Multi-platinum selling, Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Geoff Tate is regarded as one of the most skilled vocalists in the rock genre with hundreds of modern, popular artists citing him and his band as a major influence. Combining social consciousness and expertly crafted lyrics with high-energy, melodically complex music, Geoff and his band, Queensrÿche, have become internationally recognized as the thinking man’s rock band.
Queensrÿche is an American progressive heavy metal band that first formed in 1982 in Bellevue, Washington. The band released twelve studio albums and continues to tour and record. Fresh out of high school, the founding members didn’t really play out, according to Tate. They focused on writing and recording and finally debuted their 4-song EP. After an, the band decided to start their own record company, 206 Records, and release the album on their own. Originally called “The Mob”, the band began putting together the artwork for the EP, but were told the name was already copyrighted and they would need to come up with a new name. With just a week left before the artwork was due, former member Chris DeGarmo unveiled his idea to call the band Queensrÿche, a combination of words from the title of their 1981 song “Queen of the Reich”.
We got a chance to catch up with the four-time Grammy nominee and Queensrÿche frontman before he hits the State Theatre this Thursday, March 13.
Geoff Tate told TALive that, throughout their tour, the band is concentrating primarily on their most recent album Frequency Unknown and playing classics from their narrative concept album that proved a massive commercial success in 1988, Operation: Mindcrime, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary (remember our June 2013 interview with the band?).
Aside from touring and working with Queensrÿche, Tate says he and a friend are putting together a Broadway-eqsue show that relives the expansion of rock. It starts in the 1950’s, recalling the greats like Elvis and The Beatles, and ends sometime in the present. Tate calls the show ‘history of rock’ (officially named “Rock and Vaudeville featuring Geoff Tate of Queensrÿche”) and says he’s inundated with learning classic rock songs.
“It’s been an education in how music has changed and how it’s constructed. As an artist, it really expands your horizons and you begin to appreciate it even more on a logical level rather than just on an emotional level: the songwriting, the construction, how people took it and stood on it and turned it into something new,” says Tate.
Geoff says he connects with his audience mostly through the music. With such a well-known catalog under their belt, Queensrÿche is a part of the soundtrack of people’s lives, so the music itself allows him to make the deepest connection. As a performer, he says it helps to tell a story about the song before you play it, especially when delivering new material. He says he enjoys letting the audience in on the inspiration and origins of a song because it can make such an impact on the crowd.
“Music is about progression and exploration. So much of my music is autobiographical. It’s my life, my experiences, my feelings, so what you hear in the songs is my hopes, dreams, passions. It’s very personal. And on some level, it’s very personal for the audience as well. They hear it in their own way based on their perceptions. And each record is different from the last. Every day is different.
Witness the Queensrÿche magic for yourself this Thursday, March 13th at State Theatre in Falls Church, Virginia. Doors will open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $32 in advance and $35 day of show.