Very few bands can claim the ubiquitous acceptance that Queensrÿche has managed to cultivate. Even those who are not big fans of the music still respect their musicianship and body of work. For nearly three decades the guys from Seattle have been creating a progressive style and sound that is distinctly their own. They are one of those artists whom others cite when trying to label a new band’s sound. Queensrÿche sounds like no one else, but many other bands have been known to absorb their influence into their own style. That’s a pretty big compliment for any band.
Queensrÿche have never bent to follow trends, and the band’s core base of vocalist Geoff Tate, guitarist Michael Wilton, bassist Eddie Jackson and drummer Scott Rockenfeld still remain intact to this date. Only guitarist Chris DeGarmo, who helped pioneer the band’s unique twin guitar sound, is gone…but not far away. In his stead, Tate’s son-in-law, Parker Lundgren has taken up DeGarmo’s sword, at least for live performances.
Since 1983’s epic debut EP, which still garners significant radio airplay worldwide, Queensrÿche have made some of rock music’s genuine masterpieces. From 1988’s seminal, Operation: Mindcrime, to Empire and Promised Land in the 90s, up through their most recent gem, American Soldier.
American Soldier is perhaps the band’s boldest concept album since Operation: Mindcrime. Geoff Tate spent well over two years interviewing military service members about their stories, their feelings, and blended them into one of 2009’s best records.
Tate approached American Soldier as a personal solo project, which later evolved into a Queensrÿche album. Tate and Queensrÿche have always been a thinking man’s band, and as one might expect, Tate approached the project and the intimate interviews with a gracious humbleness that many “rockstars” have never been on a first name basis with.
With the American Soldier tour wound down for the year, Geoff Tate still took some of his down time to spend an hour with Metalholic before the Christmas break. Even at the end of a long day of interviews, and no doubt ready for a quiet evening, Tate was still gracious, apologetic and quite engaging as I answered the phone…