Queensryche: 'Rock Is Pretty Much Dead'

Queensrche frontman Geoff Tate sees a pretty gloomy future for rock bands, unless they can adapt to new ways of doing things.

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Queensrche frontman Geoff Tate sees a pretty gloomy future for rock bands, unless they can adapt to new ways of doing things. The singer talked to Classic Rock magazine (via Blabbermouth) about how things have changed in the music industry and how his band is trying to change.

"Rock is pretty much dead. If you look at the numbers, it's definitely not the music of the times anymore", Tate said. "If it's gonna keep moving, bands need to embrace new ideas. There's a lot of elements to rock that, mentally speaking, are kinda boneheaded. Like the whole 'chunk-chunk-chunk' guitar progression the stuff you play when you're learning the damn thing. You would hope bands would get beyond that."

In the same interview Tate spoke about Queensrche's new album, "Dedicated To Chaos", being a "headphones record", tailor-made for the modern listener.

"That's the way people listen to music now. People today are plugged in switching between their iPod and phone, back and forth, listening to music all day long", he said. "No, I don't miss the days of guys sitting around listening to vinyl. I don't miss the past much. I love the age we live in. Every day there's something new to wrap your head around. I want to keep embracing new ideas, technology, works of art, literature, films. If you stop doing that, your brain gets lazy."

For more on Tate and the new album, check out Gibson.com's recent interview with the singer.

Thanks for the report to Bryan Wawzenek, Gibson.com

197 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Ibeanez
    Like the whole 'chunk-chunk-chunk' guitar progression...
    What? This is what happens when a non-guitarist tries to make a point about something that he's clueless about. It all goes in cycles. Right now, the Queensryche style is pretty much dead.
    Pagan_Poetry
    Radio rock, I agree. Rock in general, not at all. Many new bands are trying new things and sadly that's why they don't make it on the radio. There are many good rock (or rock influenced) bands/artists like Sufjan Stevens, My Morning Jacket, The Horrors, Animal Collective, and more. Then there are artists from the 90s that are still kicking it like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, PJ Harvey, the Smashing Pumpkins and more. He's right about the headphone era now though. Music is becoming disposable because it's so easily downloaded and worked hard for. With so much music at ones grasp, they take it for granted and it becomes background music (or easily interrupted, as he stated switching from ipod to phone). That's why radio music for the most part is so bad. All most people need now are simple beats to put on in the background while they do a million other things. I didn't live in the time of vinyl, but I still live days where I put an album on, lie down and just listen. If others did the same more often, music wouldn't be taken for granted nearly as much. Lastly, he's right about brains getting lazy as I just covered. New ideas, whether you write the music or listen to it, are what we all need. I just wish labels and stations saw past the dollar bill and embraced talent like they used to. 5% of the music on the radio deserves to be there.
    alestorm666
    I agree with him. It's not just mainstream rock anymore, even the underground circuit now consists of nothing more than cheap AC/DC throwbacks. Now don't get me wrong, I love AC/DC, but it seems like most rock bands nowadays try to copy their sty;e and adapt it for today. But you can't be successful unless you have new ideas, and I haven't heard many bands in the last couple of years that are good or original enough, IMO, to be successful.
    Acacia69
    Rock isn't dead. People have been saying that since the '70's. Hey hey, my my rock and roll will never die.
    RycheRulz
    But Ozzy says "You can't kill rock and roll, it's here to stay" I'll take his word for it over Geoff's
    AlvinX13
    Tbh rock id having a bit of a slow point because in my opinion alot of fans are to hard headed saying oh this band is fake, these guys are sell outs, these guys are p**sys, these guys suck. Tbh its kind of pointless when fans become a little more open minded rock music will be back on top once again just my opinion
    Morgothik
    I think rock is much bigger lately. I remember some numbers stories on this website recently confirming this. And the big one for me is I see a lot less teenage white kids cranking the rap at stoplights.
    Tiago Sa
    Rock is dead as in what? "People" don't listen to it anymore? I'd say rock is dead as in bands can't be worldwide rich and famous all around anymore, and I say that's a good thing. Makes things more interesting not to have half a dozen titanic names looming over everything else that's done in the genre. Breeds creativity and evolution. And forking of genres. Of course that doesn't always show. For me, as long as I have some new prog rock to listen to and some good old trash and heavy, I'll always be happy I never had a vinyl player, and though I listen to music all day long, in the background, I'm one that has to actively listen to music, not just have it on the background. Whenever I actually have to do something that occupies my mind, I can't have music distracting me. Otherwise I'll just, you know, listen to it! C:
    nailsarecruel
    Most of the damn time the Rock is Dead argument comes from people who realized the wheels finally fell off the gravy train of their career. Geoff Tate claiming rock to be dead is the same thing as Nelly, Ja Rule and Diddy claiming rap to be dead.
    espChris93
    Dumbbbbb, I love ya Tate, but anyone who says anything is dead at this stage in human civilization is living in their own isolated bubble. There are so many separate subgenres of art, activities and interests shared by diverse groups that nothing is on the way out and no expressive art form, rock music included, is close to being dead. I mean the radio is run like a business but there's basically a monopoly in place with Clear Channel anyway so who are you going to blame for that one? To find truly good music, comedy, art, literature etc you can't sit down and expect to be spoon fed. In today's capitilistic structure you have to be more proactive than ever before in discover new and original ideas. Wether it's original politics or a new favorite band. Trust me it's out there. Something for everyone's taste is available. Even music that would just be labelled as underground weirdness a few decades ago is thriving bands like Crystal Castles, Periphery, or Gogol Bordello have really impressing followings in many places around the world. but anyway im spattering on the keyboard so this comment ends here.
    thereverendsoup
    Niaboc67 wrote: Eh he's right its dead, yet thats not to say it cant be revivalized. Every generation's music is a rebillion of the previous, the reason there isnt any good rock nowadays is not because people can't write that stuff its because the audience for it isnt big enough for record companies to want to invest in them. That is why most of the hence "good bands" you people are talking about are underground. Kids dont want to listen to music their parents would like, that wouldnt be cool to them, thats why RAP and typical chunk-chunk-chunk chord progressions exist. Any record companies that would market a classic rock band or throwback band would be committing finanical suicide.
    I kind of agree with you and kind of disagree. Really, the problem isn't that kids are rebelling against their parents. When I was a kid, I didn't know many kids who didn't like their parents' old Beatles records. Hell, a lot of those people are still into the Beatles. And there's certainly nothing wrong with hip-hop. There's a different skillset involved in making it, but that doesn't mean the people doing it aren't talented people. Hip-hop is actually probably the most interesting and important thing that's happened to pop music since rock 'n' roll. I feel it's often marginalized by fans of rock music because they simply don't understand it. But I can tell you straight up I'm going to have a hell of a lot easier time writing a pretty good rock song than I am writing even a mediocre hip-hop song. Believe it or not, rapping and DJ'ing are difficult things to do that take a lot of practice to do well. You know, much like playing any other instruments. Anyway, the problem is more that the major record labels and broadcast corporations aren't interested in helping career artists flourish anymore. It's not that it's financial suicide for them, because a lot of them did it for decades before getting greedy and losing touch, and there are still plenty of smaller record labels that do that and have been in business for decades themselves. They just don't get the same play or distribution. The problem is that major labels and broadcast companies are more concerned with advertising than they are with music. They care more that you don't dislike something enough to turn it off than they do about whether it's actually good.
    thereverendsoup
    (Also, that's more an argument against the numbers being a meaningful thing than it is in favor of rock being dead.)
    rodrattlehead
    the rock is dead ? and what about steel panther, airbourne, the answer, holy grail, all the new thrash bands, i hate when the old rockstars say that the rock is dead, just search bands less mainstream and more underground
    hardrocker64
    rock is dead.....most of you here were not around in the years when rock was thriving so you have nothing to compare to. At least when I go to a Queensryche show, you get the band playing almost 2 hours in a small venue perfect for watching. I go to some carnival of maddness or some damn tour with 10 bands playing and you get 6 songs from each and its all rushed to get the next on. that sucks cause they cant support themselves touring. also how many times to a pull up to a stoplight only to hear rap shit in the car beside me. Rarely here somebody rocking out.....
    Sign of War
    It's like he says... if you look at the numbers! But I'm always surprised to see some known pop-artist (Joss Stone, for example) selling out a small venue here in the Netherlands of about 1000 people... And bands like Alter Bridge/Incubus/Disturbed/Slayer/Dream Theater/Rush and a lot more selling out places with 7000 (or over 10.000) spots. Why can't we see the same thing in record sales? Why does Joss Stone get on top of record sales, but all the rock/metal stuff getting way more people to concerts? Always was a mystery to me.
    to answer this question it's because pop music the listeners like a song or maybe a few and buy the album, listen to it, put it down and then next week there listening to someone else and are not really bothered about seeing there act of the momment live, Rock/Metal listeners on the other hand are life long fans and seeing your favourite band put on a good live show can be life changing and something you always remember, you see the same band every oppertunity you get and will buy loads of merch, but i think for this reason we are more likely to download our music for free and spend the money on the live show.
    ChaozXxX
    I honestly don't know who this man is but I'm SO sick of hearing artists say that "rock is dead" and all that stuff. He does have a good point about having to embrace the new ways of doing though...
    Bananafish003
    Rock is actually commercially thriving right now, but you'd never know, because you wouldn't call it the same thing. There's actually a genius marketing strategy behind this, too. It's really simple: Divide the genre into scenes and give the people who follow the scenes the same thing over and over again. Consider: Muse, 3 Doors Down, The Killers and A Day To Remember (typing those names ****ing hurts...) have all been selling quite well recently. But there's little crossover for their fanbases (except maybe Muse and The Killers?). So here's what happens: people who are interested in post-grunge buy 3 Doors Down, people who are interested in pseudo-prog buy Muse, etc. People from different scenes look down on bands from other scenes and don't factor in their sales when thinking about commercial success of rock as a whole. Thus, people complain about rock music dying commercially because they don't see the whole picture. The great thing record companies get out of this is the loyal fanbases from those scenes that will always support those bands and trash the others. The loyalty is solidified more if the fans think that rock is dying. Instant money!
    bladerunner110
    hardrocker64 wrote: rock is dead.....most of you here were not around in the years when rock was thriving so you have nothing to compare to.
    Calm down before you break a hip, grandpa. Rock music always was about the badassery and the image and little to do with the music. There was just as much crap back then as there is now.
    matt-attack
    mrkrinkledude wrote: *Queensryche is dead
    Best way to sum it up. What the hell happened to their music?
    uncere4ever
    Rock is dead? Coming from a band that missed playing a show in Iowa...then the same night played in a different town 20 miles away and still made people pay to come see who they already paid for once. It`s stuff like that..that kills rock music.
    codyjt5150
    It isn't really dead. I wouldn't be listening to the real rock music if it was dead. its just not enough people are listening to it. everybody's listenin to lady gaga and wiz kalifa trash (idk who that is or how to spell that). 70's and 80's rock isn't all over the place anymore. they have that bs justin bieber all over posters and the only reason he's popular is because a bunch of fat girls want to get knocked up by him. new music isn't music anymore, it's more less a ru paul's drag race.
    csrogers87
    rock music in general has died for the most part. It's not mainstream or commercial like it once was. even in the grunge area MTV backed and supported that wave and was still commercially played. I most certainly agree with tate here. Other forms of music has became more popular (rap, pop, etc..) even indie bands and underground bands honestly aren't inventive enough anymore to hold up to the "greats" ..the gods of rock music zep, beatles, stones sabbath. whatever. as much as you can tell me this or that band is doing something new and or sound awesome, i guarantee I can name a person or band that has been there and created that sound before or something equivalent... it's all watered downand became full circle and cheaply done now. Muse is a huge example of this. Their music is decent but honestly they sound like they are a pop oriented pink floyd which in my opinion were much more groundbreaking. music companies throw out singles left and right and neither care about what the artists do as long as they have something to autotune and throw on the radio long enough to feel a slot on the playlist. bands dont sit in the studio anymore and write and play and have fun doing it for the most part. the era of powerful drumming and guitar solos a minute long in each song is over. we melodic singers. recognizable voices someone like steven tyler, freddie mercury, paul rodgers. Someone you can hear from the next room over from one note in their voice to instantly be recognizable. we need this back in order. Rock needs to be mainstream again to get the glory it once had. the era of hip hop needs to take a backseat again.
    taylorhindman
    mtllica wrote: Rock might be dead, but from what I can tell Metal is still hammering along
    redandwhite12 wrote: Who cares if rock is mainstream? I don't care if one person or a billion people like rock i'll still listen to it.
    Niaboc67
    Eh he's right its dead, yet thats not to say it cant be revivalized. Every generation's music is a rebillion of the previous, the reason there isnt any good rock nowadays is not because people can't write that stuff its because the audience for it isnt big enough for record companies to want to invest in them. That is why most of the hence "good bands" you people are talking about are underground. Kids dont want to listen to music their parents would like, that wouldnt be cool to them, thats why RAP and typical chunk-chunk-chunk chord progressions exist. Any record companies that would market a classic rock band or throwback band would be committing finanical suicide.
    Bananafish003
    Viper08 wrote: For me Rock has been dead for many years with the exception of bands like Queensryche, the always awesome performances of Ozzy Osbourne and one or two others that have managed to retain the old sound in a new way. Or; is that a new sound in the old way. Either way; I miss the great bands of the 70's and 80's like Zeppelin, Journey, Queen, CCR, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Dio(RIP) and of course; Queensryche to name just a few. So why don't we quit whining about it and work together to bring back the greatest music that ever pounded our eardrums? Most of this new stuff is pure junk in my opinion though there are a few worth listening to. Nickelback has some good tunes and there are others too but nothing comes close to the music of my generation; Sorry young-uns!!
    You're joking, right? Have you even listened to any music from the past 20 years? Yeah, there's definitely amazing music from the 70s, but there's amazing stuff still happening! It's just not happening in the mainstream anymore. Seriously, take the time to dig and find some newer bands that are making great music. You're not going to "bring back the 70s and 80s", no matter how much you try. (Also, Nickelback is shit, did you ever hear the real grunge movement?)
    SlapLaB
    Or Maiden. Watch the flight 666 film... the kids in Columbia, India, Puerto Rico, Japan... they all worship Maiden!!!
    jlyndon666
    Rock is far from dead. Metal is far from dead! You just have to get past the radio rock and dig deep into it's soul. Design, create, fuse something with the chunk-chunck-chunk. Me personaly, i would rather buy a cd and just get lost in the music. Music will never be just background noise...to me.
    jlyndon666
    KramerW5150 wrote: SGofawesome wrote: Yeah, I would agree with the fact that his style of rock is dead. Rock isn't ever dead because everything is a form of rock in some way. Metal is rock, pop is rock (well, some of it), even country owes much to southern rock bands. As long as music has some form of distorted guitar, it's gonna have a glimpse of rock. As far as popularity goes, rock is nowhere near as popular as it used to be. I think that's for the same reason he is saying, the genre of nu-metal and hardcore aren't interesting instrumentally. They all sound the same. People are only interested in hardcore because it's br00tal and the hardcore bands put on an extremely energetic show. What we NEED is the energy of hardcore mixed with the interesting instrument work of heavy thrash. Throw it a tiny bit mainstream and we could actually have some good metal on the radio. good energy + mainstreamability + musically intresting= glam/hair/80s metal theres a reason many bands from 70s and 80s are still touring and selling out shows
    Exactly
    Viper08
    For me Rock has been dead for many years with the exception of bands like Queensryche, the always awesome performances of Ozzy Osbourne and one or two others that have managed to retain the old sound in a new way. Or; is that a new sound in the old way. Either way; I miss the great bands of the 70's and 80's like Zeppelin, Journey, Queen, CCR, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Dio(RIP) and of course; Queensryche to name just a few. So why don't we quit whining about it and work together to bring back the greatest music that ever pounded our eardrums? Most of this new stuff is pure junk in my opinion though there are a few worth listening to. Nickelback has some good tunes and there are others too but nothing comes close to the music of my generation; Sorry young-uns!!
    steve_dadaian
    If rock is dead and needs to be brought back to life, Queensryche's new album surely isn't helping I'll tell you that much.
    Thedarkchild
    wrote: I think there are enough rock/metal bands coming up with new ideas, but as soon they do that its called "fake" or "nu metal" by most "hardcore" rock/metal fans
    Oh, this is soo true. Just look at some of the news posted today at UG...
    ChucklesMginty
    Everybody: "Rock is dead." Queensryche: "Rock is dead." Everybody: "What? No it's just Queensryche that's dead."
    zpo83
    As long as Motorhead and AC/DC are still around, rock will be just fine.
    stoltobot
    Rock and metal will never be mainstream! The mainstream is for the regular brainwashed, spoonfed Joes. People with sophistication and taste will, as they have for decades, pick and choose their favourite music, thus keeping good music alive, whilst the powers that be continuously put their resources behind the sound-alikes of the 'great new thing' of that time. So it has always been, and so it shall be.
    thereverendsoup
    I don't get why people think rock music is "dead." It's mutated for sure, but what is any rock band doing now other than building on ideas that originated 40-50 years ago? It seems sort of inevitable that given that constant building process, what you have now doesn't sound quite the same. And not everyone's going to like it. That's fine. You can keep listening to the same handful of "real rock 'n' roll" albums over and over and feel safe and comfortable and never have to worry about it. Personally, though, I think that would be really, really boring.
    Bananafish003
    stoltobot wrote: Rock and metal will never be mainstream! The mainstream is for the regular brainwashed, spoonfed Joes. People with sophistication and taste will, as they have for decades, pick and choose their favourite music, thus keeping good music alive, whilst the powers that be continuously put their resources behind the sound-alikes of the 'great new thing' of that time. So it has always been, and so it shall be.
    ...OK, there, Mr. High-And-Mighty. Consider this, instead: There is no mainstream or alternative. There is only culture and the standards and boundaries that different people set. Rock and metal have been mainstream since their creation, but if you want to believe otherwise, go right ahead.
    Bananafish003
    thereverendsoup wrote: I don't get why people think rock music is "dead." It's mutated for sure, but what is any rock band doing now other than building on ideas that originated 40-50 years ago? It seems sort of inevitable that given that constant building process, what you have now doesn't sound quite the same. And not everyone's going to like it. That's fine. You can keep listening to the same handful of "real rock 'n' roll" albums over and over and feel safe and comfortable and never have to worry about it. Personally, though, I think that would be really, really boring.
    I agree 100%.
    theledknobs
    people have been saying rocks dying since the 60s, sure the age of rock ruling the airwaves, concert halls, and the charts is pretty dead but if anything i think its a good thing that rocks not a part of that scene cuz most rock band today have no idea what there doing musically so for the rare gems that know how to play and to put butts in the seats im glad that its a little less known these days people who know good rock are the lucky ones people who think they know rock probably grew up listening to shit bands