Geoff Tate Appearing on "New Day Northwest", 2014
|Birth name||Jeffrey Wayne Tate|
January 14, 1959 |
Stuttgart, West Germany
|Genres||Heavy metal, progressive metal, hard rock|
|Instruments||Vocals, keyboards, saxophone|
|Associated acts||Queensrÿche, Hear 'n Aid|
Geoff Tate (born Jeffrey Wayne Tate, January 14, 1959; he later changed his first name to Geoffery or Geoffrey) is an American singer and musician who rose to fame in the 1980s with the progressive metal band Queensrÿche. Tate is ranked fourteenth on Hit Parader's list of the 100 Greatest Metal Vocalists of All Time. He was voted #2 on That Metal Show's top 5 hard rock vocalists of the 1980s. In 2012, he won the Vegas Rocks Magazine Award for "Voice in Progressive Heavy Metal". After his farewell tour as Queensrÿche, he plans to rename his band Operation: Mindcrime, after the Queensrÿche album of the same name.   
Tate was born in Stuttgart, which was then part of West Germany, to American parents. His mother's side of the family is from New Orleans. Shortly after his birth, his family relocated to Tacoma, Washington.
While Tate was in the band Babylon, he was asked to sing with the cover band The Mob (who would later start writing original material and become Queensrÿche) at a local rock festival. After Babylon broke up, Tate performed a few shows with The Mob, but left because he was not interested in performing heavy metal cover songs. Tate then joined the progressive metal band Myth as lead vocalist and keyboardist. Other band members of Myth included Kelly Gray, who was later one of the replacements for Queensrÿche guitarist Chris DeGarmo, and Randy Gane, both of whom joined Tate's version of Queensrÿche in 2012.
The Mob again called on Tate in 1981, this time to record a demo tape, which he accepted, convincing his bandmates in Myth that getting professional recording experience would benefit all of them in the future. The band already had a set of songs, but one song was still left without lyrics. Tate was asked to write lyrics to this song, which would become the song "The Lady Wore Black", Tate's first penned song with the band. The demo tape was widely circulated, and was released as an EP in 1982 on the 206 Records label. Around this time, the name The Mob was changed to Queensrÿche, and Tate left Myth to become Queensrÿche's permanent lead singer. Myth went on to record the album Arabia after Tate had left.
Queensrÿche was signed to EMI in the summer of 1983, with a contract spanning 15 years and encompassing seven albums. EMI re-released the EP, Queensrÿche, to moderate success, peaking at No. 81 on the Billboard charts. With Queensrÿche, Tate had great successes, especially with the concept album Operation: Mindcrime, which was released in 1988, and 1990's Empire. The band has sold over 20 million albums worldwide.
On June 20, 2012, it was announced that Queensrÿche had fired Tate, replacing him with Crimson Glory vocalist Todd La Torre. Soon after, Tate and his wife Susan (who served as the band's manager from 2005–2012) filed a lawsuit in a Washington court, saying that he was wrongfully terminated from the group. They also filed a preliminary injunction in an attempt to prevent either side to use the band's name and likeness until the lawsuit was settled, but this was overturned by a judge who decided that both parties can use the name Queensrÿche until a settlement or a court verdict determines who gets the name. It was revealed to the public on April 28, 2014 that Rockenfield, Wilton and Jackson were given the exclusive rights to the Queensrÿche trademark and that Tate received the rights to Operation: Mindcrime.
Queensrÿche Featuring Geoff Tate (2012–2014)
Following his firing and while awaiting the outcome of a settlement or court ruling deciding who ultimately will gain access to the name Queensrÿche, Tate announced his own lineup using the name "Queensrÿche" on September 1, 2012 via his official Facebook page. Until Tate lost the brand Queensrÿche in April 2014 to the other band members, they were promoted by their booking agent under the name "Queensrÿche Starring Geoff Tate the Original Voice". The lineup would originally feature Rudy Sarzo, Bobby Blotzer, Glen Drover, and two of his former band mates from the band Myth; Kelly Gray and Randy Gane. Drover left the band on November 23, 2012, later explaining that: “[t]he musical direction of where Geoff wanted to go wasn’t what I wanted to go forward with. I’m more into the first five Queensrÿche albums, the original template of the band. For me, when I think of the band, I think of those records.” On January 25, 2013, his replacement was announced to be guitarist Robert Sarzo, while Blotzer was replaced on drums by Simon Wright.
The band embarked on an "Operation: Mindcrime Anniversary Tour" on April 6, 2013, celebrating the album's 25th anniversary. predominantly touring the American Southwest. The tour is scheduled to continue through to September 2014 with several breaks, among others with Tate touring with his solo band in May 2014. As part of the settlement agreement, Tate may continue to playing with this lineup, as he is granted the exclusive rights to perform Operation: Mindcrime and Operation: Mindcrime II in their entirety as a unique performance, but not under the name Queensrÿche. Tate, however, presumably does not perceive this to be a similar band setting as the one he used to have with Queensrÿche before the 2012 split, saying: "I don't ever want to be in a band again. A "band"-band that sticks together through thick and thin and all that, you know. I've already done that. I want to work with different groups of people. And I want to constantly be changing it up to make it interesting and different. And I want to play with as many great players as I possibly can.
Sample of "Cold", the first single by the version of Queensrÿche with Geoff Tate on vocals.
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With this lineup, Tate has released the album Frequency Unknown on April 23 via through Deadline Music, a sub-label of Cleopatra Records. It was co-written, produced and mixed in 6 weeks by Jason Slater and mastered by Maor Appelbaum, but Billy Sherwood was later hired to remix the album, "[as it] seems there are sonic issues with the previous versions". Several days later, however, Sherwood pulled out of the project, citing scheduling issues. The work was subsequently spread out over at least four remixers, because of a deadline that had to be met. "Cold", the first single off Frequency Unknown was released on April 3, 2013. It was remixed and produced by Anthony Focx.
In 1985, Tate participated in the famine relief collaboration Hear 'n Aid.
In 2002, Tate released an eponymous solo album on Sanctuary Records. Around this time, he had shaven off his long hair, out of solidarity to a close family member who was battling cancer until her death. On November 6, 2012, Tate released his second solo record on InsideOut Music, entitled Kings and Thieves.
Operation: Mindcrime (2014-present)
After the out-of-court settlement, Geoff Tate lost the rights to the name Queensrÿche. After a farewell tour under the Queensrÿche name, he plans to rename his band "Operation: Mindcrime" after the 1988 Queensrÿche album of the same name. Geoff Tate stated that a new conceptual project by the group has been planned. It is to be split into a trilogy of albums, being released at different times. He considers it one of his most ambitious projects yet, and hopes to have the first album out by early 2015.
Tate stars as the narrator and killer in the found footage horror movie The Burningmoore Incident. It was released direct-to-video on March 4, 2013. Tate is scheduled to score the music to the in-production crime movie Fallen Moon.
Tate is also a noted wine enthusiast. He started making wine at age 14, explaining: "I was a boy scout and you could get a merit badge if you created a beverage or a food product and I made dandelion wine, which wasn’t very good but definitely sparked my interest and got me started on that passion." The passion for wine further developed when Tate was in Queensrÿche: "I have been collecting wine seriously since the band first got signed back in 1983 and we were touring the world. I’d make special arrangements to leave at certain point of the tour and take off and head into the wine regions. I started to become even more interested in how it was made and how grapes were grown and which grapes grew best where and that type of thing." Tate has given several interviews to the magazine Wine Spectator. In 2010, Geoff and Susan Tate launched their own brand of wine, "Insania".
Since 2012, Geoff Tate has attracted a significant amount of controversy and criticism, mostly in part to the circumstances surrounding and following the split with Queensrÿche (when his bandmates, guitarist Michael Wilton, bassist Eddie Jackson and drummer Scott Rockenfield fired him from the band and replaced him with then-Crimson Glory vocalist Todd La Torre) and his control over the band during the 1997–2012 period, according to court declarations from his former bandmates.
Tate attracted negative attention for spitting on and physically assaulting Wilton and Rockenfield before and during a show in São Paulo, Brazil, on April 14, 2012. Then, during a later show the Rocklahoma Festival on May 26, Tate commented to an unresponsive crowd "You guys suck," which his bandmates, as well as fans, felt was an insult, but Tate would later defend his actions by stating in a court declaration "I was not insulting the audience. I was trying to motivate or excite them." He finds that this was used against him in the lawsuit: "It’s just something that the other guys [in the band] and their team of people are trying to twist into a 'Geoff doesn’t respect the fans' type of thing." He elaborated on that in an interview, saying: "I say that stuff all the time, you know. It's part of being a front man, you know. You got to motivate the audience, you know. And I say things to get people motivated. I think... I say things to push people's buttons to get them to react. It's part of a performance. But if you're in a lawsuit, of course, these things get taken out of context and put into a new format. I guess the objective is to make me look like I don't care about the fans. Which is unfortunate."
Geoff Tate's version of Queensrÿche has also generated controversy due to the artwork of their album, Frequency Unknown. The abbreviation "F.U." is emphasized on the front cover, and is often used in English as a synonym for the profane expression "Fuck you". Tate, however, when asked about the meaning behind the artwork in an interview, responded with "Oh gosh, people read so much into everything. It's kind of funny, isn't it?" Todd La Torre, the frontman of Queensrÿche, has criticized the artwork, saying "It's below the belt. To me, it's not what Queensrÿche was about. Queensrÿche wasn't about the cheap shots. Queensrÿche was always more respectful and intelligent of that (...) and so when one talks about devaluing the name or the brand of Queensrÿche, it's so obvious that when you're putting a fist with an 'FU' in a clever way to say that's Frequency Unknown, but we know what it's really likely to be standing for, (...) that doesn't add credibility or respect to the name and brand of Queensrÿche."
Also, during the "Operation: Mindcrime Anniversary Tour" tour, on May 17, 2013, Tate created controversy during a show in St. Charles, Illinois. Ten minutes into the show, he grabbed an audience member's smartphone, turned around, and threw it over his shoulder into the crowd. Tate has not shown remorse, instead explaining that: "some actions that I have become very normal with as a performer are getting scrutinized and manipulated to paint a picture of me [to make me look like a bad guy]." He has also accused the uploader of the video showing this footage to have manipulated the footage to make it appear as though he threw it, as he insists that he accidentally dropped it while trying to take pictures of the fan and of himself. In another instance, Tate spat on a fan from stage.
Tate has commented on these controversies in relation to the lawsuits, saying: "I guess that's the nature of being in a lawsuit. Now you have to watch what you say, and trust that who you are talking to does the right thing, you know, and push the information out in the way that it happened. And not try to construct something different, you know?" He also added: "Because we’re in litigation there is a concerted effort to create a personality for me, to try and create a smear campaign really." and expressed belief that most negative comments about him on the internet are posted by the same, small group of people who use fake accounts to make it appear as though his detractors are much greater in number.
Tate's first wife was named Sandy. Tate was married to Sue (Suzanne) from 1990 until 1996. She inspired the lyrics to "Jet City Woman." In 1996, he married his current wife, Susan. She and Geoff used to be vegans. Tate has three daughters: Sabra, Bella, and Emily, and one step-daughter via Susan, named Miranda. Sabra was named after one of the songs Tate played with the band Myth, called "The Sabre's Edge". Tate was never married to Sabra's mother. In 2013, Sabra gave Geoff his first grandchild, giving birth to Isla Merynn.
Tate is known for involving family members with his musical endeavors. His wife Susan worked for Queensrÿche's fan club since 1997, served as the band's assistant manager since 2001, and as band manager from 2005-2012. She is also the manager for Tate's solo career. Stepdaughter Miranda has also run Queensrÿche's fanclub. Guitarist Parker Lundgren joined the band of Tate's solo project in the summer of 2008, while dating Miranda. In February 2009 he joined Queensrÿche, and on 18 July married Miranda, but they divorced about half a year later. Late 2009 and early 2010, Miranda was a go-go dancer with the Queensrÿche Cabaret. Daughter Emily has sung a duet with her father on the song "Home Again" on the 2009 Queensrÿche album American Soldier and the ensuing tour, at age 12. In 2013, Miranda and Emily sung backing vocals on a re-recording of "Silent Lucidity" for the album Frequency Unknown.
- Butchering The Beatles: A Headbashing Tribute – vocals on "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds"
- A World With Heroes – vocals on "The Oath"
- We Wish You a Metal Xmas: and a Headbanging New Year – vocals on "Silver Bells"
- Sin-Atra - 2011
Notes and references
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- "Declaration of Counsel, Thomas T. Osinski Jr.". Court declaration. 2012-06-09. Retrieved 2012-12-19. (Pp. 11, 48).
- Kielty, Martin (2012-11-08). "Geoff Tate: Kings And Thieves track by track". Classic Rock. Retrieved 2013-06-15.
- Miller, Brett. "Before the Storm - The Early Days of Queensrÿche". www.queensrychehistory.com. Retrieved April 24, 2006.
- "Queensryche celebrate "Operation: Mindcrime" anniversary". SoundSpike. 2012-11-28.
- "Declaration of Scott Rockenfield". Court declaration. 2011-07-10. Retrieved 2012-12-06.
- "Latest Music News, Band, Artist, Musician & Music Video News". Billboard.com. Retrieved 2012-07-15.
- "Geoff Tate Wins Court Ruling to Continue Using Queensrÿche Name". Loudwire. 2012-10-20. Retrieved 2012-11-29.
- "It's official: the battle over the future of Queensrÿche is settled". The Seattle Times. 2014-04-28. Retrieved 2014-04-28.
- New Lineup. Queensrÿche (2012-09-01). Retrieved on 2012-09-16.
- "Queensryche Starring Geoff Tate the Original Voice". Montereyinternational.net. Retrieved 2012-01-05.
- Glen Drover Quits Geoff Tate's Queensrÿche. Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved on 2012-11-26.
- New Lineup. Queensryche (2012-09-01). Retrieved on 2012-09-16.
- Glen Drover Quits Geoff Tate's Queensrÿche. Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved on 2012-11-26.
- Begai, Carl (2013-03-19). "Glen Drover: On The Road To Queensrÿche Madness". Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles. Retrieved 2013-04-11.
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- "Talking with Geoff Tate of Queensrÿche!". Spreaker. 2014-03-30. Retrieved 2014-04-07.
- Kontogeorgakos, Dimitris (2013-06-08). "Queensrÿche - Geoff Tate (audio)". Metal Kaoz. Retrieved 2013-06-14.
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- Fricker, Glenn (2013-04-10). "Remixing Queensryche". Spectre Media Group. Retrieved 2013-04-11.
- "Queensrÿche - Cold (Frequency Unknown) [OFFICIAL SINGLE]". YouTube. 2013-04-03. Retrieved 2013-04-04.
- "Geoff Tate's Queensrÿche Taps Sass Jordan For 'Suite Sister Mary' Duet In June". Blabbermouth.net. 2013-05-10. Retrieved 2013-05-10.
- "Geoff Tate Taps Nina Noir For Queensrÿche's 'Operation: Mindcrime' 25th-Anniversary Tour - Mar. 30, 2013". Blabbermouth.net. 2013-03-30. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
- "Declaration of Eddie Jackson". Court declaration. 2012-06-12. Retrieved 2012-12-04.
- "Queensrÿche Singer To Score 'Fallen Moon' Film". Blabbermouth.net. 2009-07-30. Retrieved 2012-12-19.
- Scales, Roger (2013-06-07). "Geoff Tate of Queensryche". They Will Rock You Music Network. Retrieved 2013-06-14.
- Parks, John (2013-03-04). "Queensryche singer Geoff Tate on the state of the ryche, Mindcrime tour, former bandmates & more". Legendary Rock Interviews. Retrieved 2013-06-15.
- "His Own Brand Of Insania, Part 1". Attention Deficit Delirium. 2010-02-23. Retrieved 2012-12-19.
- "Latest Music News, Band, Artist, Musician & Music Video News". Billboard.com. Retrieved 2012-12-15.
- Video Footage Of Geoff Tate Allegedly Spitting At Queensrÿche Drummer. Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved on 2012-09-16.
- "Declaration of Geoff Tate in Support of Motion for Preliminary Injunction". Court declaration. 2012-06-09. Retrieved 2012-12-01.
- "Audio: Geoff Tate Talks To 'Progtopia' About 'Frequency' Album, Queensrÿche Split". Blabbermouth.net. 2013-06-11. Retrieved 2013-06-15.
- Trunk, Eddie (2013-04-20). "Eddie Trunk Interviews Geoff Tate of Queensrÿche (April 2013)". Eddie Trunk Rocks!. YouTube. Retrieved 2013-04-21.
- Petro, Larry (2013-04-27). "In The Eye Of The Storm: An Exclusive Interview With Todd La Torre Of Queensryche". KNAC. Retrieved 2013-04-28.
- Clark, William (2013-05-24). "Geoff Tate Snatches Cell Phone From Audience Member". Music Enthusiast magazine. Retrieved 2013-05-29.
- Clark, William (2013-05-30). "Channeling Unknown Frequencies With Queensryche’s Geoff Tate". Music Enthusiast magazine. Retrieved 2013-06-21.
- "The Needle Lies Queensryche HOB 4/3/14". YouTube. 2014-04-04. Retrieved 2014-04-07.
- Brett Miller. "The Kelly Gray Myth". QueensrycheHistory.com. Retrieved 2013-01-05.
- "Declaration of Susan Tate". Court declaration. 2012-06-09. Retrieved 2012-12-08.
- "Queensrÿche Singer’s Stepdaughter Spouts Off". Court declaration. 2012-06-12. Retrieved 2012-12-24.
- "Living a rocker's dream: Parker Lundgren tours with Queensrÿche". ptleader.com. 2009-08-12. Retrieved 2012-12-24.
- "Declaration of Parker Lundgren". Court declaration. 2012-07-09. Retrieved 2012-12-24.
- "Queensrÿche Guitarist Marries Geoff Tate's Daughter - July 18, 2009". Blabbermouth.net. 2009-07-18. Retrieved 2012-12-24.
- Hickman, Jody (June 2013). "In Words: Queensrÿche". Ice Vajal. Retrieved 2013-07-06.
- "Queensryche". YouTube. 2010-01-22. Retrieved 2012-12-24.
- "Frequency Unknown – Queensrÿche: Credits". Allmusic. Retrieved 2013-04-11.