QUEENSRŸCHE singer Geoff Tate spoke to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer this week about the group's current tour and their forthcoming CD, the next chapter to the 1988 ground-breaking concept album, "Operation: Mindcrime", tentatively titled "Operation: Mindcrime II". Several excerpts from the interview follow:
On "Operation: Mindcrime":
" 'Operation: Mindcrime' was inspired by the events of the Reagan-Bush era, and a lot of the things that occurred at the time.
"I find it ironic that now we have another Bush in office and we have a lot of the same situations. We have a giant deficit. We're at war again. We have joblessness, and social programs being slashed to the bone. We have schools being attacked and downsized. We have all these things that occurred 20 years ago with the Reagan-Bush administration."
On releasing the sequel to "Operation: Mindcrime":
"We get tons of e-mails, phone calls and letters about how important 'Mindcrime' is to people and what it meant to them, and they say, 'Wouldn't it be great to see it again?' "
"The idea came about because I had been toying with the idea of writing a screenplay for the album. When I got started, I noticed there were a lot of holes in the story and questions to be answered. So as I began writing and filling in the blanks, I realized there was room for a sequel."
On performing a new song from "Operation: Mindcrime II" on the current tour:
"We're still on the fence as to how to present it. We have video and film that accompanies the show, and so we thought, 'Let's take some of the footage to the new song and present it sort of as a movie trailer.' "
"That's always a big challenge because when the audience isn't familiar with something, it can lead to a lackluster response. We're very proud of the new song, so we don't know if our fragile egos could take that."
On "hired gun" Mike Stone (guitar):
"His personality just clicks with everybody. That's so important. You gotta have the right chemistry together. If one person agitates or one doesn't get along with the others, it just doesn't work. Mike has a great sense of humor and keeps everyone light and happy and we're much more of a creative team that way."
On touring musician Michael Igor Delassandra, formerly a composer for the Vatican. (Delassandra directs the accompanying orchestra in select cities, Seattle among them):
"He is joining us on piano, and we've worked up new arrangements on several of the 'Mindcrime' songs, which he'll play on.
On QUEENSRŸCHE's acoustic show at the recent No Vote Left Behind festival encouraging young people to vote and promoting "regime change" in the White House:
"Voting is real important. It's part of being an American, part of being a citizen. I've heard so many people say, 'I never vote.' I don't understand that at all. I can't even relate to it. Voting is part of what makes America special. If you don't vote, you can't complain about anything."
"I think that for anyone who has looked at the performance of this administration, there's no choice but to vote them out. They've failed on every level.
"As a band, we travel the world. And everywhere we go, 'What is going on in America? Why are people supporting this administration? Why is this happening?' And you know, I don't have an answer. It stuns me. It amazes me, and I don't understand why anybody would look at this failure and say, 'Vote him in again.' "