ended with Nikki (the main character) being committed to an insane asylum and then prison. We left it with the ability to take the story another place, but for various reasons over the years we've taken on other projects and ideas that pushed this to the back burner. Still, people kept asking about it (especially the fans). 'What happened to Mary? What happened to Dr. X? Are you ever going to do a sequel?'"
KNAC.COM: And for years you said "No!"
Tate: "Yeah. I had lost interest in it and was on to other ideas. I just found myself leaning in this direction a few years ago. Like with everything I started with a computer file called 'Nikki' and started going to it every now and then. I kept adding to what was there – character sketches, what would Nikki be like now, what's he been doing, what's going through his head and that kind of thing. About a year and a half ago, I went to that file and noticed I had quite a lot of stuff written and it was starting to make sense... I had a story. So, I took it to the band and said, 'I think I've got something here. We might want to tackle a sequel. What do you think about it?' Everyone was real excited about returning to the story and musically seeing where we could take it and how we could keep the music somewhat like the original and re-learn that style of playing, delivery..."
KNAC.COM: I was going to ask you about that. The drum sound sounds a lot like the first album. Was that deliberate or...
Tate: "It was deliberate. It's an audio story, so we tried to give it some similarity to the first story. When the listener plays one and two together, they'll be transported to this world... that sounded a certain way and had a certain feel to it. Music affects people emotionally, so you have to capture that emotional feel again which is very challenging. We had to go against evolution (so to speak)."
KNAC.COM: It must have been hard because in the last decade you've done albums that sound anything but like "Operation: Mindcrime"...
Tate: "I wouldn't say it was hard, but it was challenging. To rethink yourself and how you did things then... Musically, it became very simple after we discovered the little secrets. In the last decade we've been experimenting a lot with different tunings of the guitar — tuning up, tuning down, tuning sideways and all the ways to string the instrument so it plays in a different vibration. So, we found that by going back to A four forty (which 'Mindcrime' was written in) really helped. It opened up the instruments to a whole different way of playing. Melodically, 'Mindcrime' used a lot of melodies voiced in half steps... so we brought that back in as a theme and I think we captured the era very well. On the sound side of things we tried to use the same recording gear and electronic equipment that we had used in the '80s to make this record. We re-enlisted certain reverbs from the 'Mindcrime' album..."
Read the entire interview at KNAC.COM.