Queensryche lined up Tate replacement ‘a year ago’
Dismissed: Geoff Tate
Geoff Tate claims Todd La Torre was not his former band’s first choice to replace him.
In court papers the sacked singer says touring musician Jason Saunders was approached by his former colleagues over a year ago – and when he refused to take Tate’s job, he found himself dismissed.
In the latest round of legal battles over the Queensryche name, Tate also says bassist Eddie Jackson physically attacked him years before his violent episode in Brazil, which is thought to have led to his departure.
Blabbermouth reveals Tate’s details about Saunders, who provided keyboards, guitar and vocals for the band in recording sessions and on tour. The court deposition says: “Over a year ago the Defendants began trying to recruit Jason Saunders as Queensryche’s lead singer. On August 6 2011 Michael Wilton approached Mr Saunders and said, ‘If Geoff wasn’t around, what would you think about doing something?’ Scott Rockenfield commented: ‘Yes, think about it.’
“About September 9 the Defendants again approached Mr Saunders. They told him Geoff was leaving the band to possibly pursue a solo career. They offered him the lead vocalist position for $600 per week touring pay plus ‘a cut off of a new CD.’ He told them: ‘I’m definitely interested but let me think about it and get back to you.’
“Scott Rockenfield asked Mr Saunders not to speak to Geoff Tate about the offer. When My Saunders discussed the offer with his girlfriend, who also worked for Queensryche, she told him Geoff wasn’t thinking of leaving Queensryche.’”
Saunders is quoted as saying: “It left me with an uneasy feeling – they offered me one-half my normal pay and wanted to get rid of Geoff. It felt to me like they were trying to keep his share of the profits while paying someone next to nothing to take his place.”
The band approached him one more time, according the papers. “On October 1 he told them, ‘I don’t feel I’m the right guy for this project.’ About two weeks later, Defendants called Mr Saunders and told him he and his girlfriend were fired.”
Tate’s claim about Jackson appears elsewhere in the document and describes an event said to have taken place when Queensryche were touring with Metallica in 1998. “Eddie Jackson came on the tour bus where Geoff Tate was sitting, and, unprovoked, preceded to ‘kung fu’ kick Geoff in the face. Geoff recounts: ‘It was a brutal blow that caught me completely off guard.’ The singer says he has two witnessed to support his version of events.
Tate is poised to release solo album Kings and Thieves, and plans to tour his own lineup of Queensryche featuring former members of Megadeth, Ozzy Osbourne’s band and Ratt. The band fronted by La Torre are working on a new album.