GEOFF TATE: Why I Don't Enjoy Singing 'Queen Of The Reich' Anymore
November 20, 2012
Joseph Suto of Rock Show Critique recently conducted an interview with QUEENSRŸCHE vocalist Geoff Tate. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Rock Show Critique: [QUEENSRŸCHE's] "Queen Of The Reich" has been one of your most popular tunes, yet over the past several years, you rarely played it live. Was that by choice or is it just a harder song to sing?
Geoff Tate: Actually, it's not very popular at all. It's funny, actually — a lot of people don't know about that song. A lot of people don't care about that song. It's an early song that was written and it shows. It's funny the reaction you get, because it's a lot of blank stares. In fact, it's the same stare you get when you play a new song that nobody's heard before. People just aren't that familiar with it. Given there are a few hardcore fans that might know that song, or like that song, and know what it is, but the majority of the people there don't. So it's not really a song that I enjoy singing, strictly because, lyrically, it's pretty adolescent. It was the first song written thirty-some-odd years ago and obviously I cannot relate to it anymore. I think, for performance, it's always best for the performer to really believe in the material they're singing or playing. If you don't believe in it, it's really difficult to get behind a song, do it well and do it at a level that comes across with any kind of believability. For me, I honestly can't relate to the whole dungeons-and-dragons lyrical content of that song; it's really cartoonish and juvenile to me.
Rock Show Critique: As you grew older, you felt you wrote better songs?
Geoff Tate: Songs that mean more to me, definitely. I try not to use the term "better" or "worse" when it comes to music, because I really don't believe there is good music or bad music. It's not a sporting event. It's art and expression, and I just think as a songwriter, you grow. Songs are your way of writing about yourself and your passions and your beliefs and the things you find important about sharing your life with people. So you want to write songs that are about what is happening to you currently. The music reflects the writer's life.
Rock Show Critique: Looking back on your career, what tours stand out to you the most in terms of overall satisfaction?
Geoff Tate: This [solo] tour I'm on right now is amazing. I'm just having the best time. I'm playing music for people in very small intimate places and actually seeing, feeling the response back from the audience. I just honestly love it. You don't get that in a big place. It's kind of sterile and cold in the bigger venues and these small ones there's something about them, their magic. From my point of view, there is so much more of a connection to the audience. You can hear what they are saying, they're listening to what you're saying in between songs. It's a great way to communicate, I feel.
Rock Show Critique: How long do you envision yourself touring and making new albums for?
Geoff Tate: Touring is a different thing. Touring is a lot more difficult these days. Simply because of the expense of getting from point A to point B and putting on shows, selling tickets and all that kind of thing. It's a horrible, horrible economy worldwide. The record industry is in complete retransformation period; it's being reinvented now. None of the old rules apply. What we grew up with is completely different. The industry doesn't even resemble what it used to. So everyone is trying to find their way on how to operate on making things work with considerable monetary restraints. Because records just don't sell anymore; people aren't buying as many records as they used to buy. There's very few retail outlets that sell records anymore and the records they do sell are very limited and what they have to offer. Honestly, there is not enough money in it for record companies to make profits enough to employ people. Like a typical major record company would employ several thousand people around the world. Today, employment is down to a couple hundred worldwide. So it's drastically reduced. There's no money in it, because, of course, the downloading and the file sharing just got at the industry economically. Crazy. A lot of times people still apply the old (sales) to the new model. They don't even know what they are talking about. You can't even compare the sales of a record nowadays to what they were ten years ago. They're not even the same numbers.