"HEY, SHONEY BIG BOY GEOFF BLOW IT OUT YOUR ASS TATE GIRL APE POT SMOKING IDIOT."
Someone posted this to KNAC.com in response to an interview with Geoff Tate, singer for prog-metal pioneers Queensryche.
Apparently, the reader doesn't take kindly to pot-smoking, transgender primates. Don't seem to like commas, either. Mostly, though, he just seems pissed off that Tate isn't a Bush fan. Worse, Tate's pretty open about it.
"I hate-absolutely hate it-when people hide behind that old excuse, "Well, entertainers shouldn't talk about politics.' Why the hell not?" says Tate, groggy from sleep in a hotel room in Chicago, where Queensryche has just finished two of a four-night stand. "Who made up that rule? I know who made up that rule-people who didn't want entertainers to talk about their viewpoints because, frankly, they know they reach a lot of people. Millions and millions of people."
Tate doesn't appear to be egotistical about this fact. Just practical. He's not self-righteous, like Queensryche's lyrics can occasionally be. The 46-year-old father-of-four points out bullshit with commendable calm.
Maybe the ape-hater would at least concede that Tate is consistent. It was 1988 when Queensryche released their ridiculously ambitious concept record about a wayward capitalist so disillusioned with the Reagan era that he embarked on a mission to assassinate corrupt power-brokers.
They called it Operation: Mindcrime. It had characters-a junkie-bum named Nikki, a prostitute-cum-nun named Mary, the evil Dr. X.
Fans may have grudgingly loved the classy MTV metal ballad, "Sweet Lucidity," but fans loved Operation: Mindcrime. So much that Queensryche would play it front-to-back at concerts. Fans asked for a sequel. Possibly to tide them over, the band released a live version, Operation: Livecrime. Movie houses even asked Tate to fill in some words and make a screenplay.
"I've gotten to the point where sometimes it's good to give people what they want rather than what [I] want all the time," Tate explains. "That's an attitude adjustment I've gone through over the past few years."
That attitude adjustment will manifest as Operation: Mindcrime II, which will get a better name before it's finished. And it will be finished-soon, no doubt before the term ends for Bush, who is one of the band's anti-inspirations. To tease its release and the conclusion of their greatest narrative, the band has launched a full-out tour.
Some would say it's a desperate grasp for former glory. After all, since grunge and alternative rock hit, Ryche's orchestra metal hasn't exactly ripped up the charts. Yet Tate doesn't seem to care what the perception is; he likes it. His fans (who have stuck by the band's side with a loyalty few '80s metal bands enjoy) also like it.
This being Queensryche-arty prog bastards that they be-the project is grandiose. The first hour of the live show is the "greatest hits" portion, in which casual fans can hear "Silent Lucidity" and a reprise of their prize b-side, "Last Time in Paris." After a half-hour pee break, Queensryche comes back to perform Operation: Mindcrime with classical musicians, actors, huge stage props, video screens splashing images of international strife. Then the curtain drops as a song called "The Hostage" plays-a preview of Mindcrime II.
"Coming in 2005" then flashes on the screen.
Maybe it'll be a satisfying finish to an audio-tale that sold more than a million copies. Maybe it'll even spark a bigger interest in Queensryche. Or maybe witnesses will slink off and think what another reader of the aforementioned KNAC story wrote: "Geoff, I love you man, but you and Springsteen and the rest of the Hollywood elites need to shut up and play music or act. That's it, that's your role in this world."
But the middle-aged metal band is still touring, still selling out shows without having to join a "Monsters of Metal" deal where it's four for the price of one! Their existence alone proves that Tate and his band haven't really accepted their "role" in this world.Queensryche plays at Viejas Dreamcatcher Showroom, 8 p.m. on Feb. 18. $40. 619-220-8497.