The following is excerpts from an interview with Geoff Tate, vocalist for Queensryche. It was sent to us by Jon Epstein from Kent. We thank Jon, and we are pleased to share Geoff's thoughts on the PMRC, Metal Music, and censorship.
ON TIPPER GORE & THE PMRC:
"I think that the whole Tipper Gore thing is that her husband was running for president. They were looking for topics and issues that they could relate to the public and this is one that has always been a concern ever since Rock & Roll came about; parents don't like Rock a Roll. They don't understand it. There's always going to be a part of Rock & Roll that is negative to them. They (the PMRC) were just going on that. It's a classic example of politics and people running for political office using topics, and things that are controversial, to get votes."
WHY THE PMRC PICKS ON HEAVY METAL
"It's difficult when you're in my position, and the band's position. When you write music for a lot of people, to give a balanced sort of series of ideas...to take from the negative and try to look at it in a positive way and deal with it. There seems to be alot of negativity in the world, alot of things going on, especially in certain age groups. People are trying to adjust to the real world, to pick a vocation, they're trying to deal with peer pressure, they're learning alot about alcohol and drugs, everything is all around them. It's a real delicate time in their lives. I hate being in the position of being a little older, and having had to experience it and deal with it, and then have to talk to them about it. But, I guess I sort of put myself in that position. I don't really know why people like Tipper Gore have taken potshots at this genre of music, except that it's a sitting duck for this type of thing. Especially with the imagery and the subject matter that some bands choose to write about. I guess it's just a sitting duck."
ON SATANISM & DARK METAL:
"I have a problem with anything that's Satanic. I don't believe in the concept of "a Satan" in the biblical sense. It sort of frustrates me when people get all hung up about Satanisrn and people talking about it in music, or with musicians who talk about it. I just think it's ridiculous. It's an outdated, philosophy and it's something that's laughable to me. When you get a little older you look at that sort of presentation and it's very laughable. It's hard to take it seriously. But, I guess someone a little younger would look at it as something more serious than you or I."
ON INTERPRETING MUSIC:
"I never heard Metallica until we toured with them. I kept hearing the singer singing about killing your mother, you know "Kill your Mother, Kill your Mother", something like that. I thought; "what is he talking about?" So I got one of their records and looked up the lyrics to the song (BLACKENED off of ...And Justice For All) and it was a song about pollution and the Mother is Mother Earth. It struck me right there how people can interpret music. They take it out of context and read into it things. I know when I was 14 listening to 2112 by Rush, I had no idea what he was talking about. He had an acknowledgement to Ayn Rand (in the liner notes) and that sparked an interest in me going to the library and looking up who this was. Later I understood what he was talking about, after putting it all together. I think that people listen to music for the atmosphere, the vibe of it, and don't pick it apart unless they have an interest in doing that. When I was younger I was really into a band called Yes. I remember playing an album for my mother and she interpreted it as being Satanic. I couldn't understand what she thought was negative about Yes, which is a very positive band anyway. They were in Hindu religions and Mantras and things like that. That's an example of how people can interpret things the opposite way from what they are."
ON PEOPLES INTERPRETATION OF QUEENSRYCHE LYRICS:
"About a year into the last tour people who I'd meet backstage, who had really listened to the record and had an interest in politics, started to get into it more. I think it was in a positive way. It effected them in that it made them curious about things. It made them read books and look into it, maybe watch the news for the first time to find out what was going on. I feel good in that respect because I saw a positive effect. I didn't see people going out and getting guns and trying to take over the White House, or anything like that, which I would have perceived as a negative. I saw mostly positive things and it made me feel good because it meant that people were getting it."