Dear Mr. Tate,
My name is Fisting Andrew Golota. You don’t know me, but I’ve enjoyed some of your music over the past few decades. Judging by your recent actions, you obviously don’t read any of your own press, so I feel it necessary to address you directly. Because quite frankly, we need to talk.
Just to recap: Your former band Queensrÿche fired you back in June, after a series of incidents in which you insulted your audience, physically assaulted your bandmates, and generally acted like an asshole, to the point where some people are seriously questioning your mental health. Predictably, the music press has paid more attention to this than anything you’ve done musically in the past 20 years. It so happens you have a new solo album out, Kings And Thieves, just in time to capitalize on this newfound exposure. Sadly for you, I think this will have exactly the opposite effect.
So first off, about these lyrics. Apparently, you’ve discovered the joys of Viagra, and aren’t shy about it. That’s fine, but…”she rides me hard like an exercise machine”? Seriously? And the track “Say U Luv It” is seriously misguided and gross. You aren’t Prince, and hearing you sing about getting laid is about as sexy as walking in on my parents. These lyrics would be an embarrassment for ANYBODY, but particularly for the ex-frontman of a self-described “thinking man’s metal band.” It sounds like the only “thinking” you’re doing these days is thinking about pussy. The only track that might be even more ridiculous is “The Way I Roll,” which is basically 5 minutes of you pretending to be Kid Rock and talking about how great you are.
Musically, Kings & Thieves is nothing to write home about either. All of these songs are based around predictable chord changes and generic grunge-era riffs. Your producer Kelly Gray seems very attached to that one drum loop that seems to be in almost every track. As for yourself, your voice has degraded to the point where it bears no resemblance to the guy who sang “Take Hold Of The Flame”, or even “Silent Lucidity.” You seem to struggle with singing in key, and your once-famous high range is nowhere to be found. And you’re still unable to write a memorable lyric or melody without ex-‘Ryche guitarist Chris DeGarmo holding your hand. Musically speaking, Kings & Thieves is the very definition of “half-assed.” Most of these songs could be background music in a bad TV show about tattoos or vampires or something.
It’s not all bad, for whatever that’s worth. “Change” is an interesting departure, with its moody pace and orchestration. This could’ve been a worthwhile direction for you to pursue, well-suited to your present-day attitude and vocal range. And “Dark Money” has a decent Kings X-style riff going for it. Otherwise, there is nothing redeeming going on here. There’s nothing to impress musically, no intelligent lyrics to stick to the brain. Hell, you can’t even sing along to this in the car, because there are no hooks.
It is possible for a frontman to step out of the shadow of his former band, explore different styles of music, and be successful. You can ask your hero Peter Gabriel about that. But be aware that your few remaining fans will expect far better than this. Like it or not, people associate you with classic records like Operation:Mindcrime, and as a result you are held to a higher standard. By comparison, tracks like “Say U Luv It” and “The Way I Roll” sound like some kind of joke.
Making music for a living is a privilege, not a right. If you value that privilege, you may want to re-evaluate what you’re doing before it’s too late. Coupled with your recent off-stage antics, Kings & Thieves is career suicide.
Best of luck,
Fisting Andrew Golota