Interview: Geoff Tate talks final installment in Operation: Mindcrime trilogy, 'The New Reality'
Photo courtesy: Freeman Productions and used with permission

Following the subsequent releases of The Key and Resurrection, The New Reality is the third and final chapter in iconic vocalist, Geoff Tate’s Operation: Mindcrime musical trilogy.

The three-act passion project that’s taken the former Queensrÿche vocalist an equal number of years to release follows the same progressive-rock/metal formula as his former band’s monstrous 1988 album, Operation: Mindcrime. It’s a testament to Tate’s consummate style and insatiable passion for production and musical awakening that makes The New Reality one of the year’s finest album releases.   

Joined by a cast of musicians, including John Moyer, Simon Wright, Brian Tichy and Mike Ferguson, The New Reality is a fitting end to Tate’s three-year exploration, and perhaps a preview of what’s to come.

AXS recently spoke with Tate about The New Reality, his career and more in this exclusive new interview. 

AXS: The New Reality is the final part in this Operation: Mindcrime trilogy. How did this project come about and how does this album fit into the model?

Geoff Tate: I’ve wanted to do a large scale, conceptual story for quite a while, and I thought it would be interesting to tell the story in three acts, like a screenplay or film. I played around with the idea for a number of years and then while I was on a cross-country hike with my wife in Spain several years ago, I thought of the idea for the story and wrote the outline and the beginnings of songs. It blossomed from there and became a large project that’s taken three years to release. The New Reality is the third record and the last chapter and final act of the story.

AXS: What’s your writing process like?

GT: Typically, I’ll start with a lyric line or just an idea. I’m really into writing about what’s interesting, and one of the things that’s really interesting to me (of all things) is quantum physics. It’s an amazing subject that has a lot to do with the modern life that we live and how we’re progressing. So, I might think about quantum physics and how it affects me personally, and that leads to a melody idea and song.

AXS: Let’s discuss a few tracks from the album, beginning with "The New Reality”. What can you tell me about it?

GT: The whole thrust of the last record is examples of the new reality. It’s a different way of looking at the world and our existence in it. In my story, it’s the final step where the public gets access to a computer algorithm that shows them a new way of looking at the world, and the effect that it has on people has the potential to be quite staggering. 

AXS: How about the track, “Guitar in Church”?

GT: That’s one of the mysteries of this album. If you listen to all three records, there are audio breadcrumbs spread out that are designed to lead the listener on a journey. It’s like a treasure hunt, and once all the clues are in place, you find yourself at a destination.

AXS: What are your tour plans like for the new year?

GT: I’m going out in January and will be touring for most of 2018. Next year also happens to be the 30th anniversary of the very first Operation: Mindcrime album. So, for the first hour of my show, I’ll be presenting that album in its entirety. The second hour will then be songs from my newer releases and back catalog.

AXS: You mentioned the 30th anniversary of the original Operation: Mindcrime album. When you look back on that album now with so much perspective, what thoughts come to mind?

GT: It was an interesting time to be alive. That album is a classic story of humanity and the struggle that humans put upon themselves. It’s stood the test of time. People still enjoy that record and I’m flattered and honored to have their interest. It’s going to be very cool to perform it live. I’m looking forward to it.

AXS: Have you ever given thought to writing a book about your life and career?

GT: It’s funny you mention it because I’m in the depths of working on that now. I don’t know when it will come out, but I’m pretty close to having it finished.

AXS: Of all the highlights of your career is there anything that stands out to you as most memorable?

GT: There are so many different highlights that it’s impossible to pick just one. I’ve been very fortunate to have been able to do this all my life. I’ve traveled to sixty-five countries all over the world and spent a lot of time in other places and meeting different people. I love the exposure to new ideas and new ways of doing things. It’s a blessing to be able to travel and get outside of where you start. 

AXS: Is there a bucket list item you’d like to do eventually?

GT: I’d love to perform all three of these records at one time. It would be a three-hour show but I’d like to do it at least once and record it because the albums are very special to me.