Remaining Queensryche Members Accuse Geoff Tate of Financial Wrongdoing, Violence
Queensryche’s Michael Wilton, Parker Lundgren, Scott Rockenfield and Eddie Jackson have answered former lead singer Geoff Tate’s lawsuit and accusations regarding his firing and the band’s new direction. In documents obtained by Blabbermouth, Wilton details almost 25 years of troubles that led to Tate’s June ousting.
Last month the lead singer filed a lawsuit to block the band’s remaining members from continuing on without him. In a lengthy interview he shared his side of the story, including what led to the incident in Brazil. “They said that they weren’t planning on replacing me, but they had just fired our manager, our office assistant and one of our guitar techs, who all happened to be my family members,” Tate recalls.
The band’s manager was Tate’s wife Susan Tate, who Wilton says the remainder of the band were hesitant to hire in the first place. He also makes claims of financial mismanagement, and illegal funneling of funds to allow her band to open for Queensryche.
Wilton’s complaints begin with the band’s ‘Operation Mindcrime’ release from 1988. He describes a time of prosperity and happiness until 1994 when Tate allegedly shared that he was unhappy with his bandmates and the direction of the band. Creative differences with Chris DeGarmo led to the guitarist’s departure in 1998. Afterwards, they say, Tate wanted full control of the band’s creative and business ventures, often leaving them out of important decisions.
Susan Tate began managing the band in 2005. In 2009, guitarist Mike Stone was fired without the consolation of Wilton and Rockenfield. Lundgren was hired “for cheap.” He was the boyfriend of Tate’s daughter. They later married. “Again, there was division in the band as our voice on most band decisions was being stifled,” Wilton writes.
“(2011) is when I noticed on our profit and loss documents that expenses were being abused. I started sending copies to Eddie Jackson and Scott Rockenfield of all business expenses and chargebacks that were coming to be. Susan Tate and Geoff Tate were already receiving these so they already had their copies. At the request of Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield and myself, we asked for more documents from our accountant and began looking at the upcoming tour budget. We saw that Susan Tate had the income and expenses for her new band, The Voodoos, being run through our accounts without ever telling any of us. Since they did not have work visas, they had to run all of their business income through our tax ID and checking accounts! We were told only that they were touring for us as an opening act for a small fee. I was furious about this! This is illegal, and she put our business at risk because she didn’t have the right legal paperwork for her band to perform in the States! She had no right to run anything other than Queensyrhce-related expenses as our manager through our accounts. Geoff Tate was on board with her actions and did not relay this information to us.”
Financial arguments provided a dark cloud over the next 12 months, with many meetings scheduled, cancelled and moved to accommodate schedules. From Wilton’s point of view, nothing positive was accomplished with Tate. They decided to fire Susan Tate shortly before the Brazil show.
“Geoff Tate was setting up his station and the three of us walked around his area to our stations. I walked over to the area where my equipment was. I had just put on my guitar in preparation for the show when I heard a loud bang and then an ‘uh oh’ by our singer, Geoff Tate. I looked over to see that he (Geoff Tate) had knocked over the whole drum kit and was now spitting at our drummer, Scott Rockenfield, and yelling obscenities at him. At this point, I went over behind the drums to help assist pushing the drums back up on the stage when I heard our singer say, ‘Hey, Mike, have a nice show,’ and then when I looked at him, he spit right in my face and called me a ‘motherf**ker.’ As I was wiping my face, feeling violated, Geoff Tate came back at me yelling obscenities, ‘F**ker,’ ‘F**k you, you mother f**ker.’ I gave him a look from my towel, he approached me and when I was not looking, he punched me on the side of my face. The punch also hit my right eye which had a contact lens in it. My contact jostled and I was trying to get it back in place so I could see. I told him to get away from me, but he kept pushing his chest into me calling me ‘P—y, f**king p—y! What, are you going to cry?’ My eye was watering from my contact, I couldn’t see clearly, and I pushed him away. Then Scott Rockenfield (our drummer) came down and told him to get away from me. Geoff Tate then threw another punch at me, but I ducked and it hit Scott Rockenfield right in the face (his mouth area). Scott Rockenfield told him to back off and then Geoff Tate punched Scott Rockenfield again in the face. At this point our tour manager, Fozzy O’Hare, pulled Geoff Tate away and one of our guitar technicians, Kenny Bender, helped me by getting a cold water bottle on my face to stop any swelling or redness. Geoff Tate came back over and called me a ‘pussy’ and a ‘crybaby’ again. I told everyone I needed a minute until I was able to get my vision back and I was moved to the other side of the stage until the crew felt they could get the situation under control. I then told my guitar technician, Gino Bishop, to get a towel to wipe off all the spit on my guitar that kept coming from Geoff Tate. … Fozzy O’Hare was finally able to pull Geoff Tate off stage and took him to where his station is during the performance. At this point, we were not sure if we were going to continue the show or if we would have to cancel due to Geoff Tate’s antics and violence. There was communication between Gino Bishop and Fozzy O’Hare as to what to do. Fozzy O’Hare then indicated that Geoff Tate had calmed down and he was ready to do the show. Gino Bishop had a security guard stationed right behind Geoff Tate and one right behind Scott Rockenfield just in case Geoff Tate tried to attack the band members and their equipment again.
The group finished up commitments until a Memorial Day show called Rocklahoma. On stage Tate allegedly shouted “They Suck” into the microphone, referring to his bandmates. The crowd booed and began exploring other bands performing at the festival. In early June, they found themselves blacklisted from Facebook and the band’s official website, and took steps to replace Tate with Todd la Torre.
More of the long legal document is available through Blabbermouth.net.