March 4, 2020
Geoff Tate on Queensryche Reunion with Chris DeGarmo: He’ll ‘Never Play Again’
Singer Also Discusses Current Empire 30th Anniversary Tour
By Brian Heaton
Anyone who bought stock in the idea Chris DeGarmo might rejoin Queensryche one day may want to sell now. Vocalist Geoff Tate was decidedly bearish on his former band’s original guitarist and chief songwriter ever being interested in a reunion.
In an interview with Metal-Rules.com, Tate stated that “Chris will never play again,” and noted that he is unaware if DeGarmo was involved in Queensryche’s upcoming 30th anniversary box set of Empire—an album DeGarmo had a pivotal hand in writing, including penning the music and lyrics to the smash hit “Silent Lucidity.”
“I don’t know if he wanted to or if — I don’t know,” Tate said. “I didn’t talk to him about it. I know nothing. He’s so far removed from everything that it’s like he doesn’t really exist, except in our collective memory or something.”
Tate’s comments aren’t surprising. DeGarmo sold off the lion’s share of his Queensryche publishing in the last year or so. His last contribution to the band was the song "Justified," which was released on the band’s Sign of the Times: The Best of Queensryche compilation in 2007.
Although Chris still occasionally writes and performs with his daughter, singer Rylie DeGarmo, any live appearances featuring the elder DeGarmo (such as when the duo was a surprise opening act on September 20, 2019, at the closing date of Alice in Chains’ 2019 tour in Seattle) are decidedly low key, and often unpublicized.
In addition to speaking about DeGarmo, Tate also doubted that former Queensryche drummer Scott Rockenfield would ever return to the band. He said, “never say never,” but claimed that Rockenfield had “a lot of medical problems” and didn’t see it happening.
Tate, who was fired from Queensryche in 2012, appears to be the only band member (former or current) who worked on the upcoming Empire anniversary edition. He said that while he didn’t know when it was coming out, the project was complete, and he had signed off on it.
“I did the interviews for it, and I was the only one in the organization that [the label] had contact with,” Tate said. “So, I was the one that said, ‘yeah, use that photo or don’t use that photo or yeah, you should include this.’ And I had the final say in it. Which was fun. I enjoyed...putting it together.”
Oddly, Queensryche doesn’t seem to be interested in celebrating Empire’s 30th anniversary at all. During the band’s February 1, 2020, stop in Sacramento, Calif., supporting its latest album, The Verdict, the band made no mention of the milestone, although four songs from Empire were in the setlist.
Tate, however, has fully embraced honoring Queensryche’s most commercially successful record, playing Empire in its entirety on his 2020 (and one would assume 2021) tours. In fact, Tate’s show consists of two full Queensryche album performances—he also plays Rage for Order.
“I’m really, really enjoying it,” Tate told Metal-Rules.com. “It’s two very different albums because we start with Rage for Order which is a pretty dark and moody album, right? And then Empire is a lot more up, and lively and accessible. I guess it’s a whole different kind of presentation really. So, it’s kind of fun doing that in a way because you have your dark and your light.”