Tag: Lars Sorensen
The details of the legal matter between Geoff Tate and the remaining members of Queensryche continue be released on a seemingly daily basis as today Billboard.com is reporting that Queensryche members Michael Wilton, Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield and Parker Lundgren have defeated singer Geoff Tate's motion for a preliminary injunction on July 13th that would have kept them from touring and operating under the band name out by the day.
"We are excited that the Washington courts saw what we and the fans have always known, that Queensryche is more than any one member," AGPS Management senior manager Glen Parrish said in a statement. "We are sorry we had to go to court to show this, but we are determined to bring back the quality product Queensryche was known for. We can't wait to unveil to the fans what [the band creates] next musically." AGPS Management is currently overseeing Queensryche affairs after the band was previously managed by Tate's wife, Susan.
Former Queensryche manager Lars Sorensen has also weighed in on the current legal battle. In his sworn declaration, Sorensen writes, "I was the manager for the band Queensryche from approximately 2001 through 2005. I negotiated the band's original contract with EMI. I've worked in the music business for over 30 years I have managed various artists, including MEN AT WORK (North America), SPLIT ENZ (North America) and CROWDED HOUSE. I was VP Worldwide Marketing for YANNI. I handled all concert production for Universal Concerts NW from 1999-2005. I am currently Director of Marketing for Snoqualmie Casino.
"There is increased market value to the new Queensryche lineup after the parting of singer Geoff Tate. This is a unique situation having the original lead singer depart but this is a situation of 'addition by subtraction.'
"The Queensryche brand had been damaged severely. The band had been marketed poorly, over played various markets, produced bad records and offered live performance and tour theme/productions that were not in the image of the band. Buyers like me were turned off and chose to pass on potential shows. I had done several shows for large guarantees knowing the market value, but this all changed. There was little value in buying a band that was no longer true to itself."
"Queensryche is a very good band with a strong recording sales and concert ticket sales history. Unfortunately, this has been in a steep decline for years now. To save the band brand, something had to be done. The band was no longer playing their 'hits' and no longer being true to their hard rock roots.
"To sustain a career after your peak, you need to give the fans what they want. Queensryche was no longer doing this.
"From all accounts, the majority of decisions were being made by Tate and his manager wife. The decisions were poor. For years the band members no longer were allowed to contribute to songwriting, tour theme decisions, most touring and marketing plans. This isolation in decision making proved fatal to the value of the band.
"In the live music market today, a band with a strong record and ticket sales history has a great value, if they are marketed correctly and give the core fans what they desire. There are few bands after 2000 that have sold more records than Queensryche. Their audience is older and if they produce quality records and live performances that are true to their image, the fans will come.
"Changing a lead singer is difficult and proving to the fans that this is a good thing will take a bit of time. Fortunately, the band found an amazing singer that can deliver the songs in the original dynamic manner. As the existing fan base experiences the real Queensryche again, they will return and the market for real rock music is strong and there are potentially many new fans.
"The band needs to approach this is in a calculated, well-planned manner. If the recordings are strong and written by the band, if the performances include the songs the fans want to hear and are performed well, Queensryche will survive and prosper.
"It was time for something drastic to happen. The brand was on life support but nearly dead. The future can be bright again."
Past Queensryche producer Jason Slater questioned the involvement of the band members during the recording of past releases a couple of days ago. Slater claims that Scott Rockenfield, Michael Wilton, and Eddie Jackson had little to no involvement in the recording of the 2006 album, ‘Operation: Mindcrime II.’
Slater, who worked on the band’s last three albums, says, “When I met the band, everyone seemed enthusiastic about making the CD, but as we began working, none of the band members except for Geoff Tate were interested in contributing, showing up for recording sessions or participating in any fashion. On several occasions, studio time was arranged but none of the band members showed up. This left myself, Geoff Tate, and Mike Stone to write and record the record.”
Slater adds, “Every attempt was made to include the band. They received copies of the songs after they were written and time was set aside for them to come in and record. We scheduled two weeks at a local studio to record Michael Wilton. When he showed up, he hadn’t learned any of the songs, so all the time was spent trying to teach him the songs so he could record them.” Slater says that since the attempts failed to have Wilton play the music, the guitar parts on the record were played by Slater and Stone.
Similar stories hold true for Rockenfield and Jackson. Slater says Rockenfield did not participate in the making of the disc at all, with a session drummer recording all the parts. Meanwhile Jackson used his studio time to learn the music, with the producer eventually recording a majority of the bass on the record.
The producer says of the aftermath of the disc, “The members of the band badmouthed the record to the press and important people in the industry until they saw the record getting favorable reviews. At that point, they started taking credit for all the work that was done in their absence.”
Meanwhile, former Snake River Conspiracy guitarist Mitch Doran alleged at the MyLesPaul.com forum that he was the session guitarist mentioned in the depositions, and he adds, “I ended up re-playing 90% of the rhythm guitar on ‘Operation: Mindcrime II’ record and also wrote and played most of the guitar solos.” He also backs up the claim that Rockenfield wasn’t even on ‘Operation: Mindcrime II’ and that his friend Matt Lucich played all of the drums except for one bridge that he and Slater played on two kits for a song.
In Tate's deposition filed July 12th, he addressed several of the allegations his former band members levelled against him.
He admits he struck Wilton and Rockenfield just before a concert in Brazil in April, but says: “I was upset at the time, having been told my wife and daughter had been fired and that I was ‘next’. I regret losing my temper and my actions are not acceptable. It is unlike me to act in this manner.
“I do not lose my temper, become loud or threatening, or hit people. People who know me describe me as even-keeled, mild-mannered and easy-going.”
While the rest of Queensryche say he continued threatening behaviour during the show, including spitting on bandmates while they played, Tate says: “I did not. Although I have no doubt it was upsetting to Rockenfield and Wilton, they were not injured. It was also clear that they were not and are not afraid of me – they did not press charges or request a restraining order.”
He points out they performed two more shows together and adds: “I do not believe that Rockenfield, Jackson and Wilton kicked me out of the band based on what happened in Brazil. I think instead they had planed on firing me since at least February 2012, and this incident just gave them an excuse to do it.”
Tate responds to Rockenfield’s allegation of violent behaviour in 2007 by saying the drummer failed to explain events leading up to the moment, as discovered by the singer’s wife and then Queensryche manager Susan Tate. “Susan noticed hanging from the merchandise booth drumsticks and heads signed by Rockenfield for sale. Queensryche didn’t sell sticks and heads. The man selling the merchandise told her that Rocknefield had told him to sell them, and to give him the money.
“Rockenfield had not discussed this with the band first, and we did not know about it. It was unfair because he was using valuable merchandise space and not sharing what he earned. We were all upset. I tried to talk about it with Rockenfield. He was in his dressing room, sitting at his laptop. He would not even acknowledge that I was talking with him. Unable to get his attention and become more and more upset, I shut the laptop screen down. I did not spit on him or push him, as Rockenfield now claims.”
He explains his take on the band’s allegation that he sold movie right to hit album Operation Mindcrime without discussing it, and without sharing the advance he’d been paid. “Operation Mindcrime was a concept album based on a story I wrote while I was living in Canada. I mentioned it to the other band members but they did not like it. They eventually agreed to the idea and the album went on to go platinum, selling more than a million copies.
“But I owned the copyright to the story, not the band. It was no different than how songwriting royalties are distributed. If you write the song you get the royalties. Similarly, since I wrote the story, I wonder the copyright for the story. Queensryche’s attorney agreed.”
And Tate denies he tried to cut his bandmates out of the deal, saying: “If the movie was made, Queensryche would get $250,000 to write the score.”
He further states that Rockenfield, Jackson and Wilton didn’t form pre-Queenrsyche outfit The Mob, because they had so singer and no name until he joined. He also contests their claims that he refused to work on songs they brought to the band, saying instead that they did not contribute any material.
Supporting Tate’s submission, Paul Gargano, a product manager for Century Media Record and InsideOut Music, and also editor of Metal Edge magazine, says: “I first got to know Queensryche in the early 1990s. Since then I have reported on their albums, tours and reputation in the music industry, conducted interviews, written liner notes, label copy and marketing assets on their DVDs, and also spoken as an expert about the band on VH1 and MTV.
“Fans and people in the music industry know the role Geoff Tate has played for Queensryche. It is fair to say that to many professionals, Geoff Tate is Queensryche.
“I have seen what happens to bands like Queensryche after those bands attempt to replace their lead singer. Warrant, Skid Row and LA Guns come to mind, but there are many others. The bands always suffer and do considerable damage to their careers and legacy.
“I believe Queensryche will lose fans and fewer promoters will take them seriously, causing damage to the band’s name and harming their future potential as a live and recording act.
“In my opinion the best course of action would be to stop any tours or recordings by anyone in the name of Queensryche until this litigation can be resolved.”
Lawyer Benjamin J Stone, representing Geoff and Susan Tate, says claims by Rockenfield, Wilton and Parker that they did not like the direction the band were going cannot be true since, by their own admission, they owned 75% of the band’s companies between them. He adds that Susan was accepted as manager only if she took half the wages paid to previous incumbents, at Rockenfield’s request. he adds: “The only event raised by them that actually occurred was the one in Brazil. This one isolated event does not justify kicking Geoff out of the band and demanding that he sell back his shares in the companies after 30 years of work.”
What a fucking mess, huh? I say time to get in the cage! Seriously, an an objective observer here and a fan of both Tate's vocals and the Queensryche band members abilities, I have to say that it looks like Tate may have to just press on as a solo performer and leave the Queensryche name behind.
Queensryche drama gets thicker! Band members deny Geoff Tate accusations, says Tate had ongoing assault and anger issues
Queensryche drummer Scott Rockenfield says the band were forced to fire singer Geoff Tate as a result of ongoing violent and dominating behavior. Rockenfield has detailed a series of events which he says proves they had no option but to not continue working with Tate, including a series of spitting and punching incidents ahead of a concert in Brazil back in April.
In response to Tate's lawsuit against his former bandmates filed on June 12 in King County Superior Court in the state of Washington in order to "sort out who is what, and who owns what, and that stuff," the Tate is also attempting to get a court injunction against Michael Wilton, Eddie Jackson and Scott Rockenfield that would prevent them from using the name Queensryche for their new group.
On July 9th Wilton, Jackson and Rockenfield filed responses to Tate's motion for preliminary injunction and included individual declarations from all of them supporting their position that Tate's motion should be denied. Blabbermouth.net obtained copies of those documents. Check these out:
In his sworn declaration, Eddie Jackson writes, in part, "While we were recording the band's fifth album that was released on EMI Records called 'Promised Land', Geoff Tate had been experiencing marital problems. I'm sure he had a very difficult time focusing on both his marriage while also trying to be creative; however, while in the studio, I witnessed something that was a bit disturbing. I was sitting at a table reading some of the band's fan mail and started hearing yelling and cursing. As I turned my head towards the direction it was coming from, that's when I saw Geoff Tate slam through one of the studio doors while screaming at Chris DeGarmo from two feet away, yelling something in the likes of. 'Don't bring any more of your bulls**t here. I don't need any more of your bulls**t!' He was in such rage I thought he was going to physically assault Chris DeGarmo. He continued to yell a couple more expletives and just walked away. Chris DeGarmo, like a true gentleman, just kept his composure and started walking towards the front door. I wanted to share this incident because to this day Scott Rockenfield, Michael Wilton and I have continued to witness this type of random violent behavior from Geoff Tate on several occasions when he gets extremely angry and upset.
"After the album release for 'Hear And The Now Frontier', followed by an extensive tour, it was evident that something wasn't right. Since Geoff Tate didn't write any music, we continued to collectively submit to him various musical compositions to work on. However, Chris DeGarmo had been very quiet with very little communication. Chris DeGarmo finally contacted everyone to schedule a band meeting where he informed us he had made a decision to leave the band.
"Over the course of the next five album releases ('Q2K', 'Tribe', 'Operation: Mindcrime II', 'American Soldier' and 'Dedicated To Chaos') the band had gone through three guitar players, four management firms and five record companies.
"After Chris DeGarmo left, the band he was adamant about hiring Kelly Gray as the next QUEENSRŸCHE guitar player. We had also severed ties with Q-Prime Management that had been managing us for about eight years, and decided to hire Ray Daniels, who at the time was also managing the bands RUSH and VAN HALEN. Once again, since Geoff Tate didn't write any music, and the band continued to collectively submit to him various musical compositions for the next album called 'Q2K'.
"Kelly Gray did not write the whole album with Geoff Tate as he claims. Michael Wilton, Scott Rockenfield, Kelly Gray and I spent many hours writing song ideas collectively and individually.
"After just one album and an extensive tour with Kelly Gray, Geoff Tate refused to continue working with him because of his substance abuse and Kelly Gray was eventually fired. Geoff Tate also decided to fire our manager, Ray Daniels.
"Michael Wilton, Scott Rockenfield and I weren't too pleased with the firing of Ray Daniels, but to avoid Geoff Tate's random violent behavior, we decided it would be best to just keep our distance and not start an argument. Lars Sorenson was hired as the new QUEENSRŸCHE band manager. Susan Tate (Geoff's wife) was already working with Lars Sorensen as an assistant.
"After a year later, Geoff Tate decided to fire Lars Sorensen and conveniently hire his wife Susan Tate as manager. Michael Wilton, Scott Rockenfield and I knew it was a recipe for disaster and had no choice but to accept the idea if Geoff Tate was to continue working with the band.
"Before recording the album 'Tribe', frustration started to build with Michael Wilton, Scott Rockenfield and I towards Geoff Tate in regards to songwriting, the type of direction the band should be taking, along with certain decisions made by Geoff Tate that he did not allow us to take part in. He was creating a negative energy around our work environment. In fact, his wife Susan Tate emailed us and said that 'my husband has a dark side… I'm having a difficult time trying to reach out to him!'
"Geoff Tate spiritually had removed himself from QUEENSRŸCHE and basically stepped away for about a year and decided to record his own album; however, at the same time, causing a serious detriment to the QUEENSRŸCHE brand. Michael Wilton, Scott Rockenfield and I, along with Mike Stone, continued to write music and compositions for obvious reasons and eventually submitted them to Geoff Tate. In fact, we even rented a studio room at Bear Creek Studios in Woodinville, WA for two weeks to compose. Geoff Tate would on occasion stop in from time to time after riding his motorcycle to hear the various compositions we had written.
"Chris DeGarmo had been invited to participate on the 'Tribe' record. He recorded and composed several songs.
"When Chris DeGarmo was in the band, he used to take part in a lot of Geoff Tate's vocals sessions, and they would work together creating vocal harmony ideas, etc. However, Geoff Tate's demeanor continued and when it was actually his turn to start recording, he rudely told Chris DeGarmo that he wasn't needed. Not a pleasant, 'Hey, thanks for coming back and recording with the band' attitude, especially toward someone who used to be in the band for 15 years and had written arguably the most popular song QUEENSRŸCHE had ever recorded! As usual, Chris DeGarmo, like a true gentleman, just kept his composure and simply got up and left.
"It wasn't long before we started to question some of Geoff and Susan Tate's business decisions. Michael Wilton, Scott Rockenfield and I continued to witness the same disrespectful, controlling negativity from Geoff and Susan Tate and Jason Slater during the writing process for the album 'American Soldier'. The three of us refused to work with Jason Slater again; however, Geoff and Susan Tate paid no attention to us and decided to hire Jason Slater again as co-producer. Once again, Scott Rockenfield, Michael Wilton and I had no voice in the decision. Our working environment had become very stressful.
"'American Soldier' sold approximately 60k copies. That's less than half of what the last album 'Operation: Mincrime' sold.
"As usual, the band continued to submit song ideas to Geoff Tate [for what became the album 'Dedicated To Chaos'] without any musical composition or contribution from him. We all worked long hours collectively and individually for several months.
"Geoff and Susan Tate insisted on hiring Jason Slater once again, even though the rest of us disapproved because of the problems we had encountered with him from before. Our stress levels were high and simply could not voice our opinion on the matter since they fell on deaf ears if we were heard at all.
"During the course of recording, Kelly Gray would continue criticizing Geoff Tate's song selections and decisions and simply said, 'This isn‘t the direction the band should be going.' Kelly Gray had also commented on how he had been underpaid and mistreated by Geoff and Susan Tate.
"Our last album called 'Dedicated To Chaos' was the band's most criticized effort to date. It was not well received. This was a band direction Geoff Tate insisted on taking even though the rest of us had disagreed.
"As you can see by QUEENSRŸCHE's last three album releases, sales have declined significantly during Susan Tate's involvement as band manager, in addition with Jason Slater's and Kelly Gray's involvement. Kelly Gray had also taken notice of the band's decline in records sales and direction and commented several times that 'Susan Tate as band manager has run out of gas, and you should considered seeking new band management.'
"In the 30 years as a band, we have never submitted a hard copy paper form via USPS to schedule corporate officers/shareholders meetings. Every meeting has been scheduled through phone conversations and also, texting and emailing when it had become available as another form of communications.
"While on tour a couple of years ago I remember having an argument with Susan Tate over a tour bus issue and she was quoted as saying… 'I have to do what's in the best interest of MY HUSBAND to keep him happy' instead of saying… 'I have to do what's in the best interest of the BAND!' It obviously shows that she wasn't representing the band as a whole.
"The continuous nepotism from Geoff and Susan during her involvement with the band had caused many arguments, generated more tension and a high level of emotional stress on Michael, Scott and I.
"Since January of 2012 a notice of a shareholder and/or corporate officers meetings (approximately 4-5) were submitted to every band member. Michael, Scott and I were always present at these meetings, however, Geoff refused to take part in any of them without a valid reason.
"Michael, Scott and I constantly tried to find ways to minimize costs, however, at the same time maximize our dollar. Geoff's idea was always… 'Why do we need to worry about cutting costs?… We'll just find a way to just make more money!' Not very good business sense especially with the economic recession we've been experiencing over the last 4 years!
"We had a discussion about the current fan club office situation because it was costing the band so much money monthly, and especially since we weren't performing many shows in 2012 we weren‘t going to generate a lot of revenue. Basically, more money was going out than was coming in. The idea of hiring an online company to do this was much more cost effective in comparison. Geoff refused to go along with the idea because his wife and daughter were on the payroll. Needless to say, after eliminating the rental office lease payment, employee payroll, utility expenses and accounting fee's the bands accountant Neil Sussman was also in agreement of the amount of money the band would be saving on a yearly basis by switching to an online merchandise company per an email he submitted to all the band members.
"From March 2012 till to this day Scott, Michael and I have been denied access to the band's web site (Facebook, Twitter, PayPal accounts).
"While on tour in 2007, Geoff Tate physically assaulted Scott Rockenfield in the band's dressing room over another disagreement. He grabbed Scott Rockenfield's laptop and shoved it in his face and proceeded to swing at Scott Rockenfield while screaming expletives at him.
"Geoff Tate has made several comments about how he despises the hard
rock/heavy metal genre which is what QUEENSRŸCHE's style has been from the very beginning.
"Twice in the fall of 2011 while on tour, Geoff Tate's irrational, violent behavior surfaced again after a discussion we had regarding songs that fans have been requesting us to perform for quite a few years. While the rest of the band were in agreement with the fans, he screamed in disapproval, 'I don't want to play those stupid songs. I didn't write them!' and stormed out of the dressing room in a violent rage.
"Moments before performing a show in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Geoff Tate physically assaulted Scott Rockenfield and Michael Wilton several times in front of a dozen witnesses including the band crew, the opening act, FATES WARNING, the local promoter, his assistant and among a few others. He even told our tour manager after he physically assaulted Scott Rockenfield and Michael Wilton that 'I'm going to f**k with Scott throughout the show,' and was repeatedly spitting on Scott Rockenfield's drum kit and Michael Wilton's guitars and amplifiers through the course of the night. At the end of the show, our tour manager told us to not go to our dressing room and go straight to the vans and to our hotel because he was afraid Geoff Tate would try to physically assault one of us again. He even had the hotel place security on each floor next to our hotel rooms that night for our own safety.
"Geoff Tate's claim regarding Scott Rockenfield's comment ('I've fired your wife, your daughter and now you're next!') is completely false, and even our band crew who were present at the time of the incident would testify to that.
"Several weeks following the Sao Paulo incident in Brazil at the M3 Festival in Baltimore MD, Geoff Tate continued to make threats to Scott Rockenfield, Michael Wilton and I if were to get near him while performing on stage.
"Another several weeks later, Geoff Tate's rant 'you guys suck' to the fans while performing a show in Oklahoma was extremely unprofessional and has only continued to damage the QUEENSRŸCHE brand name.
"Geoff Tate's continued random threats and irrational, violent behavior still poses a threat to Scott Rockenfield, Michael Wilton and me, and has caused a significant amount of stress and we therefore cannot continue working with him in the future."
Here's Scott Rockenfield sworn declaration:
"On Saturday, April 14, 2012, at approximately 11:05 p.m., we (the band) had just arrived on the stage behind the curtain approximately 10 minutes before our show was to commence in Sao Paulo, Brazil, with 2000+ concertgoers in attendance. I was getting up onto my drum riser when fellow band member Geoff Tate walked in front of my drums and spit into my face while proceeding to yell obscenities at me. Geoff Tate then pushed my drums down onto the drum riser causing the first delays for the show. Geoff Tate then walked around the stage left behind Michael Wilton's guitar speakers and confronted Michael Wilton face to face. He proceeded to yell obscenities at him before striking him with his fist on the right upper side of Michael Wilton's face. I came off my drum riser to Michael Wilton's aid and told Geoff Tate to back off. Geoff Tate continued to yell obscenities and spit at both Michael Wilton and me, and then at that time proceeded to strike me in the face twice. I backed away and asked for security to assist the situation. Geoff Tate continued yelling obscenities and spitting at the band members while chasing us around the stage. The local stage security and our own crew came to assist in trying to subdue Geoff Tate. Geoff Tate continued to resist and kept chasing the band members around the stage, all the while screaming obscenities, spitting at them and threatening them. Our tour manager, Orlando Scott 'Fozzy' O'Hare, came to subdue Geoff Tate and move him to his position on the stage left. After a few minutes of Orlando Scott 'Fozzy' O'Hare trying to calm Geoff Tate down, Geoff Tate then came back across the stage at the band members. He continued to spit and yell obscenities and was trying to get close to them to continue his assault. Local security created a barrier between me, Eddie Jackson and Michael Wilton to keep Geoff Tate from approaching. This behavior continued for about 20 to 25 minutes while we were forced to delay the show. Michael Wilton was handed an ice pack to hold to his face to try and keep any swelling to a minimum. After the situation was under control, the other band members and the band's crew had to fix the damage caused to their equipment during this assault before the show could proceed as scheduled.
"Just minutes prior to the show commencing, Orlando Scott 'Fozzy' O'Hare was told by Geoff Tate that he was going to attack Eddie Jackson next and that he was going to 'mess' with me all during the show. The entire incident lasted about 25 minutes. During the show, Geoff Tate continued to spit on the band members and their equipment, which was clearly seen by the fans in attendance and caused a very uncomfortable situation for the band to perform at the level the fans expected and paid for.
"During the show, Orlando Scott 'Fozzy' O'Hare advised us to exit the stage and go directly into our transportation to get away from Geoff Tate and his possible continued assault. There was concern that Geoff Tate would try and assault us on stage during our final bows to the crowd. We arrived at our hotel safely soon thereafter and were told to stay in our rooms until later the next day to avoid any further confrontations. Local authorities in discussion with our stage manager, Orlando Scott 'Fozzy' O'Hare, agreed to have Geoff Tate booked on another plane flight different from our original flights to also further avoid confrontations. Geoff Tate's new flight cost over $2,500. Later in the night when Geoff Tate departed the venue with Orlando Scott 'Fozzy' O'Hare to go back to the hotel, Geoff Tate proceeded to tell Orlando Scott 'Fozzy' O'Hare to tell me to 'keep the f**k away from him.'"
Michael Wilton had this to say:
"After the success of 'Operation: Mindcrime', Q Prime management wanted us in the studio right away to keep the momentum going with our new fan base. So right away we went to work on 'Empire'. Songs were written like they had been in the past, but this time Chris DeGarmo [guitar] took a more active role in not only the musical side, but the lyrical side as well. Chris DeGarmo solely wrote the song 'Silent Lucidity' which went on to become No. 2 on the charts and was nominated for a Grammy.
"'Empire' was our first album to go platinum, garner industry awards and nominations and to date has sold over 3 million copies.
"With the success of 'Empire', we toured for over 18 months and subsequently all of our past albums sold more. The EP, 'The Warning' and 'Rage For Order' went gold and 'Operation: Mindcrime' went platinum.
"The next album was 'Promised Land'. It was during the creative process of this recording that tensions over songwriting credits started to emerge. The sense of playing on an equal balance was gone. It was also at this time that Geoff was letting it be known that he was unhappy with us as band mates and also with the direction of the band as he didn't want to sing in the 'metal/hard rock' style anymore. He also let us know that this would possibly be his last album and he would be quitting.
"During the touring of 'Promised Land', Geoff Tate had started to distance himself from the rest of us. He wanted to bring theatrics into the show and felt he needed to have more to do on stage than sing with a microphone. He was going through a hard and difficult time personally. Everyone understood and gave him the space and creativity he needed. There was a feeling that this could be our last tour.
"At the end of the tour, we came home to let things settle in. The album had not done as great as 'Empire' in album sales, the future of the band was uncertain, the pressure to stay on top was huge, and now the sound of grunge was taking over.
"After many talks, the band decided we would go forward and do another album. Geoff Tate had made a change in his personal life and had decided that he would not be leaving the band. It was also during this time that the writing for 'Hear In The Now Frontier' started. It was a more song-driven and not guitar-driven album for the first time in QUEENSRŸCHE history. The songs were very individualistic. With the now huge phenomenon of the 'grunge' sound, the production for this album was very sparse and raw as we were trying to capture an essence of that sound to make us sound more current.
"During the recording of 'Hear In The Now Frontier', personal things changed. Because of a divorce battle between Geoff Tate and Suzanne Tate, band members were subpoenaed and were now put in the middle of a personal fight that ended up causing a large amount of resentment and hurt amongst the band members. It was at this point that tensions became higher and the resentment over royalties became a big issue. Now the demand to be a writer on future QUEENSRŸCHE songs would start to erode the friendships. The dynamics of the band itself had changed.
"QUEENSRŸCHE was not, nor had it ever been, a band that had a 'rock star' image. Now our backstage area was filled with people we didn't know, and it was a party atmosphere that we had not had in the past. QUEENSRŸCHE was starting to go in a direction that the band did not like.
"It was at the end of our tour for 'Hear In The Now Frontier' that Chris DeGarmo left the band. Although the songwriting chemistry of Chris DeGarmo and Geoff Tate may have run its course, but more so Geoff Tate's personal demeanor with Chris DeGarmo had terminated the relationship.
"I was saddened to see Chris DeGarmo leave. I have remained a close friend to Chris DeGarmo throughout the years. Also, Q Prime management decided to drop the band due to Chris DeGarmo's departure.
"A decision to move on was agreed upon after a long dinner meeting with band members and wives. We felt we had more to say musically and didn't want QUEENSRŸCHE to end. It was at that time Geoff Tate mentioned bringing Kelly Gray into the mix. Kelly Gray was an old friend of everyone's as well as one of the members of the band MYTH that Geoff Tate left when he joined QUEENSRŸCHE.
"We all worked very hard on the 'Q2K' album with the team of Ray Daniels, RUSH's management. Extensive touring and smart management decisions pushed the sales of that album well over 150,000 units, a worthy start without the key songwriter. We produced the album together with Kelly Gray engineering. However, Susan and Geoff Tate did not trust the management of Ray Daniels, and Susan Tate then teamed up with Lars Sorensen to manage the band. Immediately there was a strong resentment in the rest of the band about firing Ray Daniels. It was not a unanimous decision. But it was the first of many 'my way or the highway' ultimatum's from Geoff Tate.
"Chris DeGarmo did come back for the recording of the next album, 'Tribe', but endless creative wrangling with Geoff Tate caused Chris DeGarmo to leave again and not tour with the band to support the album. This resulted in a year of hard touring with yet another new guitarist that I had to teach all the material to in a short period of time. A co-headline with the band DREAM THEATER was another great concept, but due to a mudslinging press war between Geoff Tate and with the drummer of that band, it ended up being an uncomfortable and trying time for us as a united group.
"In 2005, things got worse. Geoff Tate came to the band and wanted to kick Lars Sorensen out and have his wife Susan Tate manage the band. There was huge resistance from the rest of us, but Geoff Tate said that unless we hired Susan Tate to manage, Geoff Tate would no longer work with us. We were forced to work with her or the band was over. Reluctantly we agreed to this, feeling we had no other choice if we wanted to remain as a band, but we did refuse to sign a binding contract with her. Again, there was more resentment within the band as the feeling of being held hostage by Geoff Tate's 'my way or the highway' theme was becoming apparent.
"Susan Tate brought to the table the idea to record 'Operation: Mindcrime II'. The band was hesitant and did not want to lessen the original. But Susan Tate and Geoff Tate hired a budget producer and took control without really any other input. The manipulation of upfront monies was the Tates' main tool to get what they wanted. Scott Rockenfield, Eddie Jackson and I were squeezed out of having any input in the musical direction or business decisions, thus the project suffered. The rest was an organizational nightmare. The producer was never around when needed; he was constantly asleep on the job or playing games on his media player. He would send emails to the wrong email addresses. During the initial writing phase, I would show up to bring my input to the creative process only to find that the producer, the new guitar player (who were both staying with the Tates at the time), along with Geoff Tate had been up late the night before or up early that morning and had written the songs without me. I was then told my ideas were not needed as the songs were now done. I could, however, 'bring my own style' in during the recording after learning to play what they wrote for me. In frustration, I gave up on the writing process knowing that I would at least get to make changes in the studio to bring back the QUEENSRŸCHE sound into these songs that we were known for. The final straw was when they refused to let me to be a part of the final recordings and mixes. I was shut out and they had the nerve to replace some of my parts on my songs. They denied me flying to San Francisco to be a part of my band, telling me that everything was ready to go and I was not needed. Had the communication been better, and had I been aware that parts needed to be recorded or rewritten, I would have been there. It was not until years later that I even became aware of the issues during the final recording and mixing of 'Operation: Mindcrime II'. It was all under the control of Geoff and Susan Tate. Call it delusions of grandeur, but they were convinced that this was going to sell three times more than the original, and to date (six years later) this album has sold fewer than 150,000 copies. The original album sold over 500,000 copies within a year.
"After this tour, I received a phone call from our guitarist, Mike Stone, letting me know he was being fired from the band. I had no knowledge of this or that we were even considering letting him go. I immediately called Geoff Tate and Susan Tate and requested a band meeting. It was at this meeting that we were told that Mike Stone was being replaced by Miranda Tate's (Geoff Tate's daughter) new boyfriend, Parker Lundgren. They said that Mike Stone was making too many grand demands and we could hire Parker Lundgren for cheap. We would be making more money. I had never heard Parker Lundgren play, nor was I or the rest of the band included in this major decision. Again, there was division in the band as our voice on most band decisions was being stifled.
"The next album was a thematic/conceptual idea based on our military. Again, it was a great idea that was not shared. Many of us also have military families and would have enjoyed being a part of writing this on their behalf. At that time in our career we all had such a backlog of songs that we were astounded that Geoff Tate would not work with our ideas. He had taken upon himself to be the lone voice and face of QUEENSRŸCHE, along with being an A&R person. Only he is to choose with whom he writes his lyrics with. It was obvious that this is not a team anymore. They have manipulated us with money knowing we have families with mortgages. And still, I, being a team player, worked tirelessly to learn and record all the guitars in Eddie Jackson's garage. I worked my hardest at trying to bring the lost common thread of musicianship of the older recordings but you can only do so much to a song which has cemented vocals that cannot be changed. I set up an arsenal of guitar rigs in Eddie Jackson's house. Kelly Gray and I worked for about 6 months to get as much guitar recording done. Kelly had to work long hours and ended up putting a few of his bits in the songs. This was done because of the time restraint. The last song to be recorded was an acoustic that Kelly Gray had written. The song was to feature Geoff Tate's daughter. Her voice was not situated for the key it was in so Kelly had to time stretch and Auto Tune it. This made the song slightly out of tune with concert pitch. If you listen to the CD, you can tell that it is definitely in its own key. There was a difference of opinion on the mix. In fact, Geoff Tate did not even want me there for fear I would make the guitars too loud and make it sound metal.
"Again, a rigorous touring schedule followed. And, it was becoming clear that the majority of fans were constantly screaming for the old standard songs. There were many arguments about set lists but Geoff Tate always got his way. We wanted to play the older songs but Geoff Tate didn't want to sing those songs and refused to sing. He would tell us what songs he would only sing and then we had to pick from this list.
"Next was the QUEENSRŸCHE Cabaret Tour. I was totally not involved in that decision. In fact, I was the only member that stood up for not doing this degrading show. I knew that this would definitely tarnish what was left of the QUEENSRŸCHE brand. I was of the mind that QUEENSRŸCHE was a class act and would never stoop to such a degrading situation with woman on stage, especially the band's own wives and daughters! However, as a majority vote was made to continue with this tour, I felt I had no other option other than being a team player, thinking of my band mates, sucking it up and then giving my best to our fans. And again, Geoff Tate threw a temper tantrum and would not sing requested fan favorites.
"I came home from this tour disgusted. At this time, I was really worried about the future of the band. As this band has made major changes in its career, I felt it was time for another change. I began approaching and talking with different managements to gather possible different scenarios for the band. I asked for copies of the financials and began to do some budget reports. I called a meeting to share my thoughts and brought figures to show my data. I presented a new management company to the guys as an option to think about only. I was open for discussion, but what I got from Geoff Tate was a personal, slanderous attack of emails saying I had no right to question his role and how I lied about the numbers to prove my point, numbers that were taken directly from statements I had from our accountant and were not lies, nor were they manipulated in any way. I thought this was a democracy, but I guess not. The other band members did not want to rock the boat and I was literally being asked to leave my band by the lead singer. What prevailed were more slanderous statements against my family and me. After talking this over with Eddie Jackson, who was shocked that I was being asked to leave the band and asked me to not quit, and then after talking this over with my family, I agreed to stay with the band after we, the band, all agreed that changes would be made regarding how the business was being run and also with the writing process for the next album. I had worked too long and hard to walk away without giving this one more chance. I did find it questionable as to why I was not allowed to voice my opinion or ask any questions regarding the running of our business.
"As the touring began to become scarce, the value of the band was dropping. Secondary markets were diminishing. At a casino show in New Mexico, Geoff Tate said to us that they were at a loss as to what to do next, and the money was disappearing fast. We had burned out and over saturated the market. That is when Scott Rockenfield started to brainstorm on ways to efficiently cut costs. He started to look at our outdated fan club and merchandising company. There were a lot of overhead expenses that could be cut or reduced. We started the next recording and it was to be called a 'rant session of manic music.' It was to be a band effort with everyone contributing and we would write as a band again. Everyone went to town and convened at Scott Rockenfield's studio and dropped all the ideas into his computer. The process of piecing together parts was going good and a few demos were surfacing. Then all of a sudden, without notice, the project was canned and it was back to Geoff Tate calling the shots with outside writers again. The direction was supposed to be more like 'Empire'. What transpired was more unorganized confusion. No one was sure who was producing the album. Again, it was Jason Slater and Kelly Gray trying to figure out who was doing what. I was consumed by rewriting Jason Slater's tunes to make them heavier like he instructed me to do. I recorded with Jason Slater at Scott Rockenfield's house and then Jason Slater disappeared! The album went in a different direction taking the emphasis off of the guitars! My songs were not used. To this date the 'Dedicated To Chaos' album has sold a whopping 20,000 copies. Even after heavy touring!
"Around this time (2011) is when I noticed on our profit and loss documents that expenses were being abused. I started sending copies to Eddie Jackson and Scott Rockenfield of all business expenses and chargebacks that were coming to be. Susan Tate and Geoff Tate were already receiving these so they already had their copies. At the request of Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield and myself, we asked for more documents from our accountant and began looking at the upcoming tour budget. We saw that Susan Tate had the income and expenses for her new band, THE VOODOOS, being run through our accounts without ever telling any of us. Since they did not have work visas, they had to run all of their business income through our tax ID and checking accounts! We were told only that they were touring for us as an opening act for a small fee. I was furious about this! This is illegal, and she put our business at risk because she didn't have the right legal paperwork for her band to perform in the States! She had no right to run anything other than QUEENSRŸCHE-related expenses as our manager through our accounts. Geoff Tate was on board with her actions and did not relay this information to us.
"For the fall tour, Scott Rockenfield demanded that we cut the opener and get rid of a bus and get rid of some personnel. This does not sit well with Geoff and Susan Tate as Susan Tate made it known to Scott Rockenfield that this made Geoff Tate uncomfortable and that he was happier having his friends out on the road with him. It was made known by Scott Rockenfield that we have not needed a backup singer or assistants when on other tours and that Geoff Tate can do this tour without having them there. Susan Tate tried to convince Scott Rockenfield that it was a wash when in actuality we ended up saving $35,000 that run. So we voted (all via emails back and forth) to save a substantial amount of money and it all worked out great, except the fact that our lead singer was not happy because he did not get his way. During this time there were more personal expenses being called into question that were being paid out of the QUEENSRŸCHE accounts for Susan Tate and Geoff Tate. There were many email attacks from Geoff Tate and Susan Tate because of our questions and they felt that those were actually QUEENSRŸCHE expenses even though no one else agreed. At the Emerald Queen Casino show, Geoff Tate did not even acknowledge us. He did not even take a bow to the audience!
"Thus, in 2012 the animosity truly began. There was no communication from manager Susan Tate with the rest of the band, no performances were getting booked, non-Geoff Tate posts on website are taken off, and when some shows finally did get booked, one was on an agreed blackout day. We were left to fend for ourselves. We were contracted for only a few shows and money was becoming less for the rest of the band. Geoff was touring with his solo band and was the main focus for management. We decided it was time to really look into moving the merchandise and fan club to a third party and putting this now in a place where we all have control and a say equally. At this time, the merchandise and fan club office had expenses that were way more than we thought they should be. After gathering information from another merchandising company as to what they proposed and costs estimated to make a switch, we demanded a meeting with Geoff Tate to sort some things out and to discuss this new option, but he had to have his wife and daughter and our accountant there with him. The accountant showed basic income for last five years as a gesture to show how much money we have made, but what we wanted to see as well should have included expenditures. We suggested restructuring the merchandise and fan club. We felt we had a good deal that would make everything run more efficiently, and although we were not privy to how things were currently running, we felt this was a good starting point for discussion. During this meeting it is agreed that Susan Tate and our accountant would pull together a list of questions for us to ask other merchandise companies and that we would all be together during a conference call to these companies as a group. This way everyone would be there to ask the questions and to hear the answers. If a decision was to be made, we would make it as a group. However, a few days later, we received the list of questions from our accountant via email. And, then we found out that Geoff Tate, Susan Tate and our accountant made the call to the merchandise company we had spoken to and asked him these questions without us present, even though we had agreed to do this as a group. We then got a distressing call from the merchandise guy who proceeded to tell us how unprofessionally he was treated. After I sent an email saying I was upset that we were not included in this call, we were then attacked personally by Geoff Tate as he felt that since we made the initial calls without him he felt he could do the same. Even though the initial calls were made for research and information gathering, and we had all agreed that the next call would be as a group. He then threatened to bring legal action against us and threatened to cancel all future shows. He even stated in an email 'This is not business. This is personal.' Susan Tate then sent over email communications she had with our current merchandise company, TinMan, and left this for us to look over as an option.
"During this time, I realized I was missing certain profit and loss statements and I requested copies of these from our accountant. Geoff Tate made a motion with our accountant/attorney that he felt that I would give these to a third party and he did not agree to me having these copies and thereby blocking their release to me. I sent a certified letter stating that these were for my personal files only and I stated that they would not be given to a third party. Geoff Tate still refused to let me have them. It is at this point I got legal help and I was instructed to have director meetings to obtain paperwork. I was stunned that I was being blocked from seeing accounting statements from companies I am part owner in. Scott Rockenfield sent out a meeting request via email to all of us asking for a board/shareholder meeting. Timing was of the essence as finances for the band were tight at this point as Geoff Tate is out on his solo tour and there is not much time that we are all in the same city. Scott listed the topics that would be discussed in the email. Out of the four of us, three agreed to the date and time. Geoff Tate replied back to the email that he was not available until the next day. Unfortunately, the next day did not work for everyone else and we stayed with the original time and date requested.
"Many times in the past, others have had to rearrange their schedule to make meetings that a majority has agreed upon. We felt this time was no different and that Geoff Tate would be there. It was at this time, we all received an email and a letter from an attorney who represents Mr. and Mrs. Geoff Tate that states 'they' are not available for that day and could we please reschedule the meeting to a time that works for 'them.' I was shocked first that I had been notified by an attorney regarding this and to also see that our 'band meeting' now has to include Susan Tate. Was this why Geoff Tate was not at the meeting, because Susan Tate was still in Europe and would be home the next day when he said he was available? We were also told in this letter that our email notification of the meeting was invalid, which was another shock as all meeting requests in the past were done either by email or phone text. Not only that, Geoff Tate had replied to the email so we knew he had received ample notification time. During this time, Scott Rockenfield got an email congratulating him on the deal that was made to have 'Operation: Mindcrime' made into a movie. He contacted me and Eddie Jackson to see if we knew anything about this. We were just as shocked as he was! We had no knowledge this was being done, nor had we had any time to look into the deal or even see where or how we would fit into the project. We also noted that Chris DeGarmo was not notified, nor was he aware of this agreement either, and as he was one of the principal songwriters and contributor to the story outline, this was shocking. A check had been sent to our attorney to be held in escrow and at this time, we sent notice that this was to be held and no cash distribution was to be made until this was looked into and we were all in agreement.
"Again, this is another issue how business decisions were being made by Geoff Tate and Susan Tate without our knowledge. Moreover, when I inquired of our attorney if these funds were to be distributed to the band I was informed they were Geoff Tate's alone! 'Operation: Mindcrime' belonged to the entire band. I was astounded.
"The band meeting went on as planned, and in attendance were myself, Scott Rockenfield and Eddie Jackson. Geoff Tate was not there. We discussed the option of restructuring the merchandise and fan club, and decide to go with the company TinMan, who we were currently using for the manufacturing of our merchandise products. This agreement with TinMan includes having them run both the fan club and merchandise operations with this being done directly with them, and with this move all of our current expenses for the fan club and merchandise operations in-house would cease.
"At this point in the meeting, we agreed we needed to let go of our fan club and merchandise office staff which included Miranda Tate and Susan Tate as they would no longer be needed. We also agreed that the house rental and day-to-day operating expenses would need to stopped and prepared for the move to TinMan.
"The next topic discussed at this meeting was management. For years there have been arguments and division within the band over decisions that were made by our current management and feelings that Susan Tate was not working on the behalf of the band as a whole, and was, and had been making and agreeing to decisions that we felt were degrading to our brand and who we are as a band. At this time, we voted and agreed to fire our manager, Susan Tate, and agreed to interview and talk to other management teams that had expressed interest in managing the band. We felt that our voting and agreements made during this meeting were legal and that Geoff Tate chose of his own volition to not be in attendance knowing full well what we were discussing. We were a majority in our voting count. The meeting was recorded and transcripts of the meeting's minutes were then sent to Geoff Tate, Susan Tate and Neil Sussman. We left the next day for our show in Brazil.
"On the day of our show in Brazil, Geoff Tate demanded a meeting before the show. We agreed to meet before sound check. We all decided it was best to record the meeting. He asked why we fired Susan Tate and what it was that we wanted. We stated that we were no longer interested in Susan Tate as management and that we wanted different representation. He asked if we had anyone in mind and we told him we were in talks with AGPS (this is the management team that I proposed we talk to in 2010) but that nothing was agreed to. He then asked about our thoughts regarding him selling the rights away to 'Operation: Mindcrime'. He said, 'You have frozen my money.' We stated we felt it was done behind our backs and as we were part of the creation of 'Operation: Mindcrime', we felt it was an intellectual property issue and needed to be reviewed by an attorney. Geoff Tate stated that he had nothing more to say, got up and walked towards the door, and then said, 'Have a nice show.' The meeting was brief. I didn't see Geoff Tate again until we were in the elevator back at the hotel (where he said nothing to me and I said nothing to him), and when we were in the lobby to meet our van to take us to the show. Geoff Tate decided to stay in the bar instead of going with the band and arrived later. The next time I saw him was as we were walked onto the stage by our tour manager.
"Geoff Tate was setting up his station and the three of us walked around his area to our stations. I walked over to the area where my equipment was. I had just put on my guitar in preparation for the show when I heard a loud bang and then an 'uh oh' by our singer, Geoff Tate. I looked over to see that he (Geoff Tate) had knocked over the whole drum kit and was now spitting at our drummer, Scott Rockenfield, and yelling obscenities at him. At this point, I went over behind the drums to help assist pushing the drums back up on the stage when I heard our singer say, 'Hey, Mike, have a nice show,' and then when I looked at him, he spit right in my face and called me a 'motherf**ker.' As I was wiping my face, feeling violated, Geoff Tate came back at me yelling obscenities, 'F**ker,' 'F**k you, you mother f**ker.' I gave him a look from my towel, he approached me and when I was not looking, he punched me on the side of my face. The punch also hit my right eye which had a contact lens in it. My contact jostled and I was trying to get it back in place so I could see. I told him to get away from me, but he kept pushing his chest into me calling me 'Pussy, f**king pussy! What, are you going to cry?' My eye was watering from my contact, I couldn't see clearly, and I pushed him away. Then Scott Rockenfield (our drummer) came down and told him to get away from me. Geoff Tate then threw another punch at me, but I ducked and it hit Scott Rockenfield right in the face (his mouth area). Scott Rockenfield told him to back off and then Geoff Tate punched Scott Rockenfield again in the face. At this point our tour manager, Fozzy O'Hare, pulled Geoff Tate away and one of our guitar technicians, Kenny Bender, helped me by getting a cold water bottle on my face to stop any swelling or redness. Geoff Tate came back over and called me a 'pussy' and a 'crybaby' again. I told everyone I needed a minute until I was able to get my vision back and I was moved to the other side of the stage until the crew felt they could get the situation under control. I then told my guitar technician, Gino Bishop, to get a towel to wipe off all the spit on my guitar that kept coming from Geoff Tate. From this side of the stage, I could see confusion between the security and our crew. Everyone was shocked and completely caught off guard with Geoff Tate's irrational and violent behavior. Geoff Tate was continuing to move about the stage, trying to get around the security and crew who were trying to block him from any further attacks and trying to get him under control. He continued to rant back and forth, spitting at the band members and their equipment. Fozzy O'Hare was finally able to pull Geoff Tate off stage and took him to where his station is during the performance. At this point, we were not sure if we were going to continue the show or if we would have to cancel due to Geoff Tate's antics and violence. There was communication between Gino Bishop and Fozzy O'Hare as to what to do. Fozzy O'Hare then indicated that Geoff Tate had calmed down and he was ready to do the show. Gino Bishop had a security guard stationed right behind Geoff Tate and one right behind Scott Rockenfield just in case Geoff Tate tried to attack the band members and their equipment again.
"Geoff Tate delayed the show by about 20+ minutes and tried to provide a situation for show cancellation. The rest of the band remained professional and committed to the show, even as Geoff Tate spit on Scott Rockenfield throughout the show and threw water at my equipment between songs and tried to mess with not only our equipment but also tried to compromise our performance.
"When I was done performing and the show was over, Gino Bishop grabbed my guitar and Fozzy O'Hare grabbed me and told me to go straight to the van as they were worried that Geoff Tate would try to attack us again. We got in the van with the promoter and a security guard and left for the hotel. The promoter was shocked and disgusted with what had happened and promised that we would have security with us until we left the next day. She also said that travel arrangements would be made to get Geoff Tate on a different flight, and that we would not be placed in that type of situation again. The promoter also thanked us for remaining professional and for continuing to do the show even while we were under such duress.
"The next day, all of the crew, except Kelly Gray, came up to us and said how sorry they were. They vowed to never work with Geoff Tate again. The promoter's assistant was disgusted and shocked as well. The other band that performed with us at this show, FATES WARNING, were all upset the next day and expressed their shock and disgust during the luncheon the promoter had planned for us. Our tour manager had to put Geoff Tate on a different flight from the band as he was still making threats towards us after the show and this was done for our safety. The QUEENSRŸCHE corporations had to pay $2,500 for this last-minute ticket (which was charged back to Geoff Tate for reimbursement). At the airport before his departure, Geoff Tate still showed no remorse and had no apology for his actions. He threatened that we were to 'keep the f**k away from him' and that next time he would go after Eddie Jackson.
"Our next performance was May 12, 2012. Even given the Sao Palo incident, Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield and I decided we would honor what we knew to be the last two performances with signed contracts and see if working with Geoff Tate longterm really was a possibility. Instead Geoff Tate sent still more threats through our tour manager. He said that we better stay out of his taped off area at the front of the stage or he would attack again. We didn't move on stage knowing that this was being filmed live and we didn't want to risk anything happening in front of a live camera for everyone to see. We played the show all the while knowing that at any time he could go off violently if provoked by us moving in his direction.
"For this show our flights were booked separately from Geoff Tate, our hotels were separate, we were not together for soundcheck and we were not to be in the same vicinity as he was still angry and making threats. During this performance, fans saw his childish antics on stage. He grabbed the camera man from behind and started grinding on him causing filming problems. This was something he had never done before and this compromised the show which was televised. And, again, this hurt the brand of the band. The crew was genuinely disgusted in his performance. Fans start commenting on his behavior and by now the media had picked up on his attack in Brazil. QUEENSRŸCHE was now being talked about in many media markets for these embarrassing antics instead of our music and tours.
"The final performance was Memorial Day weekend in Oklahoma at a large music festival geared towards heavy metal and hard rock. We were the closing act. Again, there was no apology or sign of remorse from Geoff Tate. And again, we didn't move too much on the stage as there was still the risk that Geoff Tate would react violently, and as this, too, was being filmed live we didn't want to take the chance. Our concern that his antics were becoming more and more questionable and erratic were confirmed when Geoff Tate had the nerve to tell the audience 'They suck!' and 'You really suck!' on live television. Immediately, there were boos coming from the audience and a huge portion left to go to the next stage to wait for the band HELLYEAH. Fans flocked in disgust on the Internet chat sites. And Geoff Tate's comments were picked up by many media markets again. Here is another example of how the brand and name of QUEENSRŸCHE was being tarnished.
"After the Rocklahoma show, Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield and I decide that it is no longer conceivable that we could go on and continue working and touring with Geoff Tate, and since he was already communicating with us through counsel, we instructed our attorney to inform Geoff Tate of the decision to move on without him and to start discussions on how to do this. This was unsuccessful so we scheduled a directors meeting and informed Geoff Tate of this through the attorneys. At the same time, we announced a couple of shows we were performing in Seattle under the name RISING WEST. We were going to perform the songs from our earlier catalog that we had not been allowed to play over the last 15 years. Our fans were asking for this and we felt it would be a fun thing to do. This was to be our first time playing with the new singer, Todd La Torre, and this was a chance for us to get our feet wet as a band and to see if this would be a viable way to make touring income as we didn't have much in the way of income coming in. What happened after this was an explosion of excitement from not only the fans but the media as well. We were happy this was being so well received, but we didn't expect the high level of excitement that came with this. We were doing this for us and the fans and for the first time in years we felt a rejuvenation of happiness playing together as a band. The shows were sold out in a week and a half and it was great playing these songs again and having the fans so happy! The next day we received offers from management companies and promoters asking us to bring the show to their cities. After these shows, we were now being called the 'new QUEENSRŸCHE' by the fans and media.
"Due to the excitement of the initial announcement of RISING WEST, fans start putting posts on the QUEENSRŸCHE Facebook page asking for details on the shows or just voicing their excitement. We were not able to post anything on the QUEENSRŸCHE Facebook page as we still had not received administration passwords from Miranda Tate. Miranda Tate was now working for Susan Tate only, and as they were both fired from QUEENSRŸCHE, it was strange that would have to contact them to post on our page. In short, the Tates hijacked QUEENSRŸCHE's official Internet media outlets for their own use, and with no authority to do so. So, Scott Rockenfield and Misty Rockenfield posted on the QUEENSRŸCHE Facebook page the details and their excitement for the upcoming shows. Almost immediately, their posts were removed. After that, there became a rampant deletion of any negative comment made towards Geoff Tate or any excitement over the news of the RISING WEST shows and future of RISING WEST. Fans started going crazy over being deleted for voicing their opinions on a fan forum. At this time, I made a post on my own personal Facebook page that we were being denied access to the QUEENSRŸCHE Facebook page and website, and asking our fans to start passing along the information regarding the RISING WEST shows via their own social networking pages. This exploded in the media and the fans went wild. The QUEENSRŸCHE Facebook page was now being monitored 24/7 and the deletions of posts/comments were being made constantly. It was also at this time that the Facebook site blocked anyone from posting a comment directly to the page and you could only comment via a thread for a status update that was posted by QUEENSRŸCHE. These comment threads were long and were also being monitored and comments were deleted. While all of this was being done to discourage any excitement over RISING WEST, two new posts were made from 'QUEENSRŸCHE' regarding Geoff Tate solo shows. This angered the fans even more. No news about the other band members but news about Geoff Tate was allowed. It was becoming apparent to the fans how uneven things were within the band and who actually controlled the Facebook page. The same is true of the merchandise not being available online. To run the merchandise, we needed access to Queensryche.com. When the trouble began, our webmaster, Kevin Scurlock wanted out of the middle, so he produced a document with all of the access codes and gave it to the corporate attorney. We requested it, and once again, Geoff refused, so our attorney refused to give us the document as well, citing 'conflict.' Not until our litigation attorney requested the document was it provided. Within minutes of receipt of the access codes we attempted to log in and found they had all been changed. We contacted the hosting service and found out that Susan Tate was the contact. We put in a request for a change of contact so we could obtain the passwords and restart selling merchandise, but Susan Tate would've had to give permission for that to happen. To date, we have not been given access and can only presume that it is being blocked by the Tates. This is yet another example of how the Tates are willing to damage the companies and the QUEENSRŸCHE brand for their own gain.
"As previously discussed, another board meeting was called for June 6, 2012, to discuss where things were within the band. It was to be done via a conference call. At the onset of the call, Geoff Tate's attorney announced that he was on the call. He asked if our attorney was also, and when we said 'no,' he then had to remove himself from the call. At that time, Geoff Tate also removed himself from the call. Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield and I felt that we could do this without our attorneys having to be involved and that maybe could get some sort of discussion going. It was at this point we knew that this was not going to happen unless we acted on our own. Geoff Tate made this known to us by not wanting to talk without his attorney talking for him. We needed to move forward. He still had not apologized for his actions in Brazil and the other two shows, and he didn't even want to discuss business matters with us. Now we realized that this was his pattern. If it isn't his way, he won't commit. As a business we had to make a choice if we were to continue. It was not an easy choice to make but by Geoff Tate's actions alone, he proved many times he was not working as part of a group, but as an individual. He was actively damaging the brand by taking us from our roots, ignoring the music that built our fan base, and ultimately attacking us physically and our fans verbally. We realized we would need to remove him from the band and end our 30-year relationship with him as a member of QUEENSRŸCHE, but this was not a decision we made lightly. We voted to remove him as lead singer and explore options of settlement of his 25% shares in the QUEENSRŸCHE entities, be it through a buyout, long term royalties or the like. We also formed an executive committee to carry out management decisions during this crucial and delicate time. The idea of setting a meeting on three days notice, just to have Geoff Tate not participate or simply be voted down in decisions for the launching of a band he is no longer part of makes no sense and would bog down and hurt the corporations. This way Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield and I could effectively manage this transition. Regardless of the personal elements of parting ways after so many years, this decision was for the health and survival of QUEENSRŸCHE. And as shown below, it was the right one.
"Prior to the shows of RISING WEST, we had already given notice that we were not comfortable, nor did we feel safe on stage with Geoff Tate any longer. His antics were proving to be erratic and unstable. We sent communication through the RISING WEST management team to the promoter and booking agent that we did not feel safe performing with Geoff Tate at the Salt Lake City show, but that we would love to perform as RISING WEST which we felt would be a better fit for the SCORPIONS crowd as we were performing songs that fit with their catalog of music. We were then told that the promoter said it was either all four original members of QUEENSRŸCHE or nothing. It was not until the day before the Salt Lake City show that we heard that Susan Tate had worked a deal with the promoter to have Geoff Tate perform his solo acoustic set.
"In mid-June, Scott Rockenfield, Eddie Jackson and I flew to Los Angeles and met with Frontline/AGPS Management. They are the largest and most powerful music management company in the industry. We agreed to have them manage us and help us assemble new booking agents, publicists and the like. We have put together a top-notch team and announced the new lineup though the industry leading Billboard.com to enormous reception. Within a week, we booked three shows totally over $72,000 in revenue for the new QUEENSRŸCHE, with many more shows on the horizon. And, this is only the beginning with major bookings throughout the fall, the recording of a new album and a major push in 2013, all of which are in the works.
"Of the last three albums, each one has sold almost half as much as the one before.
"There is a dissention in the band with Geoff Tate at the helm.
"At the beginning of the writing process of each album, and also during the production of each album, we were told things were going one way only to find that they went another way when the albums were finished per the direction of Geoff Tate. When everything was ready to be sent to the record company, we were all told we had to sign off and agree to these albums otherwise we would not receive the upfront money that was promised from the record company. If we stated we were not happy, we were then told that no money would be released for band/family support and that there was no more time or additional money to re-record. Our hands were bound. We had to sign off and agree to the album or not only would we lose the money we needed to support our families, but we would also be taking away money from our friends/band mates who needed the money for the support of their families. Even if I chose to go broke and not sign off, I would not be the one forcing my band mates to go there with me. There is even a clause in the last recording contract for 'Dedicated To Chaos', if one member quits within 6 months, the whole contract would be voided.
"Thus, to any extent Geoff Tate is the band as he claims, it is only the band of the last few years; the band of seriously declining sales, of loss of fans, of a sound and style that has little to no connection to the popular works which built us. Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield, and I, as 75% owners, three of four current members, and three of the four original founders, have been treated as little more than studio musicians. After trying to make a go of it and hold on to our band anyways, the assault was the final straw. And, even then, we gave it two more performances to see if that was not the case, but it unfortunately it was. So, we had no choice but to finally move on; not only for us, but for the band, and most of all for the fans.
"Geoff Tate has a successful solo career. He has been touring over the last few years as a solo act and plans to be a solo act for the rest of this year. It has just been announced that he has signed a major, worldwide multi-album deal, so that being known, he will have a successful career as a solo artist. He can continue to do that, making the kind of records he wants to make, working with the musicians he wants to work, and performing only the material he wants to perform. But, that is not QUEENSRŸCHE. It never has been and it never will.
"Geoff Tate has never written an entire song. He only writes lyrics. QUEENSRŸCHE is a sound; a sound that comes from the music and that music comes from us, not Geoff Tate alone. And, Geoff Tate has refused to be a part of that for some time. Instead, he wants QUEENSRŸCHE to be something else, something that's not guitar-driven and sold millions of albums, but something that fits his tastes alone. And, now that the rest of us will no longer go along with that alternative vision anymore, which is so unpopular with the fans and has had such dismal record sales, he wants the name all for himself, or for no one. As seen in the latest interview of Rolling Stone magazine and Billboard.com, he is doing everything in his power to tarnish any QUEENSRŸCHE credibility and to stop any momentum the new lineup has had. Through his lack of remorse towards his physical assault on us (that was not provoked as he alludes to in his interview), he is a detriment to the band. His blatant use of the media for his own agenda with no regard for the integrity of the band as an entity alone is grounds for the remaining band members to own the name. We have always shown respect for the brand and name QUEENSRŸCHE. We want to rebuild the name to the respect of our fans and peers.
"We do not wish to play this out in the media and would like to keep this respectful for all involved. To see Geoff Tate and his family using the Internet and media to play this way is embarrassing to not only us, but to the name QUEENSRŸCHE that at one time garnered respect in the music industry.
"The enthusiasm for the new QUEENSRŸCHE, doing the songs that made us popular, that have not been performed in years due to Geoff Tate's refusal, is tremendous. The critical response to new lead singer Todd La Torre and his chemistry with the band at the RISING WEST shows in early June has been wildly positive as well. Thus, not only has moving on been great for the QUEENSRŸCHE entities, but any injunction would strangle all this potential, as well as the already contracted performances. Thus, it would be damaging to the corporations and damaging to the members, the employees, and their families. And the damage to Geoff Tate would be minimal as he continues to book solo dates, tour, and record new albums.
"QUEENSRŸCHE and Geoff Tate can co-exist; it's simply Geoff Tate that cannot accept that. But, that is not what is best for the band, our companies, or our fans."
That all sound pretty well documented to me, but as I know there are two sides to every story, so let's see what response Tate has to this, or will his lawsuit now just go away, and he'll get on with his solo career?
Here is footage from the April 14th show in Brazil where Tate reportedly spits on Rockenfield's drum kit. The spit flies at 3:58 of the first clip, and 1:25 of the second.
Scott Rockenfield is selling the custom drum kit that he used for the two concerts that the band's new lineup performed under the name Rising West on June 8 and June 9 at the Hard Rock Café in Seattle, Washington. The kit is priced at $6,995.00 and can be purchased at www.ebay.com
The new lineup of Queensryche will headline the last day of this year's Halfway Jam on July 26-28 in Royalton, Minnesota. Other bands appearing include .38 Special, Lynch Mob, Molly Hatchet, Enuff Z'Nuff, Stryper, Trixter, Bang Tango, Jackyl and Blackfoot.