Geoff Tate (born Jeffrey Wayne Tate, January 14, 1959; he later changed his first name to Geoffery or Geoffrey) is a German-born American singer and musician who rose to fame in the 1980s with the progressive metal band Queensrÿche. Tate is ranked fourteenth on Hit Parader's list of the 100 Greatest Metal Vocalists of All Time. He was voted No. 2 on That Metal Show's top 5 hard rock vocalists of the 1980s. In 2012, he won the Vegas Rocks Magazine Award for "Voice in Progressive Heavy Metal". In 2015, he placed ninth on OC Weekly's list of the 10 Best High-Pitched Metal Singers. After his farewell tour as Queensrÿche, he renamed his band Operation: Mindcrime, after the Queensrÿche album of the same name.
Tate was born in Stuttgart, which was then part of West Germany, to German American parents. His mother's side of the family is from New Orleans. Shortly after his birth, his family relocated to Tacoma, Washington.
While Tate was in the band Babylon, he was asked to sing with the cover band The Mob (who would later start writing original material and become Queensrÿche) at a local rock festival. After Babylon broke up, Tate performed a few shows with The Mob, but left because he was not interested in performing heavy metal cover songs. Tate then joined the progressive metal band Myth as lead vocalist and keyboardist. Other band members of Myth included Kelly Gray, who was later one of the replacements for Queensrÿche guitarist Chris DeGarmo, and Randy Gane, both of whom joined Tate's version of Queensrÿche in 2012.
The Mob again called on Tate in 1981, this time to record a demo tape, which he accepted, convincing his bandmates in Myth that getting professional recording experience would benefit all of them in the future. The band already had a set of songs, but one song was still left without lyrics. Tate was asked to write lyrics to this song, which would become the song "The Lady Wore Black", Tate's first penned song with the band. The demo tape was widely circulated, and was released as an EP in 1982 on the 206 Records label. Around this time, the name The Mob was changed to Queensrÿche, and Tate left Myth to become Queensrÿche's permanent lead singer. Myth went on to record the album Arabia after Tate had left.
Queensrÿche was signed to EMI in the summer of 1983, with a contract spanning 15 years and encompassing seven albums. EMI re-released the EP, Queensrÿche, to moderate success, peaking at No. 81 on the Billboard charts. With Queensrÿche, Tate had great successes, especially with the concept album Operation: Mindcrime, which was released in 1988, and 1990's Empire. The band has sold over 20 million albums worldwide.
On June 20, 2012, it was announced that Queensrÿche had fired Tate, replacing him with Crimson Glory vocalist Todd La Torre. Soon after, Tate and his wife Susan (who served as the band's manager from 2005-2012) filed a lawsuit in a Washington court, saying that he was wrongfully terminated from the group. They also filed a preliminary injunction in an attempt to prevent either side from using the band's name and likeness until the lawsuit was settled, but this was overturned by a judge who decided that both parties can use the name Queensrÿche until a settlement or a court verdict determines who gets the name. It was revealed to the public on April 28, 2014 that Rockenfield, Wilton and Jackson were given the exclusive rights to the Queensrÿche trademark and that Tate received the rights to Operation: Mindcrime.
Queensrÿche Featuring Geoff Tate (2012-2014):
Following his firing and while awaiting the outcome of a settlement or court ruling deciding who would ultimately gain access to the name Queensrÿche, Tate announced his own lineup using the name "Queensrÿche" on September 1, 2012 via his official Facebook page.
Until Tate lost the brand Queensrÿche in April 2014 to the other band members, they were promoted by their booking agent under the name "Queensrÿche Starring Geoff Tate the Original Voice". The lineup would originally feature Rudy Sarzo, Bobby Blotzer, Glen Drover, and two of his former band mates from the band Myth; Kelly Gray and Randy Gane. Drover left the band on November 23, 2012. On January 25, 2013, his replacement was announced to be guitarist Robert Sarzo, while Blotzer was also replaced on drums by Simon Wright, who has remained since.
The band embarked on an "Operation: Mindcrime Anniversary Tour" on April 6, 2013, celebrating the album's 25th anniversary. predominantly touring the American Southwest. The tour continued through to September 2014 with several breaks, among others with Tate touring with his solo band in May 2014.
As part of the settlement agreement, Tate was granted the exclusive rights to perform Operation: Mindcrime and Operation: Mindcrime II in their entirety as a unique performance, but not under the name Queensrÿche.
Tate, however, presumably does not perceive his current project to be a similar band setting as the one he used to have with Queensrÿche before the 2012 split, saying: "I don't ever want to be in a band again. A "band"-band that sticks together through thick and thin and all that, you know. I've already done that. I want to work with different groups of people. And I want to constantly be changing it up to make it interesting and different. And I want to play with as many great players as I possibly can.
With this lineup, Tate released the album Frequency Unknown on April 23 via through Deadline Music, a sub-label of Cleopatra Records. It was co-written, produced and mixed in 6 weeks by Jason Slater and mastered by Maor Appelbaum, but Billy Sherwood was later hired to remix the album, "as it seems there are sonic issues with the previous versions". Several days later, however, Sherwood pulled out of the project, citing scheduling issues. The work was subsequently spread out over at least four remixers, because of the deadline that had to be met. "Cold", the first single off Frequency Unknown was released on April 3, 2013.
Operation: Mindcrime (2014-present):
Following his farewell tour as Queensryche, Tate renamed his band to Operation: Mindcrime after the Queensryche album of the same name. In 2015, John Moyer, Brian Tichy, and Scott Moughton became full time members following the departures of Rudy Sarzo and Robert Sarzo. They are currently working on their debut album, The Key, which will be part one of a three part trilogy, to be released on September 18, 2015.
Geoff Tate - vocals (2012-present),
Kelly Gray - lead & rhythm guitars (2012-present),
John Moyer - bass guitar (2015-present),
Simon Wright - drums (2013-present),
Brian Tichy - drums (2015 - present),
Randy Gane - keyboards (2012-present),
Scott Moughton - lead & rhythm guitars (2015 - present),
Rudy Sarzo - bass guitar (2012 - 2014),
Robert Sarzo - lead & rhythm guitars (2013 - 2014),
In 1985, Tate participated in the famine relief collaboration Hear 'n Aid.
In 2002, Tate released an eponymous solo album on Sanctuary Records. Around this time, he had shaven his long hair, in solidarity with a close family member who was battling cancer until her death.
On November 6, 2012, Tate released his second solo record on InsideOut Music, entitled Kings and Thieves.
Tate stars as the narrator and killer in the found footage horror movie The Burningmoore Incident. It was released direct-to-video on March 4, 2013. Tate is scheduled to score the music to the in-production crime movie Fallen Moon.
Tate is a wine enthusiast. He started making wine at age 14, explaining: "I was a boy scout and you could get a merit badge if you created a beverage or a food product and I made dandelion wine, which wasn't very good but definitely sparked my interest and got me started on that passion." The passion for wine further developed when Tate was in Queensrÿche: "I have been collecting wine seriously since the band first got signed back in 1983 and we were touring the world. I'd make special arrangements to leave at certain point of the tour and take off and head into the wine regions. I started to become even more interested in how it was made and how grapes were grown and which grapes grew best where and that type of thing." Tate has given several interviews to the magazine Wine Spectator. In 2010, Geoff and Susan Tate launched their own brand of wine, "Insania".
Since 2012, Geoff Tate has attracted some controversy and criticism, mostly in part to the circumstances surrounding and following the split with Queensrÿche (when his bandmates, guitarist Michael Wilton, bassist Eddie Jackson and drummer Scott Rockenfield fired him from the band and replaced him with then-Crimson Glory vocalist Todd La Torre) and his control over the band during the 1997-2012 period, according to court declarations from his former bandmates.
Tate attracted negative attention for spitting on and physically assaulting Wilton and Rockenfield before and during a show in São Paulo, Brazil, on April 14, 2012. Then, during a later show the Rocklahoma Festival on May 26, Tate commented to an unresponsive crowd "You guys suck," which his bandmates, as well as fans, felt was an insult, but Tate would later defend his actions by stating in a court declaration "I was not insulting the audience. I was trying to motivate or excite them." He finds that this was used against him in the lawsuit: "It's just something that the other guys in the band and their team of people are trying to twist into a 'Geoff doesn't respect the fans' type of thing." He elaborated on that in an interview, saying: "I say that stuff all the time, you know. It's part of being a front man, you know. You got to motivate the audience, you know. And I say things to get people motivated. I think... I say things to push people's buttons to get them to react. It's part of a performance. But if you're in a lawsuit, of course, these things get taken out of context and put into a new format. I guess the objective is to make me look like I don't care about the fans. Which is unfortunate."
Geoff Tate's version of Queensrÿche has also generated controversy due to the artwork of their album, Frequency Unknown. The abbreviation "F.U." is emphasized on the front cover, and is often used in English as a synonym for the profane expression "Fuck you". Tate, however, when asked about the meaning behind the artwork in an interview, responded with "Oh gosh, people read so much into everything. It's kind of funny, isn't it?"
Also, during the "Operation: Mindcrime Anniversary Tour" tour, on May 17, 2013, Tate created controversy during a show in St. Charles, Illinois. Ten minutes into the show, he grabbed an audience member's smartphone, turned around, and threw it over his shoulder into the crowd. Tate has not shown remorse, instead explaining that: "some actions that I have become very normal with as a performer are getting scrutinized and manipulated to paint a picture of me to make me look like a bad guy." He has also accused the uploader of the video showing this footage to have manipulated the footage to make it appear as though he threw it, as he insists that he accidentally dropped it while trying to take pictures of the fan and of himself. In another instance, Tate spat on a fan from stage.
Tate has commented on these controversies in relation to the lawsuits, saying: "I guess that's the nature of being in a lawsuit. Now you have to watch what you say, and trust that who you are talking to does the right thing, you know, and push the information out in the way that it happened. And not try to construct something different, you know?" He also added: "Because we're in litigation there is a concerted effort to create a personality for me, to try and create a smear campaign really." and expressed belief that most negative comments about him on the internet are posted by the same, small group of people who use fake accounts to make it appear as though his detractors are much greater in number.
Tate's first wife was named Sandy. Tate was married to Sue (Suzanne) from 1990 until 1996. She inspired the lyrics to "Jet City Woman." In 1996, he married his current wife, Susan. She and Geoff used to be vegans. Tate has four daughters: Sabra, Miranda, Bella, and Emily. Tate was never married to Sabra's mother. In 2011, Miranda gave Geoff his first grandchild, giving birth to Riot Danger.
Tate is known for involving family members with his musical endeavors. His wife Susan worked for Queensrÿche's fan club since 1997, served as the band's assistant manager since 2001, and as band manager from 2005-2012. She is also the manager for Tate's solo career. Stepdaughter Miranda has also run Queensrÿche's fanclub. Guitarist Parker Lundgren joined the band of Tate's solo project in the summer of 2008, while dating Miranda. In February 2009 he joined Queensrÿche, and on 18 July married Miranda, but they divorced about half a year later. Late 2009 and early 2010, Miranda was a go-go dancer with the Queensrÿche Cabaret. Daughter Emily sang a duet with her father on the song "Home Again" on the 2009 Queensrÿche album American Soldier and the ensuing tour, at age 12. In 2013, Miranda and Emily sang backing vocals on a re-recording of "Silent Lucidity" for the album Frequency Unknown.
Tate has an interest in acting and enjoys motorcycling and sailing.