New Age Metal Meets Old World Wood
When not rocking hard on stage, a progressive-metal band lead singer rolls gently aboard his classic wooden yawl, the John-Alden designed Malabar XV.
Queensrÿche. Surely you’ve heard of this successful progressive metal band. They took off in the 1980s, when hair bands tossed their manes and headbanging power ballads and Mötley Crüe’s double umlauts made headlines (watch Queensrÿche on stage here).
Geoff Tate is Queensrÿche’s songwriter and lead singer, and his music and band career span three decades.
Geoff and his cohorts formed the band, first called The Mob, in Bellevue, Washington, in 1981, and today, Queensrÿche has sold 20 million albums worldwide while its members have pulled off a grinding tour schedule that’s had them play dates in 36 countries.
Life’s often “a bit hectic,” Geoff says. In the meantime, he and his wife, Susan, have raised four daughters. When not making music or handling family matters, Geoff has a couple of hobbies, including promoting his own line of fine wines.
The other pastime helps him recharge his psychic batteries and find a quiet space in which to create new artistic material. When not rocking hard on stage, Geoff rocks gently in a lonely bay on board his classic wooden yawl, the John Alden-designed Malabar XV.
I met up with Geoff in Kingston Marina, on the Kitsap Peninsula across Puget Sound from Seattle, Washington, to learn more about him and his apparently incongruous connection to this historic old Alden.
Growing up in a military family in the Pacific Northwest, Geoff was no stranger to mobility, but Tacoma, Washington, was the closest thing he had to a hometown. His first memory of sailing was with his grandfather in a little V-bottom wooden sloop. He says he did a lot of growing up on that boat.
He spent a good deal of his youth beachcombing on the Tacoma waterfront. One day, he and his cousin came across a small rowboat grounded on the beach. They posted a lost-and-found ad in front of the local grocery store, but when no one responded, they assumed their first command. They patched it up, painted it, and made a mast and, with their grandmother’s donation of a bedsheet, a sail. For years they explored the many nooks and crannies of Puget Sound in that humble little craft.