Another thing you noted in the declarations is you discovered this band the Voodoos that Susan is also managing, you say their expenses and profits were being run through Queensryche's books and possibly there were other expenses being charged to Queensryche's books that shouldn't have been. Can you say anything about that?
Wilton: I can say I was shocked. I was surprised. I had no idea that this band was coming on tour with us. That obviously led to investigation into the checking account and seeing all these expenses being used through us. So we had to question that and we had to question our accountant, "Is this right?" I think that whether it's illegal or legal, no one bothered to tell us. I see that, I throw a red flag up in the air, and I definitely question that kind of a business call. I think anybody would in a business [where] all of a sudden someone was running their expenses through from another country because they're here as a visitor and not [on] a working visa.
Scott, the Tates contend in their complaint that you have a personal vendetta against them.
Rockenfield: I have no clue what the vendetta thing would be. It's all about visiting our company and doing what's right and looking at things that have been spiraling for a while. Just cause we're all of a sudden asking questions should be acceptable, because we own an equal part of the company. The Voodoos were one of those things. We had to start questioning, was this good or bad, and why didn't we really know about it, and the way it was presented, looking at the books, it was not as good deal and it was not something collectively we thought we should have been involved with... People are gonna have their own opinions and I suppose if that's theirs, that's fine.
I ask because your wife, Misty, she filed a declaration, and she said she was fired after working for the band for some time.
Rockenfield: Yeah, that's basically [it] in a nutshell. In terms of recently, in the last six months, when we started having meetings about the stuff that we wanted to discuss and do things, my wife had been working for the band for a couple years. She was an administrative assistant in our office that we had and she helped Susan with tasks that needed to be done... At one point, basically, it was kind of cut and dried. We brought up some scenarios, and my wife was blamed for those faults. And at that point she was let go. She was ready to move on anyway, because it wasn't working for her either. She wasn't very happy. That's all part of how some of this has spiraled even more aggressively in the last six months. I don't mean aggressively in a violent way, I mean aggressively as just fast.
When you removed Susan; Geoff's step-daughter, Miranda, who was working for the merchandising company; and a guitar tech who is Miranda's husband, Geoff realized what had happened and you had this meeting before the show in Brazil. How did you think Geoff was going to react when he found out?
Wilton: I think it was gonna be a deciding factor if he sides with the band or he sides with his wife as the manager. Obviously he's proved to us where his loyalty was.
Rockenfield: All the meetings we've ever scheduled have always been done by the book, and there were a few prior to Brazil that were scheduled on the books that Geoff chose not to attend. He knew about 'em and they were all done legally, and we have all the documents to support that. It was discussed in the [paperwork] submission that we were going to have these meetings, these are the issues we were going to discuss. He chose not to attend. In Brazil, it got to the point where he found out what he we had talked about and that's what happened. That was his response. He asked for a meeting in Brazil. The meeting lasted about 20 minutes and it was not the best meeting in the world, to be honest . . . One thing that I want to put on the table, because I've already submitted my declarations, I never said, "I fired your family and I'm gonna fire you next," and you can go on record as me saying that. That absolutely never was said and we have all of our witnesses that can support me.
Wilton: We never said [at the meeting in Brazil] that we were removing Miranda's [husband]. I don't know where that came from . . . We were having these meetings because we couldn't get anything done, or done in a situation where we all could go over what would be the best scenario. It was clearly an us against them kind of a thing, and we're trying to [say things like], "Let's look at this merchandising company we have. It's kind of an old model. Couldn't we modernize it? Couldn't we license it to a third party company like most bands do?"
Rockenfield: ... Our model of what we've been doing, after going through the books for months, up until that point, it was not monetarily looking as good as we thought it could. So we brought suggestions to the table. Unfortunately, on that side, the people that we were hiring were on that side, and that's what happened. But what do you do? You get stuck between a rock and a hard place. If I don't stand my ground as a businessman then I'm not doing what's right for the business. But if I stand my ground, I'm gonna get a storm of a response. We stood our ground and we dealt with the storm and that's where we're at now.
Eddie: We were only trying to figure out what was in the best interest of the band. Minimizing expenses while also maximizing your dollar.
Rockenfield: I don't want our fans to read that wrong: We are a business. I'm not in this for my health. We enjoy the music and we love it. But we have to make a living at it and we have to do that smartly, and that's all we've been trying to do. Besides that part of it, we're also trying to do it for the fans. The merchandise situation that we were addressing was not being run efficiently. Fans were waiting weeks at a time to get the merchandise they were ordering, or this and that, and it was not being done officially, and after talking to some other people about what our options should be, it just became apparent that we should address that. But that's really when a lot of this started to go sour, by doing that.
You're in Brazil, you have this meeting, and then you're getting ready to perform, and this incident occurs. What was going through your minds when this was happening?
Jackson: Well, before, we were just ready to perform. We're all getting ready to perform onstage.
Wilton: We had some good talks with the promoter. Just the whole organization of getting down to South America. It was a big deal. It was something that we took seriously and we know we don't get down to Brazil that much, and there was a lot of fans there. We wanted to give a great performance! We had our meeting, we get onstage, and I was shocked. I could not believe it. This guy I've been working with for 30-plus years spits in my face, in my eyes, and then calls me superlatives, and then comes and pushes me and then punches me in the side of the face! It was abhorrent behavior. It was vicious. I'm in shock, because, there's obviously a curtain drawn on the stage, [but] all this is happening and we're to perform in like five minutes! And he's knocking things over, he's spitting on our amps, he's knocking Scott's drums over, he's spitting on Scott, he's calling everybody names. The people on the side of the stage, we had Fates Warning, we had the promoters . . .
Rockenfield: . . . promoter, the press . . .
Wilton: . . . security didn't know what to do at first.
Jackson: I felt more embarrassed than I did hurt, because the promoter was there. We don't get that opportunity to go down to South American that often and when we do, we really take advantage of it. The promoter was there, his assistant, the local crew was there, the opening act. To me, [by the] end of the night, it was just like this whirlwind of events that happened.
Wilton: You have to realize this wasn't a band that's going up and pushing each other. This was a full, vicious, assault attack. This was abhorrent. It was so uncalled for, and to do it to jeopardize a major show to get us to retaliate or to cancel the show . . . We had to just be as professional as we could, clean our stuff up, put the drums back up and do the show . . . He was taking his water bottle, throwing it on my pedal board. He's throwing the mic stand back. It was bad.
Rockenfield: It was one of the most shocking things I've ever seen, to be honest, and shockingly frightening. Even our crew, it's taken them a while to kind of understand it and get over it. They're happy now -- and by the way, we basically have the majority of our crew that's still working with us and are excited and going out and doing the new thing -- but it's taking a while to get over it. They just didn't understand it. It just kept going. Even after, back at the hotel, we weren't around Geoff at the time and were told not to be, but he continued to make assaulting threats to other people to us. Even to the point of being at the airport the next day, doing the same thing.
Jackson: You know, that incident just didn't happen once. It happened like two or three times within five minutes, 10 minutes, before we were goin' on.
Rockenfield: That was a good 25 minutes we had to delay the show for that whole thing to happen.
Wilton: When we had this meeting in the dressing room before the show, he's saying that we fired him, we had no intention of firing him. This was pure business. We wanted to be represented a different way, and we did not fire Geoff Tate.
Not at that time.
[unanimously] Not at that time. Not at all!
Rockenfield: To say all those things, like the quote I was saying about, "I fired your family and I'm gonna fire you next," or whatever, that's all lies.
Jackson: That is completely false.
Rockenfield: . . . Unfortunately some of these meetings have come up in the past before and we've had discussions through the years, all the way back, there's examples in the paperwork, back in 2000, certain meetings didn't go the way they were supposed to and these things have happened before. I've been the brunt of a couple of them. After a while, how many more can you take?
That leads me to my next question. In your declaration, and Eddie also verified it, you said in 2007 there was an incident where Geoff slammed down your laptop, punched you and spit on you. That's correct?
Rockenfield: Yes. An unprovoked attack in the dressing room because something I was selling at the merch booth was selling better than some of the other guys or something, or selling better than what Geoff had.