UPDATE: In the original version of this story, Billboard mistook a Monsters of Rock concert date for an event to be held in 2014 when it was already held in 2013. Billboard regrets the error.
Almost two years after he filed a lawsuit in the wake of being fired from rock band Queensryche, Geoff Tate and former bandmates Scott Rockenfield, Michael Wilton and Eddie Jackson officially announced April 28 that they had reached a settlement. Under the terms of the agreement, Rockenfield, Wilton and Jackson retain the Queensryche brand, and Tate has the sole right to perform the entire “Operation: Mindcrime” album and its successor “Operation: Mindcrime II” in a live setting.
In the early days of the lawsuit Tate was adamant that the name should be his, and he launched his own version of Queensryche in September 2012. The band has featured a revolving lineup of touring and recording members, and also released the album “Frequency Unknown” in April 2013. Fans are naturally wondering how much longer Tate will tour as Queensryche, and in his first interview since the announcement, he shed a little light on the situation.
How are you feeling now that the announcement is out about the settlement?
I think it’s great. I’m very happy that it’s over and done and we can all move on with our lives. It’s been a long, bitter two years, I’ll tell you. I’m glad it’s over.
What was the turning point when everyone started getting on the same page with the settlement? I understand that for a while you guys were trying to work something out.
We’ve been trying to work something out for months and months and months, and it’s like any kind of lawsuit, it’s just slow going. But finally I think the realization that going to court over the whole thing was going to be a huge nightmare and huge financial mess for everybody that [we] really started to look at it more seriously and realistically.
Once you filed the suit, that would say to me you were ready to go to court over it.
Yeah, that’s typically what it means.
Some people are confused by the joint statement both parties released regarding who could do what. One of the points was being able to perform both “Operation: Mindcrime” albums live. Queensryche is permitted to play selections, but they can’t do a front-to-back version of either one live, correct?
It’s pretty similar to the Pink Floyd settlement where one group got the name and Roger Waters got “The Wall.” It’s very similar to that. I retain “Operation: Mindcrime” and everything revolving around that, and they got the name, so it’s a win-win for everybody.
Is there any chance that you may be turning “Operation: Mindcrime” into a theatrical production or something similar?
Possibly down the road. There’s no set plans as of yet.
I don’t know what you are limited to discuss in terms of terms of the agreement. Is there anything you can mention in terms of being entitled to, say, future payments from the band? There were the three band corporations and things of that concern.
Honestly, I’d really don’t feel comfortable commenting on the details of the settlement. I think what’s out there is sufficient. I’m just really happy to be done with it all, and I think the other side is probably happy as well so we can turn the tide in this episode in our lives and move on to nicer things.
One thing that does remain in question is, since you still have dates booked under the Queensryche name, on your Queensryche website you have dates into May.
We’re both allowed to do all of our pre-contracted dates as they were advertised, so once those dates are over then it all changes.
Since you said that as far as you know it’s Sept. 1 that you’re done using the Queensryche name, would that also cover the triryche symbol and any social media under the name?
Honestly, I’m not comfortable talking about the details of it.
In that case, what can you say you’re going to be doing musically going forward?
I can’t really give any details now. I’ll be announcing some information over the summer what my future plans are going to be. Right now I’m concentrating a show I’ve got in rehearsals for now in Seattle. I’ve got five shows doing my Rock in Vaudeville show and when that’s done, the last of the Queensryche dates.
You also have something that’s billed as a farewell date in California?
Yeah, that’s part of the last Queensryche dates that I’ll be doing.
I know that this has been a really long two years. Is there anything you think you would have done differently, looking back on it now?
Oh gosh, you know, the whole experience was such a betrayal and so negative that I’m really ready to get past it, not think about it anymore, and it doesn’t really bear looking back on in my mind right now. [laughs] That’s the last thing I want to do is think about it some more.
When this all started you were very adamant about having the name for the band instead of the other three guys. What made you agree to the settlement that they would have it and you wouldn’t it?
I think just, I’m ready to move on and do something different. And this is a great launching point to do that from, and I’m really looking forward to it.
If you don’t want to go into any more details about the settlement I respect that. Is there anything else you want to put out there?
I think one thing that needs to be clarified is this never went to court. The decision to settle was a mutual decision among everyone. They’re getting the name and I’m getting “Operation: Mindcrime,” and that’s where it’s at. It’s an agreed-upon settlement, so there wasn’t any winning or losing attached to that. It’s not a case of that. It’s just an agreement.