QUEENSRŸCHE frontman Geoff Tate recently spoke to Goldmine contributor Bryan Reesman about the inspiration behind and making of their new album "American Soldier", finding new ways to make money in the music biz, golfing with Doc McGhee, and his wine brand, Insania. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
On "American Soldier" being the first release in the band's 28-year history on which Michael Wilton played all of the guitars:
"There wasn't anybody there to say, 'Ah no, let's do it like this instead.' He really got to follow his vision. He didn't have to compromise on the guitar end, which is nice."
On the QUEENSRŸCHE songwriting dynamic:
"We definitely let it flow, but we definitely have the committee, which is myself, Eddie [Jackson, bass], and the producer that we're working with [at the time]. (In this case, Jason Slater with Kelly Gray.) Eddie and I are probably the ones in the band that care the most about what's happening and police everybody and make sure everybody's doing what they need to be doing, given that we allow them the freedom to express themselves. But we reserve the final call for deciding what the deep end is. Somebody has to put a marker down that says it's 'six feet deep here' by the poolside. Somebody has to got to write that in, so that's mostly my job: 'That solo is really cool, so let's ask some questions. Does it fit the mood of the song? Does it make you want to cry? Does it show that you can play guitar really fast?' We all have to feel fine with the answer."
On "Operation: Mindcrime II" selling approximately 150,000 copies domestically compared to the original "Mindcrime", which sold more than a million:
"We don't make any money selling records anymore. Very few people do. We still love doing it and still do it, but we do it differently. Money comes from other places. It's not just showing up; you've got to go look for it and figure out ways of making money."
"I remember in 1999 I was at this celebrity golf tournament, and the team I got assigned to had Doc McGhee, who is a pretty well-known band manager. Doc is a very smart man, and I said, 'Doc, what's happening to the business? What's happening to the music industry?' He was puffing on a big old cigar and said in a very grandfatherly type [of] delivery, 'Well, boy, it's changing.' I said, 'Yeah, I'm really concerned. Record sales seem to be plummeting, and there's all this downloading going on. What's the industry doing to stop that?' He said, 'The whole industry is doing absolutely nothing. The whole thing is going to go in the toilet.' 'What are we going to do?' 'Well, we're going to find other ways of making it work. I just read this really cool book and you've got to check it out. It's called 'Who Moved My Cheese?'"
"You can't stay in one place and expect to make a living in that same place all your life. It doesn't work that way. You've got to go where the food is. You've got to go where the money is. And you've got to go where the supplies are. So it was actually really good advice, and I thank him for that. It definitely made me look at what we do and try to modify it so we could make a living. And we are. We do very well considering the economy and the state of our industry."
On how finding new avenues of expression and new ways to reinvent oneself comes from determination and passion:
“Believe it or not, people are multidimensional. Their interests lie in other areas besides what they do for a living or perhaps what they are famous for. You pursue those things with passion. Say you like real estate. You're fascinated by the numbers and figuring out the deals, and you like the art of the deal and cutting deals with people. You start going into that and having some success because you throw yourself into it. Say you love fine dining and Bordeaux-style wines. That's me, baby. I love it.
"I think that's the key to life. Someone once told me if you want to change your life, lean in that direction [of interest]. Start focusing on it and looking at it and understanding it, and pretty soon you'll be doing it and having success at it."
Read the entire interview from Goldmine.