Queensryche’s Guitarist Describes Geoff Tate’s ‘Vicious’ Attack
Queensryche have been in the headlines for a good portion of the year, and not under the best circumstances. In a new interview, guitarist Michael Wilton reveals just how bad things got during the alleged physical confrontation between himself and singer Geoff Tate.
The much-reported altercation between Tate and the other band members started when the singer claimed they were making moves to oust both him and his wife -- their manager -- from the group. Wilton tells Billboard that they were in Brazil at the time, and were right on the verge of taking the stage for a big performance when it became apparent that Tate was ready to confront them with what he had learned.
Wilton explains, "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 [Rockenfield]'s drums over, he's spitting on Scott, he's calling everybody names."
Bassist Eddie Jackson adds, "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 says, "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."
Meanwhile, the band members have officially started to put the Geoff Tate-era behind them while working on demos for their first album without the singer. Rockenfield revealed, "It's going well. We've been writing for the last couple months. It's all so fresh to us, even just our relationship with Todd [La Torre] being in the band. It's kind of a whirlwind. I think our heads every day are kind of spinning with everything that we're dealing with. Some of it's good and some of it's bad that you gotta deal with, and you know all the stuff that we're going through."
The drummer added that the group wants to get back to their face-to-face interactive roots and write songs that pull from their history. Wilton agrees with his bandmate: "Each one of us has hard drives full of material that was never used for whatever reasons . . . We all wanna write these songs together. We all want to be in the room, use the best ability of everybody and make these songs a band signature, [where] we play it before we burn it on a computer. You gotta play it together. We wanna bring that essence back like we used to do in Scott's basement that we used to call the Dungeon [where the band rehearsed in its early days]. That's where the magic happens."