‘I didn’t like the character at all,’ says the Operation: Mindcrime singer of his role. ‘He was a horrible person’
For Geoff Tate, today’s DVD and digital format release of his 2013 film debut, The Burningmoore Deaths, brought back some chills — and not just the ones from the macabre film plot.
“There was a little abandoned military base in Queens where we shot the stuff I was involved in,” the former Queensryche frontman, who now performs under the name Operation: Mindcrime, tells Billboard. “It was a creepy old place. I remember while we were doing it, there was a massive snowstorm and there wasn’t any heat in the building or anything like that. It was very uncomfortable. Everyone in the cast huddled around these propane heaters until it was time to film our parts.”
Directed by Jonathan Williams, whom Tate had worked with on music videos prior to the film, The Burningmoore Deaths stars the rocker as James Parrish, a man who disappeared without a trace after he allegedly killed his wife and three children, only to resurface when a home improvement company chooses the family’s abandoned house to remodel for a TV show pilot.
“I didn’t like the character at all. He was a horrible person. I felt like I needed to take several baths and showers after playing him,” recalls Tate. “They just wanted me to sort of get inside the guy’s head and become what this guy was, and it wasn’t difficult because the surroundings were so miserable. I think the shoot was for four or five days, and there wasn’t a shower or anything like that; I was just covered in mud and gooey artificial blood, grime and everything, sitting on the floor of this derelict building eating takeout food. That puts you into the character pretty easily.”
Of course, much has happened to Tate in the musical world since he filmed The Burningmoore Deaths. He was fired from Queensryche in 2012, which led to a contentious battle for ownership of the group’s name; he adopted the Operation: Mindcrime moniker, from Queensryche’s celebrated concept album, in 2014 and has so far released two albums in a planned trilogy, with the third on the way. “It’s pretty much done. It just needs to be mixed and mastered,” reports Tate. “It’s very prog, more in the line of my early rock influences like Pink Floyd and Genesis and Yes, Rush, pretty complex music, that kind of thing.” Tate is again joined by an all-star cast that includes such players as former Queensryche guitarist Kelly Gray, Disturbed bassist John Moyer and Megadeth bassist David Ellefson.
Tate is also on the road now with an acoustic show he calls The Whole Story, playing material from Queensryche, his Operation: Mindcrime band and his solo albums. There’s a good deal of storytelling involved as well, and no, he’s not spending much time slamming his former bandmates during the concert.
“I think I’m past that now,” says Tate. “Time goes by, and you kind of mellow. I’m in a healing mode to let bygones be bygones. People keep asking me, ‘Can the band ever get back together again?’ I say, ‘Never say never.’ If everybody wanted to get in one room and talk, that would be a big step in the right direction. I’m up for it.”