Tate’s threat to ‘kill’ Rockenfield
Queensryche guitarist Parker Lundgren says singer Geoff Tate threatened to “kill” drummer Scott Rockenfield after a concert during which he’d attacked two of his bandmates.
The frontman assaulted Rockenfield and guitarist Michael Wilton before warning bassist Eddie Jackson “You’re next,” then later regretted he hadn’t hit Wilton hard enough, says Lundgren in a court submission.
The drama took place after the band’s performance in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in April – an event which led to “Operation Knifecrime” rumours circulating online, alleging Tate had pulled a blade on the other members of Queensryche.
Lundgren’s testimony is part of the band’s papers, revealed by Blabbermouth, arguing that the sacked singer should not be allowed to stop them continuing under their current name with new frontman Todd La Torre.
The guitarist, who was briefly married to Tate’s step-daughter, says of the Sao Paulo concert: “We were advised to stay in one place during the show ant to avoid going near Geoff Tate. We were also advised not to go near the edge of stage for fear that Geoff Tate would push someone off stage. During the rest of the show Geoff Tate repeatedly spit on Michael Wilton, Scott Rockenfield and Eddie Jackson, and continued to call them names.
“After we got to the hotel, our tech and I headed out to a bar for drinks and we were later accompanied by Geoff Tate. During a conversation Geoff Tate said: ‘I wish I would have hit Michael harder,’ and ‘I wish I could get my hands on Scott because I would kill him.’”
Lundgren also confirm previous reports that the sacked singer refused to perform the band’s earlier songs. “Fans expect Queensryche, which is a metal band, to maintain their sound, style and trademark characteristics. There is nothing wrong with the music direction that Geoff Tate has shifted towards, except it does not fit with Queensryche.”
And the guitarist, who joined the prog-metal outfit in 2009, adds: “When we performed Queensryche material with Todd La Torre it was the most positive and enthusiastic repines that i have seen in my entire run with the band, both from the crown and amidst the band. I have never seen bigger smiles on the guys’ faces while we played the shows.
“We started hanging out, going to dinners, going to shows and writing music together as a band – which I never experience while Geoff Tate was in the band.”
In his own deposition guitarist Wilton says former member Chris DeGarmo quit due to a breakdown in relations with Tate, and although he returned, left again for the same reason. He displays his lack of enthusiasm for every album the band have made since DeGarmo moved on and describes how the band were prevented from adding their own input as a result of Tate’s “my way or the highway” attitude. Wilton says he was the only member of the band to say “no” when their highly-criticised cabaret tour was suggested last year, calling it “degrading” and saying: “I knew it would tarnish what was left of the Queensryche brand.”
Wilton says each album since 1990′s Empire has sold half as much as its predecessor, with last year’s Dedicated to Chaos shifting just 20,000 units, compared with millions of sales for 1988′s Operation: Mindcrime.
Bassist Jackson describes a moment during the recording of 1994 album Promised Land: “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 bullshit here. I don’t need any more of your bullshit!’ 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. To this day Scott Rockenfield, Michael Wilton and I have continued to witness this type of random violent behaviour from Geoff Tate on several occasions when he gets extremely angry and upset.”
He adds that ex manager Susan Tate, the singer’s wife, once admitted in an email: “My husband has a dark side… I’m having a difficult time trying to reach out to him.” He adds: “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.”
Meanwhile, former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy – who was involved in a war of words with Tate several years ago – has commented: “Wow! What a read… this QR split makes my DT split look like a walk in the park.”