GEOFF TATE: How 'Silent Lucidity' Became QUEENSRŸCHE's Biggest Hit
February 17, 2017
Former QUEENSRŸCHE singer Geoff Tate says that the band's touching ballad "Silent Lucidity" almost didn't make the band's triple platinum-certified album "Empire".
After building a devoted fan base with album and EP releases throughout the 1980s, including 1988's critically acclaimed "Operation: Mindcrime", QUEENSRŸCHE broke into the mainstream across North America and abroad with the 1990 release of "Empire". In the U.S., the album peaked at No. 7 on The Billboard 200 chart and "Silent Lucidity" quickly became a heavy rotation staple at rock radio and on MTV, topping Billboard's Modern Rock singles chart and earning QUEENSRŸCHE the coveted MTV "Viewers Choice Award" for the song's music video. "Empire" also made the U.K.'s Top 10, and the album's international success led to QUEENSRŸCHE's 18-month headlining "Building Empires" world tour, the band's longest trek to date.
During a recent appearance on "Trunk Nation", Eddie Trunk's show on SiriusXM channel Volume (106),Tate was asked if he ever imagined when "Silent Lucidity" was first written that it would become such a cross-genre hit. He responded: "No. And I doubt anybody does that ever writes a song that becomes very popular. There's no way to predict that; you just write what it is you write."
He continued: "That song almost didn't make the record. It wasn't completed until the very end, and it didn't have any of the orchestra; it was just vocals and guitar. And the producer that we worked with at the time, Peter Collins, didn't think that it was a very completed idea, and he thought it should be saved for another record [so] we could get more time to complete it. But we pursued it and made it happen and put it on the record, and I'm glad we did, 'cause it definitely has made an impact."
Asked who in the band really pushed for "Silent Lucidity" to be included on "Empire", Tate said: "Oh, [then-QUEENSRŸCHE] guitarist] Chris [DeGarmo, who wrote the track] and I. We were very into the song, and we wanted it on the record. The problem is we presented it too early to the producer; we didn't have all the parts in place. Very few people can imagine something out of thin air, before it's actually there. So it's asking a lot for us to say, 'Well, just imagine it with this orchestral accompaniment.' [Laughs] 'Cause that could be anything. So until Michael Kamen finished the orchestra parts, it was really an unknown. But then once we had those in place and we played it back for Peter, he was all thumbs up. He [said], 'Oh, it's a beautiful song here. You should definitely put it on the record.'"
Tate also talked about "Silent Lucidity"'s lasting influence, saying that "People have been married to that song, children have been born to that song, people have been buried to that song, and children have been made to that song. It's really had quite an impact on the population, you know."
According to Geoff, he has been approached "many, many times" to perform "Silent Lucidity" at various family gatherings and other functions. "I've actually declined every time but once," he said. "And the reason why I declined after that was because of this one time. I did it for some people that I knew that I was pretty good friends with, and they wanted me to sing it at their wedding. And they had a karaoke guy come in, and they had the music all together, and I said, 'Okay, I'll do it for you.' So I sang the song, and everybody loved it. And after my performance, I'm standing there, having a glass of wine and talking with some people, and several people came up and they commented and said how much I sounded like that guy that sings that song. They said I did a really great job and I should be really proud and maybe I should think about doing this professionally. [Laughs]"
"Silent Lucidity" was written about a person having a lucid dream. A lucid dream happens when you are aware that you are dreaming, and can control parts of it. DeGarmo got the idea from a book called "Creative Dreaming". "The song is about the ability to realize that you're dreaming, recognize it, and actually participate in the dream, shape it, change it," the guitarist said in a 1990 interview. "I had never had the opportunity to present it in song form, to talk about it. It happened nicely on this particular project."