Know Your Product: Geoff Tate

Stars Pick Their Top 5! This week: Geoff Tate

For two decades, from 1982 to 2012, Geoff Tate was the frontman with Seattle prog-metalers Queensrÿche, a group which, you'll note, hit mad mainstream success on albums Operation: Mindcrime and Empire, and singles like "Jet City Woman" and "Eyes of a Stranger." Tate was fired from the band in 2012 (sacrilege!), and replaced by former Crimson Glory man Todd La Torre. He kept at it though, initially going out as "Queensrÿche featuring Geoff Tate," then changing the name of the band to "Operation: Mindcrime." Now he's put the troublesome monikers behind him and he's solo, performing Queensryche tunage acoustically, and he's bringing the show to this one-horse town this week. We hit him up for the five albums that changed his life ...

Sunday, March 5 at The Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. 8 p.m. $27-$29. All Ages.

1. Jefferson Airplane—Surrealistic Pillow: When I was nine, I wanted to be a musician, and primarily that's because I started hearing music for the first time around that age. I got a transistor radio for my birthday, and that just tuned me into pop music happening at the time. I heard the song "Somebody to Love," that really made me ask my parents about how to learn to play music. I started taking piano lessons after that.

2. The Beatles—Meet The Beatles: Meet the Beatles was the first album I ever bought. The Beatles were incredibly inspirational for a young musician, because they offered so much variety, and so much sing-along factor to what they wrote. You could interpret it easily. They had a really good way of taking complex musicality and channeling it into a direct way to really communicate with people. Even people like me at the time, who weren't trained musicians and were just growing into it.

3. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young—Déjà Vu: The 1970s was an amazing decade for music. Growing up the '60s and '70s, you were exposed to lots of different music, because it was a very free time with rock music. There weren't all these boxes and boundaries called genres, limiting what we hear and limiting bands' creativity. For me, an album like Déjà Vu was incredibly important musically. I think the reason was I was learning about harmony at that time, and they sung so beautifully in harmony. They used it in such a unique way that I was really drawn to that.

4. Yes—Close to the Edge: I really got into people like Rick Wakeman and what he was doing on keyboards. Keith Emerson from ELP. These guys really affected me musically, and thus I was heavily influenced by Close to the Edge, which I still listen to today, trying to figure out what they were doing there. It's just an incredible piece of music.

5. Trevor Jones—Angel Heart OST: The film starred Mickey Rourke in the '80s. A brilliant film, and the music is incredible. Really unique. Jones was the main composer, and he had a saxophone player that did a lot of soloing throughout the soundtrack. Courtney Pine, he's an incredible player. Really haunting, unique arrangements, done kind of like mixing classical styles with more of a jazz presentation. That album had a huge impact on me.

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