Mr. Big

Fri
31
Oct

MR. BIG - The Stories We Could Tell (Review)

information persons: 
section name: 
TRACK LISTING
content: 
- Gotta Love The Ride
- I Forget To Breathe
- Fragile
- Satisfied
- The Man Who Has Everything
- The Monster In Me
- What If We Were New
- East / West
- The Light Of Day
- Just Let Your Heart Decide
- It's Always About That Girl
- Cinderella Smile
- The Stories We Could Tell
section name: 
SCORE
content: 

 

94%
Produced By: 
Pat Regan
Running Time: 
61
Release Date: 
2014
Released: 
Worldwide
Musical Style: 
Melodic Hard Rock
Label: 
Frontiers Records
Artist: 
Friday, October 31, 2014
Categories: 
 
It is an emotional time for Mr. Big as drummer Pat Torpey recently announced he was dealing with the onset of Parkinson’s disease as the band regrouped for their second post-reformation studio album.
But they managed to do it, adding another chapter to the Mr. Big story, and delivering a different beast to the last album What If…
 
There’s a different vibe to this album, most likely down to the change of producer, from Kevin Shirley (who likes recording live in the studio) to Pat Regan, who takes the more traditional route.
A couple of interesting facts from the recording sessions explain the vibe of this album – one was that the guys were all individually busy, so many parts were recorded without the others present as schedules permitted time to record, and the other was the revelation from Billy Sheehan that drummer Pat doesn’t actually play live drums on the album. Instead, the two Pat’s worked together on programming drum parts to match Torpey’s style and energy.
In fact, that part of the process held up the release of the album, forcing a slight reschedule and some last minute deliveries of the master.
But I’m impressed with the job done here. Both from Pat Regan for the overall sharp, traditional Mr. Big style production (he also worked with the guys on ‘Get Over It’ and the side project ‘Influences & Connections’); and also from Pat Torpey, who delivers perhaps the best programmed drums ever.
Eric Martin sounds fabulous as always as does Paul Gilbert with his flawless master class of riffing and soloing that continues throughout.
I don’t think Billy Sheehan’s bass is as prominent in the mix as last time around. The technical flair and authority is there, just not as promiinent in the mix as on What If.
 
The hour long album touches on a few aspects of the band’s sound and career to date. There’s definitely some of the bluesy ‘Get Over It’ influences here, despite that album not featuring guitarist Paul Gilbert; there is also some touches of the debut from way back in ’89 as well as Bump Ahead and of course the most recent release What If.
There is also a strong influence of 70s rock n roll throughout, a loose bluesy vibe that blends into the band’s sound.
All in all, it’s Mr. Big and its good!
 
I think the album runs a little long as there’s a couple of tracks in the back half of the album that more or less repeat what’s come before, if the album had been cut to 11 tracks it might have been a little more concise.
 
Gotta Love The Ride is a bombastic bluesy rocker. A solid groove, nice guitar solo and a chorus that seems restrained but gets better each listen. A cool track!
I Forget To Breathe is another up-tempo blues based rocker with a big groove. Billy's bass not nearly as prominent in mix as last album. Another pretty simple chorus....but it rocks and I like it. I'm hearing some 'Get Over It' here. Great guitar solo.
The wonderfully melodic Fragile was my pick of the album from day 1 and continues to be. A real Mr. Big sounding track with the same type of vibe as the equally brilliant "Undertow".
Satisfied took some time to grow on me. Back to the 70s blues rock again and I'm a 80s guy, so I wasn’t sure, but it has grown into a fine track. A very melodic vocal bridge that hints at a big chorus that doesn't arrive.
Its ballad time. The Man Who Has Everything is a familiar Mr. Big acoustic driven ballad. Still carrying that 70s feel though. Big soulful vocal by Eric Martin - another possible single here I'd expect. Some orchestral backing makes it fuller in sound.
The Monster In Me still has that bluesy 70s sound going through it. The mid-tempo, heavy rocker was another track that grew on me and it’s jerky, abrupt chorus is cool.
What If I Were New sees the band is sounding like The Rolling Stones. A different vibe for sure and perhaps one of the lesser quality tracks on the album. Interesting chorus. I wouldn't call it catchy, but it's original and the choppy Paul Gilbert guitar work is cool.
East/West features acoustic intro and first 30 seconds before band comes to life. Acoustic base, but electric also. A feel good song this and a traditional Mr. Big commercial pop/rocker.
The Light Of Day is a fast rocker with a big groove, big guitars and bass, fast moving vocal and chorus, with Eric in fine voice as ever.
Just Let Your Heart Decide - ballad time again. Deep sultry vocal from Eric and an extremely good chorus. Just like 'What If', the second big ballad on the album is the better one. No Mr. Big fan is going to dislike this one.
It's Always About That Girl - this is another mi-tempo 70s groover. Not as into this as earlier tracks and sees the band repeating themselves a little here.
As is the case with the slow/mid-tempo groove based track Cinderella Smile. Simple chorus, stop/start slow groove and a track that brings a slow tempo to the closing part of the album.
The Stories We Could Tell is unfortunately another slow-mid-tempo 70s groover.
Interesting track, but not the most instant or catchy tune out there and similar to a couple of others on the album. A good chorus, some nice bass fills from Billy and more classy playing from Paul. But three slowish 70s groove tracks in a row to close the album is too many.
I would have cut Cinderella Smile and It’s Always About That Girl.
 
For the European release there is the bonus track Addicted To That Rush (Live)Now, being the musical snob I am, I just can’t endorse live tracks tacked onto the end of studio albums. It just doesn’t sit right with me that an all-new studio album closes with an old live track.
Add to that the fact the quality of this live track is horrible. The instrumentation is clear enough, but the vocals sound as if they were piped in from the lavatory backstage. Very hollow and low in volume. It’s a real shame as the sheer energy of Pat Torpey and world class guitar soloing from Paul and Billy throughout is otherwise stunning.
The Japanese release adds the bonus track 30 Days In The Hole (Live). Again, the playing is nothing short of exquisite, but next to studio material it just doesn’t sound right or match the production values.
 
The Japanese Special Edition sees the band add a bonus disc of 10 re-recorded classics. The Japanese are becoming increasingly generous with their extra features to entice a shrinking market into buying and it worked for me!
The tracks covered include the fan favorites Addicted To That Rush, Colorado Bulldog, Daddy Brother Lover Little Boy, Green Tinted Sixties Mind and Take Cover.
There’s not a dramatic overhaul of these tracks in any way. More or less, they are just an updated sound, consistent with the production of the new material and the odd tweak here and there with vocals, backing vocals and guitar and bass riffs. Long time Mr. Big fans will hear the differences, casual fans won’t. But it’s well worth getting.
 
The Stories We Could Tell is a big, groovy, rocking album, but not the chorus heavy style of Mr. Big's most commercial tracks.
It is also not an instant album, but it has the same Mr. Big appeal as always for me and has been on high rotation now for many weeks. I’m still loving the tracks I love and still not warming to the last few.
The guys’ individual performances are as special as we always expect from these phenomenal musicians.
Be prepared for a different sound and a more retro groove based style.
 
Another great Mr. Big album, but it's going to have to appeal to people's individual tastes a little more than past albums.
Score: 
94
 
Wed
29
Oct

MR BIG: "...The Stores We Could Tell" Limited 12" Vinyl Edition Announced

Artist: 
Friday, January 16, 2015
Categories: 
 
MR BIG: "...THE STORES WE COULD TELL" LIMITED 12" VINYL EDITION ANNOUNCED

Inner Wound Recordings are proud to announce the release of a limited 12" double gatefold vinyl edition of the MR BIG album "...The Stories We Could Tell". A deal was inked with Frontiers Records, and the release dates are set to January 16th for Europe and February 17th for North America. The edition is strictly limited to 600 copies worldwide.

"...The Stories We Could Tell" is available for pre-ordering at the Inner Wound Store: http://www.innerwound.bigcartel.com

Track listing

Side A
01. Gotta Love the Ride
02. I Forget To Breathe
03. Fragile

Side B
01. Satisfied
02. The Man Who Has Everything
03. The Monster In Me
04. What If We Were New?

Side C
01. East/West
02. The Light Of Day
03. Just Let Your Heart Decide
04. It's Always About That Girl

Side D
01. Cinderella Smile
02. The Stories We Could Tell
03. Addicted To That Rush (Live)

For more information:
http://www.innerwound.com
http://www.facebook.com/innerwoundrecordings
 
Mon
13
Oct

One on One with Mitch Lafon - MR. BIG, TOTO

Artist: 
Monday, October 13, 2014
Categories: 

http://www.spreaker.com/user/talkingmetal/one-on-one-57-mr-big-gentle-giant

Episode 57 - In this week's episode of One On One with Mitch Lafon. Mitch is joined by Eric Martin of Mr.Big, GENTLE GIANT's Ray Shulman and TOTO's Joseph Williams. FOUR BY FATE's Sean Kelly co-hosts.

In the episode's first interview Eric Martin and Mitch discuss the Mr. Big's brand new album '...The Stories We Could Tell', Richie Kotzen's time with the group, Pat Torpey's recent medical news and his replacement (former Ace Frehley band drummer) Matt Starr, their remarkable popularity in Japan and much more.

In our second interview, Ray Shulman of Gentle Giant discusses the recent special edition re-release of the band's landmark album The Power And The Glory, the involvement of Porcupine Trees' Steven Wilson, the band's history and much more.

We end this episode with a chat with TOTO's Joseph Williams who discusses the band's most recent DVD (Toto - 35th Anniversary - Live In Poland) as well as his involvement with the Intelligent Music Project II - My Kind Of Loving album - http://intelligent-music.com/productions/mykindoflovin/


For More Mr. Big visit: http://www.mrbigsite.com and on TWITTER: @mrbigmusic

For more Gentle Giant visit: http://www.blazemonger.com/GG/Gentle_Giant_Home_Page

For more Toto visit: http://www.totoofficial.com and on Twitter: @toto99com

For more Sean Kelly and Four By Fate visit: http://www.facebook.com/FOURBYFATE and find Sean on Twitter: @SeanKellyGuitar

Listen to the One On One With Mitch Lafon Podcast on iHeartRadio, iTunes, Spreaker, TuneIn and Stitcher.

Follow Mitch Lafon on Twitter: @mitchlafon

One on One With Mitch Lafon's Official Twitter is: @1On1WithMitch

And Official Facebook page is: http://www.facebook.com/OneOnOneMitchLafon
 
Wed
03
Sep

RICHIE KOTZEN 'Essential' 2CD Release Out Today

Artist: 
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Categories: 
RICHIE KOTZEN
'THE ESSENTIAL RICHIE KOTZEN'
OUT TODAY ON LOUD & PROUD RECORDS;

 
U.S. HEADLINING TOUR STARTS NOVEMBER 1 IN ANNAPOLIS, MD
 
September 2, 2014 -- Guitarist/singer/songwriter RICHIE KOTZEN released THE ESSENTIAL RICHIE KOTZEN today on Loud & Proud Records. To celebrate his newest project, he's hitting the U.S. concert trail starting November 1 in Annapolis, MD at Rams Head Tavern.  Before then, he'll be spending September and most of October on a headlining tour which will take him through Europe and Mexico.

THE ESSENTIAL RICHIE KOTZEN is a two-CD and DVD career retrospective set that encompasses this iconic talent's entire career of his most essential work:  classic material; acoustic performances; bootleg material; and two brand new songs ('War Paint' and 'Walk With Me').  The DVD features music videos, acoustic performances, and bootleg material.  A new official video for 'War Paint' will premiere on MusicRadar.com later this week.  In the meantime, the video for 'Walk With Me' (filmed entirely on KOTZEN's iPhone) can be found on his official YouTube page.
 
Fans can check out exclusive full album streams of each disc on VH1 Classic/MTV.com and GuitarWorld.com.
 
KOTZEN personally curated THE ESSENTIAL RICHIE KOTZEN from his 18 solo albums in order to give listeners the most comprehensive, cohesive, and concise introduction to his extensive body of work.  'I've really changed and grown as an artist and as a person,' he says.  'I hand-selected songs so newcomers can get into my music and learn who I am as a recording artist.'
 
Rave reviews of THE ESSENTIAL RICHIE KOTZEN have already started to surface:
 
'KOTZEN is an artist with a centered musical philosophy anchored by soulful music and a perfectionist's attention to craft... THE ESSENTIAL RICHIE KOTZEN is an excellent career retrospective by an underrated songwriter.'  (Oscar Jordan, Vintage Guitar)
 
'The extensive combo perfectly captures his dynamic musicianship, his jaw-dropping guitar solos, and his tangy blend of rock, blues, and soul, and will encourage listeners to discover more of his work...'  (Bear Frazer, Arena.com)
 
'RICHIE KOTZEN is one on the most ridiculous guitar players alive today...If you have only heard RICHIE in other bands (or have no clue who he is) then you really need to hook yourself up and give him his due. RICHIE has an incredibly soulful voice and did I mention his guitar solos are other worldly?  Get the book of his musical life and discover some magic.'  (Jason Lally, Realrockreport.com)
 
Check out RICHIE KOTZEN at any of the following stops, with more dates to be added in the coming weeks on all of his official websites:
 
DATE               CITY                             VENUE

 
Sat 11/1            Annapolis, MD              Rams Head Tavern
Mon 11/3          Londonderry, NH           Tupelo Music Hall
Tue 11/4            Boston, MA                  Wilbur Theater
Wed 11/5          New York, NY               B.B. King Blues Club & Grill
Fri 11/7             Poughkeepsie, NY        The Chance
Sat 11/8            Reading, PA                 Building 24
Sun 11/9           New Haven, CT              Toad's Place
Tue 11/11          Pittsburgh, PA              Altar Bar
 
About Loud & Proud Records
 
Loud & Proud Records is an independent record label founded in 2007 by Tom Lipsky whose mission is to provide a true and transparent partnership between artists and their record label.  Labels under Lipsky's direction in the past, including CMC International, Sanctuary Records Group and a joint-venture with Roadrunner Records, were responsible for new releases by Neil Young, Rush, Lynyrd Skynyrd, KISS, Robert Plant, Rob Zombie, Morrissey, Lenny Kravitz, Iron Maiden, The Allman Brothers Band and more.  Loud & Proud's current roster includes five-time Emmy' Award winning actor and musician Jonathan Jackson and his band Enation, multi-platinum alternative band Flyleaf, supergroup rock band The Winery Dogs, renowned jam band The String Cheese Incident, multi-platinum country artists BlackHawk, Seattle's alternative Walking Papers, critically-acclaimed singer/songwriter Willie Nile and powerhouse rockers KIX.  Loud & Proud Records is distributed in the U.S. and Canada by RED, a division of Sony Music Entertainment, and in the rest of the world by earMUSIC/Edel AG. Loud & Proud Records is a registered trademark of Lipsky Music, LLC.
 

 
Wed
03
Sep

MR. BIG Premiere Audio For Lead Album Track 'Gotta Love The Ride'

Artist: 
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Categories: 
Mr. Big "Gotta Love The Ride" from the new album '...The Stories We Could Tell.' Preorder the album on iTunes:http://geni.us/TheStoriesWeCouldTell or via Amazon at: 
 
 
 

 

Tags: 
 
Thu
28
Aug

MR. BIG Announce Touring Drummer & Revised Album Release Date

Monday, September 29, 2014
Categories: 
Mr Big today announced today that drummer Pat Torpey's fill-in for the band's upcoming World Tour will be Matt Starr. Matt is currently Ace Frehley's drummer and will sit in for Torpey (who was recently diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease) throughout MR BIG's tour in support of their latest album, "...The Stories We Could Tell".
 
The release for Mr. Big's highly anticipated new album, ...The Stories We Could Tell, has been moved from September 22nd to September 29th in the UK, and from September 23rd to September 30th in North America via Frontiers Music Srl.
 
"The new album rocks,' says Paul Gilbert. 'I love playing guitar, singing, and writing with Eric, Billy, and Pat. And after 25 years, I'm proud that we can make an album that is melodic, powerful, interesting, groovy, and emotional."
 
The original line-up comprised of Eric Martin (vocals), Paul Gilbert (guitar), Billy Sheehan (bass) and Pat Torpey (drums), are back with some of their most powerful material to date. The new album is the follow-up to the 2011 release 'What If,' that marked the band's return to their signature hard rock sound.
 
The new album is available for pre-order via Amazon. Mr. Big kick off their European tour on Friday October 17th at London's Koko. Visit the official Mr. Big website for full 2014 tour dates.
 

  
 
Mon
18
Aug

MR. BIG - The Stories We Could Tell (Pre-View)

Artist: 
Friday, September 19, 2014
Categories: 
UPDATED: 4 or 5 listens in now and the album continues to grow and the tempo lifts as the melodies come to life. Some really good songs on here as usual.
 
 
Mr. Big, are back with their new album "The Stories We Could Tell". The band's eighth studio album is slated for release on September 19th in Europe and September 23rd in North America via Frontiers Music Srl. 
 
Eric Martin says of the new Mr. Big: "This is the album that we threatened to make decades ago. A classic, grooving, blues-rock record with the spirit and spark of our rock and soul idols from the 70s..."
I gave Mr. Big's "What If..." 100%, so there's a lot of expectation here.
 
It always awesome to hear these guys play. The collective talent is unbelievable and Eric Martin has been a favourite of mine since the mid-80s.
 
This is a different sounding record from the outset. It’s big, loud, live and very retro 70s in places and very bluesy also. It will take a little time to get used to it.
Not an instant record by any means, but it rocks. Makes delivering a first impression harder to do accurately.
 
But after two full listens through at ear piercing volume – here’s my thoughts:
 
 
Track 1: Gotta Love The Ride - Bombastic intro, bluesy edge for sure. It’s a mid-up tempo rocker.
Different sound for the band here. Production definitely different than “What If”. Groove based rocker, nice guitar solo. Restrained chorus that gets better each listen. A cool track!
 
Track 2: I Forget To Breathe - Another up-tempo blues based rocker with a big groove. Billy's bass not nearly as prominent in mix as last album. Another pretty simple chorus....but it rocks and I like it. I'm hearing some "Get Over It" here. Great guitar solo.
 
Track 3: Fragile Thought it might have been a ballad at first, but bluesy 70s guitar kicks in and the tempo lifts. I like it a lot. A real Mr. Big sounding track. Fragile has the same type of vibe as "Undertow". A more familiar Mr. Big style bridge-to-chorus melody and a nice melodic vocal here. Best track of the first 3. A commercial single feel.
 
Track 4: Satisfied - Back to the 70s blues rock again. I'm a 80s guy, so not sure about this. Another pretty straight forward uptempo bluesy rocker. Satisfied has a one line, very melodic vocal bridge that hints at a big chorus, but it doesn't arrive. More straight forward groove based.
 
Track 5: The Man Who Has Everything - Its ballad time. This is a familiar MB acoustic driven ballad. Still carrying that 70s feel though. Big soulful vocal by Eric Martin - another possible single here I'd expect. Some orchestral backing also.
 
A big Billy bass flurry kicks off Track 6: The Monster In Me. Still got that bluesy 70s sound going. Mid-tempo, but heavy...Big guitar and bass tracks. Very different sounding record this so far. Unlike any Mr. Big album prior. Raw, live feel and very groove driven.
 
Track 7: What If I Were New - now the band is sounding like The Stones. Mmmm... Different approach with choruses this album too. Big harmonies here and a nice feel good chorus. Perfect Mr. Big style. Interesting chorus. Wouldn't call it catchy, but it's original and the choppy Paul Gilbert guitar work is cool. Big attitude.
 
Track 8: East/West - acoustic intro and first 30 seconds before band comes to life. Acoustic base, but electric also. A feel good song this and an early favourite.
 
Track 9: The Light Of Day - big groove, big guitars and bass, fast moving vocal, Eric in fine voice as ever.
 
Track 10: Just Let Your Heart Decide - ballad time again. Deep sultry vocal from Eric. VERY good chorus. Just like "What If", the second big ballad on the album is the better one. No Mr. Big fan is going to dislike this one.
 
Track 11: It's Always About That Girl - this is another mi-tempo 70s groover. Not as into this as earlier tracks.
 
Track 12: Cinderella Smile - Another slow/mid-tempo groove based track. Sorry, think I'm going to have to say I'm not into this one. Simple chorus, stop/start slow groove. Not my fav style. A bit of a jammer.
 
Last track! Track 13: The Stories We Could Tell - yep, another slow-mid-tempo 70s groover.
Interesting track, but not the most instant or catchy tune out there and similar to a couple of others on the album.
Good chorus, some nice bass fills from Billy and more classy playing from Paul.
 
 
 
It's a big, groovy, rocking album, but not the chorus heavy style of Mr. Big's most commercial tracks.
13 tracks, 2 ballads, a couple of traditional melodic “Mr. Big style” tunes and a whole stack of bluesy rockers with a retro vibe.
 
Not an instant album, but I’ve hit play straight away and are already through my second listen. Some more aspects definitely jumped out second time around.
 
The guy’s rock and the performances are there. Big love to the as yet unmentioned Pat Torpey who thumps away with his usual authority.
 
Be prepared for a different sound and a more retro groove based style.
 
I think this sounds like another great Mr. Big album, but it's going to have to appeal to people's individual tastes a little more than past albums.
 
 
 
The Japanese Special Edition release (cover pictured above) features a second audio disc and a DVD "making of".
 
The audio CD contains 10 tracks re-recorded by the band for this occasion.
Those tracks are:
 
01. To Be With You
02. Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy (Electric Drill Song)
03. Green Tinted Sixties Mind
04. Take Cover
05. Just Take My Heart
06. Colorado Bulldog
07. Addicted To That Rush
08. The Whole World's Gonna Know
09. Rock & Roll Over
10. Out Of The Underground
 
 
 
 
Mon
11
Aug

MR. BIG - The Stories We Could Tell Out September 22

Artist: 
Monday, September 22, 2014
Categories: 

MR. BIG RETURN WITH THEIR EIGHTH STUDIO ALBUM IN 25 YEAR CAREER
...THE STORIES WE COULD TELL
 
Latest Album Slated for Release in September via Frontiers Music Srl
 
Amazon Pre-Order Available at http://geni.us/MrBigStoriesAMZ
 
Hard rock's original supergroup, Mr. Big, are back with a vengeance with their new album 'The Stories We Could Tell. The band's eighth studio album is slated for release on September 19th in Europe and September 23rd in North America via Frontiers Music Srl. The original lineup comprised of Eric Martin on vocals, Paul Gilbert on guitar, Billy Sheehan on bass and Pat Torpey on drums, returns with some of their strongest material to date. The new album is the follow-up to the 2011 release What If, an album that marked the band's return to their signature hard rock sound. Mr. Big got together this past June to begin recording and laid down the 13 new tracks in just a month. 'Stories We Could Tell was produced by Pat Regan, known for his work with the likes of Deep Purple, Warrant and Keel. The album is currently available for pre-order via Amazon at http://geni.us/MrBigStoriesAMZ.
 
The track listing for ...The Stories We Could Tell is:
1)      Gotta Love The Ride                                                                             
2)       I Forget To Breathe
3)       Fragile
4)       Satisfied
5)       The Man Who Has Everything
6)       The Monster In Me
7)       What If We Were New?
8)       East/West
9)       The Light Of Day
10)   Just Let Your Heart Decide
11)   It's Always About That Girl
12)   Cinderella Smile
13)   The Stories We Could Tell
14)   Addicted To That Rush (Live ' Exclusive Bonus Track)
 
Mr. Big recently announced that drummer Pat Torpey has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. The diagnosis has left him unable to perform his normal drumming duties on the band's upcoming World Tour. He did complete all of the drumming on the upcoming album, but unfortunately touring will be too difficult for him at the present time. Mr. Big intends to announce a drummer in the near future who will handle most of MR BIG's drumming duties on the Fall 2014 tour and expects Torpey to jump on the drums on suitable live songs as well as participating in the group's acoustic set.
 
Mr. Big formed in 1988 and immediately began to solidify their place in music history. By combining trademark "shredding" musicianship with awesome vocal harmonies, Mr. Big produced numerous hit songs that ranged across a wide array of rock genres ' be it ballads, heavy metal, or blues rock. Their hits included 'Alive and Kicking,' "Just Take My Heart" and the chart-topping ballad "To Be With You" (Billboard Hot 100 number one single in 15 countries for weeks, in 1991, propelling the band the band to huge international success and multi-platinum record sales).
 
Mr. Big continues to be a touring force with sold-out shows around the globe and with more dates to be announced in the near future.
Mr. Big have announced the following tour dates in Europe in support of the new album:

Fri 17 Oct - Koko, London, UK
Sat 18 Oct - Tivoli Vredenburg, Utrecht, NL
Mon 20 Oct - Z7, Pratteln, CH
Tue 21 Oct - Live Club, Trezzo Sull'Adda (MI), IT
Thu 23 Oct - La Riviera, Madrid, ES
Sat 25 Oct - Izvestiya Hall, Moscow, RU
Sun 26 Oct - Zal Ozhidaniya, St. Petersburg, RU
 
Weblinks: www.mrbigsite.com
 

 

 
Fri
25
Jul

PAT TORPEY Diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease

Artist: 
Friday, July 25, 2014
Categories: 
Los Angeles, CA.  The rock band, MR BIG, announced today that its drummer, Pat Torpey, has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and unfortunately will be unable to perform all of his normal drumming duties on the band’s upcoming World Tour in support of the band’s new album, …The Stories We Could Tell.
 
“ I’ve been dealing with Parkinson’s symptoms for the past couple of years and only recently received a confirmed diagnosis as symptoms worsened.  I intend to fight the disease with same intensity and tenacity that I drum and live my life by and will continue recording and performing, as always, to the best of my ability. “, said Torpey.
 
MR BIG intends to announce a drummer in the near future whom will handle most of MR BIG’s drumming duties on the Fall 2014 tour and expects Torpey to jump on the drums on suitable live songs as well as participating in the groups acoustic set.
 
Thu
24
Jul

PAUL GILBERT New Album “Stone Pushing Uphill Man” on Shrapnel Records August 5

Artist: 
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Categories: 

Paul Gilbert's new record 'Stone Pushing Uphill Man' is a guitar-oriented instrumental record on which Paul covers some of his favorite songs, using his guitar like a voice to convey a wide range of emotions, while retaining his signature cutting-edge solo work. Following Paul Gilbert's last highly successful CD, 'Vibrato' is the next important chapter in this amazing guitarist's career. Regarded internationally as one of the greatest players in the industry, Gilbert once again proves why he is the guitarist's guitarist.

Starting his recording career with Shrapnel Records as a teenager in the late 80's, Paul Gilbert has remained one of the most active guitarists from the original shred guitar scene, stemming from his multi-faceted talent and long-range career. With Platinum success, including a number one song with Mister Big, and cult status as founding member of the legendary and highly successful underground progressive metal band Racer X, Gilbert's sales draw from more than 20 albums and more than 20 years as a recording artist and touring musician. Paul has toured on the legendary G3 tour in support of Joe Satriani and once again confirmed to a younger audience what Gilbert fans have known for over 20 years: that Paul Gilbert is simply one of the greatest guitar players on the planet today.

When excitedly discussing his newest record, Paul said: 'For my new 'Stone Pushing Uphill Man' album, I decided to bring my guitar to the forefront and let it sing. To do this, I used the inspiration of my favorite singers. Paul McCartney, Steven Tyler, Elton John, James Brown, Sting, k.d. lang, and more. These voices are always in my head. With my guitar I could finally reach their high notes. The challenge was to match their emotion and expression. This was my goal as a guitarist. 'Stone Pushing Uphill Man,' is the first big step to truly find my voice on the guitar. I wanted the inspiration of my favorite singers for such a big challenge, so I chose a lot of cover songs. I think listeners will be surprised at what I've been able to do with the guitar'.

Paul Gilbert "Stone Pushing Uphill Man" available August 5th at finer record stores, Amazon.com, iTunes and Shrapnel Records Inc.

TRACK LISTING

1. WORKING FOR THE WEEKEND
2. BACK IN THE SADDLE
3. I GOT THE FEELIN'
4. GOODBYE YELLOW BRICK ROAD
5. WHY CAN'T WE DO IT IN THE ROAD
6. SHOCK ABSORBER
7. PURPLE WITHOUT ALL THE RED
8. MURDER BY NUMBERS
9. MY GIRL
10. WASH ME CLEAN
11. STONE PUSHING UPHILL MAN

Points of Interest

' Gilbert's profile as a music educator, instructional video performer and international guitar clinician, and guitar designer continue to keep his visibility high.
' Response from Gilbert's fans was overwhelming for his last record, 'Vibrato', and they are about to get served up an even more impressive guitar smorgasbord, beyond their wildest hopes.
' Racer X remains one of Shrapnel's best-selling catalog items, fueled by guitar fans that want to hear Gilbert at his shredding best. 'Stone Pushing Uphill Man' contains some of Gilbert's best playing to date.

http://shrapnelrecords.com 
 
Tue
15
Jul

RICHIE KOTZEN to Release 'The Essential' 2CD Set on Loud & Proud

Artist: 
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Categories: 

RICHIE KOTZEN SET TO RELEASE 'THE ESSENTIAL RICHIE KOTZEN' 2 CD/1 DVD COLLECTION SEPTEMBER 2 ON LOUD & PROUD RECORDS
 

 July 14, 2014 -- When RICHIE KOTZEN plays his guitar, you know it's him.  The guitar virtuoso, singer and songwriter possesses an inimitable style that's both instantly recognizable and immediately striking.  This unique style courses through THE ESSENTIAL RICHIE KOTZEN, a career retrospective collection set for release September 2 on Loud & Proud Records.  It encompasses this iconic talent's entire career of his most essential work and includes two CDs of classic material, acoustic performances, bootleg material and two brand new songs ('War Paint' and 'Walk With Me'), and a DVD of music videos, acoustic performances and bootleg material.  A three-song sampler, including the two new songs along with 'Lie To Me,' is being serviced to rock radio stations later this month.  Fans can pre-order the album at http://bit.ly/1oXRsUX.
 
KOTZEN personally curated THE ESSENTIAL RICHIE KOTZEN from his 18 solo albums in order to give listeners the most comprehensive, cohesive and concise introduction to his extensive body of work.  'I've really changed and grown as an artist and as a person,' he says.  'I hand-selected songs so newcomers can get into my music and learn who I am as a recording artist.'
 
'War Paint' builds from an opening bluesy riff into a bombastic chorus punctuated by KOTZEN's gravelly delivery and impeccable lead playing.  He explains, 'It was a challenge to make a studio recording sound like a live band with only one musician playing all the instruments.  I think I accomplished that on this track.'  At the same time, 'Walk With Me' sees KOTZEN evolving once more and incorporating a Theremin, an antique electronic instrument, into an emotive and engaging anthem.  'There was a specific sound I was hearing in the song,' he reveals.  'I realized it was a Theremin, so I bought one.  I spent a couple of weeks learning it.  I used that where the lead guitar would normally go.  It was a really rewarding departure for me.'
 
With his guitar styles ranging from rock, blues, jazz and fusion to pop and soul, RICHIE KOTZEN has built a remarkably diverse 20 year career as a guitarist, singer and songwriter.  During that span, KOTZEN toured with his trio extensively outside the United States, building a loyal fan base and selling out shows throughout Europe, Latin America, and Japan.  In 1996, Fender guitars honored him with not one, but two signature model guitars.  His signature model Telecaster is available worldwide and continues to be a top seller for the brand.  In 2006, KOTZEN received one of his biggest personal honors when The Rolling Stones chose him to open up a string of Japanese shows placing him in front of some of his biggest crowds to date.  He has not only built an incredibly successful solo career, but has also found himself writing, recording and playing live with a variety of different artists, including Jazz legends Stanley Clarke and Lenny White.  He currently plays guitar and fronts the band The Winery Dogs with bassist Billy Sheehan and drummer Mike Portnoy (the band's self-titled debut album debuted at #27 on the Billboard 'Top 200 Albums' chart).  
 
With his 20
th full-length solo album on the horizon for 2015 as well as countless gigs, RICHIE KOTZEN's legacy is only continuing to expand.  'When you perform, record or write, you go to a different place,' he concludes.  'It's another world. I love hearing people react to the music and lyrics.  That's the ultimate reward.'
 
Stay tuned for solo touring news, which will be announced in the coming weeks.
 
Here's the complete track listing of THE ESSENTIAL RICHIE KOTZEN:
 
CD1:
1. War Paint *
2. Walk With Me *
3. Love Is Blind
4. Go Faster
5. Fooled Again
6. OMG (What's Your Name?)
7. Help Me
8. Bad Situation
9. Lie To Me *
10. Fear
11. You Can't Save Me
12. Doing What The Devil Says To Do
13. Remember (Reprise)
* never before released *
 
CD2:
1. What Is (2014)
2. High (2014)
3. Change (2014)
4. Special (2014)
5. Paint It On (Acoustic Version)
6. Holding On (Acoustic Version)
7. Until You Suffer Some (Fire And Ice) - (Acoustic Version)
8. The Road (Acoustic Version)
9. Regret (Original Demo Version)
10. Damaged (Original Demo Version)
 
DVD:
1. Walk With Me (2014)
2. Paying Dues (2009)
3. 24 Hours (2011)
4. Larger Than Life (2009)
5. Losing My Mind (2005)
6. Help Me (2012)
7. Chase It (2008)
8. Player (2011)
9. The Shadow (2011)
10. My Angel (2011)
11. I Would (2008)
 
[] 
 
About Loud & Proud Records
 
Loud & Proud Records is an independent record label founded in 2007 by Tom Lipsky whose mission is to provide a true and transparent partnership between artists and their record label.  Labels under Lipsky's direction in the past, including CMC International, Sanctuary Records Group and a joint-venture with Roadrunner Records, were responsible for new releases by Neil Young, Rush, Lynyrd Skynyrd, KISS, Robert Plant, Rob Zombie, Morrissey, Lenny Kravitz, Iron Maiden, The Allman Brothers Band and more.  Loud & Proud's current roster includes five-time Emmy' Award winning actor and musician Jonathan Jackson and his band Enation, multi-platinum alternative band Flyleaf, supergroup rock band The Winery Dogs, renowned jam band The String Cheese Incident, multi-platinum country artists BlackHawk, Seattle's alternative Walking Papers, critically-acclaimed singer/songwriter Willie Nile and powerhouse rockers KIX.  Loud & Proud Records is distributed in the U.S. and Canada by RED, a division of Sony Music Entertainment, and in the rest of the world by earMUSIC/Edel AG. Loud & Proud Records is a registered trademark of Lipsky Music, LLC.
 

www.richiekotzen.com
www.facebook.com/richiekotzenmusic
www.twitter.com/Richie_Kotzen
www.youtube.com/user/Headroominc

 
Fri
04
Jul

MR. BIG STORIES WE COULD TELL DELUXE EDITION ANNOUNCED

Artist: 
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Categories: 
The new Mr. Big album "The Stories We Could Tell" will be released worldwide in September. So far just the Japanese release date has been confirmed - September 10.
 
The exciting news is that the Deluxe Edition is a 2CD/1DVD package that will include the all-new studio album as well as a second disc of re-recorded tracks from the band's previous albums. No information as yet as to what those tracks will be.
 
Here’s the Japanese description: “Album from Mr. Big. This edition features K2HD mastering and HQCD format. Also includes a greatest hits album with tracks newly recorded in 2014 and a bonus DVD with the latest interview and more. 3D slipcase. *The DVD disc is encoded for region 2 (Japan, Europe, and Middle East), and no subtitles are included.”
 
Stay tuned for updated info ASAP!
 
 
 
 
Mon
23
Jun

DOUBLE STOP PODCAST INTERVIEW WITH RICHIE KOTZEN

Artist: 
Monday, June 23, 2014
Categories: 

This week on the show is Richie Kotzen. He explains how he got his start in music (and his first record deal with Shrapnel), the huge impact Steve Smith had on his first cd, how he ended up with titles he hated on some of his solo albums, he covers his time in Poison, Mr. Big and Vertu, as well as his "do it yourself" attitude in terms of recording, distribution and music videos, and talks about his just completed new solo album which will be released on "Loud & Proud" in North America (as well as a "Best Of" release).

http://thedoublestop.com/ep-19-richie-kotzen/

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/the-double-stop/id818189359?mt=2

www.richiekotzen.com

 
Thu
12
Jun

KEVIN SHIRLEY: DISTORTION TO DEATH THREATS - LIFE IN A PRODUCER'S CHAIR

Artist: 
Thursday, June 12, 2014
Categories: 





Kevin Shirley: Distortion To Death Threats - Life In A Producer's Chair

Mega-Producer/Mixer/Engineer Kevin Shirley talks direct from THE CAVE about working with some of rock's biggest legends and with acts famous for infighting.

 


Great to talk to you Kevin. What are you sitting there working on right now?
Right now I'm doing a song with Joe Bonamassa with Vince Gill on guitar, and John Hyatt on vocals as well.

That's an interesting combo.
Yeah - Nashville boys. I'll be doing a new album with him in, I think….coming up soon.

Fantastic. So, you're sitting in the cave in Malibu?
I'm sitting in the cave in Malibu as we speak.

Very good.
It's a good place to be.

Yeah, yeah. How much time have you put into building that studio now over the years?
Um…not that much time. I just did it. I mean, I just built it and then I just update it from time to time. But it's like phenomenal; it's basically a mixing studio but I do vocals and some guitars and things here. But it's basically just a big ole mixing studio.

Ok and of course you go on location for what needs to be done and then bring it back to the cave for mixing.
Always.

It's really good to talk to you after many years of emailing and the odd controversy here and there. (laughs)
Oh well. You get that.

(still laughing) especially with some of the guys you work with.
Well, there is controversy that comes from…it's all over the place. It's all over the forums and from the bands and…….it's a tough environment and to just kind of get away from all the bullshit.

Well, it's almost impossible these days, isn't it?
Yeah.

I remember, just to recall quickly, when I first started the website, in the first year I managed to get a hold of Jonathan Cain, which started off a lengthy relationship of support from my site with Journey. At the time, they were going through the motions of, signing out Steve Perry in '98…
Right.

It was before they and many others had embraced the internet - at the time it was very much a novelty and there wasn't the control-freak restraints there are today over anyone saying anything out of turn.
I called Jonathan and asked how things were traveling with Steve. He was like, 'Yeah, we signed off on that today, he's gone…' and I said, ok, can I print that? He goes, 'sure, why not?' And from that I kind of created this massive shit storm by printing it that afternoon, without any formal announcement from the band as yet.

Well, you know, it's a tough one because it's interesting, contrary to some people's opinions on all of these forums, I'd say, that all these bands I work with have pretty rabid fans…

(laughing) Yes indeed.
(laughing) Yes indeed.Journey probably being the most rabid. But Joe Bonamassa has his fanatical fans and you can't ever say anything right because it's always being looked at as some kind of insult, and Iron Maiden and, you know, Mr. Big---all these bands…. It begs the question, 'Why even bother doing interviews', because, contrary to popular belief, I a) don't enjoy them, and b), because I really don't have any reason to do them - they take up a lot of time and I'm really busy.
But, when I was a kid, I couldn't glean enough information about people that were in the business, and people I wanted to know about. If you followed an interview in Rolling Stone or New Musical Express, you would pore over and it and you would….it was like listening to the fades in songs, looking for more information about the songs than you could just glean from listening to it. So, at the risk of sounding magnanimous and arrogant, I owe it back to the kids that are interested in making a record to do the interviews. I couldn't, generally, give a flying fuck about what people think about which things should be in and what bands and whatever; that doesn't really matter.
But you are talking about a vital part of the art - I could also do all these interviews and just be matter-of-fact about stuff and edit what I wanted to say but that doesn't achieve the reason for doing the interviews for me. People want to know what's going on. The biggest problem these days is that people are making records in bedrooms and they're not interacting with people and their social skills are fucked up. The skills that make musicians work in an ensemble are huge skills to learn. You can't learn that by having an Apple Macintosh in your kitchen, making beats and then putting a vocal on top of it. It's not the same thing at all.

Well that's interesting because you…just for a little bit of background, I was going to talk about the Australian pub scene—it used to be the most brutal learning / educational platform for musicians in the world probably. But you grew up in South Africa before moving to Australia, right?
Yeah, right. I started in South Africa making records and then I moved in '86.

I thought it was the late 80s.
Just in time to start from scratch all over again. Then, I went up to Newcastle and I was working quite a bit in Newcastle and worked with all sorts of small bands at the time— Vegemite Reggae and Dv8 and all the Newcastle guys that were up there—Screaming Jets and…..

Silverchair…
…Silver Chair, which was big. But Silverchair was still a good 8 years away at that point.

Ok. So, how did you get hooked up with Silverchair then, because that really broke you in Australia then, as far as the go to guy.
Pretty much in the world. I mean, the thing is that I had had a lot of big records before then. I had a lot of big records in South Africa and I worked on big records in the states, including like Bon Jovi and Billy Squier and, of course, the Baby Animals record.

I forgot the Baby Animals came first. That was HUGE here in Australia!
I was an engineer in all these records; I didn't make any money at all on them and, I mean, they literally paid nothing on them.

Really?
Yeah, it was kind of pitiful but it's just the way they were.

I see that you weren't cut in on the residuals, then?
Oh, not at all, no.

(laughs)
And I think for Baby Animals I got $5000. My wife left me during the making of Baby Animals because there wasn't enough money. She sold all of my guitars and…

Oh God!!
… and I couldn't get them to pay me and it just went on forever. But, you know, we were just trying to make a record and trying make the career work.

Wow. And that's still one of the best sounding rock records I've ever heard.
Well, thanks!

The drum sound on that was just… I just love it.
The drum sound on that was just… I just love it.Yeah, that was Bearsville. I mean, it was just a good sounding drum room. Frank had a great sounding drumkit and we just recorded it, pretty straight up.

Yeah. How do you get to be a 'go to guy' for all, whether it be here in the states or whatever?
Well, there were a lot of factors. It may be…you know, we were talking about people skills before. I think a lot of it is how you interact with people and the way you manage to make decisions is very important in all that. When you can get projects that are finished, when you can get budgets in on time, when you have a delivery date and you deliver. A lot of people vacillate over a lot of things and very often, people want decision makers that come in and do something.
You don't just get a producer because you want to have a name on there-you are trying to get something done. A band like Journey have got guitar techs and piano techs and bass techs and everyone. We have grand pianos and we have tuners in everyday. Everyone's got a hotel room and the budgets. We have tour managers and people holding their hand and wiping their ass.

(laughs)
It's just like this mammoth undertaking every time they get to do anything.

Yeah.
So, you know you can't just go in there and fuck around for four months or six months because things are not getting done.

Gotcha.
Believe me, with those guys, there are a lot of decisions that cannot get made.

I want to come back to that. I'd like to ask you a little bit about the dynamics of the mixing in the studio. When did you decide to move to L.A. then?
Well, I moved to L.A. in 1990, after the Baby Animals, and I had a bunch of other work to do. Then, I just gradually went broke in New York City…and then I did Rush in '92. I decided to move back to Australia and just be a medium sized fish in a small pond. The concept of world domination was obviously had nothing to do with happiness. So, I moved back to Australia – Sydney, and I was very happy there. Then, I did Silverchair and everyone called. In all that time, I had kept a place in Sydney and I still have a place in Sydney. After Silverchair, I did Journey and then I did Aerosmith and then I did the Black Crowes and then I did a host of other people….Iron Maiden. It's funny because Steve Harris says that one of the reasons that they got me to do the Iron Maiden album was because they loved the sound of the Silverchair album.

Is that right?
Yeah. So, on you go.

On you go. How did the Journey guys get a hold of you in '96? You raised a few eyebrows, probably unintentionally, with that recent Music Radar interview, saying that you'd never heard of Journey or really knew their music before you signed on.
But I wasn't going to lie!

Oh no, of course not. Journey really were nothing in Australia and American fans have a hard time understanding that.
I was brought up in South Africa and I think that I'd heard 'Wheel in the Sky' and I think that was about it.
But, you have to understand that also didn't grow up in a rock and roll household; I grew up with classical music. I grew up singing in the church choir and I grew up as a conductor of an orchestra-I played the French horn and I played classical guitar. So, rock and roll wasn't a part of my life. Some people had the Beatles and some people had the Rolling Stones. I didn't hear Led Zeppelin until The Song Remains The Same! I didn't hear all of those albums coming out there. So, it's not just Journey that I didn't hear. I didn't listen to Aerosmith before and I didn't listen to a lot of these bands that I work with. I mean, you've written pieces about them. I didn't listen to them. The bands that I did listen to were Deep Purple-I really listened to because I was a big aficionado of Deep Purple-they were the bees knees back in the day.

Right.
But I maybe listened to Simon and Garfunkel, John Denver even. I mean, as a kid, those were what I had to listen to. So, I didn't hear Journey-people can say what they want. I didn't hear Journey-I didn't know about them.
I think what you've got there is the typical American Journey fan that has no idea outside their own circle what exists.

I can relate to that….you mention Journey to somebody down here and they go, 'Huh?', But then you mention Steve Perry's 'Oh Sherry' and they go, 'Oh!! Yeah Yeah!!! I remember that!' Steve Perry had a MASSIVE hit down here but Journey never broke through to that level. But they still have a great cult following of fans here also.
Yeah.

So. Who got in contact with you then?
I know that the band had reformed; John Kalodner had put the band back together again…and Steve Perry was always the alpha dog in that pack. They had been to see a lot of people. You have to understand—the reason why I mention that…you know you can't go through 50,000 trains of thought when you say a sentence….but the reason why I mention that was Kalodner suggested that they had just been to see Bruce Fairbairn in Vancouver and they were not impressed with something that he had done. They had met Ritchie Zito and they were not impressed. They had met Mike Clink and they were not impressed.

Wow.
They were looking for a producer. Glen Ballard had come along and they were going to work with Glen but he dropped them, apparently to go and work with Aerosmith on the album that I invariably went and took over from him so it was kind of a strange thing.
So, they were looking for a producer because they didn't have one. I went to go and see them—and the whole point of even saying that I hadn't heard of Journey was that when I went in to go and see them play, I had no idea that this was a 100 million units selling band here. They were just like these guys playing music. I didn't recognize Steve Perry; I wouldn't have known who he was; I wouldn't have what his name was. It didn't mean anything to me. I wasn't star struck. When I saw Jimmy Page, I almost fell down! You know, he was a huge idol. I saw these guys and I didn't know them from anything. I'm not arrogant about it—that's just what it is.

It's just a fact, isn't it?
Yeah. It really is a fact.

Yeah. Do you think being new to the band helped you to craft that album?
Oh absolutely! I mean, absolutely. We had done demos and we went into rehearsals and I was very big on the pre-production thing being right at that point. We spent….we went over and over….I think we might have done 6 weeks of pre-production. I think everyone was getting really upset with me.

(laughs)
And I would go in everyday and the band would sit on stage and I would sit down in a chair in front of them with a notebook and make notes. I had Journey play for me day in and day out. I'd say, Steve Smith needs to change that drum fill, and we are going to cut this like this, and we're going to cut this album live and they were like, 'We haven't done that before-we've done this before and we haven't done that before…' And, you know, it all paid off in the end. When we did “When you Love a Woman', that track is like one take!

Really!!
Everything on that track, other than the string overdub which Jon Cain originally played it on synthesizer, is one take. Neal's solo is live, Steve's vocal is not live—we would have gone back and done a comp of that, but that track was a one take track!
The drums, the bass, the guitar solos, all the guitar—it's one track. I mean, we had rehearsed the thing so well that this was what the band sounded like.

 


Absolutely. You've alluded to it, and I think that everyone else has heard before that those guys are argumentative and opinionated in the studio…things get tense. Did you hit upon that during 'Trial By Fire' or did that come later?
There was a bit of it in 'Trial By Fire'. It definitely got more difficult to deal with as time went on. You know, personalities changed as personnel changed and people took over. Like I said, Steve Perry was the alpha dog in the band. He was the lynch pin of the whole thing. So everyone cow towed to the Steve Perry train of thought, pretty much.

Ok.
But after he left, there's been a rumble about who takes over what place and, um, it's working itself out.

I think it seems obvious that in today's Journey it is Jon Cain and Neal Schon holding equal billing on the ladder and everybody else does what they are told?
Sort of. You know. I don't really want to discuss Journey.

No worries. So, do you don't want to talk about the new album then?
Uh, no. I don't want to talk about the new album.

But how did the sessions go for that – generally?
Uh…..they went. They went.

Challenging?
Challenging. Very challenging sessions. Um…..(Long pause) Very challenging sessions.

Do you think that as a band of guys that they got what they wanted? It's finished, isn't it?
It's busy being mixed at the moment.

You're mixing it…
No, I'm not mixing it.

You're not? Really? Who's mixing it?
A guy called David Kalmusky. He's a good guy.

Ok. Did you have the option of mixing it or had you just had enough by the time you'd finished recording?
No, it was part of my deal to mix it but I'm just really busy. When we did the deal, I'm just really busy this year. I've done a lot of records this year. Part of it was that we didn't need it till summer of next year so I tried to break it up into two sessions. In between the two sessions, people got tired of waiting. So….when it came time to mix it, they said, 'Look, we've started mixing with somebody else'. And I said...'Ok'.
And, honestly, I've been without prejudice. I've been doing...in fact; I mixed something for them yesterday. I'm giving them a handle on things because they've run into a couple of problems with a couple of mixes here and there. I did the mixing and told them where I thought the melodies should go and where this should go and where this should go.

Interesting.
Yeah. So there's nothing negative on my side at all, not even like one little bit.

Ok then.
My name is on the record as a producer; I want it to be 100% as good as it can be but I'm not mixing it. I'm happy somebody else is mixing it. Honestly.

Yeah?
Really. I'm not sure my heart could have taken another mix session. (laughing)

 


You did the Journey record, you did Trial By Fire….
I did Trial By Fire. Steve Perry was fabulous to work with and he just has such a voice-he's just a great voice-great sensibility, great sensitivity. I know a lot of people have issue with the record being as soft as it is but I know a lot of people who rank it up there with the finest.

Oh, I love the record; it's soft and whatever but I still think it's fantastic. It was just great to hear Steve singing again, wasn't it?
Yeah.

Do you understand the myth of Steve Perry? He's a reclusive guy they all say and whatever. He doesn't come out a lot and say much but there's a real myth about him, isn't there?
Well, there's only a myth because there's a lot of nonsense that folks have said about things but, you know, he's a singer and he's got a life. He's got things that he chooses to do. I mean, I don't speak to him at all but he chooses not to have me in his life and that's just the way some people are. I don't think any of this stuff is fun. He certainly was around at the San Francisco baseball stadium when they won the World Cup and the television camera was on him when he sang 'Don't Stop Believin'. He's out in public and he's living his life. He doesn't like to get tied up in all the bullshit. Like I said at the top, it's important to stay; there's a reason for doing the interviews and that's because I think it's important for people that need and want the information on how to make records. So, that's why I'm candid and forthright about things because I think it's important. But Steve doesn't want to do that. And he doesn't want to deal with the ramifications and the bullshit. And he doesn't want to deal with internet fucking Bob coming in and saying, this person's got this much and that person's got that much. I mean, I've got one death threat for Iron Maiden!

Really??!!!
I mean, are you out of your mind? It's music! I can't get a fucking death threat because someone preferred to hear The Number of The Beast instead of Where the Wild Wind Blows. It's just ludicrous; we're just creating art. It's about culture. It's increasingly becoming a strange part about our culture where humanity thinks it's ok to steal it by downloading it; no one is making any money from it. We have to find a way to make it work because it IS so important in our lives and it IS so important in our dreams. It's about the ONE THING that you can relate to your childhood from. It's like…music…you grow with music… it's so meaningful in the things that you do in your life. You can't remember what your garden smelled like when you went to a school dance but you can remember the music that you danced to. You can remember that you slow danced to this song or that song…or this song was a part of something. Even pop music is obviously more disposable than other genre like jazz or classical but it is vitally important that we keep it going. That why I do these things since Steve Perry doesn't want to deal with it – that's his prerogative.

Yeah, there was a rumor that you were involved with in mixing some new material, and I helped that one along, but that is obviously bullshit?
That is such nonsense—I don't even know where they get that from. Really.

You haven't heard from him then?
No. I haven't heard from him since I did the Journey Greatest Hits Live a couple of years after Trial By Fire and it was a debacle because they [Sony Music} had to have stuff signed other wise he would have reamed them. So we did that record and we did it over the phone. It was ridiculous.

Really?!
Yeah…. (long pause) …We had 10 days to find tapes and make a record and to get to signing before… because apparently it took the back end [financials] of Trial By Fire away from them so we just had to get it done.

Wow….
So, yeah, there's a lot going on everywhere.

The business is brutal.
Yeah.

Where's it going, Kevin?
Well, I saw in Time Magazine that the C.O. of Pandora reckons that it should become a patronage system where the king or someone pays for music. It's banal to me that people think in that sort of head space; it's just stupid. Where's it going? It's going….people are making money-music is making money. Records are not making money but music makes money.

Right.
You have to have the records for the music to make money. So, the model has to come into play where the records are somehow reimbursed for what happens in the line. So the model has to change. For me, it's difficult because I have to [earn a living]…I can't go to Led Zepplin and Iron Maiden and everyone and say, I want a piece of the tickets [sales] because they'll just tell me where to get off.

(laughs)
But that's gonna have to happen. Otherwise, we just keep making records, you know, in bedrooms. People are going to look at recoupment as being the way you find it at the front end then that's not going to work.

Yeah, very interesting take and I agree. Previously, the only way you could buy something was to go into a store and buy it.
And this is the thing—things need to have material value. When they went from LPs to…it gets to be how old are you really…but it went from LPs to CDs, it immediately got more difficult because you lost a huge quotient of the artwork, apart from the fact that you had to have a magnifying glass to see what the credits read.

Yes!
And that was all really vitally important. You would think that after the internet came in that they would have artwork on the net and credits on the net and you could go and read all that stuff. We STILL can't find it. There's a few artists that have done it, admittedly, but there's a lot of information that you can't get. To hold something gives it value and when you are just looking at your iTunes—which computers are going to die like in 2 years anyway and you are going to loose it all and try to beg iTunes to get it back- you know, what value has that got? It doesn't hold the same value.

I'm completely old school with you. I love holding something-you know, the physicality of it.
I don't know if it's old school! You know, I think its material VALUE. I think you want to have something that has material value.

It just worries me that the kids, early teenagers of today, are now being completely bought up on digital files.
Let's not blame them! Let's blame the quality of the product that's out there! There's terrible music out there…

Yes, there is!
… and the packaging is shit.

(laughing)
I mean they've put the name of the band bigger than anything on the CD so that when you rack them, you can read 'em. And then, there's a picture of like a goat's head on there and that's supposed to be something. Then, it's all black on the inside and you can't read the credits. It's hard to get that value.

Yeah. I agree. A lot of the shops are gone…you can't even go to them anymore. It's a shame….
It is a shame.

 



So, how did the Mr. Big guys get a hold of you?
Uh...a phone call? It's one of these new fangled telecommunication devices.

(laughing) Who called you up?
Their manager called me up and said, Are you interested? I looked at my schedule and I thought, 'Well, I'm interested.' To be honest, I'm not that familiar with a lot of Mr. Big music either. Obviously, I knew the supermarket hits but I'm really not that familiar. I went back and listened to the catalogue once I signed on to do something with them so I could get a take on what they were doing. There's a couple of cool things, especially on “Lean On It'- a couple of great things on there, 'Green Tinted Sixties Mind' I think it was.

Yup.
Then I listened to some of Paul Gilbert's solo stuff. That was just phenomenal. And Racer X.

Oh! My god, I tell you they are incredible musicians-all 4 of them.
I think you have your cell phone close to the phone or something.

How's that? Better?
Yeah. Probably. Yeah it keeps going (makes a noise).

(laughs) I am in the ass end of the world here, you must remember…
Oh then! My parents live there so go easy!

(laughing) I know! They are in the next suburb!
They are in Sandy Bay!

Yeah, that's a suburb away.
Right.

When are you coming down to see them again?
Maybe March. We'll see. I'm trying to see them but I'm busy and I have really fun projects coming up.

So, back to Mr. Big. Phenomenal, phenomenal guys.
Right.

I can't believe how GOOD this album is.
Well, I'm glad!

Obviously, they wrote some great songs but the energy with which it's recorded….tell me how you went with them in the studio.
Well, we did ok! I think that they were like a lot of the guys when I work with them, they are……I don't think I have an unconventional approach to working but it's not conventional. I'm really more concerned with the overall presentation, with the big picture, than the minutia. I don't listen to individual instruments, necessarily, and look for all the detail in them. I try and make sure that there's energy in the big picture and THEN I'll go and like….. if stuff needs to be sorted out then sort it out. I'm not one of those guys who will do the drums and then overdub the bass and then overdub the guitar. I don't like the sound when you make a record like that; it sounds sterile and it doesn't have---it doesn't capture the interaction that musicians have between themselves.

Sure.
I mean, when musicians play together—and especially of that caliber—there's a way they play; there's pushes and there's pulls and there's tugs so when you're cutting it to a track, you don't get that stuff—you can't get that stuff because it just sounds wrong when you isolate it.
So, I don't like that. And I think, no I KNOW that was challenging for Billy-not to have to opportunity to go in and re-do everything and look at it under a microscope.

Really.
Less though with Paul, who was just happy to…I mean, Paul was just really happy to….he just embraced it. He just loved the challenge of being put on the spot and coming up with stuff. I think they both would have performed differently if we had done it in a different way. But we were lucky, I think, lucky in that we had time issues and we HAD to get it done.
So, this is the way that I thought we should do it and so we did.

They haven't played together in a while and they did the right thing, if you ask me. They played together so many years and then had such a long break. But then they went out and did a couple of tours and got tight again. It sounds as if they just walked straight off the stage and straight into the studio.
Good! It was supposed to.

Yeah. Excellent. I figured….it's funny you should say that about Billy because his bass playing on this record is just out of this world.
Well, I hope you write that down because he needs to know that-he was very self critical.

Really. God! It's phenomenal!!
I think so too!

The interplay between him and Paul on this album—I don't think I've heard it as good on ANY Mr. Big album.
Great!

It's probably their most energetic record ever. So I'll most certainly put that in my review.
Good!

And, it's my favorite next to... I think it's going to be my favorite next to Lean Into It and the debut album.
There's a modern touch on the album. Why? Is that their doing or your doing?

In what way?

A little bit darker, a little bit heavier, a little bit—I wouldn't say down tuned but just a little bit grungier kind of sound.
Oh that's, I'm sure…that's what I wanted to get—that's how we get the energy out. That's what I wanted. To me, rock has got a dark component about it. It's interesting that you say that because I have thought that some of the early work, and especially the more glistening, polished stuff from the early 90s, sounds a little lighter than this does. You know, it's not going to be to everyone's liking but I like the darkness in rock.

Yeah, yeah I do too.
It appeals to me.

I think you've struck a nice balance with the album because there's like probably 6 tracks which I pick out as having that classic, Mr. Big sound of the debut album sound and there's about 6 that have that darker overtone.
Yeah. Undertow.

Yeah. Undertow is phenomenal—it's just blowing everyone away. I'm really impressed with that.
Ah—good! I love Stranger in My Life. I think that one's great too.

Yup. Absolutely. Huge ballad.
Great lyrics on it. Eric did a great job.

American Beauty.
American Beauty's rockin'!

That to me sounds like it's off the first record. It's got the energy.
I think it's probably---I think the riffs were written back then, at the time, and they've been laying around for a while.

It's one of the older ones that's out there.

Yeah. It definitely has that feel. And then Nobody Takes the Blame is probably the heaviest thing they've ever recorded.
Oh, right. Yeah. Still Ain't Enough For Me I think that's mostly a Billy song. I think that' pretty much a rock and roll song. I think it's a Billy creation. A lot of fun!

Ah!! Just fantastic! Unforgiven? The bonus track for Europe-it's another great rocker.
Yup. Do you have the Japanese bonus?

I've got the CD on order so I haven't heard it yet.
Oh. That's a great little tune, too.

What is it? Kill Me With A Kiss?
Yeah. It quite different for them but it's a really cool tune.

Ok. I look forward to hearing that.
It was difficult to decide what to leave in and leave out, you know?

Did you record any further tracks?
No. That's all we got. We only had 2 weeks in the studio and the Monday was a holiday and then Eric decided not to come in on the Tuesday because he figured we'd be setting up. So he didn't come in until Wednesday. We didn't get going until Wednesday about 3 o'clock.….

(laughing)
…of week 1. We ran over 1 day so we had had the second. We actually had only 2 weeks in the studio. No weekends. So I think we were maybe 10 days tracking the thing.

If only other bands could record as quickly, eh?
Well, if it's right, then it's right. I don't there should be a rule about that stuff. However long it takes. But, these are great musician, though. Pat Torpey plays great drums…

Yeah, I was going to say, I haven't mentioned Pat yet but, again, that great drum sound—it just fills everywhere, not just great playing. He's just—whenever there's a gap, he's putting in a fill, isn't he?
Yeah, well, you know and I really did emphasize that-I really try to keep movement going on a few of the tracks where I wanted to get this real energetic overplaying. I like people to feel like they are 19 and they want to play. It goes back to the beginning. Music, for me, is best when people are 19 and 20 actually. The energy is the BEST. They grow and they start getting fine chords and jazz this and that and start writing out charts and then at some point who gives a fuck.

Well, you've certainly brought out the energy in these old guys.
Well, good!

This is another band that's renowned for tension in the studio and stuff. I get the feeling that there wasn't any of that this time around?
I think there was probably more tension between them and myself but it didn't bother me.

Really?
I just dealt with it, yeah.

How do you deal with that? It's a good question.
Well, it's my job. It's what I do.

We all know what musicians can be like, some more than others. Do you just ignore them? Do you tell them what they want to hear or do you go to war with them?
No, I don't go to war with them. It's their record at the end of the day and it's really important that they know that I realize that it's their record at the end of the day and that, after a month, they're going to go on and perform this album and then they'll perform for a year while I go and do someone else's album. So, I'm very forthright about that. I do say, This is where I'm at with that; I'm 100% dedicated to them, 100% focused-I'm giving you my 100% experience and what I think is……it's like, it's what I do. Not everyone likes it but I what I bring into a record is what I do and if you wouldn't sign up for it if you didn't have some notion of what I do on a record. So, this is what I think and this is where I think songs are strong and this is what I like to hear in music—there's no science involved. Basically, all it involves is what I like to hear in a song. And, I'll very often NOT like the hits singles on records because I just happen to actually prefer a different kind of thing; you know, I like darker, heavier music.

Yeah. You've almost…you've done the impossible-you've gotten away with putting vocal effects on Eric Martin, which I've NEVER heard before, on a couple of tracks there. You are feeding his voice through several effects to just sort of modernize it but you get away with it.
Yeah. In what way? Do you mean get away with it for the big picture or in terms of dealing with Eric?

Oh well I don't know! How was it dealing with Eric? I mean, Eric's a really good friend of mine….
Eric was a piece of cake; he's a dream, actually. Eric just said, We want you to make this record, We're going to give you the songs, We don't want you to know who wrote what songs, We want you to pick the songs that you think we should go with.
Yeah, they don't want to appear confrontational and then they'll be confrontational in a passive aggressive way—Eric as well and I have said as much of them. It doesn't mean I don't like them for doing it; I just recognize that they are doing it.

Really.
We want you to make this record, We don't want to fight in the studio amongst ourselves, We want someone to take the reigns and make a record for us.

So he was very committed to you being the producer?
Yeah, and he was very much…..he got just a little passive aggressive at the end. He said, “I hardly said anything and you don't give me time on my vocals”. I mean, You had plenty of time to get AMAZING vocals on the record, I think.

He sounds PHENOMENAL; he sounds the best I've heard him in 20 years probably.
And you know there's a reason for all of these things! I don't go and say everything all the time, because I'm achieving….and, again, this is when the interview is not for the band to read - this is for everyone that wants to make a record. But I listened to Eric's vocal and when he was controlled, as in the studio environment, when he was singing with the acoustic guitar, I noticed that he had a particular vibrato. When I put him into the room, just to run through with the guys rocking, and he was energetic and not thinking about it, he would let it go so I thought it was better for the music and maybe less dated not to have that vibrato. So I would emphasize that I wanted him to sing these songs live. That's why I think he sounds like he sounds; he sounds energetic and enthused.

So here, he does all of the vocals live as well?
All of them. All of the vocals are live.

Wow….
That's all the vocals live, But, you know, it's not…..everytime I say this, you are going to get people saying why didn't they take their time and do it in the studio. I STILL craft the record. It's not just ONE take!

Yeah, of course.
It's this internet frenzy. As soon as we say we cut things live, everyone goes like, I wish they'd take their time. We STILL craft the record—it's just done a different way now.

The record sounds like a million bucks. I'm glad you've done what you've done.
Good.

You do whatever you do to get the results.
Yeah. Right.

I'd love to hear a band like Journey do the same, do a record in the same way.
Well, you know we do, pretty much - we do, pretty much. Um…..it does get away from it a bit, but Trial By Fire was like that.

Yeah. Yeah. Arrival was a much longer process, though, wasn't it?
Um…yeah. Arrival was a bit more difficult-Arrival was difficult. Um…Revelation was fun! Revelation was a lot of fun.

 


Yeah! How was Arnel? Everyone's got good things to say about Arnel.
Oh Arnel was great! Arnel is great. We did have one issue on the making of this new album where he'd just come in from a long stint in the Philippines and his English was a little broken. I was very vocal about him being unprepared for it and I was later told by management, that that he had been ready to leave the band if they wanted and they could get a new singer in as he didn't want to embarrass the band. Of course, I didn't say any of that-I just meant….

By the way you say that it he's sounding like he hasn't had a prima donna hissy fit but he'd actually said that for the good of the band.
Oh no, no, no. He's just a super guy, I mean, he's really a super guy.

Yeah but he said, you know, Get someone else because that would be the best thing for the band. Is that what you are saying?
Well, he was just offering it, I think out of his own embarrassment.

I know what you are saying but he just seems to be a good character and what you are saying there just kind of emphasizes it, I guess. (long pause…) Is he in over his head?
Not at all!!!! No! He's the real deal. He's a great singer.

Oh, I know he's a phenomenal singer-I'm just wondering if …..
No he's not in over his head at all. I mean, he needs work, like everyone, and he's got the extra challenge of having his diction…

…challenged…
…in a band where they are All American icons, and anyone outside with a Conservative Palin-like attitude will take a swipe at him. But, he's the real deal. He's an amazing singer and he's terrific. And, he's done a lot for the band, too. He's really broadened their credibility and their reach.

Although, the decision to take him on could have been a disaster. They had to go through a lot of negative PR from dumping Jeff Scott Soto but I agree with you; they took a risk and it paid off.
Yeah.

He's a phenomenal guy. I haven't interviewed him yet but I'd like to. He's a phenomenal little character, I think. (long pause) Now when I said that he's in over his head I mean he comes from a different world, doesn't he.
It's difficult for him. He has to leave his family and he gets to leave his Filipino food and Filipino culture and Filipino language behind. He gets to join a band who are substantially older than he is. And, he gets on the bus with... a bunch [that don't always see eye to eye]…

(laughing!!)
and he has to deal with them.

(still laughing…) Is there a more… How do I put this… Is there a more dysfunctional band than Journey?
I don't wanna do this. (laughs)

Ok…
(laughing) We've got a new record coming out and it's a good record. It was a difficult record to make. You have difficult records to make—it doesn't make them less valid and it doesn't make them less exciting to listen to. Lennon and McCartney had issues and Tyler/Perry have issues and the Robinson brothers have issues-they make records like that. You know, Cain and Schon have that kind of thing. Jimmy Page and Robert Plant-I've worked with them. They go at each other. It's pretty much one common thing between them. At least they don't say anything that they wouldn't say behind each other's backs.

Gotcha.
Um….so……

You've just summed up some of the icons that you've worked with. You really have worked with some challenging people, haven't you?
I have! Except for the Beatles bit…

Do you enjoy that situation more than someone that's just a bunch of 'Yes' people or just …. happy? Do you prefer the challenge in the studio?
No, no. I….no—give me yes-people any day. (laughs)

(laughs)
But, you know, I'm not here to make friends. I'm here to make music and I'm here to hopefully, in some respects, make history as well. It's one of those difficult things in the business where you work with people, you know, you live in people's pockets for 3 months and then you don't see them for 4 or 5 years, if you have a long term music relationship with them. While they are recording, they're your best buddy, and when it comes to concert tickets, it's like, Speak to someone else.

(laughs)
Um…You're not REALLY friends - it's a strange kind of friends thing going on there between the producer and the band. What I like about making records with these guys, is that I know that it is REAL music and I know it's going to get out there. I know I'm not wasting my time. It's fascinating to take …..I mean, I did a track with John Hiatt last week. He played me this track and I made this really HUGE suggestion that we try something and take the song totally away from where it was at. Nothing to lose. And to his credit—at the end of the day it would have been just a demo, it wasn't anything locked in - we did it and I did the mix. He called me and was really moved, and said, You know, this is so fabulous!

Really!
It's really fabulous. I just LOVE what you've done with it and it just sounds incredible.

Is that the best compliment you can get?
It IS the best compliment! You know you are making a difference and you know you have to follow...like I said; I just make the kind of music that I want to listen to. I mean, I just make it the way I want to hear it. There are no other rules – there's no science, so that response justifies it all.

Excellent. Excellent. Well, to wrap things up—I could probably talk all day, Kevin, (laughs) but I don't want to take up too much of your time. Is there a project that you'd still kill to be part of? That you'd do for free to be involved in that hasn't come out yet?
I think I'd like to make a record with the Stones where I'd get some of the Exile on Main Street swagger back…

Really?
….where we'd just put them in the studio and we'd just say, Here's the deal—make it. And I don't care about the older tunes and I don't care about this and…I guess we'd have to have cigarettes in the room.

(laughs)
….but here we go! Let's just play it! I don't think they've made a lot of records like that and I think people enjoy those. I like 'em. I'd like to hear Sweet Virginia happen again.

Very cool.
So that would be really fun. I totally think they could do it. And I think the world would love it. We need another band with tambourine off the beat.

(laughs) What about Led Zeppelin?
Led Zeppelin is different. Led Zeppelin's…I've done my time with Zeppelin and it's like a highlight of my life, working with Jimmy and, to a lesser extent, working with Robert because he wasn't really that involved in the beginning; it was DEFINITELY Jimmy. And that was just like unbelievable and it was unbelievable to have…to work with an icon-MY icon--MY hero and have him trust me, like implicitly on the stuff we were doing. It was, like, fascinating. At the end of the day, I'm not on that I want to buy a Led Zeppelin album that's produced by Kevin Shirley so…

(laughs)
…I don't know if anyone else does. I think that Jimmy Page produces Led Zeppelin and if he ever wanted me to help him with a project, I'd be happy to. But Led Zeppelin is produced by Jimmy Page-that's what it is.

 



Gotcha. Very cool. I should…I've neglected to mention Black County Communion. It's great to hear Glenn Hughes back in full force.
Yeah, it just….did you see today it just got ranked…..where is it…..let me see….it got uh…..Classic Rock magazine rated it , ranked it number three on their top 50 for 2010.

Fantastic!!
And then I also had Iron Maiden at number 7. And then Bonamassa is 32. THAT'S the guy that…you know I've such a thing for Joe….

I should touch on the relationship you and Joe. Obviously, of all the musicians you work with, you and he are probably the closest, right?
We are.

He seems like a sweet guy and then again I haven't talked to him but he's an amazing talent.
He's an amazing talent; he's unbelievably overworked. He's more overworked than anyone I know. I think one of the reasons why we get on well is because he is so overworked. I love his dedication and he trusts me; he really does trust me to make his records.

When you announced Black Country Communion and the guitar player was Joe, I was like, 'I know he's a phenomenal blues player and Glenn loves his blues rock, but can Joe rock?' But, boy, he sure can!
Joe can rock. Joe's just phenomenal. Joe can rock, Joe can country, Joe can jazz, Joe can blues, Joe can slide, Joe can finger pick—I mean, Joe's just something. He's got all of that in his memory banks. He's just grown up to be a guitar player. He learned from Danny Gatton, he learned from Jimmy Page, he learned from Eric Johnson, he learned from Peter Green, he's learned from Paul Kossof ---these are his influences. Clapton is an influence and then all of the old black, blues guys—B.B. King, Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker and those guys.
So he's got all if this stuff and then he stored it all. Then he can do the finger picking, you know, the country picking stuff. He can just do anything. He's great.

Awesome. What's coming up for the next Black Country Communion album?
We're coming up for…..the next Joe solo album is being released on March 22.

Ok.
And I think it's going to be called - well, we'll wait for them to announce it. It's phenomenal. Joe's next record is just insanely phenomenal.

Really.
It's streets ahead of anything we've done so far.


What do you put that down to?
(pauses) I think, sonically, it's really great for one thing and I think all the performances are exemplary. It's got an amazing song list-- I mean, amazing songs on it. It's a cross-pollination of styles again; it's become a bit of a trademark of the way WE do things. We went to Greece and we went to Nashville and we went to Los Angeles for this one.
So we have a little bit of influences from all of these places. He's singing great and he's playing phenomenally. And, we've got some special guests on there, too.

Cool!
…like B.B. King was on the last one and we've got some special guests on the new one, too. Vince Gill and John Hiatt…

Excellent. And then, after that, you're doing Black Country?
We do Black Country Communion albums, starting on January 10—I hope to have that delivered by the second week in April. That should probably come out by the beginning of June, just in time for the festivals in Europe and whatnot.

Excellent. What styles? Same again - an extension of the first?
It's a guitar-based Classic Rock band. I've only heard a few of Glenn's new tunes….Joe's still on the road with still a couple of more days to go there but we're rooted in the late 70s rock era with that band. I think this time around we're going to have a bigger more expansive drum sound. We want to really try and capture some of that DNA that's in the Bonham family.

Cool.
And, you know, Zeppelin meets Deep Purple meets Free and Bad Company – that's the kind of record that I'd like to make with them.

Absolutely. And Glenn…I've known Glenn since I started the site and I love him. He's a personality and a half, isn't he?
He is indeed. He is indeed. I get on great with him. He's a good bloke.

Couldn't agree more. I think …people say he lives on Planet Glenn. (laughs)
Yes, he does. Our rock pontiff. Our very own rock pontiff.

He's got the voice of rock. As soon as BCC came to life he emailed me and said, 'It's time to rock! This is the one you've been waiting for!'
Because I've been hounding him for the last 2 or 3 years to get off the soul train.

Good!

So I was really excited to hear the album and I love it.
Yeah. Great!

Great stuff. Anything you want to add, Kevin?
Geez—I don't know. You've let me talk for hours!

We have, haven't we? We've done a very nice interview and I appreciate your time.
Cool. Great. Thanks, man.



 

c. 2010 MelodicRock.com / Interview by Andrew McNeice
 
 
Tue
10
Jun

DOUBLE STOP PODCAST INTERVIEW WITH PRODUCER RICHIE ZITO

Artist: 
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Categories: 

This week Double Stop chats with producer/writer/musician Richie Zito.

We cover him being signed to Atlantic Records at the age of 15, playing with Elton John, Rick James, Beach Boys, and Ringo, and Producing Heart, The Cult, Poison and Richie Kotzen. And that’s just scratching the surface. We Hear Riche Zito talk about his entire career, and why he is still obsessed with the guitar.

Listen in iTunes

Direct Download

http://thedoublestop.com/ep-18-richie-zito-elton-john-mr-big-richie-kotzen/

 
Tue
10
Jun

MR. BIG BACK IN THE STUDIO AND BACK ON THE ROAD

Artist: 
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Categories: 

 

Much loved meloidc rockers Mr. Big are back in the studio for a new album due later this year. And their first tour plans have been announced:

 

GOOD NEWS TO ALL!!! Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls...Drum roll please! ERIC, PAT, PAUL AND BILLY ARE BACK AND BETTER THAN EVER!!! Mr. Big's Japan Tour will kick off in November. Please stay tuned for more updates soon. Here are the dates:

11/5 Sapporo
11/7 Iwate
11/8 Miyagi
11/10 Tokyo Budokan
11/12 Osaka
11/15 Hiroshima
11/17 Nagoya
11/19 Fukuoka

Tags: 
 
Thu
13
Mar

Herbie Herbert: One Man's Journey

Artist: 
Categories: 

Herbie Herbert is one of the music industries most colorful characters. For a period of time he was the #1 manager in the business, taking Journey – a band he put together with Neal Schon – to become a multi-Platinum selling stadium act.
And in taking the band to the stadiums, he also helped pioneer the way we watch bands in such settings. The video screens and high-tech productions that dominate tours today were developed by Herbie and the company he and Neal remain partners in – Nocturne – who are today behind tours by U2, Madonna, Metallica, Def Leppard and of course, Journey.
Herbie also broke Swedish hard rock act Europe in America, not to mention taking Mr. Big, Roxette and Steve Miller Band to more Platinum sales and sold out worldwide tours.
He is vocal in his opinions and calls it like he sees it, which doesn't always please some folks on the receiving end.
But few people have been in the position Herbie was in and when the chance to interview an industry legend presents itself you don't turn that down.
I have long followed the business side of the music industry, so Herbie's insights were something I was looking forward to hearing and he doesn't disappoint.
I do think this is a different interview than the infamous 2001 interview which was viewed by some as caustic in nature. And I'm pleased about that – but Herbie still has a number of things to say about the band he spent 20 years of his life guiding, some of which you may agree with, some of which you may not agree with.
There are some points within this interview that I clearly do not agree with, but I respect Herbie's opinion and the experience he has in this business to make those comments.
As was previously the case, Steve Perry remains in his sights as the band's number one problem. Why is this so? Well…one interesting comment from Herbie says a lot. In talking about the band, Herbie says: “I would just like to make my living and do what I think I can get done here. So from my point of view that got stopped and mucked up quite a bit. There was no reason for them not to continue in '84, '85, '86. they could have been a polished Grateful Dead and that was my model as a deadhead.”
I feel that Herbie saw his long held vision for the band altered by Perry and therein lies the root of the problem. Read the interview and make your own conclusions about the personalities that make up this story.
Journey has a long and complex history, with a number of different eras and different fans of those eras. It makes for an interesting world.
At the end of the day, I would like to hope that this interview could be used not as a springboard for new arguments, issues and debates, but rather as a piece that closes the chapter on the past – a glorious musical past that has left us with so many lifelong memories.

Without Neal Schon and Herbie Herbert there would be no band.
Without Steve Perry there would not have been that electric chemistry that helped deliver a catalogue of songs few artists could compete with, sung by a golden voice envied by all.
Without Steve Augeri the band may not have recaptured the imagination of so many fans, allowing the band to continue into a new era.
Without the fans…there would be no point.

Thanks for reading - Andrew.

 


Good evening Herbie. Thank you for granting an interview. I know you don't do too many.
No, I don't.

I'm not sure, but has Kevin Chalfant told you anything about the website or myself?
Not really but I believe I've heard about it because if I'm not mistaken you guys are the ones that somehow in Sweden determined that Steve Augeri was singing to a hard drive.

Ah….well, I didn't have anything to do with that myself, but you are correct in that those claims appeared on my website's message board – posted by the sound guy from Sweden. Some chatter was already taking place and…heated debate continued as it always does on that board. The Sweden thing kind of took on a new life from that point onwards.
Yeah it did and I thought that was a healthy thing, that that came to light. Because, you know I think they dodged a real bullet there. They could have easily been reduced to Milli Vanilli quickly. What's unfortunate about that is Neal Schon's the real deal.

To generalize a little here – many big acts use samples and even shadow musicians behind the scenes to enhance the sound they are delivering. Why that need for perfection?
Well, because the money at stake on any given night is humongous and unlike motion pictures or television you can't say freeze or let's re-tape that or can we do that over or can we shoot tomorrow or whatever. Rock 'n roll is, always has been the most intense, high pressure, and if you're in that pressure cooker and you do get involved with drugs at all, then you're very quickly weakened. And you can't cut it or if you're as clean as can be there's a high level exposure. Every city you get to you gotta go to radio and retail and go to in-store appearances. You gotta have backstage meet and greets with all the record labels and the branch in that town and the various radio station personnel.
All the radio stations, you need their support in each market so you're pressing the flesh and kissing babies and catching the flu.
I remember with Steve Perry we had a four night sellout at the Reunion Arena in Dallas and he really was in rough, rough, rough shape and it was the one time when I had to sit down and go 'Steve', it's horrendous, this is why the pressure is what it is, but we would put in suspense the settlement on this, what at the time was an obscenely big gross in rock 'n roll and until we returned and played the postponed fourth date we couldn't settle because all the deals were really tightly negotiated predicated on four days.
They were extraordinary low deals but they were justified by the band playing four nights sold out in the round and all the ancillary income from parking and all would be frozen if he couldn't perform. And so, somehow he got through that performance and in those days, when that happened, the crutches hadn't been developed.
They hadn't come up with the Akai Samplers and the various technologies that would allow for it. But there was a famous lawsuit that happened in Detroit where it was discovered that a band were playing to just a big reel to reel tape machine out in the soundboard and there was a substantial award - a big settlement against them, a big judgment.

Against what band?
Against Electric Light Orchestra and Don Arden and Jet Records and whoever for basically doing a fake thing, a Milli Vanilli kind of thing.
Journey really, I can remember sitting down one day and putting headphones on and watching a video of the last concert with Gregg Rolie back in 1980 in Tokyo at the Sun Plaza. And being just astonished at how good these guys could sing. You know, Jon Cain was never a Gregg Rolie as a voice but he's been trying and working at it for frickin' years now. He tries to cover those Gregg Rolie songs and he marginally pulls it off and Deen Castronovo is such a frickin' franchise talent. Great singer, great drummer, tremendous talent and so they really could pull off serious vocals. They didn't need the crutches. With Augeri they did. They needed the crutches, they needed the help. He had trouble. It was rough. I never understood why they went with him. They could have gone with Kevin Chalfant.

You have been a champion of Kevin's over the years haven't you?
I really have. Of course he was in the Storm with Gregg Rolie and Ross Valory. And when, you know I had absolutely nothing to do with it, I was on a sailboat going between the Hawaiian Islands and then doing a saltwater fast and was gone for about two and a half months. The day after I got back they were roasting me for the benefit of Thunder Road [October 1993] and they'd put all these bands together that wanted to perform at this benefit and it was sold out and I didn't pick the bands or book it. Journey performed that night and I was stunned. And they performed with Kevin Chalfant. This is researchable because in Rolling Stone, Random Notes, that must have been '93, it said, and this was one of the most cutting quotes I've ever read where it said “Not even Steve Perry's mother would have missed him in the band.” Now that is deep. (laughs) I mean, if you're a writer and you think and say wow that guy really thought about that line.
I mean, he wanted to fuckin' play out a zinger there, ya know? (laughs) So yeah, and so Kevin was pretty flawless at all times and really could sing in that really high range. But, he did an album of Journey covers.


Yeah, that was last year – very good CD too.
Yeah last year and the thing is, I think the reason that he didn't get put in the band then is because, you know we're all, how old was Perry when he sang most of these songs, 30, 31, 32, 33, when you're in your 40s or 50's, forget about it. There's no chance, so Kevin was knocked down a half step. I'm not gonna go to a piano or guitar and try to figure that out. And he really intimated to me that this was done in the original key. Yeah, but barely, you know if you're a half step down from a major to a minor or whatever, you know, it's a significant change in the tonality and everything else. And for whatever reason, the band, Journey has always had an obsession with playing the songs in the original key. Despite the logic, the unavoidable logic, that if Steve Perry was still in the band, and I know that there's a giant public out there that would love nothing more, they're clueless to the fact that the guy can't sing anymore.

A number of people have suggested such a thing…
No, I said it in the one interview I did other than this one. No, what the hell, I said listen, here's what I want you to do. Go out there. There were so many people out there in Golden Gate Park for Bill Graham's wake. The Grateful Dead, Aaron Neville and all these artists performed and Journey performed that day. Journey performed, you take these songs and you get a tape of that and they took them down two whole steps. I mean, this is from E to A. They passed G to A, you know what I mean?
Knocking 'em down hard and Steve Perry's voice was all broken up. So, you know, forget about it. It was just so revealing. That was in '91 at which point that day I hadn't seen him since 1986 Raised on Radio and that was five years. And what an ugly encounter that was with Steve Perry that day.
That was the last time I ever saw him, Bill Graham's wake, and if I never saw him again it would be too soon.

You've certainly been outspoken about Steve Perry. Your 2001 interview, which was dubbed Castles Burning - [members.cox.net/mrcarty] - your last really big interview I think, become kind of infamous.
Oh really and who did I do that with?

It was with a guy named Matthew Carty.
Oh yeah, Matthew Carty, that was the guy. The guy from Phoenix or whatever, that was, you know the funny thing about that one was, at the end he said 'Now I have to ask you, why did you give me this interview.' I said, 'You're the only one who ever asked.' And I'll tell you what. This would be the astonishing part. What I think is significant about that is how the artists feel that they're so the center of the universe. That surely the interest in what is the every nuance of their life is so, you know, as if it were important or whatever. Nobody ever tried to find me. Nobody was ever interested enough to ask me any questions let alone the questions that kid asked. That kid asked some good questions because obviously people were, well, I think it stirred up a lot of controversy.

It sure did…
What it really proved more than anything is the power of something that I was very responsible for. And make no mistake, I have the utmost respect for the talent of these individuals. I selected them man by man. I negotiated and put them into my band.
You know what I mean? And it's because they were extraordinarily gifted but when you have that sort of creative genius it doesn't mean that on the other side of your brain, left brain function where it's acquired knowledge about how to act, how to be, you know, that part that doesn't have narcissistic personality disorder, you know, that's the hard part. Very little exposure, you know? It becomes difficult after a while. Who's human to human, you know? That's the problem. In the long run though I have ultimate gratitude, ultimate gratitude and I'll go to my grave as Neal Schon's greatest champion and fan. I think he is just extraordinarily gifted.

He certainly is. One of the questions I was going to ask you and I'll throw this at you now – but I don't think Neal gets his share of love from the critical press.
I've never understood it. I've kinda thought maybe because of the origins of where Neal and I came from, from when he was 15 joining Santana and I was Carlos' personal guy and just had a great love affair commence right then with Neal. And I've kinda always said, you know, Carlos closed the door behind him. On the guitar legends thing you know, Page, Plant, Hendrix, Carlos Santana, those people could be mentioned in the same breath and for you to distinguish yourself and rise above the din of all the other guitarists you're really going to have to swing a big bat. And you're gonna find, you're gonna look up and you're gonna go wow, I guess Eric Clapton wasn't just a lead guitar player. I mean at the end of the day he became a great personality singer and great song selection has a depth of catalog and after while you go wow.
Of course Neal was always a major Clapton fan so he didn't need to be told anything like that but he didn't really connect the dots. And so I wanted him to be a songwriter and a singer and in the songwriter since he's a melody savant, you know, just something else, you know, but it's been tough and people have been very reluctant to give him his due although I think he's been incredibly influential and they just don't talk about it. And whatever, it's never been de rigueur to mention Neal Schon. I think he scares the hell out of a lot of people. Even technical people that are great players like a Steve Vai or a Joe Satriani or a Eric Johnson or you know? It's just across the board because he's just a, he has some sort of sensitivity and touch and feel and voice. Did you hear the album he did for Higher Octave called Voice?

Oh absolutely.
I mean now, who can do that?

I've got every one of his solo records. I think he's astounding.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it. (laughter) It really is true you know. He's just something else.

I've got a lot of questions for you Herbie and…
I'm sorry to just ramble on. Go on and ask your questions.

I didn't want to cover a lot of territory that Matthew's interview already did because, credit to him for getting that great interview online, but there's a lot since that point in time that's happened that I'd like to ask you about.
OK. I've been very, very retired and very, very uninvolved.

I think you keep your ear to the ground though right?
A little bit, yeah. I mean Neal will call me and tell me all the things he's doing and of course and way back in the very beginning when he first found this singer on YouTube he called me and had me listen to it.

Oh great, Ok, look I'll get to that in a second Herbie.
I wanted to ask you, just for the people, you know the younger readers of my site that don't know the Herbie Herbert legacy - you started off in San Francisco with Bill Graham who obviously was a legendary promoter.
How did you hook up with Bill?

We met at the Acid Trips Festival, I think in January or early February of '66 and just had various encounters when he had the original Filmore Auditorium and then at the Filmore West and we just became very good friends. He was like a second father to me and a mentor and he is the one who, when I asked him what I should do, having been offered a job by Johnny Winter and Steve Paul from Peter, Paul and Mary who had a big hit at the time - Jet Airplane - and their manager was Albert Grossman.
Bill knew both of those gentlemen and what should I do, and both offers started at $150 a week and in 1969 that was a lot of money, believe it or not. And he said, 'I think you should go to work for Santana'. And I said, 'Santana, why, they don't even have an album out?' And he said, 'well they're gonna have an album out' and he had just returned from Woodstock, which I didn't go to, and he said the world heard Santana at Woodstock, when their album comes out it's gonna explode, and he was of course totally right.
So I said 'What can they pay me?' And he said 'maybe I can get you $75 a week'. So I said, 'you're telling me to not even consider those other jobs for half the money with Santana?'
And of course, Bill goes “You asked, I told you, you owe me nothing.” (laughter)
So I took the job with Santana and loved it, just loved it. And I loved that man, then along came this little punk kid guitar player, Neal Schon, and there's a wild story about how that evolved and somehow Gregg Rolie said to the owner of a studio, yeah I'll help you produce some local club band and Neal was in that local club band. So it was fantastic. Gregg Rolie was always a joy to work with.


I've only had a few dealings with Gregg but he has always been very genuine.
Uh huh, and his band's great. He's doing fantastic. If you go and see his band play right now he lets you know that he was a very big part of both Santana and Journey. A very big component, and really the leader, you know. Musically, the band leader and it was devastating when he left Journey. I was fuckin' crushed.

And you covered that in the Carty interview. He'd just had enough at the time. Yeah, it was just, you know, bad things were brewing. He knew it and he didn't want to live through it. I think he felt that Perry was gunning for me from early on and I don't know why.

Yeah, so you started off with Sanata and moved through the ranks and then put Journey together and you were doing pretty well initially. Where did the desire to turn Journey into a bigger act come from?
After the first three albums, and by the third album the inmates were allowed to run the asylum. Meaning that Journey got to produce their own third album, Next. You know, there was a real cult following. They were like a jazz/fusion/rock kind of thing. We played with Weather Report, Majahvishnu Orchestra, Santana, and Robin Trower and bands like that. And it just went over perfect and I loved that original band and many people did. I think the first album in real time sold like 150,000 and the second album sold 250,000 and then the third album did 100,000 or maybe 150,000. So with that, and the thing that people can't quite keep in perspective, is where Journey was in that. All the other bands in their supposed genre had really come and gone. Boston, Foreigner, Styx, REO all those bands had their hits way before Journey had theirs. In fact some of those hits were from things borrowed from Journey. I think if you'll listen to I'm Gonna Leave on the Look Into the Future record, track 5 side 1, it's Carry On Wayward Son, by Kansas. They just lifted it. And if you listen on the third, Next, album to Nickel Dime, that's Tom Sawyer by Rush and they didn't modify it very much.


And that, I think, is the biggest song of their career. That's a pretty big career and so they were kinda left in the station when the train left. They were standing on the platform watching the tail lights of the caboose go wailing away in the distance. Then you look up and it's 1977 and they've toured all year, all through Europe with Santana and another big tour with ELO both in '76 and '77 and it just wasn't happening. And you look at the charts and its Donna Summer, Saturday Night Fever, Grease, Disco Inferno by The Trammps. I mean it was as clear as ringing a bell that era was gone and basically Columbia Records said that. It's over.
So I was just in a complete scramble and they were gonna drop the act. So there was a scramble to do something to modify what we were doing. So I said we'll change it, we'll go commercial, I'll put in a lead singer and this guy that was in charge of artist development, Arma Andon had a singer that he liked that was managed by Barry Fey in Denver and that guy was Robert Fleishman. So we tried him and did a whole tour with him, with Emerson Lake and Palmer and even played stadium dates. And he was just very difficult to manage. And somewhere along the line I finally got a Steve Perry tape. I'd met Steve Perry numerous times, had thought about him numerous times. There were just certain moments. I mean when I was going to make the deal for Robert Fleishman in the middle of the Golden Gate Bridge with John Villanueva we both looked at each other and I goes, 'Steve Perry. I still have never heard that fuck, but I have a feeling about him'. Then when I finally did hear him, I listened to him for about 60 seconds on tape and I tried to chase him down, but he's already left the music business. I talked to his mom and he was working in a turkey farm in Visalia pounding nails with his stepfather Marv on the weekends trying to pay back his debts.
He'd borrowed all this money from them while he lived in LA and put his bands together and put his demos together and did showcase after showcase to managers, to labels, to agencies, and nobody ever heard it. Nobody ever wanted it.

I don't get that at all.
I was pretty astonished by it. I got it in seconds. I got it, and so I wanted, and you know what? At that moment, when I heard it, I was thinking that and well it was really truth, Robert was pretty well in the band and Neal loved Robert Fleishman. They really liked him. He was just a poodle in heat to deal with as a manager. He was like (using whiny voice) “Oh everybody, would you clear the dressing room? That person smoking over there….” That kind of, you know, oh man please. If this is before he's got his first paycheck what's gonna happen?
So there was that side of it and so at that moment I just liked this band. I wanted to sign this band. It was called Alien Project. And I said I'll do this. I'm gonna make this happen. And from my first phone call, that very weekend, the bass player in that band died in a car accident which really left Steve Perry very fermished [messed up].
When I tried to talk him into coming up and spending a week with me at my house he couldn't afford to. I talked to his employer, got an ok, told him I'd pay him the money he was gonna lose, pay his expenses, he can sleep on my couch. He did all that and I started workin' on him and said ok let's forget the Alien Project. Let's talk about Journey. And it was not an easy negotiation by any stretch. He was afraid of Aynsley Dunbar not having a groove, being too white a British drummer with very minimal exposure to soul or R&B and not strong on the backbeat. I loved Aynsley, I still love Aynsley, great guy, intellect. You know, talent with an intellect, that's why I worked with Steve Miller for so many years. I like the resourceful type people, the Jeff Lynne's of the world. But you know at a certain point with Perry, Aynsley only lasted one record really, the Infinity album. Then we terminated him and brought in Steve Smith.

And that was the start of the hits era for the band…
Yes, in truth yes, their first top ten hit was Who's Crying Now from Escape. Although people want to swear up and down that Lights and Feelin' That Way and Wheel in the Sky and all these familiar songs, you know, the Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin', Anyway You Want It, and songs that got so Goddamned much airplay you got pounded by them but they really were never hits. And a lot of that airplay was subliminal. And a lot of it was not really subliminal it's called foreground music.
That was little discovery about these companies up in Seattle, Washington at the time, AEI Audio Environments Inc., and their lobby's loaded with all of Journey's platinum and gold because they played up nationwide like you can't believe on their in-house proprietary music systems. We did big promotions with all their people and access to Journey tickets and merchandise and meet and greets and things like that and oh my God the airplay we got from that was incredible. So every shoe store, shopping mall, restaurant from the Rusty Scuppers to Houstons, you know, there it is. Getting all that airplay, those are all gross impressions and they cume up to a level of recognition and familiarity that makes people really believe that those songs were hit songs. They were heard so much it just wasn't on normal, it certainly wasn't on contemporary hit radio which is how you get a hit single.

Yeah exactly, in the classical sense.
Anything and every kind of radio but that, you know.

You were credited over those years with taking Journey further than maybe they would have gone on their own as well as building the whole idea of a live touring circuit weren't you?
Yeah, it was kind of a sneak attack because when the industry is used to a certain methodology as to how it works and how hit bands work what kind of hit it takes on the radio to go platinum, what it takes in terms of contemporary hit, CHR they called it at the time, radio. R&R Parallel One stations was the bible at that time and we weren't getting any of that yet selling millions of records. This is totally beneath the radar and one of the other techniques was we would fashion the most fantastic radio spots that would emphasize our emphasis track that we wanted the most airplay on and we would run those. Sixty second spots back in the day when radio was cheap to buy. In the '70s it was cheap, cheap, cheap, and we'd pound those and you know those radio spots were airplay. They were cumes [accumulations], they were gross impressions and you know, they're proving that theory right now in the most recent Apple campaigns. The music today that they're using on the new Apple Ipod or the new Air [laptop] da-do-da-do-do and all of a sudden you're singing the song and that's the way it works. Familiarity creates comfort which creates a transaction. So that's what it was all about, how to cume up gross impressions of a band that is not radio friendly in a disco world.
In a disco world and another thing that was very effected was the artwork at that time. Creating a unique, highly recognized imagery within your target demographic so when they see it, so by the time we got to the Escape album it did not have to say Journey on it. And what I would suggest is, no matter how that lineup is perceived, if Jon Cain all of a sudden comes in and it's the classic lineup, OK, OK, but there was a bed there already a base of sales. They'd already sold 12 - 14 million records by then. Across Infinity, Evolution, Departure and Captured, you betcha. Look at all those records. I think Infinity's quadruple platinum, I would imagine Evolution is, I would think Departure's at least triple platinum and the double album, I know Captured is past double platinum.
A double album past double platinum and at a time when lots of live albums come out and no one fared that well, the Eagles or anybody. So they had a hell of a thing going and the way we said Escape was E5C4P3 and the way we wrote the band's name, it looked like Russian and a lot of people never figured out how you had to turn it on it's side to see it say Journey and that was only on the shrink wrap. There were some graphics on the actual album cover itself, but when we initially put it out it was just the egg with the scarab Escape vehicle busting out of it. That's it. Then they made us change it and put some stuff on it. We didn't need to. Blew, blew units out everybody knew what that was. It didn't need to have a name on it. Then of course, right then and there is when Steve Perry really wanted to muck with the formula. You know, he really wanted to put things through a lot of changes.


In the years you've had to reflect on that have you come to a definitive conclusion as to why he wanted those changes?
No, he'd send Sigmund Freud to the hills, screaming and rippin' out his hair. (laughter) He's a tough nut to figure.
Who knows, it's probably very petty jealousies or whatever. It seemed like he wanted, you know it was especially revealing to me when we had his solo album and I was managing him with Street Talk, and the song Oh Sherrie, and I mean I tell ya, he really had a gun to Journey's head right then. He had me, and I was just committed, I'm gonna make this happen because also as a manager it was going to be what I felt would be a very rewarding thing for me to know that in view of the failures of virtually every major artist coming out of a major group to have success on their own. The members of Pink Floyd, or Hall & Oates, or the Cars or any band that was huge. Aerosmith or any of theses guys, they do solo records and it's a dud. Phil Collins at that point had failed to go gold on Face Value and the one record that had come out as a solo record that had done extraordinarily well, virtually the same time, was Bella Donna, Stevie Nicks. She did triple platinum and we did more than double platinum in just America alone on Steve Perry's Street Talk. And I can tell you honestly, he denigrated me at every possible opportunity and said that I sandbagged him, that I fucked him, and I you know, and that the record of course should have been much bigger than Escape and showing total ignorance to the concept of branding and what we had built over so many years.
That was '84. We had incorporated Journey, or Nightmare to furnish the services of Journey in March of '73. So here's eleven years of building a brand and a business and he wants to eclipse it with his first release. And if he doesn't I have failed and even though there is a history of nothing but abject failure on solo projects.
So I don't know man, it's like fighting the impossible fight. I remember one time he phoned me at my house and just went nuts about Be Good To Yourself having been the first choice of a single off of Raised on Radio. And I said, it's a great song, it's a great production, it's great sound, it's Journey. That was the problem.
It sounds too much like Journey. Well too many of the other songs sound too much like a glorified Steve Perry solo record. You'll have to remember on Raised on Radio is when he had me remove Ross Valory and Steve Smith from the band. Of course that was completely ridiculous and I forced him to pay them as if they were there on the tour and everything.

Really?
Absolutely, that's what I think you do for your people. There's very little chance that Ross Valory or Steve Smith would remember it let alone reciprocate but that is the honest to God truth. I made sure they were taken care of. I thought it was patently ridiculous and thought that Steve Smith was one of the best drummers on the planet.

And still is.
And he has been recognized as such I believe for longer than anybody in history as the best drummer in the country for something like twenty years running.

What do you think Steve Perry's problem with Ross and Steve was? I mean they were hardly the decision makers of the band.
No, because he wanted to divide and conquer. There was a real relationship I thought with Steve as regards my relationship, my father/son relationship with Neal Schon. It was a pretty serious thing as I would say to people half serious, half in jest half as the truth of the world, I would say 'This is my Neal Schon, he didn't turn out that good.' (laughs) And I'm not talking about him as a guitar player at that point, obviously not, I'm his biggest fan.
These guys, when they screw the pooch not only can they not learn commitment, anything that comes along that they like better they get uncommitted real fast. And when they make a booboo, and booboos happen and the thing is when I make a mistake I have no expectation or notion of unringing the bell or puttin' the bite back in the apple. It doesn't occur to me. To them it's the gospel, of course that's possible, which I find hilarious. I find that humorous. That part of the business I surely don't miss. Management is a rough go, I tell ya.

Oh, I don't know how anybody could live on the road or get into that 24/7. It's hard enough just being a commentator on it.
You know at the end, especially on Raised on Radio, Steve Perry insisted I be on the road. It made it very, very difficult to do my job vis-à-vis phones and access because in those days, even in '86, you didn't have cell phones. You know, I mean we barely had the advent of fax machines and thank God for that, know what I mean? I spent my life on the road with no electronics, no benefits of the computer age.

Yeah I guess people forget about that. How did you do it?
It was so frickin' hard Andrew. I'd be in some country in Europe or the Orient and just run to a pay phone and oh my God, foreign currency, foreign languages, numbers, prefixes, country codes, man I wanted to go beat somebody up at a bus stop. (laughter) Just for the hell of it (laughter) just to take my aggressions out on someone.

It is amazing how quickly we get used to the technology we have and can't imagine life without it. But not too long ago – we didn't have it at all.
It's really true and now they really do have modern conveniences. But you know, oddly enough, and this was the least anticipated thing in my life, after I retired from management for some frickin' crazy reason I decided to become an artist and sing and play a little guitar. I had a total ball, and you know, played the Filmore 18 times with the legendary Sy Klopps blues band [www.syklopps.com]. All the best venues, all over the west, all over the country really with Sy Klopps and just really enjoyed it. When I stopped from that and they retired on the stage at the Fillmore, Bill Kreutzmann said you and your guitar player and me, let's form a band and we'll do Robert Hunter songs and so I said sure, let's do it. We created this band called the Trichromes and got up, got on a tour bus, went for six weeks with Bob Wier's RatDog and Phil and Friends and I had the complete touring experience. And not like a Journey, we were the opening band. And when the tour was over I told an audience of 40,000 at Alpine Valley what a revelation, what a joy, what a breeze, what an extreme fallacio everyday. Just a blowjob, you get treated so well you know I was ready to get on the bus and start it all over again the next morning. I thought that on those buses on tour you got no sleep and that the labor board could literally make an argument that me and my production company, Nocturne, which is one of the preeminent production companies in the world today and we have so many tours and so many crews that they'd come and make an argument that this is 24 hour 7 day a week employment and you have to pay overtime on every hour. They're on a bus, it's not restful sleep they're working the whole time and I just had all these nightmares going on thinking of business exposure and so forth. Then when I went and did it I've never slept so good in my life. And everybody else was that way. It was just phenomenal. I mean so what the hell and all these years I'd given these artists the benefit of the doubt I was so naïve and wrong. It was just, you know, I mean let me tell you, that isn't work. If any one of those guys could walk in a manager's shoes one hour they would be exhausted and require hospitalization.

I can imagine it. I've seen it and I wouldn't want to do it.
You know, when I was Sy Klopps I never did a single thing. Pat Morrow was the manager of Sy Klopps and I never picked up the phone and said a business word one time. He did a brilliant job. When I was a manager I knew I was management, was the key catalyst, and when I became an artist I got that reconfirmed yet again.
I know I'm drifting astray and I know you have more questions.


I could probably spend a week talking to you because I love the industry and I love the business so it's a privilege to talk to you.
And you're in Australia and Journey was never really happening there.

You know what? I actually got into Journey originally via Steve Perry's Street Talk album in 1984 because Oh Sherrie was a huge hit single here and that voice!
But Journey – although every album was released here – never had a big hit single here and had never toured here.

He [Steve Perry] didn't do any touring really for that record. I got him finally to do Oh Sherrie on tour with Journey.

You did? I always figured that was Steve's idea.
Yes it was my Idea so as to moot the need for solo touring on Steve's part. Journey also performed Don't Fight It - the song Steve did with Kenny Logins and Foolish Heart too.
Then, when he tried to do his theater tour as Steve Perry with Lincoln Brewster and…

…In '94…
That was I guess very much a struggle. There were certain cities where he booked and calendared and then postponed, then calendared and postponed then ultimately cancelled and never played the market. Couldn't get well, couldn't sing, I didn't see any of that tour but I just heard that it was pretty rough.

Steve hasn't performed live since that point and has only recorded one album - Trial by Fire with Journey again.
Trial by Fire…I listened to that one time and not one lift off. Not one moment of this is gonna go somewhere. Monotone, monotone, I don't know what was going on with that. They really genuflected and signed all these agreement to try to supposedly get him to make a record and tour and I told Neal Schon that I swore on everything holy that he would never tour. 'He'll never do it; I promise you that, I'll bet my net worth'. He didn't take me up on the bet but I was of course right.

That was the last time that Steve was seen with the band. Just about every other band on the planet has reformed at some point since then, including many of them doing it now, but there is absolutely no sign of Steve Perry ever returning from the fray is there?
I really don't think so and to be honest with you I don't think it would be desirable. I mean just in a fantasy world. People want to remember back to a fantastic time when a great, there was a moment when surely Steve Perry was the foremost, contemporary vocal stylist in America. I believe that. Male vocal stylist, he was right there on point. Everybody loved that voice and he touched many people with songs, many of which that Jon Cain wrote like Faithfully and Open Arms. Man they hate it when I tell that story about Open Arms. You know about how they were fuckin' just denigrating Steve and just talking stink. He's in there trying to sing Open Arms with Kevin Elson, Mike Stone and I'm goin' 'he's singin' his heart out, he's tryin' to nail this fuckin' thing'.
I mean you know it was (whiney voice) 'Is that Perry Como, and its so frou-frou' and they're just teasing him awfully. I took Neal and Jon into the backroom and go 'What the fuck are you doin' man? He's obviously written a fantastic song.' Jon Cain goes 'He didn't write that, I wrote that.' And I was stunned. I just looked at him and my mouth dropped open, it go 'Just making your behavior all the more remarkable, unbelievable.' Sometimes man, you can write a brilliant song, (idiot voice) duhhuh, duhhuh, but if I asked you to think it might hurt you.

So they were in the studio giving shit to Steve while he was recording?
Totally giving him shit. I mean seriously giving him shit.

I don't get that.
Anti-inspirational to the max.

I guess Jon Cain and Neal Schon really have become the partnership that has held the band together over all these years.
Well I guess so. I really don't know about the inner workings and the chemistry of it. To me it's always been a situation where I felt that from way back that they should just move on from Steve Perry. I'm talkin' I wanted them to move on in '84.

I heard you wanted that. That would have been an interesting twist.
For them to allow him [Perry] to hold the band hostage, and the money in '84 and '85 and every year thereafter because that '86 money could have been just a real Journey tour with just a replacement singer and this kid they have now [Arnel Pineda] can sing that material right now in the original keys in a very credible way and there's no way Steve Perry could touch that.

I'm gonna come back to this in a minute… but right now, in '84, the mid '80s if they'd have made a break, a similar sort of break as what happened with Van Halen in '86. They brought in Hagar and did a left turn with their sound and they lost some fans but won some others - just like Journey did in '78.
Exactly, that's when they shifted to Sammy Hagar from David Lee Roth. Right exactly and that was a brilliant move and very effective and you know I made a solo record that you may have in your collection called Hagar, Schon, Aaronson, Shrieve.

Absolutely, love it, for sure.
And you know, we know Sammy really well. He's one of our best friends, he comes to our birthday parties and yadda, yadda, yadda.

Oh I love Sammy. I'm an absolute diehard Sammy Hagar fan.
Yeah exactly, he's a great friend and of course we knew intimately. And of course I love the story of the '78 Journey tour with Journey, Montrose and Van Halen. The tour started on March 1 in Racine, Wisconsin 1978. And I said, 'Hey Neal, be sure to get a look at the opening band. I want you to go and see them and give me a call.' Then I got out to Chicago, Detroit and Cleveland, the big cities, Pittsburg, Philly, every time I'd say 'Hey Neal, you seen the opening band yet?' He goes, 'No man, I never get there on time. I'll do it, I'll do it.' When I finally get to New York, I'm sittin' in the lobby, Pat Morrow the road manager brings 'em in. He's taken them out to the NEW radio and the Sam Goody stores and all that and they got just enough time to grab their clothes and maybe a little bit of food and I say 'hey Neal have you seen the opening band' and he goes 'no' and I say 'give your room key to Pat. He'll bring your guitars and all your shit. You're going with me right now'. I took him to the theater. We were sold out 3500 people and I said let's just walk in and sit down. We walk in the front door and sit down and he looks around and says, 'Where's all the people?' I go 'the people don't come until very late. I mean hardly anybody sees this band'.
And even when we were done there was maybe a thousand people out of 3500 when their set was over. But when they started playing Running With the Devil and You Really Got Me and Jamie's Crying and all that stuff, and all the guitars Neal was just blown away. Blown away and he says 'man I gotta meet that guy, I gotta learn that stuff and I mean, you think he'll teach me that shit?' (laughter) I says 'man if you'll teach him some of those melodies you come up with'. He say 'whadaya mean'. I go, 'the man can't believe the melodies'. 'You mean he watches me?' I said, 'He watches your every note.' On this whole tour he hasn't missed a note you played and you haven't seen him once. So from then on he never missed a note. And they've become very good friends.

Ok, to jump to another point as far as touring – it seems that playing live is about the only way to make money in this business these days? The pressure is on a big tour.
Well now wait a minute.

Oh-oh.
Don't get stuck in the old, tired, fucked up, ground into the ground model of the traditional exploitive record, you know, Columbia records deal. Well you know, even though Journey had a 37% royalty, hey a phenomenal deal and they were well paid by any standard, but still it doesn't compare at all to what a single freestanding retailer can do for you. What Victoria's Secret did for Spice Girls or Target or Best Buy or certainly a classic example that Journey's following because of Irv Azoff,…

WalMart…
…is the deal with WalMart, absolutely. They blew through 3 million units for the Eagles faster than the record business did back in the, unless you could go back to the peak in the early '80s or something.

It's a phenomenal number isn't it?
It really is. I mean if out of one location WalMart's nationwide and a double album, priced right, $11.99, if they paid the band $8 a unit or something like that, a mountain of money, you know. Twenty four million or something like that and it's not a loss-leader.
WalMart makes money now Journey's gonna have the 11 new songs, the 11 old songs, the DVD that Nocturne is shooting right now.
WalMart's gonna price that really well and Journey's got, I mean this is a chance. The new Eagles record was very, very good and if they can get airplay and have a hit off of that record, wow. I mean it's defying the odds almost unbelievably. Having a hit is like moonwalking on water.

You once, I've gotta quote you on this, you once said that you had a better chance of your dick growing another foot than Journey had of having another hit single.
I admit it. That's what I said. I've got a better chance of my dick growing a foot. Sure I'd love it to happen but it's not very likely, and actually upon further review I'm not sure I'd love it to happen. But anyway, it's just the likelihood. I think I'd stand by that quote and I think the Eagles have just done what I've said. They've just walked on water.
For the 60 year old set to come out and you know Journey can make a great new record. Especially with someone who can still go somewhere with their voice in that tenor range. The songs have to live. The whole idea with Journey was songs that started someplace, took you somewhere, and resolved that and brought you back. Which is a very difficult thing, most guitarists, if they know how to launch a solo and keep it interesting for more than twelve bars, they don't know how to resolve it. That's another thing that Neal's a master at.

Brings it back into the song doesn't he?
Yeah he does and so they could make a fantastic record. I have no doubt about that. The point is how do you get it listened to? How do you get it heard? I mean the business has so hopelessly, for so long, been a contemporary youth oriented business that they have walked away from multimillion dollar brands.
Columbia let Chicago and Heart and Journey and Santana and all these brands that they branded for so long, let 'em go away and they're a huge success. Heart at Capitol, Chicago and Warner Brothers, Santana obviously with Clive Davis but previously with Polygram. What the fuck are they thinkin'? What the fuck? This stuff took so long and so much money to cume up the gross impressions over such a long duration to become nigh onto, if not a household word. This is the hardest thing to achieve.
Madison Avenue looks down their nose at the record business because these guys don't know a thing about selling records. And they were so right, and now everybody thinks they can pick off the record business. It must be embarrassing.
And the precipitous slide into the abyss, do you know when it started? When Steve Jobs took fuckin' a week to get every CEO, every president in the fuckin' music business to drink the Kool-aid. And give their entire catalogs, opening Pandora's digital box, and that shit will never get back in the box, and that's all master recordings going out digitally. And the way music is stored, distributed, sold and listened to has completely changed and they're not invited to the party.
They get paid for their catalog, a little bit, but the real beneficiary is Steve Jobs who really dominates the business from not only software and the delivery side of it but also the hardware and how people listen. The biggest mogul in the history of the business and I think he spent a weekend figuring out how to be the biggest music business mogul in history. He's also the biggest motion picture mogul in history. And he's a majority share holder of Disney all of a sudden. And so this is really important stuff.
Then everybody else said yeah, let's go pick off the record business. And I mean everybody from Starbucks to Victoria's Secret thinks they can do it better and you know what? They're right. They couldn't fuck it up, I mean, by accident they could do it better than the record industry with focus.
Now, if you want a label to push the button you'd better be ready to give up your soul. I never, you know, if Journey, if Jon Cain, or any of these guys wanted to really be honest, and say wow, what was the greatest luxury than Herbie Herbert ever afforded me as an artist? They never had a record company executive step anywhere near them in the studio, in the songwriting process or any part of the creative process.
We completely controlled everything vertically; album covers, the content, the songs. I sequenced each one of those records, and somehow fought to get the record covers the way they were, and I named all the albums. That's what you need, is to have some focus like that. It's not an ego trip, it's marketing expertise. It's branding expertise.
I have nothing invested in this egowise. I would just like to make my living and do what I think I can get done here. So from my point of view that got stopped and mucked up quite a bit. There was no reason for them not to continue in '84, '85, '86.
They could have been a polished Grateful Dead and that was my model as a deadhead. I wanted to just have them, and they were so huge in merchandizing and you know what else? The Journey Force Fanclub was a force to be reckoned with. We really had created the virtual affinity group, but it was physical, it wasn't virtual. It wasn't virtual, it was physical. It wasn't in the computer age. It was physical mailing lists. Well we did have computers. We had the first program that would manage our fanclub and automatically print labels and weigh and sticker and send out newsletters and the whole thing. And they had such a high membership, I think 600,000 at one point.
That list, they sold the fanclub, disregarded it, and just thought that had no value. They almost thought of it as an albatross and a liability. They sold it to Tim McQuaid who ran the Force. He turned it into Fan Asylum [www.fanasylum.com] and turned it into a very successful business. He sold in the internet age and made seven figures. And it was the very same computer tool set that he bought, no modifications. And we invented all those things that you get when you're in a fanclub and go to the box office up until an hour before show time, show your Journey Force card and buy up to five tickets near the front, fifth row or closer and we would hold those seats. Then and hour before the show we'd send them out front with a bullhorn and just fuck over the scalpers. Any leftover fifth row seats, face value at the box office, right here and people would run standing in front of the scalpers right at the box office. You know, and it was just a fantastic thing the way that worked. We invented the travel packages. And you could travel with the band and do the meet and greets. These things were phenomenal.
The velvet rope concept, all those things were created by the Force. These are things that are so valuable now and they just walked away from the whole tool set. They could have just been making their own CDs since they were dropped from Columbia and selling them like Ani DiFranco direct to their own active hot list that by now would have been converted to active email addresses and everything electronically and been completely in business.

So they missed a real opportunity there?
They just don't understand that there's something more to it than just writing songs and singing and playing. That business component of it and the thing is I was pretty much solely focused on that. All the other activities were done in the vacuum of their absence. They said well we're not gonna, even after Raised on Radio in '86, I said fuck it then, I'm gonna do this band Europe from Sweden. I got the job for Kevin Elson to produce it, I'm gonna break it, they released it, they failed, I'm gonna rerelease it and make it a home run. I was playing it for Jeff McClusky and Jerry Mickelson on the back of a band bus outside of the Rosemont Horizon on Journey's Raised on Radio tour, and Steve and Neal came into the back of the bus and said 'oh man that's tired and in the weeds. That'll never happen'.
That was The Final Countdown. It went fuckin' #1 all over the world. (laughter)

Yeah, that did pretty well.
Yeah, then I did the Roxette project and that was very successful, almost dominated the charts there for several years.

Oh they were probably, I was in retail at the time, a record store, and Roxette were the biggest band around.
Yeah and I got them from the get go. I broke The Look here in this country and I there was no looking back, you know what I mean. And I had four #1s, three #2s and two top 15s in two years and sold 60 million records around the world.

That's gotta be good for everything!
Yeah that was fantastic. I just got a big hardbound book in the mail, all in Swedish about Per Gessler [Roxette guitarist] and I looked to see if they had any pictures of me anywhere. But I was a folk hero when that was happening because of what happened with Europe and what happened with Roxette and another Swedish band called the Electric Boys. They were very good, toured with Mr. Big and Hardline, one of Neal's bands.

I saw that show. I saw that show in Marin County California in '92.
Ok, so you know all three bands, Electric Boys and Mr. Big and Hardline. I thought that was a good tour.

Oh, it was a phenomenal lineup. I love Hardline. I'm a huge fan, actually I'm a very good friend of Eric Martin.
Well there ya go and I worked with him for 12 years before I could finally break, that was a long story breaking that To Be With You single. I traded all my Grateful Dead memorabilia for that hit. It's a long story but I mean that was very, very rewarding because you know, I had a lot of people say well you did that thing with Journey and you know you're pretty lucky. And I say 'Lucky, man the harder I worked the luckier I got.' They just kept drumming me on being lucky. I go yeah I must have a horse shoe buried right in my ass. You know but then, Europe, that wasn't luck. I levitated a dead project. Roxette, that wasn't luck. Everybody in the business, everybody turned me down on Roxette. And EMI, I got the record getting played here in this country then EMI changed their mind and said OK, we'll keep it and go forward so I worked with EMI. But right at the last second Doug Morris said, I want it, I want it. I said Doug you waited too long I wanted to make this deal a long time ago. But Roxette, that worked out well and then I did the Mr Big deal with Doug Morris instead. That worked out well too, so you know when you just start taking them all from the garage all the way to #1, I never had a #1 with Journey.

Yeah, isn't that strange?
Number 2 with Open Arms hopelessly behind Endless Love Dianna Ross and Lionel Richie. So I said I'm gonna do this. I got to #2 with Carrie by Europe again and then with Roxette I finally had my first #1 and then with Mr. Big that was my last #1.

Well you deserved that.
That was the fifth single off that Mr. Big record.

Yeah I know. I have the records. I bought the first Mr. Big album the week it was released because I loved all the guys individually and I thought wow what an amazing idea.
You know, I was trying to do them on a legitimate, you know, as a shredder band. And the first single was Addicted to That Rush. I was bold. I wanted to have the real thing. I didn't want to homogenize those guys but eventually if you wanna fuckin' have broad based appeal you've gotta go with something that gets you that hit. And you know, To Be With You, boom. All of a sudden they sell 10 million records around the world. So how do you argue with that?

Eric Martin keeps telling me that's a song that just keeps on giving.
It is a song that keeps on giving. Yeah, that's the one that probably pays his rent to this very day.

Absolutely, yeah, just jumping back to Journey – looking back over the years - they seem to have a history of dramatic vocalist changes don't they?
Well, but how about from Tommy Johnston in the Doobie Brothers to Michael MacDonald? From China Groove to Takin' it to the Streets all of a sudden, totally different voice, what did the new voice get, four or five Grammies. You know, and so you can make these changes. You have to just have to be bold and go forward. And you know at that point I have every right to say God dammit, I wanted to do that with Journey and they were just chicken and the left a lot of chips on the table for what I call in reality 15 years. From '83, because in '84 they should have moved, and so you go from '83 to '98 that's 15 years. How are they ever gonna make up for that lost time?
I mean shit, I got tired of waiting and then when I'd waited all that time and they were ready to go forward they wanted to go with Steve Perry and I told them from the get go that we were gonna have to write a letter and say that we were doing this and offer it to Steve Perry. But in the event that he accepts I'm going to have to decline because at that point it's been about nine years of utter bliss not having to see him or talk to him or deal with his craziness. Man hey, once bitten twice shy. I'm not going back. I have a profound philosophy that our president, Bush, is incapable of articulating but it's very simple. Fuck me once shame on you, fuck me twice shame on me.

You're on record as saying that Steve Augeri was a good choice and a top bloke, and we all know he was a top bloke, but things ended on a negative note for him also.
I don't know what their relationship was like but I thought at first blush, looking at Steve Augeri I like his body language, I liked his look on stage, until I realized it's either hard drive or, you know, and often he would drop his microphone and the vocal would continue. And even for me, it took me a while to realize, Oh, it's not necessarily a hard drive there, you have Deen Castronovo, who could in fact do an even more credible Steve Perry and especially on the ballads. And so on the ballads Augeri would drop his mic and the note would be held and I finally realized.
Because he's got that little teeny bend-around microphone or headset that Deen has and it's not like you can really tell when he's singing. Without video screens, that's where video becomes so crucial. It really does so you can see that. If you're at the mixing board that's invisible, you're not looking at somebody's lips move. At least not me anymore.
I'm sure they passed it off as something for medical reasons or whatever and leaving a notion or tone that maybe he could be returned or that he could return to the band but I think not.
I think it was real and I think that even if you were in fine voice, as maybe this gentleman from the Philippines is right now, this is a rugged expectation.
And to really make it pencil financially you really want to try to get to and try to maintain at least a four night a week date density. This is easy to do in the northeast but very difficult to do in the west because it's so far apart between markets like LA, San Francisco, Seattle. And the secondary markets like Fresno, Sacramento, and Eugene don't yield much more than you're production nut. In some cases it's really hard and so where do you get a third and a fourth show? So it's very hard to route with and density in the West and when you have a high density to pay the bills then you run the risk of vocal hardship.

Yeah, which unfortunately and sadly happened with Steve Augeri.
I think it becomes a chronic problem. The pressures of live performance and you know it's just singing one time too many in any given week and you get a little rough and then it makes it rougher and you need recovery time. And you know what? As you get older you need more and more of it [recovery time].

Yeah, and you were saying at the beginning of the interview that modern technology allows you to make compensations for that.
That's exactly right. So realizing the horrific financial ramifications of failed performances or inability to perform or muddle through it or whatever, I can certainly understand the underlying reasons why they would potentially do this.
But you don't do it as a matter of practice on an everyday basis. You do it on an emergency basis and then you allow the band to have some latitude, some spontaneity for Neal Schon to play an extra eight bars on a solo if he feels like it. Expose one or two links in that choke chain, loosen it up a little bit but it's tight. It's really a tight thing.
I would want to get out from that noose. I've had that conversation with Neal any number of times. Why don't you just loosen that up a little bit. It feels a little regimented through the material.

Now you're talking about the band using a click track? [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Click_track]
Yeah exactly, I mean you're stuck. You've got to nail the exact arrangement, the exact meter and you cannot deviate or vary from that meter. So once that song's clicked off you'd better hold tempo perfect. You know what? I love click tracks from a meter standpoint. I think timing makes the music, tuning makes the musician. You really, when the time and the meter is really right, it gives power to the music and when you have bad meter you can't dance to it and you fall in a heap.

And after Steve Augeri came Jeff Scott Soto.
I really didn't think that Jeff Scott Soto was the right choice.

Really?
He has much more of an alto voice. There was a lot of material, especially Raised on Radio material like I'll Be Alright Without You that he might have done really well on but if you're gonna try to do the really high songs like You've Got Something to Hide or La Do Da or whatever, I can't recall, I went and saw them in concert and there was a bunch of material that was so far out of his reach he was just as bad as Augeri at his worst so you can't. If you make a change it's gotta be an upgrade. Kevin Chalfant would have been a much better choice at that point. Kevin Chalfant would be a much better point now. I don't know.

But they have gone with Arnel Pineda.
I've listened to the record that he has made and the songs that they've chosen on this 11 song thing and the performances are very credible. Have you heard it?

Oh no, I'm eagerly anticipating it though. Have you heard it already?
Yeah I've got a copy of that and it's in my truck. I listened to it and I thought he did a very good job. I gotta tell ya.

With the re-recording of the old hits, the sacred ground so to speak?
Yeah, sacred ground, well how sacred is it? Anybody is given leave to do that.
They're public domain now. Kevin Chalfant, anybody can do a Journey Greatest Hits record and see how they fair. You know and provided this is, I just think he does pretty good, pretty damned good.

Well here you're talking about a singer competing with the world's greatest melodic vocalist at his prime in Steve Perry, so to come close is probably doing extraordinarily well.
Yes that's right. I think I agree with that completely. To come close and he comes better than close.

Wow, I'm really pleased to hear such an enthusiastic endorsement.
I guess many fans are worried about the band treading on sacred ground by re-recording those tracks. Why do it?

Look at Frank Sinatra - he comes into the world and he puts together a string of hits that was formidable for Columbia Records and has a whole career. Well then he wants to come out west. He gets offered a boatload of money and a huge royalty to record for Capitol. So of course, sacred ground although it was he re-recorded the entire catalog for Capitol and it was hugely successful. I mean this is the stuff dreams are made of and he was such an important artist you can't imagine. I mean Steve Perry, I took Steve Perry and Steve Smith to see one of Nocturne's tours and it was on the opening night in Oakland Coliseum. Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis and Dean Martin, ya know, and I said 'come and see the classics. You'll see Dean was the inventor or smooth before Perry Como and Andy Williams and all these guys'. This was the guy and you'll see so much of Michael Jackson and the dance moves and everything from Sammy Davis and then when the Chairman of the Board gets out here, phrasing, delivery, material he's just gonna hammer you. Of course that happened. Steve was impressed. How can you not be? And so then Warner Brothers came along and said 'we'll give you your own label and a mountain of money if you'll do it again'. So then he recorded it all again for Reprise. Now what happens is, in these contracts there are provisions for re-recording clauses and usually a re-recording clause would elapse in seven years at the outside and often in five. So then your re-recording restriction has expired. Now it's your song. You're allowed to re-record it and if you can re-record it somewhere and get it fresh and have a new mechanical royalty for it at the current statutory rate and get a new artist royalty for it from a new label or a much higher royalty from alternate means from re-recording it, go for it. I was one of the guys in fact advising guys to follow the Frank Sinatra model and do just that.

This is great. I really wanted to hear your take on this so this is interesting.
It's a way to generate revenue. I had Steve Miller put his greatest hit together and re-recorded them and I sold it to Arcade in Europe for TV advertising. I sold it to my buddy Michael Gudinski at Mushroom Records [legendary Australian record label] and got a gold album on my wall, from a re-recorded Greatest Hits by Steve Miller. All new sell it to Michael Gudinski, made the deal myself. Is he still kickin' around down there?

He most certainly is.
Good, he's a good man.

Yes he is he's done a lot for music in this country. So basically you're saying don't get hung up on the original because you've already got them?
Right and you know sometimes this stuff gets re-recorded and is much better. It's much better. One artist and manager that took my advice and actually came to my studio to do it was Bill Thompson with the Jefferson Starship and Mickey Thomas and we took these records and these tracks and I remember one day we figured out that the average cost of each track of their greatest hits record was in excess of $150,000. Many of them were produced by guys like Ron Nevison and Peter Wolf and yadda, yadda, yadda, and I said let's come in, and I really believe in today's age with all of our new, modern recording technology, that in complete A-B comparisons we can smoke every aspect of every one of your greatest hits. Deeper, broader bandwidth, better stereo soundstage, better tuning and timing and record quality, reduce of noise floor and I mean the only thing that would be questionable is the quality of the vocal performance. If you can deliver that vocal as well or better than the original we can absolutely eclipse all the original recordings. And we did that and we did it for $15,000 for 15 songs.
So when you have a second shot at it, you know like 'Boy would I like to have another whack at that.' And sometimes you can hit it out of the park. You know what? I always felt that with Journey. So when I was putting together the Greatest Hits or putting together the Boxed Set [Time 3], I remember this, I'll admit to this, I always favored the track live off of Captured that Kevin Elson produced. For instance, as compared to the horrible recording quality in truth, although trendy and the moment and with lots of oral excitation and layered tracks, but those Roy Thomas Baker tracks on Infinity and Evolution were wanting. I mean if you listen the Wheel In The Sky off of Infinity and the bass drum and everything else even for 1978 it was almost kind of a medieval recording style. You know I really, I just thought he did a piss poor job. I really didn't like Roy Thomas Baker. And you have great songs which is the nucleus, the epicenter of our business, and so they had great songs and they had great performances. What was really bad was the way it was recorded. I remember going to Cherokee and he was playing back the songs and he'd blown up the speakers and I said please Roy, don't play it back so damned loud. I want to hear it so I'm insisting that I don't want it to go over 104 DBs. So I'm listening back at that level and I'm hearing this rattling and this ticky-tacky like somebody's got BBs in a plastic bottle or shaking a canasta or something. It's just awful. I'm hearing this and they couldn't hear it. It was driving me crazy. Finally I reached over to the knob on the board and turned the sound off and was gonna yell at him. But then the minute I turned the soundboard off and the speakers down I still heard the rattling, even louder. I said there it is, it's really loud. And I looked to the left of me and there was what he insisted on using. His own Stephens 40 track recorder, and every VU meter and every needle was tick-tacking pinning. Totally pinning itself and red lining and making almost drum rolls. Forty meters rattling and that was what was making all the racket. And I looked and I said look at this thing. You're so over-saturating tape it's creating compression and limiting just from over-saturation. You're just pushing the life out of this recording. And so, if you take songs like, whatever, Lights or Feelin' That Way or any of those songs from Infinity or Evolution or Departure and the Captured versions are usually vastly superior.

On the new recordings, are there any one or two or three songs that you thought the band really nailed? I don't even know what songs they've rerecorded yet.
Oh, I don't have the list in front of me. I remember there being, they did 11. There are more songs that need to be recorded than 11. I remember being pleasantly surprised that they did Stone in Love. They didn't do Ask the Lonely which was always one of my favorites. Ask the Lonely and Only the Young were originally on the Frontiers album.

And they should have been, what great songs.
What great songs and instead they were pulled off and Backtalk, because Steve Smith wrote it and he voted in on, it was a terrible glorified Bo Diddley, and Troubled Child, a real down Roger Waters kind of you know, funeral dirge kind of thing.
I feel that with Ask the Lonely and Only the Young, and with the original Frontiers artwork, not the space alien last ditch effort to get the record out on time because he rejected the Kelly/Mouse cover which was brilliant, I think it would have eclipsed Escape. But he really didn't want that.

Wow.
He really didn't want that and then of course when his record didn't sell as well then he kinda wanted to sabotage the Raised on Radio thing and bring Journey down to the level of him on his solo project. And getting rid of Smith and Valory and destroying and you know it's not a matter, I would say to Steve Perry, it wasn't a matter of what you want it's about your fans and the fans of this band. They're not all here to see or here your. Ross has his fans. Steve has his fans. I have to believe, especially with the way Steve Smith has gone on and the accolades he's received in his career and how Ross has continued to perform at an high level, you know, that, you know, dude you were wrong. I mean, Hello.

I saw there was an alternative cover for Raised On Radio also.
Yes there were multiple covers on Raised On Radio. At least two other than the one used.


And now, 22 years later fans are still debating the whole Raised On Radio album.
Oh are they really?

Absolutely, people still argue the point on…
…whether it's even a Journey record or not.

That and the whole change of style and where the record fits into the Journey legacy.
That's interesting. I never knew that until this moment that they were astute enough to realize it's hard to call that a Journey record.

I should send you a link to my forum, or maybe I should do you a favor and not send you a link! But it's arguing in the most infinite detail over the band and Raised on Radio is a constant. The whole lineup, the tour, the sound of the album, some people say it's their favorite album and some people hate it.
I have to admit it cost more than all the other Journey records put together. The guy, Bob Clearmountain you know, it's a very well done thing but it's just a bastardization of Journey. It's a corruption of the formula. It's very good, great songwriting, songs like Girl Can't Help It, I love I'll Be Alright Without You.

Oh I love the album. I think it's great but it's a different beast isn't it?
Yeah, it's a different beast and Randy Jackson, I don't know if you ever see him on American Idol and Journey being his claim to fame.

I can't take him seriously sometimes.
Yeah I know 'Yo dude yo.'

I see him with that hairdo from '86 and the clothes!
It's pretty rough and they've actually showed videos of him wearing those clothes on American Idol. Hey dude, your lack of humility knows no bounds. I mean wow, that could be embarrassing. But I guess it's so dated that he, you know, and it's his link to credibility really. Everything else, well he was just a hired side guy there too.

Purely hypothetically speaking here, but during the mid '80s with Steve and the band on the road, if technology had been available then, could you see Steve or the band using technology to assist their performances?
Well yes, well I don't know. We were doing it and had the technology and were triggering Akai samplers on background vocals and were perfectly capable of doing it on any lead vocal we wanted to on the Raised on Radio tour.

Really?
Yes, we pioneered this technology. We were, you know, that's my thing, production, so they had somebody right there. I'm managing, but I'm right from the back of the truck and I want to be on the leading edge. Just like Steve Miller was the first national tour to have in-ear monitors and it created a whole revolution. No monitors on stage, no equipment on stage. Everything off stage, just drums and keyboards and that's it. No speakers on stage, nothing, clean, clean, clean stages and I was certainly all about that in the Journey stage design. We carried our own stage and we were so oriented in sound, lights and production. We owned all that stuff, and you know, I'll tell ya, it's somewhat of a phenomenon that as egocentric as the music business is that other bands would unabashedly approach us for production services being so enamored and see these Journey tours and be so impressed that they would swallow their pride and come to us and ask us to do it for them.
Whether it was The Who on their farewell tour wanting their set designed and video on their '82 farewell tour or Loverboy wanting us to do the lights for them and just various production services, we must have had 20 concert halls pay us to build barricades like ours for them for their venues. Our stage and our barricades and the design and they were portable and they were put together and they were bullet proof. You could not bend or break these barricades and so you know, just good stuff like that.
I wondered, I've always wondered, I guess that Journey just didn't get that. It wasn't on their radar, it certainly wasn't a source of pride for them. And in '84 I came to find out that they had had a meeting with Joe Brown with a production sound company in England and offered to sell him Nocturne. And for what they basically hadn't been repaid. They invested two million and they recaptured a million two fifty of it and so they were outstanding, unearned three quarters of a million dollars. Hey, we were only a couple years into it at that point and they're earning back quickly and so the offered to sell it and that's when I said I'll buy it. That's just crazy. I'll buy it for that very same price. It does over 20 million a year you know. What were these guys thinking? Holy shit. Neal stayed in on Nocturne.

Yeah I though he did.
He's the only one that did and all the other guys must just be scratching their asses. What the hell, you know? And that was really Steve Perry that was the influence to say liquidate the investments, liquidate the real estate, liquidate the production company and he must have brushed a hundred million dollars off the table right there. And you know what? These guys should want to beat the livin' shit out of this guy. He cost them so much. He cost them so much. And cost himself so much and I've always said it's almost like he wants revenge and you know the old saying, 'if you want revenge dig two graves'.

Interesting. I guess Steve wouldn't be too happy about the guys re-recording stuff now.
He must have put up a fight to have that stopped. I think he probably did but I think he had to throw in the towel. What can you do? California is what's called a Right to Work state. They've never employed that strategy but it's as good and any you're gonna find. I mean they should have never, ever kowtowed to him in the slightest. I've never understood it but wow he sure carried sway with Journey, with Irving Azoff Management, and with the record company too. Impressive, I tip my hat. And all negative, nothing that would benefit or inure to the benefit of Sony, Columbia, CBS Records, whatever or Journey. As a matter of fact he just cost them money at every turn. So why, what's the attraction you know, what's the attraction here?

Nocturne sounds like a massive company these days. Is that early decision to buy into it paying off?
Nocturne is, we're buying two high definition, major investment right now for Metallica, one of our clients, who's gonna do such a massive stadium tour that we're gonna hopscotch complete productions. Mega-productions and so it's a business where we do a lot of reinvesting and if we want to maintain our market share and continue to be the #1 video company in music then we have to continue to invest but it's something that, the company went through it's first incarnation from '79 through 2001. Then we just kind of folded that down, refinanced and funded a whole new company and we've been doing fantastic, but we have to buy a lot of new technology. The whole advent of high definition basically meant all of our old MTSE standard systems were obsolete.

Ok so Nocturne's a sort of retirement investment.
Yeah, retirement, and not that it's not making money and it makes money, but a lot of the money that it makes is in assets build up and so core value of the company we have taxable assets without any cash so the company funds all of our taxes with increases in equity and gives us money too but it's not like it's making us rich.

And meanwhile Neal's still out there on the road doing what he does best.
Yeah well he, I saw a relationship that started out I think in Denver the first time that Neal Schon and Steve Perry sat down to write a song they wrote Patiently. That's such a great, great song. You go from there to Neal is doing the cocaine, drinking, fuckin' the chicks, doin' all the fuckin' things that Steve couldn't do as a lead singer. And then going out on stage totally hammered and playing perfectly. And then he'd go on a binge for a week, come into the studio hammered, and do all of his guitar parts, in that condition, on the whole album in the next two days and that's it. This guy, you know you take his album like Voices and I don't think Neal spent two whole hours on any track on that record and every single effect, everything you hear comes out that way on his guitar. The engineer has two stereo channels totally flat no EQ and all the effects, everything you here Neal does, on the fly, real time. The dude plays equipment every bit as good as he plays guitar. He's a frickin' genius with it and he just moves right through the whole thing and he'll play a couple bars, get it in his head, 'I got it, let's roll.' And he just rolls and sings the song. I'm telling you nobody can do that.
My dear, departed friend Don Pearson who owned Ultrasound, probably the best sound company in the world, and they invested so much money in this ultimate Meyer sound system, and was on tour with the Grateful Dead for years and years and years until of course Gerry died. And um, then he put that system out with other artists one of which was Andrea Bocelli. And on Neal's record Voice there was two Andrea Bocelli tracks and in front of 300,000 people in Hyde Park in London on that sound system he played those two tracks and Andrea Bocelli was back stage, and this was also a Nocturne tour, and he said 'Who in the fuck is that? He's doing my vocal and every nuance of my vocal.' How can someone do that, you know? Even the singers hear it. You know Bryan Adams toured with us on the whole '83 tour. He heard 'Everything I Do I Do For You' off of that record and said, 'Jesus, that's just fuckin' unbelievable.' Even the singers themselves, they just don't expect somebody to be able to play like that.

Like Neal?
Like Neal yeah, get that feeling, get that phrasing, really get that voice.

Yeah absolutely I agree, I agree.
So just to jump forward to wrapping things up in a minute because you've given me so much of your time and I appreciate that. Years ago could you have imagined Journey with a Filipino lead singer? It's quite amazing.

Well, I think I can see even a sequence of vocalists. I just don't get, now if you had said, I think I would have said the much harder and much more challenging thing. Were you to replace Neal Schon?

I don't think you could.
I'm not saying you couldn't. I betcha I could find someone who emulates him so much, and you know what, it's just like there've been like any number of guitarists that have been right there on the verge of a very credible Jimi Hendrix. And I mean here is one of the most innovative, if you had to single out one frickin' guitarist that created such a special voice in a sea of guitar players I would probably single out Jimi. And now I've seen so many people do such a credible job of emulating him, but the key is being him and originating that voice. Carlos originated that voice, Clapton originated that style, and so now to come along it's, if you didn't invent it, to emulate it is far easier than inventing it. So I think that you could find somebody to mimic Neal Schon. There was a time when I thought that would be far more difficult than finding someone to emulate Steve Perry.

Yeah and there's always Josh Ramos isn't there?
Josh Ramos, yeah there's a problem. (laughter) I mean he's a sweetheart.


So Journey have found this singer - Arnel Pineda - and you know he's got an amazing Perry-like voice and you think that's a good move going back to the Perry sort of sound?
I think, you know I thought even when the Storm performed and they were on the Bryan Adams Waking Up the Neighbors tour, and playing all the arenas and coliseums I would here people in the audience going 'I didn't know Steve Perry joined the Storm' (laughter) or whatever just looking at Kevin Chalfant. Enough of a similarity in resemblance and a great voice and they really can't do an A/B comparison on the spot and determine the disparity or the nuance of difference. And so it's effective. It's very effective and I, you know when I go and see so many bands today I think they're as good or better than ever whether it's the Doobie Brothers or ZZ Top or Lynard Skynard and Lynard Skynard's had all kinds of people coming in and out of the band. Who's left? Maybe Gary Rossington and that's it? I don't know but they still sound pretty credible. It's the music, it's the name.

It's funny you should say that. I won't name names, but somebody suggested to me that it doesn't matter who the singer is. And I just thought for a band with such an iconic singer like Steve Perry that was a really unusual statement to make. Yeah, I would say it's more true than not.

If you can't have the original (who doesn't want to or whatever)…obviously time moves on, then get someone who can.
You're probably one of those devotees who took a long time to arrive at that conclusion and to move on and say you know, I think I can go ahead and accept a substitute.

I was actually one of the biggest champions for Steve Augeri and I thought Jeff Scott Soto was a fantastic idea. Plus he's a friend of mine…
Yeah, I liked Soul Sirkus. I went and saw him at the Filmore, I thought Marco Mendoza was a tremendous musician. I mean the whole band was really tight, very good, Jeff was a great performer. I liked his look, his performance wear, I saw him with Journey he changed his look so much he really, he's changed his look so much. You know it really just changed the vibe. When I saw him in Concord and they were so desperate for me to come and see 'em, then they call and they want my opinion and it's really a mistake because they never really, you know musicians, they really want cheer leaders, they want groupies and they want the fanclub routine and they know better than that with me. I've never been that for them. You know you hear the genuine, the true fan in me when I talk about Neal Schon as a guitarist. But hey you know I'm not gonna blow smoke up your ass and I'm gonna give you my honest opinion about a performance. And when I saw them I just thought wow, here's a band that hits the stage and it looks, you know, I wanna see my stars, my heroes descend from Olympus as Gods. Inaccessible, almost unattainable, you know, just out of reach. I wanna love everything about 'em, their wardrobe, their look, their everything and these guys came out in a t-shirt and jeans and they just looked like the monsters from the black lagoon. I mean really just like the roadies, very pedestrian, very pedestrian. Where they were capable of performing at a pretty good level, much better than the headliner that night, Def Leppard, but Leppard came on stage looking like stars and entrance and exit and look and image is hey, hello, it's a big fuckin' deal. You know, it's a big part of it and I think they really shot themselves in the foot that way. Then of course they chose the wrong material. The fact of the matter is that Jeff Scott Soto is not a tenor and so what the fuck? If Steve Augeri was struggling with these songs it's gonna be even harder for Jeff Scott Soto and it was.
And the thing is, the whole time that you were rooting and rooting and rooting for Augeri I knew that there was problems. Not because I was going to shows but because right at the beginning my company shot the Vegas show that was put out on Direct TV. And the original footage of that they insisted, you know, people at my company insisted that I come and watch. And I go, please I wanna come and watch Journey on video, what the fuck? And they said no you have to set and watch this for a minute. I go why, you know, it was like torture. So I sat down and then it was torture. I said what's going on here? I go man he's really, he's missing everything. He struggled so badly that night you can't believe it. There was hardly anything that could be saved in the lead vocal and the problem was to me at that particular time was Neal Schon was grimacing when he would miss these notes. I said man you can fix these notes in a studio but you can't fix the visual on Neal. And I'm like gettin' all sour faced because it's pretty sour. Neal has dog hearing and I said that to him too. I said 'you've got dog hearing I know you can hear that this guy's missing it'. And not necessarily, he doesn't know what's being fed in his earphone monitors and they don't have floor monitors.
So he needed what may have been a crutch in the beginning but became something he was leaning on much more heavily than should have ever happened. So it's just unfortunate and I guess from the vocal in Sweden he wasn't even trying to sing along in key and it was pretty bad. In the house it sounded great but in the recording room at the raw feed, canned feed, and so that was a bust. Ok busted, the party's over, this ruse is up, now you're gonna have to try to get somebody who can really sing so you get Jeff Scott Soto without the benefit of the same crutches and help that Augeri had. He was just quickly and after a few dates in a row he was raw. Those songs will get you. They're very difficult to sing. Playing them in the original voice is like murder on a voice.

One of the hardest catalogs in music without a doubt, I would think.
Yeah I think you're right and so there it is. That's a formula for problems and so finding this kid that can do it au-natural without help that's nice. That should have happened a long time ago.

Do you think Arnel's voice will hold out? He will be under the same road conditions as everyone else before him.
Well like I say it's a very tough thing. The road is grueling on a voice, that's the hardest thing. And if you get sick you get sick. You lose your voice and you've got to power your way through it. There's just nothing you can do about it. It takes X amount of time to recover and man, trying to go through and get through gigs when you have laryngitis is just the worst.

Oh I can imagine it would be awful.
Yeah it's so hard on a singer and just brain damage, traumatizing is what it really is.

I hear Steve's doing better now and I'm really pleased for that.
He had been in a band, I think it was maybe Tall Stories. They opened up for Mr. Big so I knew him well before this gig. He had asked me about, 'Oh Mr. Herbert I'd love to sing in Journey.'

Really?
Oh yeah, I heard that from lot's of people.

So he was like putting his hand up back then?
Oh sure and talking to Eric Martin. Ask Eric, he was buddies with Eric. Eric Martin would talk to me about him being a real candidate to do it.

Well he certainly was. Tall Stories are going to do a show in October, a live show in England - a comeback. So I hope he nails it. I hope he does real well.
So he knows you were a big supporter of his and a big fan?

Well yeah, up until the point where the message board chatter overtook everything else. I just try to stand in the middle of all these camps – there are a lot of possibilities for conflict when passionate fans congregate.
Yeah, well I'm totally out of that fight. I got no dog in this fight.

Well I'm glad to hear it but I'm really pleased to hear your thoughts on the new line-up.
You know I have no ill wishes towards those guys. I hope only for the best for them. I really hope this works out well with WalMart. Hey man they've struggled. It should, I cannot help but feel that they squandered and pissed away their place in history, their opportunity at induction into the Hall of Fame, and they seized defeat from the jaws of victory.

Based on not breaking away from Steve Perry earlier?
Yeah, you know I get the idea of 'how can you miss me if I don't go away' you know, but they went away for 15 years. And to live through a couple generations like that and a wholesale change in the way music is bought, sold, distributed, listened to and everything I mean you know it's pretty amazing that they have such depth of popularity. And you know they are definitive evergreen. And a definitive evergreen is an artist that sells far more in death than they did in life. Journey in '86 had sold 22 million records and when they resumed business in '98 they were somewhere around 70 million records. And they hadn't played a song or a show or done an interview or done a video or done a damned thing in 15 years.
And without any benefit of their presence or involvement or any exposure in the media they more than tripled their total lifetime sales. So that's an evergreen for you.
You see artists like Hendrix who really had to die for that to happen and here these guys are still on the planet but it's as if they got shot. I mean you know, they just fell off the face of the earth for so long and they lost all their momentum and their cohesiveness and their ability to maybe go beyond Raised on Radio and have future hits. Obviously, I don't know, did anything click on Trial by Fire? Did they sell any records with that thing? Their live greatest hits was put out because they didn't earn back their advance, I know that. They had to have the live greatest hits to pay money back and the Greatest Hits Live was a live record where the audience had been extracted. That was awful. That was soundly rejected by the consumers. I know that didn't work.

They had a small hit with When You Love a Woman.
When You Love a Woman, that got some airplay?

I got a little bit of airplay yeah.
But we're not talking about a gold album or anything?

I think Trial By Fire did a million copies in the end.
Oh really? I think just.

I think it just scraped over the million line, I'm not sure.
Well that's very good.

That's just from memory. I know Arrival only did about 250 or 300 thousand.
And that was the first one with Augeri?

Yeah, but by that time we had the internet screwing with everything anyway.
Yep, well the digital Pandora's out of the box. Somebody gets one copy of Soul Sirkus and the whole world has it.

Yeah, it's kind of insane isn't it?
It's kinda rough if you're a royalty recipient, intellectual property owner.


It certainly is. Just to get your take on that before we close off, where do we go from here in this digital age? Has the internet screwed everybody or just the major record labels?
I think it's in fact empowered everyone. What was started in an analog, mail order, pick, pack and ship world, artists like Ani DiFranco out of Buffalo now have the access to the digital world. I remember seeing, I think there a Maria Tequila on MySpace that has two million friends. One button she pushes and sends an email to all of them that she's gonna strip naked at Hollywood & Vine at 12 noon tomorrow, be there or be square, and you know two million people have an opportunity, or at least they know about it. They could forward it and you could have a huge crowd at Hollywood & Vine. I mean this is a fantastic tool set that's available and so if Journey's still maintained their active email list and had 600,000 names and growing, there's a business right there. I betcha Ani DiFranco doesn't have 150,000 names and there isn't a label in the business that could pay her enough money to leave her business model. I mean if she sells 150,000 records and netting twelve bucks a unit that's, what I have to sell on a conventional deal to make that kind of yield? And I have a direct relationship with my fans who are highly engaged. This is a fantastic concept and this is why American Idol is really brilliant. Because these simple concepts are not tough to get your mind around have been out of reach by most managers and most artists for so long, but it's about engaging. So when they go through these early trials of American Idol, and I don't even watch this fuckin' thing, but they have all the bogus performances and they kind of ferret out the good performers and then at a certain date that they have it distilled down to 24 or 12 or whatever they start inviting people to vote on your favorites. But they try to get you early so it's probably when it's down to 24. Then you get engaged and the minute you pick up the phone, not only you're making them money, but you're actively engaged with that artist and you're gonna stick with 'em and I don't care if it's Rueben Studdard or Clay Aiken or whoever, Kelly Clarkson. You're gonna go all the way, you're gonna keep voting and when she puts a record out you're gonna be at least one of the first three million to buy it. And their winners and their runners up and sometime people who get tossed out with five weeks to go are going multiple platinum. Jennifer Hudson left well before the finals and picked a Golden Globe, an Oscar, a Grammy and a platinum record.

Unheard of, unthought-of of isn't it?
Yeah and she goes from nowhere, from nobody, she couldn't sell out a phone booth, to all of a sudden, triple platinum, Golden Globe, Grammy, Oscar.

Amazing, it's really only the record labels that are getting screwed – and some of the cool indie retailers out there. It's sad to see that happen. Some of the major labels needed a reality check though.
They were charging way too much. If they had the Eagles double album I'd be $19.99. It wouldn't be $11.99. The motion picture business was selling multi-layered DVDs with letterbox and analog versions and director's cuts and talk-alongs and picture galleries and so much stuff for $14. You want a rare CD, $18. How long was that gonna last? These guys were idiots they got what they deserved. And you know Madison Avenue says if we take something like Hartz Mountain bird feed and we take it and do our typical advertising mix of media, print, radio, TV and so forth and we sell under a hundred million units we get fired. The record business sells 10 million units when we have research that shows there 300 million music systems in America, pre-MP3 and Ipod type players, there were 350 million before that, and you sell 10 million and you celebrate like you've changed the world? You know and it's just crazy lack of penetration into the market place and it's just a laughing stock. Nobody ever even bought media mixes. Nobody sold enough to justify a normal media buy. So it was just terrible.
The business has always been ripe for pickin' and somebody finally started pickin'. And it's really excellent for Journey to have this Walmart opportunity. This is the first chance they've really had I think to pull themselves out of the dark ages. Because in the old model what they did, if they did do those things even with Trial by Fire and Arrival, it just didn't have the feel or the presence of records that sold a million or 350. Boy, I can't feel it, is it in yet? There's just no presence to me. And there certainly wasn't any surge in their business and concerts. But do you know, I believe that Steve Augeri performed substantially more concerts with Journey than Steve Perry did.

Oh absolutely and he was actually in the band longer. What a phenomenal concept that was!
Yeah, there you go and so what's the liability of replacing singers? Well there's your answer. You know, and so if you had a really excellent one, if he really had, let's say this kid's voice, he [Augeri] certainly had a great look and you know he was good. He moved much better and was much more genuine. People don't realize that Steve Perry wouldn't even look at an audience.

Really?
Oh really, never eye contact, no way.

Well Steve remains a a very private individual to this day I guess.
Yeah, he sure does. That's fine with me, who cares? I guess you have contact on your board with people who would love to hear from him?

Oh of course they would, yeah.
They'd love to find out what's making him tick, what he's thinking.
You know, a voice is something, if you don't use it you lose it.
You know what, I tell ya, there's a lot of rumor about they're gonna build some palace for Michael Jackson in Vegas, I think he might have the same problem Steve Perry has.

Why, because he hasn't sung?
He hasn't sung since the '80s. And you know, it just goes away. It's a muscle, it's something that has to be exercised and trained and to get to that level of conditioning its hard work. And you know I think Steve Perry's really tried. When he had a solo career and his solo tour he tried to do it. I've heard that he's gone to the greatest vocal teachers and got the best help that you can get and it's just not there anymore.

So what can you do about it?
There's nothing you can do. So any other questions, I'm getting' tired?

Hey look, you and me both. Like I said I could talk to you for a week but today that's more than enough and I really do thank you for your time.
You know I just had my 60th birthday.

Did you really?
Yeah and I've got this big party I'm throwing up here on the coast.

Oh that's right Kevin said he was coming along to it.
Yeah, and Neal's gonna come and play and sing and all that.
I think it's time to get behind this new line-up and give this guy a shot and I think they're moving in the right direction.

I'm really glad we can speak really positively about Neal during interview because he doesn't get enough of that.
He doesn't man. Something has really gone wrong there and I feel bad that these guys, I mean they threw their own thing under the bus. Their own opportunity at greatness their own place in history, to have bands like Van Halen inducted into the Hall of Fame that were their own $500 a night opening act has got to fuckin' effect them. I mean no disrespect whatsoever to Van Halen and Eddie but in songs and content and whatever they're no Journey. So Journey has been slighted totally and the East Coast bias of the Hall of Fame when you have bands in there like Velvet Underground I think credibility is beginning to get strained.

And Madonna, give me a break.
Yeah exactly, Madonna oh my God, now there's a lady…
It's been great talking to you Andrew.

I really, really appreciate your time Herbie. Thank you sir.
Alright, you have a good night.

You too, thanks very much.
Bye-bye.

c. 2008 MelodicRock.com / Interview by Andrew McNeice March 2008 / Transcribed by Sherrie and MR.com
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