And the singer has responded to their details of frequent violent behaviour by insisting he only hit his colleagues once – and he accepts his behaviour was unacceptable.
In a court deposition revealed by Blabbermouth, designed as a response to those filed by Michael Wilton, Scott Rockenfield and Eddie Jackson last week, Tate addresses several of the allegations they 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.”
The producer behind Queensryche’s 2006 album Operation Mindcrime II claims that only singer Geoff Tate and later-sacked guitarist Mike Stone appeared on the album.
Jason Slater was hired for the follow-up to the band’s platinum hit 1988 release, and worked on their next two releases.
He insists drummer Scott Rockenfield didn’t even appear in the recording studio during sessions, and work done by guitarist Michael Wilton and bassist Eddie Jackson had to be binned.
Slater’s statement, revealed by Blabbermouth, is part of Tate’s court filing in answer to the allegations levelled on him by the band who sacked him last month. The parties are fighting over ownership of the band name and arguing over who has done most damage to the brand’s value.
The producer 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 the record.
“We scheduled two weeks at a local studio to record Michael Wilton. He hadn’t learned any of the songs, so all the time was spent trying to teach him so he could record them. In the end, he wasn’t capable of performing any of the songs accurately enough to be used on the record. The guitars on the record were played by Mike Stone, a session guitarist and myself.
“Scott Rockenfield did not participate in the making of the record at all, and a session drummer was brought in to play on the record. I don’t believe he listened to any of the music until after the record was completed.” Slater says the session musician in question was Matt Lucich, a friend of his.
The producer continues: “We had Eddie Jackson come to the Bay Area, with the intent of recording his bass parts. Again, he hadn’t learned the songs. We couldn’t get much that could be added to the songs, so I played the majority of the bass on the record.”
Slater claims the band “badmouthed the record to the press” until it began receiving positive reviews, at which point they “started taking credit for all the work that had been done in their absence.”
He says they left “all the work to Geoff Tate” on next album American Soldier, and although the played on the record they “put the minimum of effort in”.
Meanwhile, session guitarist Mitch Doran has said online: “If you guys read the rest of the depositions, there are numerous references to the fact that a session guitarist had to be brought in to play on a few Queensryche records post-2005. I am said session guitarist.”
He goes on: “When I was asked to play guitar on their record by Geoff Tate and their then-producer, I had no idea what the rest of their situation was. Ed Jackson showed up and played his ass off. Mike Wilton was never at the studio when I was, and now that I read the deposition that he wrote, he says he was kept away from the studio. I had no idea about any of that, and it was explained to me that Wilton was just not showing up to play. It never made sense to me at all. Neither did Scott not being there. I always thought of Scott as a master drummer. Why then was I programming drums for this record? I was told a lot of stories as to why, but when you are a hungry kid and getting offered good engineer/session guitar work on a tight deadline, you drink the coffee and do the work. Years later I met Scott and worked on some songs with him and Geoff, Scott was always very nice, and indeed the master drummer that I had originally pictured.
“I will say that there were a few screaming arguments in the lobby between Geoff’s manager and the producer, and more than once the producer came in and told me to stop working, while recording Ed playing his bass parts – and not to let the hard drive with the Pro Tools files out of my sight.”
-Classic Rock Magazine