And how would you contrast the guitar style of this one, with Kelly as part of the mix, with perhaps the last three albums? "I think Kelly comes out of a musical background that is very varied. He likes a lot of different kinds of music. He has a production background as well, and he's worked with a lot of different bands. So he brought all those things into our band with his writing, and he and Michael just seemed to click together right from the start, as soon as they strapped on guitars and wrote their first song, which ended up being the last song of the new album, called 'The Right Side Of My Mind'. That was written the first day they got together. I guess they sort of share a lot of similarities in terms of their influences. They both come from a blues background, where Chris was more into classical music and classic British rock, which again, is somewhat blues-based. But I think Kelly and Michael seem to fit better together."
Lyrically, where is this album going? "Well at the time, I didn't really think about it. I just let stream of consciousness dictate where everything went. But looking back on it I think there is an overriding theme which is the challenges and conflicts of people and their relationships, how they deal with each other, whether it's a romantic relationship, whether it's a parental relationship, or a business partner friendship kind of thing. I guess I find that those subjects are very intriguing to me at this point in my life. And I think a lot of that came out also because of our situation with Chris leaving the band. That brought a lot of stuff out that we hadn't really explored."
So do we have a record from an ex-progressive metal band here, perhaps Queensryche going the way of Marillion or Genesis, or briefly, Yes with 90125 and in general the Trevor Rabin years? Tate is visibly upset about this line of comparison. "No, because "progressive" is a label that gets attached to them. I bet if you ask any of the progressive bands, none of them would put that little box around it. The honest truth is that we don't do this for anybody else. When we do live shows, that's for an audience. But when we make a record, I don't give a f**k what anybody else thinks of it. It's what I think about it. That's my personal expression. Don't ever write a song or record for anybody other than yourself. It doesn't make any sense."
Later that evening at The Warehouse in Toronto (estimated crowd: about 1200; capacity of venue: 2200), the energy, predictably, was the highest for the Operation: mindcrime material, of which there was a profusion. Whole albums were skipped in entirety, while Empire and Q2K saw the biggest workout. If the songs are subtle and slow to yield pleasure and hook on record, in the muddy expanse of an unfeeling venue, their meaning was lost completely. The Warehouse is a horrendous place to see and hear a band, but shame on Queensryche's soundcrew for not remotely rising to the challenge. Adding to the diversity of the material was a monologue-heavy cover of U2's 'Bullet The Blue Sky.' Diversity, it seems, is the name of the game, and not a bad cause to trumpet, despite its dangers.
Geoff Tate Interview Page 3