INTERVIEW: GEOFF TATE (OPERATION: mindcrime/ former Queensryche vocalist)

by Ed Thompson

I had the opportunity today to sit down and talk with a music legend. Arguably the 11th best metal voices in the world per some publications. Personally, I think he’s much higher than that and has such a rare and unique voice, that any some he sings on you can instantly tell it’s him. With all of this, I was nervous as hell having the opportunity to sit and talk with him. The anxiety is REAL.  But really, once he called and we small talked for a few moments, it was like talking with a good friend.

So this vocal legend is none other than Geoff Tate. The current vocalist and founder of the band Operation: Mindcrime.  Formally the lead vocalist of the band Queensryche. He’s also been a part of a few other small and solo projects.

I had to ask the obvious question. Where can I get a bottle of your wine “Insania”  here in the United States? The wine has just recently become available at some locations across the states. However, if you are planning to attend any of his shows coming up, you WILL be able to get a bottle or two at the show. With the way folks are talking about the wine, I’d bring a few extra dollars to this show and buy a couple bottles. You can see some of the discussion about the wine on Geoff’s site GeoffTate.Com.

We talked about the concept that this upcoming tour will be the 30th anniversary of the album “Operation: Mindcrime” that was released in 1988. I asked him if he ever dreamed that 30 years later we would be celebrating the album with a tour for it alone. He said he could never even think that it would be like this. Actually, he said he’s “Shocked”.  Geoff said the album to him and the fans is such a unique album and one that you can listen to in it’s entirety from start to finish. With the tour being solely for the album itself, he said they will play the album in its entirety with a few “surprises” here and there.  Geoff obviously would elaborate on the surprises; however, I did try to get at least one of them out of him but had no luck.  He did say that some “other crowd favorites” will be played following the and into the encores. From his description of the tour and knowing what songs they’re going to play ahead of time, I truly think this is a definite show you don’t want to miss.

With such a unique and powerful voice like Geoff has and has had for over 30 years now, I asked Geoff what he does to maintain it? I asked about vocal warm-ups and vocal warm downs much like many great tenors like Steve Perry did in the 1990’s when he started to have vocal issues.  Geoff simply states that he takes care of himself. Tries to eat healthily and exercise each day. He says he doesn’t really baby it as some vocalists do.  The eating healthy and working out has always worked for him. And said that is truly his secret.  I was hoping for hot tea with lemon and some type of super special herb, but that’s all I got. Oh well,

Sticking with talking about his voice, I reflected with him about being “ranked” as the 14th BEST metal voices of all time in “Hit Parade”. I wanted to get his thoughts on the ranking and how he felt. This was where I fell in love with the artist Geoff Tate. He was so humble and just so lackadaisical about being called one of the best voices of all time.  He did say that it’s EXTREMELY honorable and he thanks the fans and writers for ranking him that high. But it was just the calmness and easy going way that he described the honor and ranking.  Just something I didn’t expect. I didn’t expect him to be arrogant about it, but the way he talked about it was incredible.

After this tour, Geoff said he has some solo work he wants to work on and get out. He said he was going to do some solo shows in the latter part of 2018 (Fall 2018) here in the states and then some addition concerts in Europe in November and December. What was great to hear is he said he was planning Avantasia dates in late 2019. Which to me is exciting to hear!!

,I wanted to hear what a big artist thinks about all the cell phone recordings and photos that happen at each show these days. More so along the lines of what I see at each show which is about 200 cell phones up and taking videos of the show and not really “watching” the show but recording it to put on YouTube. I did bring up the “cell phone incident” that he was involved in years back. Which he still to this day says it was an accident. And hearing his version of the story with my own two ears, I BELIEVE HIM!! But back to the fans recording the shows, Geoff said he really doesn’t mind it. He said with the way the lights are set up at most venues, he can’t see past the first few rows.  SO he really doesn’t see the fans nor their phones.

I closed out the interview with a rewording of the question about the show rehearsals going on and about any special treats he has for us. He still would not answer. So, I guess we will all have to head to Jergal’s out in Warrendale on June 18th and just see what he has in store for us on the Operation Mindcrime’s 30th Anniversary Tour. I know that I will be there. Will you?

I had to, I just had to take a look at the setlist from the first few shows. All I got to say is WOW!!  We knew what it would be for the most part, BUT THAT ENCORE??? Yikes.  Seems he’s blowing the roof off places so far too.  Can’t wait. Hope to see you at the show!!

  1. I Remember Now
  2. Anarchy-X
  3. Revolution Calling
    Operation: Mindcrime
  4. Speak
  5. Spreading the Disease
  6. The Mission
  7. Suite Sister Mary
  8. The Needle Lies
  9. Electric Requiem
  10. Breaking the Silence
  11. I Don’t Believe in Love
  12. Waiting for 22
  13. My Empty Room
  14. Eyes of a Stranger
  15. Anarchy-X
  16. Encore:
  17. Best I Can
  18. Silent Lucidity
  19. Empire
  20. Jet City Woman