‘Violent’ Tate cut secret Mindcrime movie deal
Queensryche drummer Scott Rockenfield says the band were forced to fire singer Geoff Tate as a result of ongoing violent and dominating behaviour.
Rockenfield has detailed a series of events which he says proves they had no option but to oust the frontman, including a series of spitting and punching incidents ahead of a concert in Brazil in April.
He says Tate’s statement that the band didn’t write songs is untrue – and that claims he taunted his ex-bandmate by saying “I’ve fired your family and now I’m going to fire you” is “a complete lie.”
And he reveals the crunch came when the band discovered Tate had cut a secret deal to make a movie based on classic album Operation: Mindcrime.
In a court declaration revealed by Blabbermouth Rockenfield says: “Geoff Tate’s ongoing assault and anger issues have become a serious detriment to the brand of Queensryche.
“In 2000, we had a band meeting regarding our next CD. He did not like some topics of discussion and stormed out of the meeting after throwing a chair across the room.
“In 2007, Geoff Tate approached me in the band’s dressing room and proceeded to smash my laptop on the table and then hit me in the face while spitting on me and pushing me around the room for approximately 15 minutes.
“On April 14, 2012, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Geoff Tate violently attacked and assaulted Michael Wilton, Eddie Jackson and me on stage just prior to showtime. Geoff Tate’s claim that I said to him, ‘I’ve fired your family and now I’m going to fire you’ is a complete lie and many witnesses support this.”
Rockenfield says he was approached about a Mindcrime animated feature film in 2010. Plans were not finalised but in 2011 he says Tate and wife Susan, who managed Queensryche until they sacked her earlier this year, instructed movie makers to stop including the rest of the band in ongoing conversations.
He continues: “I received an email stating that Geoff Tate had signed the agreement for the rights without any knowledge given to the other band members. The deal also contained an advance of monies. Michael Wilton and Eddie Jackson had never been told about any film deals, and they were very upset about Geoff Tate presuming that he alone had the right to sign over any deals.”
The drummer says that’s what led to the violent altercation in Brazil. “The band held a meeting in our dressing room at Geoff Tate’s request,” he states. “We asked Geoff Tate about this movie deal. He responded that he knew nothing. When asked further questions, Geoff Tate responded by saying, ‘Yes, I signed a deal for the story rights and that was a deal for me.’ The band members absolutely disagree with him – no one band member has any rights to sign contracts or accept offers on behalf of Queensryche properties.”
Matters escalated when they took to the stage that night, Rockenfield reports: “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 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 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 proceeded to strike me in the face twice.
“The local stage security and our own crew came to assist in trying to subdue Geoff Tate. Local security created a barrier to keep Geoff Tate from approaching. This behaviour 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. 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.”
Rockenfield says their tour manager told them to travel separately from Tate, and to remain in their hotel rooms to avoid further confrontation. He then arranged for the singer to take a different flight home than the one which had been scheduled.
And the drummer believes he can disprove Tate’s claims that he was the only band member to contribute songs to their recent albums.
He says: “I have hard drives of song material written by Eddie Jackson, Michael Wilton and I that have dates and times on the files showing that in 2010 we had written dozens of hard rock songs that Geoff Tate even began singing on, but eventually was not interested in completing. He changed direction on us in late 2010 and only wanted to pursue a more pop-sounding CD.”
He concludes: “Geoff Tate was no longer allowed to travel with the band, stay in the same hotels, participate in any band interviews, and had to be escorted at the venues with security. This was a very damaging form of business and had left the band with no choice but to move on without him.”