Queensryche - Operation:Mindcrime Queensryche - Operation:Mindcrime

Criminal Tendancies

Fresh from their tour of the US supporting Metallica, QUEENSRYCHE drop in to London's Hammersmith Odeon next week en route to headline Holland's Aardshock festival, a date in Germany, then a Japanese tour. The dates mark the end of their hugely successful 'Operation: Mindcrime' world tour. 'So what next?' PHIL WILDING asks vocalist GEOFF TATE (pictured right), hoping against hope it won't be a chance to join him in the gym for a spot of shredding...

'But the time is ripe for changes/ There's a growing feeling/That taking a chance on a new kind of vision is due'
'Revolution Calling'
(Queensryche - 'Operation: Mindcrime')

THE CHAINMAIL HIDE of change is flexing and arching under the rebellious battery of Queensryche's strut. Today, years late, they're straddling the dirty fringe of success like bombastic visionaries with the taste of fresh blood in their mouths.

Gritty realism and a sense of purpose have finally caved in the thick skull of conformity, mashed the norm, and been welcomed by the big, blue-eyed, apple pie, scummed States.

Their dirt-cankered arms are open and demanding a loving embrace. I mean, they always knew, they just had to wait and see, that's all, but, oh... they knew.

Chris DeGarmo

'Speak the word/The word is all of us/Speak the word/The word is all of us'
(Queensryche - 'Operation: Mindcrime')

GEOFF TATE is reflecting on what looks like almost overnight success. Well, it sure looks like that to some people. Though, to Tate and his faith-shattering army "overnight" has been hovering over three albums, dozens of support tours all over the world, endless roads and the persistence of a public that never really knew and never particularly cared. Though the times, they could just be a-changin'.

Tate sits in a hotel room deep in the guts of Canada, clenching and unclenching like a fist. It's early afternoon and his band don't rush the stage as bolsters for Metallica for a good few hours yet. This is their graveyard shift; they answer questions, tap restless Morse signals on sofas and chairs, flick channels, suffocate in the Arizona of the day. Real Death Valley.

"Being on tour is like being in a vacuum," he reflects, his voice settling down on the words like a sleeping child being laid carefully down. "I'm looking forward to getting home and relaxing, and not having this daily pressure, this point in the day that it all revolves around. We finish with Metallica on the 21st..."

His voice drifts for a moment, collecting up the fragile traces of the steps they've been taking. And Metallica, I prompt, and their hordes of racing crazies, how have they been to you?

"They've been fine, they've been good to us, the band as well. I'd say that overall, on average, it's been very positive, it's been good for us."

Eddie Jackson

'I see myself in you, parallel lives/Winding at light-speed through time/No time to rest yet'
'Suite Sister Mary'
(Queensryche - 'Operation: Mindcrime')

THOUGH THIS run of the world isn't finished with them yet. Once they curl up into a comer of Canada and crush the breath out of those intelligent enough to stumble from the bar and catch the support act, it'll be almost over.


"We headline Aardshock and Dortmund, then go over to Japan and then take the long way around back home to Seattle." But somehow, in the middle of all that - next Thursday in fact - they'll be finding the time to pick up the Hammersmith Odeon and tear it in two. They'll simply snap its girders and watch the walls bleed, I'm sure.

I put it to Geoff though, that it's not so long since they ritually slaughtered London's Town And Country Club, and although complaining would be the last thing I'd do in this world, what brings them back so soon? "Well, we're doing Holland and Germany so we thought we'd stop by there." And you mean that's it? Not quite... "It'll be the first time that we've ever headlined the Odeon: we supported there twice. I mean, it's a very prestigious venue, and it'll be fulfilling an ambition. We're really looking forward to playing there."

The last live extravaganza was a layered tract of Mindcrime and greatest should-have-been hits ... but no legend, no tower of insolence and despair, no rendition of what was then the British single - a misguided slip by the record company not the band - no 'Suite Sister Mary"! So, this time... "No." My grip of hope slips as though my fingers had suddenly been broken. "We've been out supporting this long so we haven't had the time to rehearse it. It needs finding out, it needs to be seen what it will actually do live. We still do most of the album as one complete package, it's an hour-and-50-minute set, but it's still a case of finding out how it moves in a headline situation."

So, does this mean that '... Mary' was never intended as anything more than a parable of studio power, a whizzkid mix built on polished excess, the chance to experiment without having to account for your actions live? Not at all... "No, that wasn't or isn't the case, there is a very great possibility that on the next tour we will play 'Suite Sister Mary' as part of that set, we could play it in the future ..."

He lets the words hang somewhere Mid-Atlantic like some surreal carrot. I snatch, and fire an odd shot. Does that mean that the new material will sit easily with'... Mary'? "I really don't know at the moment..." He ponders it for a moment and gazes at a hazy future... "I don't really have any lyrical ideas at the moment, we're kicking some musical pointers around. I do know that we'd like to do something entirely different this time, there will not be a son of '... Mindcrime'. It'll be very left-field of that. Something that will be presented from a very different angle."

Soon? Let's not hold our breath on this one.

"We finish our touring commitments around the middle of May and then we have a few months off, but we'll be trying to get back in the studio for September, so whatever follows on after that."

Michael Wilton

'All alone now/Except for the memory/Of what we had and what we knew/Every time I try to leave it behind me/I see something that reminds me of you'
'Eyes Of A Stranger'
(Queensryche - 'Operation:Mindcrime')

BUT BEFORE the advent of another probable collection of sensible excellence, there's a little celebrating to be done at the hands of the Operation. Literally days away from being certified as a rolled in gold seller Stateside - that's half a million in the land of the Dollar - their latest single, 'Eyes Of A Stranger', has now suddenly found itself the darling of heavy rotation on MTV. And, like it or not, cable TVs grip is such across the water that an act can literally rise or fall at its whim. Oueensryche look set to sprout wings and fly.

"It's incredible, all the weeks and months of touring have proved nothing saleswise to the almost constant play on MTV! It's really taking off because of it, there have been more sales of the album since then than ever." Which is a sad reflection on the buying public, don't you think? Tate is, understandably, at ease with the situation, not to mention jubilant. "I don't really know if it's a good thing or a bad thing, but I do know that it's a lot better when you're selling an album."

He allows himself a small chuckle while I wonder how this single was dragged screaming from the aural wreckage. It cannot have been easy to choose a diamond from a boxful of them. "It was an all-round decision, a very democratic thing that we all looked into and decided on. It's a good song and it gives some perspective on the album."

Scott Rockenfield

'Strait-jacket memories, sedative highs/No happy ending like they've always promised/ There's got to be something left for me'
'Eyes Of A Stranger'
(Queensryche - 'Operation:Mindcrime')

WHICH WOULD explain the video that is setting cable lines alight with its portrayal of the band performing live against a scenario from the storyline of the album featuring Nikki,Dr X and Mary. Why didn't you run the entire path and bring out a whole film, or failing that a Thriller'-type 20 minute mini-epic? It may just have torn the roof off, seems it could have broken the bank into a number of small pieces too,.. "It's a nice idea, and we sort of thought about that sort of concept,.. though not for long because those sort of things cost an awful lot of money and we certainly don't have that power yet. It would have been good, but the way it is now is, I think, a good way of presenting the song without going overboard."

Now we know you won't refuse/ Because we've got so much to do/And you've got nothing more to lose/So take this number and welcome to/Operation: Mindcrime/We're an underground revolution/ Working overtime'
'Operation: Mindcrime'
(Queensryche - 'Operation:Mindcrime')

AND NOW that it looks as though the Queensryche body may be finally pulling its sinews and snapping its bones into some formation of recognisable shape, don't you feel just the slightest shade of contempt for those who were content to let you stand out in the cold? For the barren tunes, the days when a multitude of neon-lit talentless jerks were hoarding the limelight and standing on your space? On reflection, Tate is willing to forgive and forget, only to relish the long overdue recognition and adulation...

"No, not really, it's been a gradual success and it has been exciting to watch it grow, it's been like studying a building being erected. You know, it's strange that even though this is the media age, there are still a few people who have yet to hear of Queensryche. It's an odd situation, though we're rectifying it as best we can at the moment."

No more lies and fear/There's no end to our story/Breaking the silence of the night/Can't you hear me screaming?/We could make all this wrong seem right'
'Breaking The Silence'
(Queensryche - 'Operation:Mindcrime')

EVERY NIGHT, every day, spreading their own peculiar brand of disease that doesn't rot, Queensryche get you standing and thinking and wondering just what this big, bloated, ugly world is crumbling into. I let the phone receiver click back down and wonder how this fantastic journey took so long. But at least, like everyone's sudden eco-awareness and drive towards its preservation, things are beginning to happen now, for Queensryche. This is not a fad, this is no flash in the pan, this is blazing history in the making. To ignore it is criminal.

"The system we learn says we're equal under the law/But the streets are reality, the weak and poor will fall/Let's tip the power balance and tear down their crown'
(Queensryche - 'Operation: Mindcrime')

Also in this issue...
Kreator were on the cover, Fish announced that his first solo album after leaving Marillion would be called "Vigil in a wilderness of mirrors" and a fine album it turned out to be. Steve Vai announced that he joined Whitesnake. Poison and Bon Jovi had awful new singles out. Great White's "...Twice shy" got 4/5 in the album reviews, and there was the obligatory feature on Guns 'n' Roses.