Ousted Queensryche frontman Geoff Tate insists the media is making too much of negative remarks he made during a show at the Rocklahoma festival on Oklahoma in May (12) - because it's his job to rile fans at shows.
The rocker told the audience members they sucked following an uninspired start to the group's set, and many people believe his attack on the music fans was the last straw for his bandmates, who have since replaced him with a new singer.
But Tate is convinced his firing has more to do with band economics than what he said at a concert.
He tells RollingStone.com, "Over the last 30 years I've played thousands of shows. Sometimes the audience needs some direction. They need to be kicked in the a** a bit, and the Rocklahoma audience this year was one of those audiences. They needed to be challenged. They needed to get called out. They needed to get fired up.
"As a frontman, that's part of my gig. I do that. I am in control of the audience. I'm pushing them. I'm pulling them. I'm riding them at times. That was just me getting the audience fired up. They needed it. They were really a lackadaisical audience that looked really confused. They didn't know what they were supposed to be doing."
The festival gig came just weeks after Tate scrapped with bandmate Scott Rockenfield backstage before a concert in Brazil, but he insists his remarks onstage at Rocklahoma had nothing to do with tensions in the group: "Rocklahoma was fine from a performance standpoint. It was difficult, but, as anybody that's ever been in a band knows, the show must go on. You try to do the best you can given what you're working with."
Asked why he thinks he was fired from Queensryche, the singer says, "I think it's economically driven, mostly. I'm a 25 per cent holder in our companies. I think it's just business in their minds - cut me out and then split 25 per cent and hire some young guy that's gonna work for a weekly wage, so they make more money. It's just ridiculous... It's bad business."