In a new interview with Sally Steele of Vegas Rocks! Magazine, former QUEENSRŸCHE singer Geoff Tate was asked if he ever drank or smoked in the earlier years of his career. “[I did] everything,” he responded. “[But] I didn’t make it a habit. I like to drink; that’s no secret. I’m a drinker, absolutely. I don’t think those things are going to necessarily keep you from singing, as long as you keep things in moderation and exercise… You’ve gotta keep things in check. Smoking definitely is not a good thing, though. I [smoked cigarettes] when I was a kid — when I was young. [But] I had to [stop].”
Tate‘s comments come just days after current QUEENSRŸCHE singer Todd La Torre said that he didn’t care if people knew that he is a longtime cigarette smoker. The 47-year-old musician, who lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, discussed his smoking habit in a live video interview this past weekend with Canada’s The Metal Voice. Addressing criticism from viewers of the livestream who objected to the fact that he was puffing away during the chat, saying that singers should abstain from cigarette smoking, Todd said: “I don’t care. Whatever. I bet you there’s a lot of really good singers that smoke. And some people hide it, and some people don’t.”
He continued: “For years, I never wanted anyone to see me smoking ’cause I knew if you have a bad show — never mind that you’d flown 25 thousand miles that month — they would be, like, ‘Oh, that’s why. He’s gonna ruin his voice.’ And then you sing killer. And you could say, ‘Yeah, I don’t smoke anymore.’ [And then they’d say] ‘That’s why you sounded so good.’ Everyone’s an expert. I don’t care.”
Philip Anselmo (PANTERA), Corey Taylor (SLIPKNOT) and Udo Dirkschneider (ACCEPT) are among the other hard rock and heavy metal singers who have admitted to smoking cigarettes in the past.
In a 2009 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, JUDAS PRIEST singer Rob Halford said that he “quit smoking” a long time ago in order to better take care of his voice.
Back in 2014, former IRON MAIDEN singer Paul Di’Anno insisted his voice was in better condition than Halford‘s even though he was still drinking and smoking. “I’m hitting notes Rob Halford can’t hit anymore,” Paul said at the time. “And the reason is I don’t fuss over it. Some people go, ‘I’ve got a slight cough; let’s cancel the whole show. If you look at my touring schedule, it’s brutal. Normally I do this five, six, seven days a week. I still smoke, I still drink — I still have it, mate.”
In a 2013 interview with Myglobalmind, PRETTY MAIDS singer Ronnie Atkins, who is now battling stage four cancer, joked that the secret to keeping his voice in shape was “20 cigarettes a day and little drink now and then.”
Pop superstar Lady Gaga admitted in a 2020 interview that she used to smoke “40 cigarettes all day long” before finally quitting.
According to Tobacco Free Life, “the effects of smoking on your vocal folds are almost entirely negative. You might be able to get a raspy quality in your singing you wouldn’t be able to achieve otherwise, but you’ll [experience an] impact on your range, the control you have over your voice and your stamina as a performer.”
Tate‘s current tour is celebrating the 30th anniversary of QUEENSRŸCHE‘s “Empire” and “Rage For Order” albums.
In April 2014, Tate and QUEENSRŸCHE announced that a settlement had been reached after a nearly two-year legal battle where the singer sued over the rights to the QUEENSRŸCHE name after being fired in 2012. Original QUEENSRŸCHE members Michael Wilton (guitar), Scott Rockenfield (drums) and Eddie Jackson (bass) responded with a countersuit. The settlement included an agreement that Wilton, Rockenfield and Jackson would continue as QUEENSRŸCHE, while Tate would have the sole right to perform the albums “Operation: Mindcrime” and “Operation: Mindcrime II” in their entirety live.