THE BITCHY QUEENS OF THE RYCHE
Vocalist Geoff Tate has been frozen out of Queensryche
The back and forth between Geoff Tate and his former bandmates in Queensryche continues with Tate's preliminary injunction that was filed this week in King County Superior Court in Seattle.
Tate (above centre) disputes a number of the accusations levied at him by the band. He states that while he was the last to join, the group did not have a singer before he was part of the outfit, therefore they were not a band yet. He also states that it's an incorrect assertion that he did not contribute to the making of the band's first self-titled EP, adding "I sang all the songs of the EP and with [former guitarist Chris] DeGarmo wrote what became the most popular song on the album, ‘Lady Wore Black.' I also helped pay for the cost of the recording studio."
The singer disputes that he rejected attempts at sharing songwriting credits with the other members and adds that the decision to work with outside musicians only occurred because the other three members were not contributing to the songwriting.
He also disputes the accounts that refer to his wife Susan and her ousting as their manager, who he claims only took on the job reluctantly after the band had issues with their past management. The singer says that when it was first suggested that they move on from Susan Tate a full year before her ousting, guitarist Michael Wilton suggested that he wanted to hire Paul Geary.
Tate says that he and Scott Rockenfield were in on the call to Geary and let him know that they were not interested in moving forward with a new manager and that Wilton had started the process of his own accord, so therefore the decision not to hire Geary was not his alone.
As for the altercation that happened between the members, Tate says, "I was upset at the time, having been told that my wife and daughter had been fired and that I was ‘next.' I regret losing my temper and my actions are not acceptable. It is also very unlike me to act in this manner. I do not lose my temper, become loud or threatening, or hit people ... I did not threaten Rockenfield, [Eddie] Jackson, and Wilton during or after the show in Brazil. I also did not threaten them at any point after that."
Tate says he has no doubt that the incident upset Rockenfield and Wilton, neither were injured and it was also clear that neither musician was not and are not afraid of him. He also feels that group had been conspiring to oust him earlier than the incident and the altercation then gave them an excuse to use to do it.
Tate found out he was fired when lawyers for the remaining members sent his lawyer a long legal document. After 30 years together, their relationship ended unceremoniously, but it sounds like the legal battle has just begun.
Tate tells Rolling Stone that he doesn't think Scott Rockenfield, Michael Wilton, Parker Lundgren and bassist Eddie Jackson have a legal right to fire him. "We're in a lawsuit right now and it's probably gonna get ugly," he says in a lengthy interview that attempts to clear up rumors from the past four months. "I filed a claim a couple of days ago. So it's all going to the legal system now to sort out who is what, and who owns what, and that stuff."
Tate says there were no creative differences in the band, as Rockenfield claimed, because he was the sole creative force since Chris DeGarmo left in 1998. The drama began in February with an argument about who should control merchandizing, and escalated to the incident in Brazil in which Tate attacked his bandmates.
"They said that they weren't planning on replacing me, but they had just fired our manager, our office assistant and one of our guitar techs, who all happened to be my family members," Tate recalls.
"It seemed like a personal vendetta against me. Anyway, the meeting was short and we went to do the show. I'm getting ready by my station, ready to go on stage, and Scott [Rockenfield] looks at me and he smirks and says, ‘We just fired your whole family, and you're next.' I just lost it. I tried to punch him. I don't think I landed a punch before somebody grabbed me and hauled me to the side. On my way, I managed to shove [Michael] Wilton, and really, that was it. I cooled down and we did the show, and everything went fine."
There was no knife, he says. "You can't really get knives into foreign countries."
The 53-year-old singer says the move was strictly a business move for the rest of the band, although he didn't understand what they hoped to accomplish by firing the lead singer of his band. "How are they gonna survive economically? And then, by that action, you're completely alienating the promoters, who you work with closely to book shows for you. So now the promoter is left holding the bag, and that doesn't make the promoter want to work with you again."
Tate expect things to play out slowly in court, and doesn't think Queensryche should play scheduled shows with new vocalist, ex-Crimson Glory Todd la Torre (above centre). He added that he has no interest in forming his own version of Queensryche to compete with his old bandmates, although after things settle down he may be up for reforming the group if he's declared the legal owner of the name and catalogue.