Geoff Tate: Kings And Thieves track by track
It was originally composed with piano and vocal only. I wrote the track that way and gave it to Kelly, who took all the piano out and replaced everything with guitars, drums and bass. But he kept the vocal and the song has a desperateness to it. I love that feeling of tension. We’re always looking for a note or a chord that adds tension so you can have a release.
For most of the tracks there hasn’t been much rehearsal. It sounds kind of raw. That’s one of the things I wanted: to be raw and emotional and unrehearsed. Evil was a first or second take, and it had an effect I really like. There always comes a point in a writing session where you think, “Have I done this before?” Especially after years of writing albums, you do start repeating yourself in certain aspects. I don’t think it’s a bad thing; it’s the nature of the work. There’s a kind of danger you can get into a comfort zone where you find a pattern that works and you subconsciously go there. You try to break new ground – sometimes you do, sometimes you don’t.
The class struggle is something that’s new for America and it’s booming more and more apparent that is exists. People are starting to talk about it more and more. It’s a lot more evident since the 2008 financial meltdown. I don’t know how it is in the rest of the world, but in America we’re still reeling from 2008. It’s a global shift in wealth and there’s a definite line between the have and have-nots, and unfortunately most of us are in the have-not category. I don’t have a solid prediction of what will happen. It’s a very tumultuous time – I don’t know how often I’ve said that through my career, but this one feels different to me. It’s a lot more desperate. The internet has drastically changed everything economically. We’re all having to find new ways of doing things. You can’t do it the old way because no one’s there any more. It’s an interesting time to be living through.
It’s all based on perception: you can see the glass half empty or half full. You could see the time we’re in as one of desperation and tragedy, or one of opportunity. If you can push that button and find a way of doing things and making a living, it’s a glorious thing, it’s glory days.
Lyrically it’s based around the concept of “You can’t really change the world until you change yourself”. That’s where the most effective change happens, changing your own viewpoint and way of doing things. When you get into that zone you can affect change in other areas of your life. But you have to change yourself first. It’s very emotional; it tugs at the heartstrings and probably speaks to people who have lived some life and are looking at how to change.
I use David Lynch as references when I’m describing how I want a song to feel, or how it makes me feel. It is what it is. There’s nothing else going on there; it’s just one of those songs that tries to keep you in the moment. It doesn’t try to take you anywhere different, and that’s what I like about it.