"I think all through our career we've had a lot of diversity," offers Tate, "which I guess is what has kept us going all this time. We can still sell records, we can still play shows, because we have that kind of diversity. But then again it's also like a stone around your neck. Because the marketing people can't put a box around you and say, 'OK, this is what you are.' Because you keep changing. But I love this record. This record is incredibly special for me, because it's a new beginning for the band. Having Kelly involved is like a breath of fresh air. He comes in and he has so many ideas and he's enthusiastic. It's a shot in the arm for the rest of us who have been working together for so many years. It's really the beginning of a new chapter in our history. I think what we do from now on, well, it's going to be different from this record of course, but it will be similar, on the same page."
In the course of our discussion, Tate also looked back fondly on convincing the band Operation: mindcrime was a worthy project to pursue. As a sidenote, I told him that Bruce Dickinson had told me that mindcrime marked the long agonizing path towards his leaving Maiden, Bruce having compared it to their recent Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son, subsequently recognizing the deficiencies within his gang's camp. Tate also talked at length about his favourite Queensryche album Promised Land, and the idyllic campsite-type setting in which it was conceived. Tate also danced vaguely around the plans for a Queensryche box set "possibly at the end of the first quarter," which will likely include quite a bit of unreleased live material. Finally we touched on the fact that the botching of the mix on The Warning is the only and last time the band ever gave up creative control.
And that's where we left it, the main point, and the most real point of our conversation being the idea that records are made for the band's enlightenment and entertainment alone. One can't begin to surmise the experiences a 20-year institution like this has endured both as a band and personally. And therefore, one can't be so bold as to require our stars to make the records we want. Q2K is turning out to be that record, on top of at least a couple that have seen the same throwing up of arms, wringing of hands, and let's be honest: bad reviews. Bottom line is you either care sincerely about the band as people and follow them on their journey, or you make a bold decision that what you want is power metal and you start buying German and Italian bands exclusively, or you remain mildly amused and content that these are professionals, and that even though you aren't thrilled with the results, you know there is substance buried within. I'm swimming somewhere within that back point, even if on a more positive note, our chat has caused me to reconsider Promised Land, revisit Mindcrime, and feel secure in my lonely closet fondness for Hear In The Now Frontier.