Queensrÿche

Popdose Roundtable: Queensrÿche and Geoff Tate Split

Queensrÿche

Notice anything missing in this photo? If you’re a Queensrÿche fan you should, because there’s no Geoff Tate. That’s because the band and their original lead vocalist have parted ways after more than 30 years together. While Queensrÿche’s official website and Facebook page have been silent on the matter thus far, the band did release the above photo featuring new singer Todd La Torre (formerly of Crimson Glory).

Here’s what the Popdose staff had to say about the matter in the wake of yesterday’s news.

Chris Holmes – Not a huge surprise given recent events, but sad nonetheless. Say what you want about the quality of the band’s material in recent years, having Geoff Tate at least helped them retain a somewhat distinct sound.

Michael Parr – I’m only surprised from the standpoint that Roadrunner signed a Tate-fronted Queensrÿche, not this new abomination. I wonder how the brass feels about this turn of events.

Holmes – Considering how much the last album sucked, I’m sure they already regretted the signing.

Matt Wardlaw – Yeah, that last album was without question, the worst album they’ve ever recorded under the ‘Rÿche name.

Parr – I made it three tracks in, shut it off, and deleted it from my library.

Dw. Dunphy – I saw them last year and Tate was bringing the band down. His arrogance was demeaning to the audience, and the band which wanted to have a little fun was made to be like the “taskmasters of art.”

Holmes – Funny, when I last saw them (I think it was on the Operation: Mindcrime II tour) they seemed to all be clicking. Of course that was several years ago.

Gotta say, though, that this band has made some really fucking wacky decisions in recent years. I don’t even want to get into the cabaret tour thing.

Wardlaw – Yeah, the tour a couple of years ago where they were spotlighting tracks from Empire and a few other albums was GREAT.

Holmes – According to Tate from a few weeks ago, he seemed to absolve himself from the atrocity of the last album and lay the blame at the other members’ feet. So of course all the die-hards on the Facebook page think it’s great that Tate is gone so Rÿche can get back to being a real metal band.

Ugh.

Dunphy – Last year Tate was very nearly mocking the audience for wanting Empire tracks, and equally negative when Dedicated to Chaos tracks signaled beer exodus.

Holmes – Now is as good a time as any to admit that I really like Tate’s solo record and wouldn’t mind another one like it.

Wardlaw – I’ve interviewed Tate a few times in the past 10-15 years, including this choice conversation 10 years ago, and the follow-up story.

Geoff Tate

As far back as that point, when he was doing promotion for his self-titled solo debut, he talked about how far removed he was from being a “metal” guy. He really made it seem like the Queensrÿche thing was a monkey on his back that just got in the way of things he’d rather be doing, like that solo album, which was very non-hard rock. Him splitting off from the other guys at this point makes a lot of sense. His heart hasn’t been in it for years….and now the guys that still want to do it have a guy who will sing circles around Tate behind the mic.

How many people will still care? Who knows. It’s either going to be a Foreigner thing, where they sell out shows and do alright for themselves…. or it’s going to be somewhere below that and only slightly above a band like Warrant being on tour with a guy that’s not Jani Lane (granted, they don’t have a choice about that anymore), or any other hair/hard rock band that you want to point to who is out touring without their frontman.

The guy has a solid set of pipes though, so it will be a good show, for those who want to see it.

Album-wise? We’ll see.

David Medsker – From what I read, the band complained about Tate’s iron fisted direction, but they weren’t writing anything of their own to counter him. Then they finally did, and Tate was happy to record it. Is that right? And is that band input why the last album was so awful?

Either way, they’re finished.

Holmes – Well I’ll just put it out there that I am not interested in any new output of theirs sans Tate, nor am I interested in seeing them with a new singer. I appreciate their desire to carry on as a band, but count me out.

And as the story goes, they basically had to beg Tate to join in the first place. I’m not surprised at all to hear that he did the Queensrÿche thing because he could, not because he loved metal.

Dunphy – I would add that I don’t have a problem with a band following their artistic muse(s), but how it is carried out makes a world of difference. One can be welcoming and the other can be hostile. I was definitely in the pro-Tate camp before that show and, unlike a lot of the audience, I watched the entire thing, even the newest stuff I had little affinity for. But it was very clear that the band was straining at the seams. They played well, but they were not happy at all. And Tate made the audience feel very uncomfortable. By the end when they played a couple tracks from Empire, his mocking, “bang your head now, monkeys” demeanor just had such a souring effect.

Contrast that with a few months later when I went to see Dream Theater. The audience had no reason to expect anything. Mike Mangini was now the drummer and the die-hards may have had an agenda going in to dislike him, but it was impossible. They played well, interacted with the audience, played new and old material alike, and they seemed like they were glad to be there. It was the thing that won the audience over.

In the end we all want to be wanted, even on the level of audience participation. Tate had the right to be bemused that the new stuff wasn’t going down well, but in the end, that “you’re for me or against me” attitude that seeped through ruined what could have been a really great show.

Parr – As Medsker said earlier: they’re finished. While I was of the opinion that Queensrÿche stopped being Queensrÿche when Chris DeGarmo left, they have officially jumped off the cliff with this move. Dw. draws a good parallel with Dream Theater, though I truly believe that Tate has been phoning it in for years. One listen to the music he created on his own proves he had no heart in the genre of metal he helped refine.

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