QUEENSRŸCHE frontman Geoff Tate recently spoke to the Hershey Chronicle about the group's tour with JUDAS PRIEST and the progress of the recording sessions for the new QUEENSRŸCHE album, the next chapter to the 1988 ground-breaking concept album, "Operation: Mindcrime", tentatively titled "Operation: Mindcrime II". Several excerpts from the interview follow:
On reasons for hitting the road between records:
"Self-promotion. We're letting people know we have an album coming out. We're trying a couple tracks from the new album live to try out on the audience."
On "Operation: Mindcrime II":
"I'm kind of getting ready for recording. The drums are done. The bass is being done on Monday. We still need the lead guitar and vocals. By the end of this tour, I should be in top form when recording."
On realizing that there were numerous gaps in the main character of Nikki in the original "Operation: Mindcrime":
"I realized there were a lot of vague areas, so I began to fill in those areas. Before I knew it, I had a large amount of material written.
"It's a very long record. It's very story-driven. It begins 18 years after the end of the first record, with Nikki being in prison. It's a study of revenge — what it is and what it does to someone."
On QUEENSRŸCHE's setlist for the JUDAS PRIEST tour:
"We've picked songs for our set list that fit well with PRIEST. We've found some of our old songs, dusted them off to see if they still fit. And they do.
"It's kind of weird wrapping my head around this stuff. But I found a way.
"You never quite know how a set will be received until you get out and play. We've been doing this for 24 years, and still after the first show, we get together in the dressing room and discuss what worked, and what didn't. We always find adjustment to do."
On the group's stripped-down production for the JUDAS PRIEST tour:
"There's no production at all; it's just us playing our instruments. It's a breathtaking set, really. In an hour, we can go all out, no holds barred, pull out all the stops and unleash. For us, it's very different. It's a breath of fresh air."
On Tate's theory that to sell the new wave of bands, the music industry turns its back on the groups that have already made it money:
"The established bands selling records become the scapegoats to critics of the time and the industry. The way to sell something new is to criticize the old.
"The grunge 'movement' — it's become a 'movement' now — really was a bunch of rock bands being signed and getting popular. To separate those bands from the last group of bands, they had to have a different slogan, a different trademark. It's a way of selling to a new and younger audience. It's a generation thing — we did the same thing when we started.
"I think the resurgence is because we're in a down period — there's nothing new coming out. So you look at the old and appreciate it again."
On remaning relatively unscathed compared to some of their fellow '80s hard-rock/metal acts:
"We're not a traditional metal band. We don't really fit into any category. We're not associated with any certain era."