The "Music Mania" podcast recently conducted an interview with former QUEENSRŸCHE and current OPERATION: MINDCRIME singer Geoff Tate about his 30th-anniversary tour for QUEENSRŸCHE's landmark "Operation: Mindcrime" concept album. You can listen to the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the stage show for "Operation: Mindcrime":
Geoff: "We're really just keeping it as a 'music does the talking' kind of tour. Playing the album in its entirety, it's gone over really well with audiences in about 15 countries so far. And, I tell you, it's an album that I never get tired of playing. It always seems to go over well with the audiences. People just know it. They grow up with it. I see a lot of people my age out in the audience, a lot of people come with their kids nowadays to the shows. I guess they want to see me play before I'm dead. [Laughs] I'm not sure if I'm going to sing this thing at the 40-year anniversary, when I'm 70. [Laughs]"
On how his voice handles the rigors of singing "Operation: Mindcrime" in full:
Geoff: "I've been really blessed and I'm very lucky that I have a strong, strong voice and my body is still pretty active and physical. So, no, I don't really have an issue with singing the music. It's more about traveling. Traveling kind of takes a lot out of you, so I typically try to schedule my tours so they're a month long and I have a few weeks to kind of recuperate. Then, back on it again for a month, then a few weeks off — that kind of schedule. Especially when you're jumping around the world, the change in time really starts getting to me nowadays. I don't know why, but it really gets to me, so I have to be careful with that. So far, so good. I've been really healthy and hopefully, cross my fingers, nothing goes wrong and I'll be able to continue on. You've got people out there like Mick Jagger in their '70s who are still doing it really well. You've got that benchmark to live up to."
On QUEENSRŸCHE's progression from 1986's "Rage For Order" to "Operation: Mindcrime":
Geoff: "I think if you look at our QUEENSRŸCHE discography, you'll see our first two records, we were moving in a thematic direction. We were taking a theme and expanding on it and writing several pieces of music or several songs that had to with that subject on a record. And, that was really due to me. I was trying to move the band in a more conceptual mode. That's kind of where my first love musically came from, was classical music and then progressive rock music of the time, which was bands like GENESIS and 'The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway', 'Tales From Topographic Oceans' was YES. Bands like this who were doing these grand, large-scale conceptual pieces is where I kind of saw QUEENSRŸCHE moving to. So, I've been sort of searching for a subject for a couple of years when finally, it hit me, of all places, in Montreal, Canada, I was living there at the time and came up with the storyline for the 'Operation: Mindcrime' album and wrote a few songs, then demoed the whole project out to the band and said 'This is what I've been talking about the last couple of years and this is where I'd like to see us go.' The first one onboard was Chris DeGarmo, our guitar player, who loved the idea and he jumped onboard. Between the two of us, we convinced the other guys that this is the direction we should go with the record. Once they decided they liked the idea, they jumped on too and it became what it is, which is a really great record. I really appreciate it a lot more now after 30 years listening back to it, I appreciate it much more now than I did before, I think."
On whether anniversary dates of QUEENSRŸCHE's albums mean anything to him:
Geoff: "I've got 19 albums and got a lot of music there, so I'll be celebrating anniversaries for a long time coming, I think. [Laughs] But, yeah, I like the anniversaries. I think it's good to look back at what you've done and listen to it with fresh ears and see how you like it still. The funny thing about making records, for me, at least, from only my perspective and that is I lived and breathe the record while I'm doing it. I've gotten good at finishing them, but before, there's little things about them: 'Oh, I guess I would have spent a little bit more time on this part.' Or, 'I don't like the way this part sounds here.' 'I wish this echo was better here.' Funny enough, after a few years, you listen back to the record and you've forgotten about what bothered you in the first place. You listen to it as a totality as opposed to a segmented thing. You forget what it was that bugged you and you just like it for what it is."
On his OPERATION: MINDCRIME project:
Geoff: "That was a fantastic project. That happened after I left QUEENSRŸCHE and after being in a band for 30-plus [years], I really decided that I didn't want to be in a band again. I wanted to have a group of rotating musicians, people that could come in and enthusiastically be playing with for a while, then they move on and I get somebody different. I wanted to play with as many people as I could. So, the trilogy project really gave me the opportunity to work with a number of different people. I had the pleasure of collaborating musically with a bunch of different people and also touring with a number of different musicians for those tours. It was great. I had nothing but fond memories. Of course, I had the three-album set of really extreme, different, unique kinds of music that I'm very proud of."
The "Mindcrime" set covers all fifteen songs from the album including such fan favorites as "Revolution Calling", "Operation: Mindcrime", "I Don't Believe In Love" and the closing track, "Eyes Of A Stranger". As fans might remember, Geoff performed the album in its entirety on tour in 2013 to celebrate its 25th anniversary.
"Operation: Mindcrime" — one of the most iconic concept albums of all-time — was the album that thrust Geoff Tate's unique social consciousness, style and expertly crafted lyrics into the international spotlight.
The band currently on tour features Kieran Robertson from Scotland on guitar, Bruno Sa from Brazil on keyboards, Jack Ross from Scotland on bass, Scott Moughton from Canada on guitar, Josh Watts from England on drums and Geoff Tate's daughter Emily, who is singing the parts of Sister Mary. She's also in the band TIL DEATH DO US PART, who are special guests on this tour.