Queensrÿche will pay tribute to some of their favorite bands and musical styles with a surprisingly diverse collection of cover songs.
Take Cover will feature 11 tracks that represent the music of Black Sabbath, soul group the O’Jays, Italian opera, Broadway, and many other groups and genres. Rhino Records plans a November 13 release for the CD and a November 20 release for the album on 180-gram premium vinyl.
The album’s eclectic track list reflects the divergent tastes of Queensrÿche’s members: singer and chief songwriter Geoff Tate, guitarists Michael Wilton and Mike Stone, bassist Eddie Jackson and drummer Scott Rockenfield.
Although the band is not known for performing many covers in concert, it plays its fair share of them before the curtain goes up at a show.
Explains Tate, “During sound checks, Stone and Michael like to play ‘name that riff,’ and sometimes the whole band joins in. That’s really the way this album came together, too. We got together and started playing songs to each other, and then we picked our favorites.”
Among the songs chosen for Take Cover are “Heaven on Their Minds” from the hit musical Jesus Christ Superstar, the O’Jays' R&B classic “For Love of Money,” and “Odissea,” an operatic epic originally performed by the Italian duo of Carlo Marrale and Cheope.
Tate, who is recognized as an accomplished vocalist, says he enjoyed the last song’s demanding arrangement. “There is a lot for a singer to sink his teeth into. Plus, I got a chance to sing in Italian, which was interesting considering I don’t speak a word of it.”
Other tracks songs include “Innuendo,” Queen’s epic song about life and death; “Almost Cut My Hair,” Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s paean to freedom; and Black Sabbath’s “Neon Knights.” The Sabbath tune is a timely choice, since Queensÿche will begin playing a month of North American shows with Sabbath and Ronnie James Dio, who are touring together as Heaven and Hell, starting September 5.
Says Tate, “Ronnie took us out on our first European tour, and he’s always been good to us. With the tour coming up, this seemed like a nice way to pay tribute to him. I hope he likes it, or I’m sure I’ll hear about it every night of the tour.”
Take Cover will also include Queensrÿche’s distinctive arrangement of Pink Floyd’s “Welcome to the Machine,” an acoustic version of Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth,” and a highly charged live version of U2’s “Bullet the Blue Sky,” as well as Peter Gabriel’s “Red Rain” and the Police’s “Synchronicity II.” “We’ll never top the originals; they’re classics for a reason,” Tate says. “We were more focused on finding different approaches that took the songs in unexpected directions.”
Although Tate’s song choices for the album did not include “Red Rain” and “Synchronicity II,” he says that their inclusion was an opportunity for him to explore music he’d previously overlooked. “I’d heard these songs on the radio before, but I didn’t really appreciate them before the guys suggested we record them.”
In that respect, he says, Take Cover was a rewarding experience for all of Queensrÿche’s members. “It gave us all a chance to pay tribute to some of the bands that have meant so much to us over the years, and we all discovered new songs to love.”
Take Cover Track List
1. “Innuendo” (Queen )
2. “Bullet The Blue Sky” live (U2)
3. “Synchronicity II” (Police)
4. “For What It’s Worth” (Buffalo Springfield)
5. “Welcome to the Machine” (Pink Floyd)
6. “Red Rain” (Peter Gabriel)
7. “Neon Knights” (Black Sabbath)
8. “Almost Cut My Hair” (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
9. “Heaven on Their Minds” (from Jesus Christ Superstar)
10. “For the Love of Money” (The O’Jays)
11. “Odissea” (Carlo Marrale & Cheope)