Queensryche - Q2Kaput?
by Martin Popoff
Well, that's what many are saying, old school fans summarily repulsed by the band's new direction, loyal fans willing to take the Kelly Gray trip, new fans, well, there probably aren't any. Q2K falls into that whole ahem, gray are of "change", something Queensryche has embraced all through their career, most fans finding something to bitch about fer sure since Promised Land (which is looking pretty heavy right about now), while some even see the band's commercial high watermark Empire as a bit of a lull after the unanimous critical fave, Operation: mindcrime.
Fact is, Q2K goes the route of many previous prog rock or prog metal bands, Queensryche progressing down a pathway of song, playing with textures, keeping the lyrics all about human interactions people of all stripes can identify with, and laying off both the power chords and the fast and/or complicated playing.
Of course all of this is what has people up in arms, as well as the arguable fact that the sum total of the record suffers from a morose, laid-back quality that, for lack of a better word (and prone to the presence of Gray and the band's geographical base in Seattle), many critics have likened to various flavours of grunge.
Geoff Tate is blissfully oblivious to the criticism, or at least, sees no point in drawing it into our conversation. Furthermore, he seems genuinely happy about the thought of new blood and new creative methodologies. "With Kelly joining the band, we recognized that it was going to be a new chemistry because the ingredients have changed. We were interested in just letting the music dictate where we were going. And if there was a conscious effort, it was really just to stay out of the way (laughs), let whatever is to come out, come out. Kelly brought in an interesting concept for us. This might sound really ridiculous to some bands or some people. But we had gotten into the habit of really not writing together when Chris (ed. DeGarmo - guitars) was in the band. It was all separate working in home studios and then getting together and sharing what we had written, and hopefully making a record out of what we had come up with separately. And Kelly brought in this idea of us actually sitting together in a room, looking each other in the eye, and writing a record, plus writing and recording at the same time. So we set up our studio in a way that we would come to work every day and plug in, have lunch, talk, whatever, and out of the conversation, the music would start, and we would be recording the whole time. So what you've got on this record really is just the spontanaeity of creation, of us creating as we went along. It was very improvisational."
Geoff Tate Interview Page 2