INTERVIEW WITH GEOFF TATE
Date: March 4, 2017
Interviewer: Ruben Mosqueda
Photos: Christopher Carroll Rock Photography (third photo), Mike Lewis Photography (fourth photo)
Geoff Tate toured North America in the fall of 2016 with his friends Blaze Bailey (Wolfsbane, Iron Maiden) and Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens (Judas Priest, Iced Earth) under the heading ‘Trinity.’ Almost immediately after in early 2017, Geoff Tate headed to Europe to do an all acoustic tour which he’s titled ‘The Whole Ryche Story Acoustic Tour.’ “I think I’ve put in about over 20,000 miles in the last 8 months,” says the Seattle native. Sleaze Roxx caught up with Geoff Tate who is deep into his ‘The Whole Ryche Story Acoustic Tour’ of North America. I’m sure you’re thinking to yourself, if there is a chance of a ‘Trinity’ West Coast Tour? “That was such a fun tour, the three of us when we get together have such chemistry, we have so much fun, we share a lot of laughs and we are planning to do it again.”
Sleaze Roxx: You are constantly touring all around the globe. You’re making your way back to Portland [Oregon] almost a year to the day.
Geoff Tate: That’s right. We’ve been pretty busy which is great for us or any touring band. We’re just recovering from a ‘doozy’ of a cold that hit use about two weeks ago. You just have to ‘soldier on’ and do your best to get through it.
Sleaze Roxx: As stated, you’re back in North America on ‘The Whole Ryche Story Acoustic Tour.’ I assume this taps into the entire Queensrÿche back catalog?
Geoff Tate: Yeah. If you can believe this, we’re performing 35 years worth of music in two hours. Or should I say an overview [laughs]?
Sleaze Roxx: I’ve not looked online for the setlist because I like to be surprised. I guess you’ve averaging at least one song from each [Queensrÿche] album?
Geoff Tate: That’s right. We designed it that way. There’s a lot of storytelling which takes place between songs. I call them tidbits or inspirations on what was going on in my life at the time that the song was written or recorded or what might have inspired the song. I’m been receiving great feedback from the fans about the show. I don’t know if it’s my expertise in storytelling or the presentation of the song [laughs]? It’s a fun show. It’s all acoustic. We have two acoustic guitars, a violin, a percussion instrument called a ‘cajon.’ Everyone in the band sings too… It’s a pretty rich sound. The acoustic performance is a return to the origins of the song. Most people don’t know this but most of my songs were either written on acoustic guitar or piano.
Sleaze Roxx: Over the course of the past few years since you’ve been doing your own thing, it’s clear that the fans that make it out to your show are the diehards. They are there singing along to the songs; no matter if it’s one of the ‘hits’ or one of the ‘deeper cuts.’
Geoff Tate: That’s really encouraging to me. I love that people are familiar with some of the deeper tracks than the single they’ve heard on the radio.
Sleaze Roxx: I don’t recall exactly how long it’s been because we’ve had several conversations… It must have been three, maybe four years ago? We spoke about your acting role in ‘The Burningmoore Deaths.’ You were talking to me about this independent film that you starred in and that is not available on DVD via MVD. What’s your thoughts on the film now or have you viewed the finished product?
Geoff Tate: [pause] You know what Ruben? I’ll have to correct you but that was seven years ago [laughs].
Sleaze Roxx: [pause] My God. Has it been that long? A lot has happened since then.
Geoff Tate: [laughs] Yeah, it’s been a really long time [laughs]! I had just about completely forgotten about the film until about a couple days before Valentine’s Day. I received an interview request from Billboard Magazine to talk about ‘The Burningmoore Deaths’ and my thoughts on the movie. I had to make some calls because I didn’t even know this was coming out [laughs]! I made a call to the producer and the director so we could rekindle our memories a little on what it was we did [laughs]. It was a fun time. The three of us got together really to be part of a fun project. If you can believe this; we didn’t have a script we wrote it as we went [laughs]. We brainstormed as we went along and we filmed. No, I’ve never watched the whole film. I’ve just seen the trailer like everybody else.
Sleaze Roxx: So being that you ‘winged’ the movie as you went, was the film shot in sequence or was it chopped up and later put in sequence?
Geoff Tate: It was mostly shot in sequence. There’s a couple of things that were shot later on. There’s a couple things that we couldn’t shoot at the time because we weren’t prepared. There’s a scene with a guy flying out of a window which we shot at a later time. That’s a pretty cool scene. So it was mostly shot sequentially and on the fly [laughs]! It’s a very dark film. I think you could safely call this a ‘horror’ film.
Sleaze Roxx: Leading up to the film, how much acting had you done before?
Geoff Tate: I actually was in a production of ‘The King and I’ in college and in school I played ‘Prince Charming’ once [laughs]!
Sleaze Roxx: Is acting something that comes easy to you?
Geoff Tate: I don’t think that it comes easy. Acting is a serious discipline. I feel it’s something that you must think about before you jump into it. To be a serious actor, which I don’t consider myself a serious actor… I’d consider myself a bit of a novice. I have to say, I do enjoy it and I’d love to do more films. I just have to find time to do it [laughs]!
Sleaze Roxx: Who’s your favorite actor?
Geoff Tate: [long pause] I don’t know that I have a favorite. There’s a lot of fine actors. I think the smart ones are the ones that pick the right role for themselves. You could say that a guy like Dwayne Johnson is a smart actor. He seems to pick roles that he does well in. I think he’s smart because he doesn’t try to overreach. He’s not trying to recite Shakespeare; though I imagine he could. He stays within a character that works for him and he doesn’t stretch too far that he isn’t credible. Then you have someone like Meryl Streep who could probably play any role. Another that comes to mind is Gary Oldman who becomes this invisible actor who ‘becomes the part.’ Sometimes you don’t even realize he’s in the film until the credits roll. That’s brilliant! I’m like “That was Gary Oldman?! I never knew!” He’s fantastic. He becomes the character.
Sleaze Roxx: Your favorite film?
Geoff Tate: Well, I really like just about everything that Ridely Scott has ever done. I think he’s one of the finest directors. I’m also a fan of his brother Tony Scott [actor]. Gosh… I can’t say that there’s one particular film that I’d call ‘my favorite.’ This I will tell you, I own a lot of films [laughs]! All genres. I would say that I like dramas the most. I guess I like to watch the struggle that then leads to a resolution.
Sleaze Roxx: Geoff, do you recall who the first famous person that you met? What was that like?
Geoff Tate: Good question. Let me think. You know I don’t think I met anyone famous until I had a little bit of fame myself. I think that was good in the sense that I was always sensitive in how I would approach them. I wasn’t much into doing the ‘cold call’ so to speak. I wasn’t about walking up to someone introducing myself and striking up a conversation. I’m just not wired that way [laughs]! So when I would meet famous people, it was in a professional environment — a show or an event of some sort. I’d be introduced to them by someone — either a mutual friend or someone in the industry. It was different because then, each person would know who the other person is. You’re both there and there’s a reason why you’re both there.
I do have an interesting story for you. I was at a golf tournament a few years ago in Miami [Florida]. I walked into the bar with a group of friends. I walked up to the bar to order a drink and I saw [singer] Meatloaf standing at the bar. He was ordering a drink. I was there to get another drink. We struck up this conversation without being introduced. We talked about the care of his voice. I’m sure you’re familiar with the story. He’s had very publicized problems with his voice. He fought back and changed his entire health regime to get his voice back. I was very curious as to how he did that. He was very forthcoming about the procedure that followed. He just opened up and started talking about it. If it were me and someone started asking about my voice like that, I think I would have found the nearest exit relatively quickly! Then again, I think at that point, we were both inebriated enough that maybe it didn’t matter [bursts into laughter]?